Read This If You Receive Centrelink Assistance

Organisations, like people, aren’t perfect. Large organisations are prone to errors just as individuals make mistakes. And Centrelink is no exception.

Recently, a client (who is retired and receives a Centrelink pension) came in to see us for her annual review. While reviewing her finances I felt that her fortnightly pension was too low. So I did some investigating. Several phone calls and phone wait queues later: my calculations were confirmed. Unbeknownst to my client, Centrelink was paying her hundreds less that what she was entitled to.

Now look, this was a simple error. As I mentioned, no organisation is perfect; to err is human. But the lesson? Our financial lives should never be left on auto-drive. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to get an independent financial review. In fact, I can share three tips from this experience.

Tip #1 Don’t assume organisational omniscience

In other words, remember that organisations, particularly large organisations, aren’t infallible. Errors can occur, so stay vigilant. That’s the beauty of getting another set of (qualified and independent) eyes on your financials.

Tip # 2 Get regular financial health checks

Just as we need to be proactive, rather than simply reactive, when it comes to our health — so too our finances. Don’t just wait til something goes wrong. Have an annual or even 6 monthly financial health check. This is an opportunity to review and possibly rejig your financial present and future. Had my client not checked in for an annual review she might possibly still be hundreds, if not thousands out of pocket.

Tip # 3 Don’t play the blame game

When things go wrong, it’s human nature to feel slighted, angry and start wagging the finger. This is neither helpful nor humane. Far better to assume that errors are the rule rather than the exception, than to expect perfection and get outraged when mistakes occur. This way you stay vigilant, calm and clear.

Whether you receive Centrelink Assistance or someone you love receives it, please read this as your reminder to get a regular financial health check. Or stay calm and….call Centrelink.

4 Client Stories That You Could Relate To


Client Stories

1. A client who was recently made redundant from Alcoa came to see me with a sizable redundancy package. Although he had no concerns specifically about whether he had enough money to live on, he was more concerned about how much tax he had to pay, how he was going to receive income now that he was no longer employed and what was the best way to structure his situation. We put strategies in place to save his beneficiaries nearly $90,000 upon his death and ensured that his funds were invested appropriately to provide him income for the long term, tax free.

2. I saw a couple recently who thought they were in need of a little tweaking to their financial situation to help them achieve their longer-term goals. To help these clients, I was able to find superannuation funds that resulted in savings of over $2,700 each year just on administration and investment fees. This will amount to a huge difference in their account balance up to their retirement. This is only part of the situation though. I was also able to review their various insurance policies, and help them to purchase policies with extra benefits over and above those they currently had, almost double their sums insured, and all that at a lesser cost than their current inferior solution gave them.

Next up for this couple is to implement a sensible budget, although I’m not allowed to call it a budget for them – I have to call it a spending plan ☺ This will ensure that they can make contributions to their super funds that will help to give their retirement savings a huge boost over the years leading up to their retirement. So all up this couple will have better insurances to ensure their wealth isn’t eroded by health issues or an untimely death, cheaper superannuation that will ensure their super is working harder for them, and not the provider, and a budgeting system that will allow them to enjoy their lifestyle whilst increasing their investments which will ultimately lead to a more comfortable retirement.

3. Another couple I saw were in the early stages of a somewhat forced retirement after a redundancy. The advice I gave will result in an extra $35,000 of Age Pension entitlements being payable to the couple once the older of the two reaches 65. This $35,000, which will be funded by the Government through Centrelink is an amount that they themselves do not have to self-fund. This means that their accumulated retirement savings will be able to last longer into their retired years.

4. Another strategy recently put in place for a client was to help alleviate a looming capital gains tax bill. The strategy for this client helped to offset tax of around $25,000, and in anyone’s language $25,000 in your pocket is better than $25,000 in the ATO’s pocket right?