Monthly Archives: August 2019

Social pics: Out and about in Newcastle

Social pics: Out and about in Newcastle Miss Surfest Final Heat, Belmont Sporties, February 12: Emilie Mayo of Maitland and Jarred Reardon of Warners Picture: Dean Osland
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Miss Surfest Final Heat, Belmont Sporties, February 12: Nicole Cassel of West Wallsend and Jacinta Lawrence of Maitland. Picture: Dean Osland

Miss Surfest Final Heat, Belmont Sporties, February 12: Shantell Chapman of Belmont, Kirstie Michalak of Hamilton and Jacci Allanson of The Hill. Picture: Dean Osland

Miss Surfest Final Heat, Belmont Sporties, February 12: Chloe Johnson of Tingira Hts, Erin Pinkerton of Edgeworth and Bryce Tamsett of Merewether Heights. Picture: Dean Osland

Miss Surfest Final Heat, Belmont Sporties, February 12: Storm Crowe of Newcastle and Jennifer Hunt Miss Heritage Australia. Picture: Dean Osland

Miss Surfest Final Heat, Belmont Sporties, February 12: Jasmine Coombs of Wyoming, Jessica McIlveen of Port Macquarie and Kayla Steele of Caves Beach. Picture: Dean Osland

Miss Surfest Final Heat, Belmont Sporties, February 12: Monique Sisley of Warners Bay and Hazel August of Charlestown. Picture: Dean Osland

Absinthe by Spiegelworld, Wheeler Place, Newcastle: Anne and Ron Walkom both of Wickham. Picture: Simone De Peak

Absinthe by Spiegelworld, Wheeler Place, Newcastle: Lauren MacDonald of Killingworth and Anne Nichols of North Lambton. Picture: Simone De Peak

Absinthe by Spiegelworld, Wheeler Place, Newcastle: Arron Masters of Mount Hutton and Murray Kranz of Kahibah. Picture: Simone De Peak

Absinthe by Spiegelworld, Wheeler Place, Newcastle: Shandele Pascoe and Diane Pascoe both of Medowie. Picture: Simone De Peak

Absinthe by Spiegelworld, Wheeler Place, Newcastle: Brock Harvison and Eliza Jupp both of Maryland. Picture: Simone De Peak

Absinthe by Spiegelworld, Wheeler Place, Newcastle: Harry Gelzinnis of Waratah and Emma Stephenson of Adamstown. Picture: Simone De Peak

Absinthe by Spiegelworld, Wheeler Place, Newcastle: Milla and Peter Sneesby both of Elermore Vale. Picture: Simone De Peak

Absinthe by Spiegelworld, Wheeler Place, Newcastle: Brenda Hall and Lacey Hall both of Medowie. Picture: Simone De Peak

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Electricity companies rorting the system, inquiry told

The network portion of the power bill for Victoria’s household is about a quarter of the bill compared to half in other states, Gerard Brody, the chief executive of the Consumer Action Law Centre told a Senate Inquiry Wednesday.Victoria’s electricity network operators such as Ausnet and Jemena may be more efficient than their interstate counterparts and the network portion of household bills have not increased as much, but this has not stopped the companies from attempting to rort the system, a government inquiry has heard.
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The network portion of the power bill for Victoria’s household is about a quarter of the bill compared to half in other states, Gerard Brody, the chief executive of the Consumer Action Law Centre told a Senate Inquiry Wednesday.

“However, this has not stopped the networks using the regulatory system to obtain returns” that are higher than would be the case otherwise, he said, pointing to the regulator’s decision to force customers to pay “excess expenditure” relating to the roll-out of smart meters to the tune of $111 million.

“This means that the cost of the rollout was this much higher than initially budgeted for, but consumers still pay the difference,” he said.

“As for-profit privately-run businesses, it is natural for these businesses to seek to maximise returns. The point is whether the regulatory regime is sufficient.

“It has been estimated that appeals of [Australian Energy Regulator] determinations of revenue allowances has resulted in $3 billion additional being paid for by consumers,” he said.

The success of these appeals indicated it was poor rules that enabled businesses to recover so much money

The Consumer Advocacy Centre has also thrown its weight behind allowing network companies to write down the value of assets which are no longer needed as demand for electricity supplied through the network deciness and consumers switch to new energy sources, such as solar panels, which may not need to utilise the power network.

