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Aged Care & Nursing Home Fees

Entering a hostel or nursing home can be a difficult and confusing time for you and your family.

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Centrelink

Call it a maze or a minefield, in the blink of an eye the rules change. Talk to us before you attack the paperwork!

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Considering contacting a financial adviser for Aged Care advice?  You may not need an expensive financial plan.  Contact me on (08) 8333 2488 to find out why!  

A one hour consultation is only $250 + GST.  For most people, it is all you will need.

We specialise in servicing regional and interstate people as we can consult over the phone or via email.

Aged Care / Nursing Home Fees

The move to an aged care facility is often not planned, but something that needs to happen quickly. If you find yourself suddenly responsible for making decisions on behalf of a loved one, we can help.

There are a range of fees and conditions to be met, it can be very confusing. We have the expertise as well as years of experience to save you time and frustration. We can quickly identify the important issues, cut to the chase, and provide advice when it needed.

We believe that in most cases people entering Aged Care facilities DO NOT need a full financial plan in order to understand the fee structure and the most financially beneficial option.  A personal consultation with our adviser should be enough to equip you with enough information to navigate your way through the maze.

We can meet with our Adelaide-based clients for a face-to-face consultation, however we do have systems in place to provide services to regional and interstate clients.


Centrelink Payments and Services

Dealing with Centrelink benefits is all about ensuring that you are maximising the benefits available to you. Changes to the Assets Test limits means that a large proportion of retirees can qualify for a full or part age pension.

As well as the Age Pension, there is a wide variety of payments available to those in need.

If you require assistance or would simply like a chat about Centrelink & Aged care, please contact Scott Keeley. With over 12 years experience with Centrelink, this area is Scott's specialty - He is aware of the unique and timely needs of people requiring help in these sometimes difficult situations and is only too happy to help.


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We are looking to improve our service and would appreciate your feedback.  Please visit  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CBNJLF5 and complete a short survey.  All answers are confidential and will be extremely valuable to us.
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  • I'm Only Allowed To Give Away $10,000! - 30 Jan 2014

    Whether it is to reduce Aged Care Fees, or to increase Centrelink/DVA Pension payments, inevitably gifting will be considered. With a real lack of other asset minimisation strategies available now (since rule changes in the last decade relating to private companies, family trusts and annuities), gifting is one of a few that is occasionally considered (along with funeral bonds - perhaps a story for another day!). "I am only allowed to give away $10,000 per year" is a statement I hear regularly. It alludes to the Centrelink rule that exempts the first $10,000 per financial year gifted from the Assets Test (for both pension and Aged Care Fee purposes). The other limit that is placed on this is "Up to a maximum of $30,000 in a 5 year period". Centrelink websites and various others explain the ins and outs of the gifting rules, so I'm not going to restate them here. It is important to understand that you can give away however much you like. Your assets, built up over significant time, are yours to choose what you do with them. Often misinterpretation of the Centrelink rules result in people believing that they are "only allowed to give away $10,000 per year". This is not the case! You can give away as much as you like.... BUT You need to carefully consider the implications. Gifting is unlikely to significantly improve your Centrelink/DVA and Aged Care Fee situation. In some cases, it can make it worse. Gifts above the $10,000 limit are assessed by Centrelink/DVA as if you still hold those assets for 5 years. As an example, a gift of $100,000 to a family member in one lump sum will result in $90,000 continuing to be assessed as an asset for 5 years. Furthermore, the assessed gift amount (in the example, $90,000) is deemedto earn interest at the current applicable deeming rates. Keeping all of this in mind, there are a few important points to consider: The $10,000 gifting rule is only applicable where Centrelink, DVA or Aged Care Fees are involved. There is no such thing as a "Gift Tax" anymore, meaning that if a person does not have any reliance on Centrelink/DVA, then there is no limit to gifting. However, if gifting, please consider the impact on the recipient. If they rely on Centrelink payments, or have children who receive Austudy/Youth Allowance, there can be unintended consequences. Gifting non-income producing assets can worsen your financial position. The beach house/shack, or vacant block of land, may already have it's value being assessed by Centrelink/DVA for pension payments. However, if no income is derived from this asset, then Centrelink/DVA will be assessing no income. Remember that assessed gifts (above $10,000) are deemed to earn income, which may reduce pensions and/or increase Aged Care Fees! Transfering the title of your home can have a similar impact. Gifting may seem good in theory, but often even smaller gifts of $10,000 may only improve your income from Centrelink/DVA by a few hundred dollars per year, or reduce your Aged Care Fees by a few hundred dollars per year. Given overall cashflow is of paramount importance, is it really worth it? I certainly understand however,that there are non-financial benefits to making gifts. There are special rules if a person making a gift received a right to reside in the recipient's house in return for the gift. It is important to get advice if you are considering gifting as part of a Centrelink or DVAmaximisation/Aged Care Fee minimisation strategy. Gifting can make sense in some situations, but it is important to understand all of the consequences. With over 12 years working at Centrelink, and11 years as a Financial Planner, I can assist you with all of your enquiries. Please contact me on (08) 8333 2488. Scott Keeley

