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Posted on January 28, 2020

Break free from being asset rich and cash poor

Here are four ways to try to boost your income…

Are you asset rich but cash poor?  Turns out, you’re not alone. Data from the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) shows that almost one-third of older Australians in low-income households were asset rich but cash poor.[1] Most wealth is tied up in illiquid assets, in particular the family home.

But you need not scrape by on so little. There are ways to try and boost your income.

1.    TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR PROPERTY

Selling up and moving to a cheaper and/or smaller house may free up money to help fund your retirement. But keep in mind that it might affect your benefits if you’re receiving an age pension. Some of the proceeds from the sale might be counted as assessable under the age pension assets test, and this might lead to a drastic cut in your pension. On the flip side, it can also help supplement any loss of pension.

2.    SUPPLEMENT YOUR INCOME

Getting a part-time job or monetising a hobby, could boost your cash flow if you are retired. But remember that working when you have become eligible for an age pension may reduce your pension amount. Discuss with your adviser how you might optimise your retirement benefits while working part time.  You are able to earn up to a certain amount before your Age Pension is impacted.  Do you enjoy knitting, teaching or tutoring, baby-sitting, crafts, cleaning, handyman work or mowing?  All can add a few dollars a week extra to your income.

3.    RENT OUT YOUR PROPERTY

If you have extra space in your home, you may consider renting it out. Even just one room to a student or occasionally to holiday makers can made a difference. Or if you have another property, like a holiday home, you may look into listing it as a short-term rental? This could impact the tax you pay when you sell your home so you should seek advice on these strategies.

4.    REVISIT YOUR INVESTMENTS

Have you invested in securities like shares and ETF’s? This may be a good time to meet with our financial adviser to review your portfolio. Your financial adviser may recommend strategies and ways to reduce your exposure to risk and volatility and possibly increase your income via dividends.

UNDERSTAND THE RISKS

You don’t have to be trapped in a situation where you are asset rich but cash poor. There are ways to boost your income, but keep in mind that some involve taking big risks. So, always seek financial advice to help you weigh your options and make decisions based on your own personal situation.

Note

Australian Bureau of Statistics, March 2016, ‘Many older Australian households asset rich, income poor’, accessible at: https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/6523.0~2013-14~Media%20Release~Many%20older%20Australian%20households%20asset%20rich,%20income%20poor%20(Media%20Release)~40

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