- GENERAL FAQs
What is the Equi MasterPlan about?
The short answer is, it’s a road map to what you want to achieve when you retire and how you can achieve it by investing in property and better leveraging your income and assets.
What do you think about us making a holiday house our first investment property?
We absolutely don’t recommend this as a course of action! It’s the worst idea ever – unless you are on track to make a surplus $200K income per year continuously after your holiday house repayments are subtracted. Come in and have a coffee with us to find out why.
How have you done it? How can you afford so many?
A careful combination of capital growth prospect forecasting and cash flow planning with a cautious buffer for provisioning is the only answer. Each property has been considered based on affordability, ongoing management and maintenance cost, gross rental income now (and future) and capital growth prospects. The property which we buy now is deliberately intended not to adversely impact the borrowing capacity for the next one… and so on.
How do investors deal with all the tenant issues like they show on Today Tonight?
They interview their property managers like any other employee who they would entrust with the running of a business. It’s always a shame to see an investor meticulously select and buy a property, only to hand it over to the first managing agent who comes along. Investors should realise that they have a going concern when they buy a property. It’s akin to running a business with poor financials and a bad accountant if it’s left to chance.
Shouldn't we pay down our home first before going into more debt?
What you should do first and foremost is talk to an experienced and accredited finance specialist about this option. It’s true what they say about good debt and bad debt but it’s vital to get the right information and to make sure your specific situation is taken into account. Talk to one of our investment mortgage specialists about your own situation.
I would love a new car. Should I do that first and then think about investing?
NO! Talk to us first. Would you rather have an upgraded depreciating asset if you knew it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost opportunity?
What do you think of off the plan as investment property?
We will consider all assets on their merits, taking into account your motivation for considering them and more importantly the impact on your cash flow and your future wealth. Whilst we are not against clients purchasing off the plan, we ramp up our due diligence process to help create the best outcome for each client and their particular set of circumstances.
How do you justify the MasterPlan’s price?
Property is a high value transaction and to make a mistake in this investment type can mean tens of thousands of dollars lost, be it in terms of actual loss realised, capital growth missed out on or even opportunity cost. Furthermore, this can often mean irreversible damage to one’s household. So often people build up their property portfolio only to find out later on in life that they are equity rich but cash poor and therefore unable to realise their goals and dreams.
At Equi Wealth, we have seen these portfolios and have fixed them on behalf of our clients. Imagine how much better off they would be if only they had got their portfolio strategy right in the first place! Our MasterPlan aims to do that. It involves hours of calculations and several meetings to ensure we understand your current situation, your cash flow position, your assets and liabilities and most importantly, your aspirations. We aim to make sure you start your investment journey on the right foot and remain on track in achieving a passive income for you and your loved ones. Taking into account all of the above, we believe our MasterPlan is good value for money.
What if I'm not in Melbourne?
Our office is at Southbank, Victoria, but we also deal with clients across Australia, and we even have a few international clients too! If you are not able to come to our office, meetings can be conducted via phone Skype, so that would not be a problem.
What services does Equi Wealth offer?
Although we are mainly a property-centric firm, we offer a range of services. Apart from Property Investment Advice, MasterPlans, Mortgage Broking Services, Buyers Agent Services and we also offer Financial Planning services that cover review of Superannuation, Self Managed Super Funds, investment in shares and bonds, insurances and more.
We don’t provide is tax advice or property management services. We do however have a panel of recommendations for these services. For more information on our Services, please visit Our Services page.
Is the initial consultation free?
Yes! The initial consultation is free of charge, with no obligation to use any of our services. Simply click here to fill in the form and select a date and time that suits you.
How much do your services cost?
We get asked this a lot, and we always aim to be very transparent with our fees. Some of our services are free, while others do have a fee. Our Mortgage Broking services do not cost the client anything as we are paid commission by the Banks. Our Property Investment Advice, Financial Planning and Buyers Agent Services are all fee for service.
Like everyone else, we are not a fan of unexpected surprises, so prior to engagement, we will quote you the full amount including GST. The total amount of fees can vary depending on what you are looking for and we would need to talk to you further to tailor the services to your needs. A minimum deposit would usually be charged but the full amount will be charged when the service is fully completed and you are satisfied with the outcome.
Why do I need to fill in the Financial Fact Find?
At Equi Wealth, we follow a 5-step process to make sure we deliver the best possible advice and service to our clients. The first step in the Equi Wealth journey is to clarify and assess your current situation. We achieve this by asking our clients to fill in a Financial Fact Find. It asks questions such as your current assets and liabilities, incomes, expenses and future plans. The reason we need your Fact Find is to ensure that we understand what you want to achieve and we can plan how we can best help you.
If you are interested to understand more about why we ask you to fill in the Financial Fact Find, please click here to watch an explanation video.