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  • Are you financially prepared for retirement? - 16 Jan 2014

    Transitioning from working life toretirement can be an exhausting and nerve racking time. With so many aspects to consider many people become overwhelmed and constantly struggle with that dreaded feeling of having forgotten something. As you get older your financial mind tends to shift from aspects of raising your family and enjoying your working life to preparing for your retirement. At Wakefield Partners we believe that in regards to your finances, the earlier you start preparing for your retirement, the better off you will be. Our life expectancies are increasing over time. We are living on average 7 years longer than we did in 1980 and this trend is rapidly increasing. The problem is that as we live for a longer period of time we also need to support ourselves for longer in retirement. This is compounded by the fact that, as a general trend, we are retiring earlier these days. It is up to each individual to plan sensibly so the chance of having sufficient assets to fund their lifestyle throughout retirement is maximised. The three main sources of income in retirement come from: Superannuation– in the form of a pension income stream and/or lump sum withdrawals Non Superannuation Assets– in the form of returns from personal investments CentrelinkAge Pension The capital required to provide the income from these sources (excluding Centrelink) will vary depending on how much you plan to spend in retirement, your age at retirement and how long you need the funds to last. The following table demonstrates various income levels and the estimated capital that would be required given the number of years spent in retirement. Income Required During Retirement (pa) 20 Years in Retirement 25 Years in Retirement 30 Years in Retirement $30,000 $420,000 $484,000 $536,000 $40,000 $560,000 $645,000 $715,000 $50,000 $700,000 $806,000 $894,000 $60,000 $840,000 $967,000 $1,073,000 $70,000 $980,000 $1,128,000 $1,251,000 Source: SPAA Annual Conference 2007. Assumptions: 7%pa return. 3%pa inflation, tax & fees not included. How long you continue to derive income from your saved capital will obviously depend on how much you spend each year. The chart below shows the capital outcome if an individual draws an income of $40,000 pa vs drawing an income of $60,000 pa, based on a starting capital amount of $700,000. Source: Wakefield Partners estimation. Assumptions: 4%pa return, tax & fees not included. As you can see the difference in how long capital lasts is quite significant. For this reason, careful planning for your retirement is crucial. At Wakefield Partners we specialise in assisting clients to financially prepare for survive retirement. We not only assist with the management of your Super and Non Super Investments but we can also help to ensure that you receive any possible Centrelink benefits available to you. Centrelinkis there to supplement other income if your financial position qualifies you for a full or part Age Pension payment. However, there should not be a heavy reliance on this as there are concerns about continued affordability of Government benefits. Lower birthrates and increasing life expectancies are resulting in the average age of the population above retirement age to increase. The implication of this is that it places increasing pressure on the Government to fund. You can see why being self-funded or largely self-funded in retirement is very important. The more you have saved in your super and non-super portfolios means a more comfortable standard of living in retirement - without relying on Government handouts. So how can you best plan to have sufficient assets to fund your lifestyle in retirement? The answer; Strategic Planning. Strategic planning is an integral part of retirement planning. It is the process of determining where you are now and where you would like to be during your retirement. It involves analysing your current situation and setting goals, then designing a strategy to achieve those goals. The process is relatively straight forward but needs to be conducted in a structured way. This is where an experienced planner can help. At Wakefield Partners we can help you detail your goals and document a clearly defined strategy to help you achieve them. We want you to tell us your objectives and priorities, it’s your life, and it’s your money. Our role is to purely advise you how you can achieve these goals, and help you implement recommendations that are appropriate for you. For retirement planning advice, we generally offer and introductory appointment free of charge. This appointment will generally take up to 1 hour and our adviser will then be able to provide an indication of what further action is recommended. The initial appointment is without obligation and provides potential clients with the opportunity to meet us and discuss their situation. If you would like to talk to one of our planners about developing a strategy please contact us via email or phone us on 08 8333 2488.

