Bridges Thornton expansion: new team members

We’ve recently expanded our team to include two new members, each of whom come equipped with a passion for the industry and will be heading the team’s newest location. The new appointments, David Williams and Logan Humphries, have hit the ground running at our Thornton office, being onboarded just months before the end of financial year.

Expanding the business in 2020

Our Branch Manager, Daniel Irving, said David and Logan joined the group at just the right time, and their wealth of knowledge will provide substantial benefits to the new team and clients at Thornton.

“We are excited to have the new additions join our team, and they’ve impressed us all with how well they’ve adapted during such a busy period – not to mention the fact that they’ve handled lockdown and remote working all while still finding their footing in the team,” Daniel said.

“It’s been amazing to see how they’ve caught every curveball 2020 has thrown and we look forward to seeing them excel further in our division.”

About David

David, who has filled the role of Team Leader – Paraplanning, has been with the Bridges family for over a decade, but was particularly drawn to the Lake Macquarie team. He was previously a Senior Adviser at the Newcastle branch in Honeysuckle, before then moving on to manage the Upper Hunter office.

Having worked for Bridges for over twenty years, David believes the Lake Macquarie branch stands out in terms of service and client focus. It was this focus on team values, innovative collaboration, technical knowledge, and advice that has propelled David to take up this new role.

“Bridges Lake Macquarie is one of those businesses that fit right in with the friendly spirit of the Hunter – the team is passionate about building lasting connections with their clients, and they use their rapport to continue offering professional, personalised financial advice,” he said.

About Logan

Logan says he too was impressed with the way his new team collaborate and support each other and their clients.

“I think I’d only worked with my new team for a few days before we went into lockdown, but the switch was a breeze thanks to the encouragement I received. Any questions I had, the team were there to help me along,” Logan said.

Logan joined the Bridges family fresh out of high school, ahead of his enrolment at the University of Newcastle. His knack for hard work, leadership, academic success, and respect among peers was what caught Daniel’s eye.

“We were looking for a highly motivated school leaver who had an aptitude for financial services. Logan checked every box, and he even showed an interest in the community through regular public speaking, which is important to our team,” Daniel explained.

David and Logan in Thornton

Both David and Logan are keen to make their mark on the new Thornton office, with collaboration and support at the forefront of their operations. Daniel says the pair were chosen strategically, and that the team needed a mix of experienced seniors and younger innovative individuals to achieve success.

“I know the next few years will involve significant amounts of changes and re-engineering of processes across the practice as we embrace much more technology and automation,” he said

“David has the experience to teach Logan, and Logan’s adaptability will help them moving forward.”

David and Logan will continue to work closely with the Bridges Lake Macquarie team to provide a high level of technical advice and service to the firm’s clients.

Outside of work

But it isn’t all work and no play for the new team members. Both proud to reside with their loved ones in the Hunter, David and Logan say family means a lot to them.

Outside of work, Logan enjoys visiting the beach, listening to music, and hanging out with friends and family. Meanwhile David likes spending time with his daughters, listening to music from the 80’s and has a strong interest for motor cars.

 

David and Logan have already proven themselves to be a great fit for Bridges Lake Macquarie, we’re excited to see where their new positions take them. Click here to book an appointment with our team.

Five tips to survive a decline in income

Since precautionary measures were heightened to slow the spread of COVID-19, almost one million Australians have lost their jobs. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia lost 7.5 per cent of its jobs between 14 March and 18 April. If you’re one of the many Australians who has lost their job, it’s understandable that you may be feeling stressed about managing your finances.

 

Put together a new budget

The first thing you need to do if your income has fallen is put together a new budget. With a reduction in your income, you’ll likely be looking to reduce your fixed and discretionary expenses. Put together a budget that includes your essential expenses such as your mortgage or rent payments, bills, and groceries. This is also a good time to assess which expenses you can do without until your income rises again.