How thorough is the initial consultation
The initial consultation is one to one-and-a-half hours long, and how thorough it is depends to some degree on how prepared you are. Prior to the initial consultation, we will require a completed Fact Find from you.
It usually takes between 30 to 45 minutes to complete the Fact Find, and the more information you provide us with, the more we can prepare and customise the consultation according to your unique and specific needs.
Does Equi Wealth provide tax advice?
Equi Wealth is not a licensed Tax consultant and hence, we do not provide any tax advice. Our Financial Planning team is often asked about ways to reduce tax and although that is one consideration of the service, it is important to remember that tax is a by-product of financial success. Planning and utilising appropriate structures can certainly help minimise taxes over the investment cycle, however it should never be the principal driver behind investment decisions.
How can I effectively invest my surplus income?
A surplus of income or cash flow is the fundamental springboard from which a sound wealth creation strategy can be created. The surplus income should be directed into investments that will meet your financial objectives, provide you with flexibility and control, and are appropriate to the amount of risk you are prepared to take.
Why do I need a MasterPlan?
A financial journey is no different from any other journey – if you don’t have a MasterPlan that tells you where you are going and how you are going to get there, it’s very unlikely that you’ll end up where you want to be. Life isn’t about money, but there’s a good chance that the lifestyle you would like to enjoy will cost money along the way. Having a MasterPlan, which helps you ensure that the money will be there when you need it is a critical factor in achieving the lifestyle you want.
How can I start with property investment?
The best way to start with property investment is to establish a plan. Think about your current situation and cashflow. How much are you spending and how much are you saving? Once you’ve got an understanding of your cashflow, move on to your future plans. Do you want to start a family? Are you changing jobs? When do you want to go for a world tour? All these may seem a bit far-fetched at the moment but as soon as you’ve got an idea on what you want to do in the future, you might think otherwise.
Once you get all of these sorted, then you can start building your MasterPlan. There are two things you need to do when you are starting the plan. The first is to conduct thorough research. Get as much material as you can to increase your knowledge on what to expect. What kind of property yields a higher return? Which strategy suits your cashflow position? Should you get a house or a unit? By gaining a deeper understanding you will be able to anticipate any curve balls that may come your way during the process. The second step is to get professional assistance.
- MORTGAGE BROKING FAQs
How do mortgage brokers get paid?
Mortgage brokers get paid an upfront commission by the bank as a one-off payment for researching and sourcing the loan. The upfront commission is a pre-determined percentage of the loan amount and each bank will pay slightly differently. The broker is also paid a trail commission. This is an ongoing percentage of the remaining balance of the loan (less any amount in an offset account).
Why would I use a broker for my investment property?
A broker will have access to a number of different banks. They will be able to do all the research and running around to obtain the best deal for you and a loan that adequately services your needs. The broker will deal with the bank on your behalf of saving you both time and money.
Should I choose variable or fixed interest rates?
This will depend on individual circumstances. If you want certainty of repayment then a fixed rate is a good option as you will be able to lock your repayments at a certain rate for a certain time frame. This can give you comfort in knowing what the commitment will be and can be good in a rising interest rate market. Fixed rates are generally an inflexible product and will have restrictions on things like extra repayments on a home loan, ability to redraw or have an offset account against the loan.
Variable rates will move with the fluctuations of the interest rate market, but you tend to have greater flexibility with these products, as well as the ability to have an offset account, make unlimited extra repayments and then redraw those extra repayments.
Is the broker willing to disclose how they get paid?
The broker is required to disclose the amount they are being paid for arranging your loan.
Does your bank/broker have property investing experience?
If the broker is an investor, they will have a better understanding of the structure that may suit you and your future plans. They will also know which banks have the best products and policies for certain situations and have an understanding of the different borrowing capacities with the different lenders and how to use this to your advantage.
Is the product with the cheapest interest rate the best one?
Not necessarily. The first consideration should be how appropriate each product is for your situation now as well as in the future. Flexibility of the product to change with your changing circumstances needs to be taken into consideration. The upfront, ongoing and discharge fees also need to be considered. This type of assessment will be more useful for your current position as well as the future.
How can I afford to keep my current property and purchase another?
This all comes down to cash flow and having an understanding of the events that will have an effect on cash flow into the future.
What is the best interest rate?
It can almost be impossible to pick the best interest rate as they can be a continually moving object. Depending on the state of the market will depend on how the banks position themselves and the interest rate decisions.
What is the best interest rate I can borrow money at?
Loans come in all shapes and sizes, with different costs and different features. Choosing a loan on the basis of the interest rate alone means passing up the opportunity to consider all the other aspects of a loan product, which may be important to your ability to use the loan, not just for the immediate purchase, but as a tool to assist with your long term wealth building strategy. When looked at from the broader perspective, interest rate becomes far less important when compared to other features and benefits, and how they contribute to helping you to manage your money and achieve your goals.
