In today’s hectic world we often spend so much time worrying about the future or lingering in the past we forget to enjoy the present. But tuning into the wonderful things happening around us as they happen can be life changing. It’s also a great way to combat stress, especially when it comes to our finances.

The Australian Psychological Society’s 2015 stress and wellbeing in Australia survey found financial concerns are the top cause of stress among Australians. Whilst we stress about our finances sometimes things fall outside of our control. Being more mindful is one way to address this.

Mindfulness expert Elizabeth Granger explains mindfulness is moment-to-moment awareness. “This can be cultivated by doing formal mindfulness practice where you set aside meditation time to deliberately pay attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental way. It involves bringing curiosity and a sense of allowing what is here to be here, as opposed to judging what’s happening in our lives.”

Mindfulness practices originated from Buddhist traditions more than 2500 years ago. So they are not new phenomena. More recently these techniques have been embraced by western culture.

Nevertheless, mindfulness takes a certain amount of effort, says Granger. “We spend so much time wanting experiences or ourselves to be different it can feel difficult to allow things to be the way they are, as opposed to how we wish them to be. While there is nothing technically difficult about mindfulness practice, it does require discipline to pay attention this way.”

Path to the practice

Granger came to mindfulness while working as a litigation lawyer and studying psychotherapy on the side, all while raising two young children.

“As soon as I started practising I noticed how it helped me manage stress and how I could think more clearly under pressure. It helped me open up to many more possibilities,” she enthuses.

According to Granger she is now more able to manage her emotions thanks to her mindfulness practice. “My focus has improved, including my ability to resist distractions. But the biggest change is the way I am open to the world around me. I have more capacity than before and I’m happier as I savour more moments of my life.”

Mindfulness can be practised anywhere, says Granger. “I remember once meditating while walking around the airport when my plane was cancelled, so it is a very portable practice which can be done anywhere.”

If you’re feeling the stresses of life, mindfulness can be a way to control or reduce those feelings. Another way to ease your money worries is to ensure you have your financial affairs in order. If your financial future is keeping you up at night and mindfulness just isn’t doing the trick, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Stress & wellbeing: How Australians are coping with life, Australian Psychological Society Stress and wellbeing in Australia survey 2015
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances.


Investing in your future

Many of the Government’s proposed superannuation reform measures became law on 29 November 2016. There’s some good news included and a number of opportunities we thought worthwhile sharing with you.
Most of the new super rules are effective from 1 July 2017, so you have until 30 June 2017 to act on the opportunities provided by the existing super rules, which we’ve outlined below.
1. Pre-tax contributions super contributions
The pre-tax superannuation contributions (also known as concessional contributions) cap will be reduced to $25,000 from 1 July 2017. If you were 49 years of age or older on 30 June 2016, you may contribute up to $35,000 of pre-tax contributions by 30 June 2017, otherwise (if younger) your limit is $30,000.
Action item: Consider maximising your pre-tax contribution capacity by 30 June 2017.
2. After-tax super contributions
The Government has abandoned its previous plan to limit after-tax super contributions (also known as non-concessional contributions) to a lifetime limit of $500,000. Instead, the after-tax super contribution annual cap will be reduced from $180,000 to $100,000 from 1 July 2017. If you are under 65 years of age at any time during the income year, you can ‘bring forward’ two future years of contribution capacity. Importantly, the existing threshold of $180,000 per annum (and $540,000 on a ‘bring forward’ basis) remains in place until 30 June 2017.
Action item: Consider after-tax contributions of up to $540,000 by 30 June 2017.
From 1 July 2017, if your total superannuation balances across all super funds exceed $1.6 million on 30 June 2017, you will not be able to make any after-tax contributions in 2017-18. If your total superannuation balances is less than $1.6 million but exceeds $1.4 million, you will be subject to a scaled back after-tax contribution capacity.
Action item: Consider the last chance opportunity of making after-tax super contributions by 30 June 2017 if your total superannuation balances are likely to exceed $1.6 million.
3. The $1.6 million pension cap
The amount you will be able to transfer into the tax exempt pension phase of superannuation will be capped at $1.6 million from 1 July 2017. Any existing superannuation pensions will be assessed against the cap based on the 30 June 2017 balances of those accounts. Amounts assessed as being in excess of the cap will need to be transferred out of the tax exempt pension phase, either back to the accumulation phase (taxable at 15 per cent) or out of the superannuation system entirely. Although transfers to the tax exempt pension phase will be limited to $1.6 million, there’s no restriction on how much you can continue to hold in the accumulation phase, which is taxed at the concessional rate of 15 per cent. As pension payments are not required from the accumulation phase, some individuals may find their post 30 June 2017 arrangement is a better long term strategy than their existing position.
Action item: Ensure your pension arrangements are compliant with the new $1.6 million cap by 30 June 2017.
4. Transition to retirement (TTR) pensions
From 1 July 2017, the investment earnings of TTR pensions will no longer be exempt from tax.
Action item: Decide whether to continue your existing TTR pension or transfer it back to accumulation phase prior to 1 July 2017.
5. Capital gains tax (CGT) relief
A CGT relief election has been introduced to alleviate the possible CGT consequences of the $1.6 million cap and taxation of TTR pensions. The CGT relief will help preserve the tax free status of capital gains accrued while supporting a pension.
Action item: Consider which assets the CGT relief can and should be applied to.

Discover how the inner circle can help you. Contact us today for a financial consultation.

This information is of a general nature only and has been provided without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs.
Because of this, you should consider whether the information is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation and needs.
Odyssey Financial Management is an authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Australia Limited.