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  • Getting more out of your pension! - 04 Jul 2011

    Many people find their way to our website by searching using keywords such as ‘maximising age pension’ or ‘increasing centrelink payments’. In my face-to-face encounters or phone calls, getting the most out of government payments is regularly discussed. I thought l’d outline some of the strategies that are considered. While there are more, these are the most common ones. History Before discussing the few remaining strategies that can be used to increase government income support, let’s have a look at two strategies that were available previously, that I still get questions about today: Annuities – These income stream products were used regularly up until 20th September 2004. Until this time, any amount used to purchase a ‘complying annuity' (that is, one that met a range of criteria around investment terms and residual capital value) was exempt from the Assets Test. They were a regular part of many people’s retirement planning, although now with money invested fully assessable under the Assets Test and often inaccessible as a lump sum they are no longer any significant benefit for pension purposes. Family Trusts and Private Companies – From 1st January 2002 assets held in these entities came under the governments microscope. Prior to this, people who held their assets under trust or company structures often received greater pension entitlements as these assetsmay have beenexcluded from the Assets Test. The change in legislation in 2002 now sees people who hold assets in these entities often treated exactly the same as if they held the assets themselves. That is, there may be no significant advantage to having these structures in place for maximising government benefits. These rule changes in my view were entirely fair. Essentially people with the same amount of assets now receive the same amount of government support, regardless of how they have their assets structured. So What’s Left? Perhaps the simple answer is – not much. The above strategies could be implemented with many hundreds of thousands of dollars, making them very popular and very effective at improving government entitlements. The remaining strategies can be split into 2 categories: Strategies that everyone can consider; and Strategies that those meeting certain criteria can consider. The strategies that everyone can consider have negligible impact on the amount of pension payments you can receive, and as such, may not be worth the effort: Gifting – up to $10,000 can be given away per financial year, up to a maximum of $30,000 in a 5 year period. This $10,000 no longer counts as an asset. I have discussed the concept of gifting in a previous article (“I’m Only Allowed To Give Away $10,000!”). Funeral Planning – either up to $10,000 can be placed into a Funeral Bond or a pre-paid funeral plan can be purchased. These assets are exempt from the Assets and Income Tests. These can make sense for more reasons than just maximising pension entitlements. There are a couple of other strategies that could be considered by people in particular situations: Pensioners with younger spouses – Money invested in superannuation for those under Age Pension age is exempt from Centrelink/DVA assessment. Therefore, if you are of pension age, and your spouse isn’t yet, there may be benefit in transferring assets to their superannuation. Bear in mind, this will only be beneficial until the younger spouse turns Age Pension age, and probably requires planning before either of you turn Age Pension age. Income Stream Payments – People who have higher incomes that preclude them from pension entitlements may find that income from an Account-Based Pension is treated more favourably than deemed income on the same investments. Account – Based Pension payments include a capital component that is exempt from the Income Test. As you can see, this can be a complex area requiring financial advice. If you would like to increase your pension entitlement, or find yourself ‘just over the Asset or Income Test limits’, talk to us today for expert advice on your options. With over 12 years working at Centrelink, and 5 years as a Financial Planner, I can assist you with all of your enquiries. Please contact me on (08) 8333 2488. Scott Keeley

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