We understand that these are worrying times. As we all grapple with the COVID-19 situation unfolding, we wanted to let you know we are committed to helping our clients through what will likely be difficult and challenging times ahead.
At Optima we are well equipped to keep our business operating smoothly. We are working away from office but will attend to all your calls and correspondences as per usual.
Like your health, your financial wellbeing is a priority. As part of your COVID-19 Financial Continuity Plan here are some simple tips for you consider.
Cash - Preserve cash at all costs. You must immediately start building a cash “war chest” for you and your loved ones. Go though all your expenses and cancel what is not necessary eg gym membership as you can not access them right now.
Income Support for Individuals- Centrelink - The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories. These changes will apply for the next six months. (refer to the link below)
Household Stimulus Payment - Centrelink -As part of the COVID-19 stimulus package lower income Australians will receive a $750 payment between 12 March 2020 and 13 April 2020. . The payment will be made to all social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. This includes those on Newstart, those who have commonwealth senior’s health cards, and families receiving family tax benefits.
A 2nd payment of $750 will be made from 13 July 2020
Banks and Funding – You should contact your bank immediately to arrange for deferment of your mortgage repayments by up to 6 months. The same can be done for your investment property loans. If you have credit card debt, negotiate a remission of interest as well as deferral of repayment. The time to act is NOW, not in 2 weeks’ time when the banks will be overwhelmed by other bank loan applications and requests.
Mental Health – This could be one of the most stressful times ever for you and your family. We are here to listen to your financial concerns and guide you through this difficult time. Access mental health support organizations such as Beyond Blue, Headspace etc
Protection – Update and upgrade your Asset Protection IMMEDIATELY. It’s very important to review strategies to protect the equity in your family home and other assets in personal names. It’s also vital for you to have an up to date Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) and Will, and to know where the original signed copies of these are located.
Temporary Early Access to Super - The Government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments. (refer to link for full details or consult us)
Tax – if you have not lodged your 2019 tax return, get that done now. The refund you are entitled will be of much use right now. If you expect a tax bill then this is the best time to contact us or ATO directly to ask for remission of interest and penalties. ATO will help you in entering a favorable payment plan where no interest will be charged from 23 January,2020.