“This will mean that those [who continue to use the networks] are not unduly burdened by continuing to bear the costs of sustaining the full network,” Mr Brody said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Posts keep shifting on retirement savings goals

A COMMON question asked by new financial planning clients is, “How much money do I need to retire on?” The best answer to that is, “How accurate do you want me to be?”
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One of our human foibles is that we see certainty where there is none. We see financial forecasts such as federal budgets or GDP predictions as robust, when they’re more like educated guesses.

Retirement saving is often like the federal budget. We target a reasonable number and hope it works out. ASIC’s MoneySmart website says that for a “comfortable” retirement, a couple will require a $744,000 super balance and that will produce $57,000 of annual income. It’s a reasonable forecast, but it’s a long way from certain that it will be enough for you.

Firstly, “comfortable” is a matter of perspective. Personal factors like health, the ability to continue or resume working and likely inheritances will also have a big impact on how much income you’ll need.

Next there’s longevity. Retirement planning is often done on the basis of life expectancy but that has been increasing and many people will live much longer than this.

Even if you budget for living until your late 90s (most don’t), there’s a chance your planning won’t work out. You’re more likely to live past the century mark than to die in a car accident, and it’s roughly 200,000 times more likely than being killed by a shark.

Finally, you need to work out how much risk you’re willing to take with your retirement planning. Actuarial firm Accurium says if you want to retire at 65 and live off $70,000 a year, with a 95 per cent chance of it working out, you’ll need $1.6 million – more than double what ASIC says you’ll need.

Many retirement plans prepared by financial advisers would come with a similar likelihood of success.

These retirement plans aren’t wrong. Just don’t assume the forecasts are cast in stone. Poor investment returns, living longer than expected, needing to spend more than anticipated or further cuts to the age pension could compromise these plans.

If you’re uncomfortable with this risk, what should you do about it? Unfortunately, there’s no good solution. Lifetime annuities are limited in their availability and pay meagre interest rates. But investing heavily in shares or other growth assets in retirement increases your exposure to volatility instead. The only good solution is to save more in the first place. But brace yourself for the difference this makes.

ASIC’s MoneySmart provides a handy retirement planning calculator that allows you to change the default forecasts. Changing a couple’s life expectancy from 90 to 100, for instance, increases the required savings for a “comfortable lifestyle” to $1.25 million. To also get your forecast income to $70,000, to provide a margin for error on the spending side, you’ll need more than $2 million.

Reducing spending, increasing super contributions, shifting away from high-cost investment strategies and extending your retirement date can make a huge difference to your retirement savings. Retiring a few years later than planned, for instance, could add about 20-40 per cent to your retirement savings and substantially reduce the risk of them running out.

I don’t mean to be a party pooper. But your retirement plans should be based on a solid understanding of whether you’ve got “more than enough” or “barely enough”. Don’t make the mistake of assuming certainty where there is none.

Richard Livingston is a founder of Eviser.

NOEL WHITTAKER: Time to face tough choices

IT’S been a hectic time in politics over the past fortnight, with one message emerging loud and clear: most voters are not prepared to accept the tough medicine that is needed to get the country’s finances back on track.
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It’s hyperbolic discounting at work. The longer the period between the remedy and the outcome, the less likely it is that people will accept tough choices today that will have beneficial effects in the future. But the longer we put off making the changes, the harder it’s going to be when drastic action is forced upon us.

Today, let’s look in detail at three major influences at work; it will give you an idea of the massive problems facing any party in power.

The first is increasing life expectancies. Today, there are 3.45 million Australians aged 65 and over. This is 14.7 per cent of our current population of 23.5 million. By 2034 – just 19 years away – the number is expected to be 6.1 million, which is almost 20 per cent of the projected population of 31.6 million.

The thought of one in five Australians being aged 65 or over is scary enough, but it gets even worse when you consider these projections did not take into account the medical breakthroughs that are certain to happen in the next 20 years.

In a situation where debt has become the norm, and deficits are forecast for years ahead, how is a government going to find the funds to provide the health services and age pension to deal with all those ageing people?