How much does it cost to use a broker?
There should be no cost to the borrower to use mortgage brokers services as the bank pays them. We often state that the broker’s time is not free, it is just that the clients does not have to pay for it. A good broker should always disclose the commission that they are going to be paid.
What are the hidden fees and charges?
A good broker should be able to detail all the fees that relate to the loan contract. These will range from the set up fees from the bank and the government, to ongoing fees and the then the discharge fees that the associated with leaving the loan.
Why would I use a broker over the bank?
A broker will have access to a number of different banks. They will be able to do all the research and legwork to obtain the best deal for the client and a home loan that adequately services the client’s needs. The broker will deal with the bank on behalf of the customer saving them both time and money.
How much can I borrow?
Borrowing capacity is determined by a number of different aspects. The bank will take into consideration the amount of income that is coming into the borrowers household and then weigh that up against the financial commitments that the client has. Borrowing capacity will be affected by such things as number of dependents, the amount of existing debt or access to existing credit limits.
- FINANCIAL PLANNING FAQs
Will I have enough?
This is one of the most common questions our new clients ask. This question, however, is usually met with another question; how much do you plan to spend on lifestyle and other items in retirement? It is always important to start the planning process with the end or goal in mind.
How much is this going to cost me?
Financial planning may and often does encompass a myriad of tasks and activities; some simple and some more complex. As a fee for service financial planning practice, our fees are tailored to the work required.
When is it a good time to buy shares?
Whilst timing can certainly add to the overall performance of your investment portfolio it can also detract from the performance. It is more important to determine how shares can add value to your current portfolio of investments.
How do I reduce my taxes?
Tax is a by-product of financial success. Planning and utilising appropriate structures can certainly help minimise taxes over the investment cycle, however tax reduction should never be the principal driver behind investment decisions.
Why do I need insurance?
When embarking on a wealth creation journey it is often easier and certainly more exciting to focus on the great things that can happen further down the track and the assets we have acquired to get us there. Personal risk management and insurances, on the other hand, are often neglected as it is difficult to consider that we, as an integral part of the wealth creation process, can un-fortuitously suffer from illness and accidents that can very well hamper our plans.
How much insurance do I need?
We can never predict what and how misfortune may befall on us. Therefore, it is important that the amount of insurance serves to reduce the risk of us going backwards and/or allows us to continue with our plans.
How can I manage the cost of insurance?
Insurance should serve as the defensive mechanism of any wealth creation strategy. However, the cost of it should not hinder our ability to create wealth. Structuring the insurance appropriately and conducting an appropriate assessment of risk can help manage the cost of insurance.
How can I effectively invest my surplus income?
A surplus of income or cash flow is the fundamental springboard from which a sound wealth creation strategy can be created. The surplus income should be directed into investments that will meet your financial objectives; providing you with flexibility, control and are appropriate given your risk profile.
Why should I have a financial plan?
The planning process starts with an assessment of your current situation, objectives and your risks. The result of which is the setting in place of the appropriate processes and structures that provide flexibility, manage risks, and ultimately put you on the path to reaching your objectives.
Is there any flexibility on how I can pay for advice?
As a fee for service business, we offer our clients a number of ways to pay for advice.
How much experience does your advisor have?
At different stages of your life and circumstances, as well as investment markets, change is inevitable and hence, it is important to have a financial planner that understands the potential impact of the changes, either through experience or education or both. While it can be difficult to determine the level of experience your advisor may have, looking out for the right accreditation and professional membership such as the Financial Planning Association is a good start.
- SMSF FAQs
Should I rollover my superannuation?
The decision to rollover or move your superannuation money from one fund to the next should be taken in the same light as looking to upgrade or purchase a new car. It is important to understand what is under the bonnet and to determine whether it is still appropriate.
How much is this going to cost me?
Financial planning may and generally does encompass a myriad of tasks and activities; some simple and some more complex. As a fee for service financial planning practice, our fees are tailored to the work required.
How do I get higher returns?
The return on any investment is inextricably linked to the risk associated with the investments; as the saying goes ‘the higher the risk, the higher the return’. It is important to assess how much risk you are prepared to take in order to achieve the higher return and, just as important, if it is necessary to take those risks in the first place.
Can I start an SMSF?
The decision to start an SMSF fundamentally involves a trade-off between the cost of running the fund, both financial and time costs, and the benefits that it return be it flexibility or control.
Why should I put money into superannuation?
Superannuation is simply one of many ways to invest or create wealth for your future, and like any other investment options it does have its pros and cons. Investing through the superannuation system will offer tax effective benefits but there are restrictions on accessing the funds. The decision to invest in super should be made in conjunction with an assessment of your overall lifestyle plans.
Why should I have a financial plan?