 

Set up payment plans

Losing your source of income can be stressful, especially when you have ongoing payments to meet. If you’ve put together your new budget and you’re not sure if you’ll be able to meet your regular payments, speak to your mortgage lender and other providers about setting up a payment plan. The important thing is that you do this proactively and keep communication open as having these conversations now will put you in a much better place to negotiate.

 

See what support you may be entitled to

The government has announced a range of support packages available to people who have lost their source of income or have had their income significantly reduced. Check which support you may be eligible to receive and organise all of the details you need to apply. Full details about the Federal Government’s measures to support individuals and businesses are available on the Treasury website.

If you’ve lost your income due to illness or injury and you have income protection insurance, check what claims you are eligible to make and what payments may be available to you.

 

Identify potential savings

When you put together your new budget, you probably identified expenses you could do without such as gym memberships and other discretionary expenses. To identify further savings, check if you can switch to cheaper providers for your utilities such as electricity, gas and internet and consider winding back your mortgage payments if you have been paying extra.

 

Seek advice from financial professionals

In stressful times, it can be hard to look beyond the current period of financial stress. However, this is also an opportune time to reset your financial plan for the future. Take this opportunity to speak with your financial professionals, including your mortgage lender or broker, accountant, and a financial adviser to manage your finances now and into the future effectively.

 

Moving forward

At a stressful time for people, it’s important that you don’t feel like you need to weather financial challenges alone. Taking the time to see what support may be available through the government’s support packages is a good place to start. And to set up a financial plan for the future that also addresses your current financial challenges, make sure you speak to a qualified financial professional for tailored advice.

What to consider when withdrawing your super early

As the COVID-19 virus took a sledgehammer to the economy, the federal government rapidly introduced a range of initiatives to help individuals who lost income as a result of the measures taken to control the virus.

One of those initiatives was to allow qualifying individuals access to a portion of their superannuation to help them meet their living costs. Withdrawals are tax free and don’t need to be included in tax returns. Most people can withdraw up to $10,000 in the 2019/2020 financial year and up to a further $10,000 in the 2020/2021 financial year.

For many people this early access to super will prove to be a financial lifesaver, but for others the short-term gain may lead to a significant dip in wealth at retirement. And the younger you are, the greater that impact on retirement is likely to be.

Alexander provides an example that many people will be able to relate to. He’s a 30-year-old hospitality worker, and due to the casual nature of his recent employment he is not eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy. He is eligible to apply for early release of his super under the COVID-19 provisions, however before going down this route he wants an idea of what the withdrawal will mean to his long-term situation.

Taking the max

Much depends, of course, on the future performance of his superannuation fund. However, if Alexander withdraws $20,000 over the two financial years, and if his super fund delivers a modest 3% per annum net return (after fees, tax and inflation), then by age pension age (67, if born from 1 January 1957), Alexander will have $39,700 less in retirement savings if he doesn’t make the withdrawal.

At a 4% net return, he will be $65,360 worse off if he makes the super withdrawal.

But that’s not the only disadvantage for Alexander. A smaller lump sum at retirement means a lower annual income. If Alexander draws down his super over a 20 year period, at a 3% net return, he will be around $2,670 worse off each year as a result of making the withdrawal. Over 20 years that adds up to a total loss of $53,375. At a 4% return, his youthful withdrawal will cost him over $96,000 by the time he reaches 87.

Reducing the risk

On the plus side, if Alexander is eligible for a part age pension when he retires, his smaller superannuation balance may see him receive a bigger age pension.

There are other things Alexander can do to reduce the financial consequences of accessing his super early. One is to only make the withdrawal if he absolutely has to. Or if he does make the withdrawal, to use the bare minimum and, when his employment situation improves, to contribute the remaining amount back to his super fund as a non-concessional contribution.

COVID-19 is adding further complexity to our financial lives, so before making decisions that may have a long-term impact, talk to your Bridges financial adviser.