Our current income tax system is unsustainable. The 65s and over are our fastest growing group, yet 87 per cent of them pay no income tax at all. This is due to a combination of concessions. The Seniors and Pensioners Tax Offset (SAPTO) enables a couple to earn $28,974 each per annum without paying tax, while anybody over 60 can hold their superannuation in a tax-free fund while drawing a tax free income from it.

Raising the taxes on super without cutting back SAPTO won’t work because retirees with less than a million dollars in super would simply exit the system and continue to enjoy a tax-free existence. The only realistic option available is to widen the GST so there are no exemptions.

Most senior citizens expect at least a part age pension. Currently, increases are linked to average weekly earnings, but the Coalition is trying to stem the rate the pension goes up. They have proposed the rate of increase be linked to cost of living from September 2017.

Let’s assume increases in average weekly earnings are 4 per cent, inflation is 2.5 per cent, and the couple’s full pension now is $30,000 a year. If it remains linked to earnings, the pension would rise to $45,000 a year in 10 years and $67,000 a year in 20 years. By linking it to the CPI, it becomes $38,000 a year in 10 years and $49,000 in 20.

Surely it is a no-brainer to reduce the increase in the age pension so that it keeps pace with the cost of living?

Unfortunately, due to the adversarial nature of politics, the opposition is running a scare campaign claiming that age pensions are being reduced – yet all the Coalition is trying to do is slow down the rate of growth.

Put all this together and you have an ageing population, all who vote, who will be a growing drain on government finances at the same time as the government is shackled by a tax system which cannot cope. Eventually, something’s got to give.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple andnumerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature and readers shouldseek their own prefessional advice before making any decisions. Email [email protected]南京夜网.

Great-grandmother Jean Harrison killed in suspected hit-and-run

Great-grandmother Jean Harrison had a special knack for seeing kindness in the hearts of all those she encountered, her family says.
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That special trait has made it even more difficult for them to fathom just how a motorist could have struck her as she walked along a street in Miller in Sydney’s west on Tuesday before driving away, leaving her lying on the road with a fractured skull, neck and pelvis.

Mrs Harrison, 83, who had more than 20 grandchildren and just as many great-grandchildren, was taken to Liverpool Hospital where she was admitted to the intensive care unit.

She was surrounded by family when she died from her injuries early on Wednesday.

“Everyone says their grandmother is such a sweet lady but, honestly, Nan never had anything bad to say about anyone,” her grandson Daniel Webster said.

“Even in the worst person, she’d always see some kindness in their hearts. She was such a gentle, compassionate lady. It makes it so much harder that something this tragic could happen to her.”

At the weekend, Mrs Harrison’s family had gathered to cut a cake for her 83rd birthday. She had taken great joy in cradling her youngest great-granddaughter, Xanthe, who is nine weeks old.

Mrs Harrison had lived in the same house in Miller for more than 50 years, after migrating to Australia from England. Her husband died about 15 years ago, but she did not want to move away from the only home she had known in Australia and where her family had grown up, Mr Webster said.

One of Mrs Harrison’s rituals was to wander down to the local shops, where she would sometimes have a coffee and pick up some food.

“Every day, she would go down to the shop. It was her thing to do, and people would stop and chat to her, and she would talk about her grandkids, about how much she loved her family. It was really everything to her,” Mr Webster said.

Mrs Harrison was believed to have been making her regular trip to the shops when she was found lying in the middle of Shropshire Street, near the intersection of Dorset Place, in Miller, about 11.45am on Tuesday.

Police and paramedics came to her aid, but she was unable to tell them how she had been injured. Detectives say initial investigations suggest that she had been struck by a vehicle.

Mr Webster said that, if a hit-and-run driver was responsible for his grandmother’s death, he hoped the driver understood the consequences of his or her actions.

“I hope they have some sort of conscience to be able to come forward. It’s not going to change the fact that we’ve lost her now, but if they have any sort of heart, it’s better for them and better for everyone to come forward,” he said.

“The police should catch them sooner or later, and it would give some sort of solace to our family to know that someone that could do this could come forward.”

At the time she was found, Mrs Harrison was wearing a cream short-sleeved top and a brown floral skirt and was carrying a dark shoulder bag.

Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen Mrs Harrison before she was found on the road, or who has any information about the incident, to call Green Valley police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.