The planning process starts with an assessment of your objectives and your risks. The result of which is setting in place of the appropriate structures that provide flexibility, manages risks, and ultimately puts you on the path to reaching your objectives.
How can I use super most effectively?
Superannuation is simply an investment vehicle. Utilising superannuation effectively to hold the right types of assets can certainly provide you with a more efficient and tax effective way of holding your investments.
How much experience does your advisor have?
At different stages of your life and circumstances, as well as investment markets, change is inevitable and hence, it is important to have an advisor that understands the potential impact of the changes, either through experience or education or both. While it can be difficult to determine the level of experience your advisor may have, looking out for the right accreditation and professional membership such as the Financial Planning Association is a good start.
- PERSONAL BUDGETING FAQs
How much does advice cost?
There are many areas in life where people recognise the value of specialist professional advisors, such as doctors or lawyers, but for some reason most people seem reluctant to seek the assistance of a specialist advisor when it comes to managing their money. A specialist advisor is going to be able to provide guidance, strategies and tactics to help you manage your money better and achieve a better financial outcome.
Most businesses recognise the true value of professional advice and will happily pay a specialist to assist with planning and management of their finances. When you consider that over the course of twenty or thirty years most Australian households will have a turnover of multiple millions of dollars, it makes sense to think of your household as a business and give the management of household finances the attention it deserves.
How can I pay my loan back as soon as possible?
Loans, particularly mortgages, are an important source of money in our lives. They enable us to purchase things that we would not be able to afford if we had to rely on the cash we had saved up. However, they come at a cost and the major cost is the Interest charged by the lender. Most people think that paying off a Loan as quickly as possible is the best way to reduce the amount of Interest they need to pay, but there are other ways and there may be many benefits of using sophisticated account structuring, in addition to minimising the amount of interest charged. Use of a good account structure and money management strategies will not only minimise interest, but can also provide greater flexibility and control over the use of your money, allowing you to achieve a better outcome in the long run.
How much property can I afford?
If Investment Property is going to be a part of your approach to wealth building, it is vital that it meets the objectives of your long-term strategy. It is unlikely that your goal will be expressed in terms of the number of properties required; it is far more important to consider the value of the assets, the rate at which they are growing in value and the passive income they are delivering to fund your desired lifestyle, rather than simply how many properties you have. Unfortunately, relatively few people who start out to build wealth through investment in property will have taken the time to formulate a Goal and a Plan, and this can result in people buying too many of the wrong properties, rather than a portfolio designed and structured to meet their financial and lifestyle goals.
How can I make more money?
A good account structure and effective money management strategies will enable you to put your money to work from the day you receive it until the day you spend it (or even longer). The most effective thing that your money can be doing in the short term is reducing the amount of interest that you are paying on borrowed money, so that will be the first place to start. Once you have sufficient surplus cash to be able to make a greater return, that the interest being saved, it is time to start implementing your investment strategy to build wealth and meet your financial goals.
When do I need to get started?
Most wealth building strategies are going to be based on the idea of compound growth - investing in assets which will grow in value over time. There will be two factors that directly control the end result - the rate at which the asset grows in value, which will be determined by the nature and choice of the asset, and the amount of time it is held, which will be determined solely by how soon you get started. So getting started as soon as possible will lead to the best outcome, provided you have first taken the time to determine your goals and your strategy to ensure that the choice of assets is the most suitable for your Plan.
Will I have enough money in retirement?
Understanding the level of Income that will be needed to provide the lifestyle you desire is the first step towards financial freedom. Working out what type and amount of investment assets will be needed to generate this income stream then forms the basis for a wealth building strategy to deliver the investment assets which in turn deliver the passive income stream.
Will my Superannuation be enough?
It is widely acknowledged that the amount of money currently being contributed to superannuation under the Superannuation Guarantee Scheme falls well short of that required to provide the wealth base that will be needed to provide the future income that most people will want or need, which is why the contribution rate is to be increased from 9% to 12%. However, even with the benefit of 12% superannuation contributions for your entire working life, the resulting superannuation balance is still likely to fall short of the level required.
Developing a goal for your desired lifestyle will quickly let you assess whether your superannuation is going to meet your target, or whether you will need to take other action to build a wealth base large enough to provide the level of passive income required to pay for your desired lifestyle in Retirement.
Where does all my money go?
One of the keys to success of any Plan is to measure your progress. Having a simple but effective way to see how you are going on your wealth-building journey is essential. Use of a good account structure and money management strategies will enable you to see whether you are on track, and enable you to take early corrective action if things aren’t going to plan.
If you would like to speak to someone or get direction on how you can get started with your wealth creation journey, we offer a free 60 minute consultation called a Discovery Session with our experienced, independent and most importantly, qualified advisors. Simply click here to fill in the form and select a date and time that suits you.