Finance, Financial industry and Earnings - Business news

Join the fight to cut your energy bills


HOUSEHOLDS across the country have experienced exorbitant electricity price rises over the past decade and there’s no signs of these hikes slowing down.

The cost of power nationally has risen by a massive 119 per cent over the past 10 years and many states have been hit by another round of increases just this month.

Queensland, Victoria and NSW consumers are among the worst hit, all experiencing hikes by more than 120 per cent in the past decade, according to new analysis by consumer group One Big Switch.

A report released last week showed on a global scale our energy prices are high, with Australian households paying energy companies more for electricity than consumers do in any other country in the OECD.

HAVE YOU BEEN HIT?

One Big Switch campaign director Joel Gibson says consumers are fed up with being gouged unnecessarily for power and it is time to get more competitive deals on their energy costs.

It beggars belief that we pay so much for what many would consider a basic human right,’ he says.

Whatever your price rise is this July, it comes on top of a bill that has at least doubled in a decade and thats extraordinary.

In New South Wales prices have climbed by 127 per cent or an average price rise of 10 per cent.

In Victoria prices have risen by 120 per cent despite no price rise this month.

In Queensland prices have climbed by 151 per cent including an average increase of four per cent this July.

In South Australia prices have risen by 107 per cent including an average increase of 11 per cent.

In Western Australia prices have risen by 98 per cent including a seven per cent increase this month.

In the Northern Territory prices have risen by at least 87 per cent

In Tasmania prices have risen by 71 per cent including a rise of 3.43 per cent this July which

is expected to translate to an extra $60 to $70 a year for typical household customers.

REVIEW YOUR COSTS

Financial comparison website Mozos spokeswoman Kirsty Lamont says rising power bills have been a significant source of financial pain for many households.

Across the country our research shows the average electricity bill for a typical three-person household is close to $2000 per year,’ she says.

If youve never shopped around or your contract has expired its more than likely that you are paying much more than you should be.

Theres a huge difference between the best and the worst energy plans on the market.

While deciphering energy costs is a challenge, she suggests focusing on rates including charges kilowatt her hour, fixed charges and late fees.

JOIN TODAY

The Big Energy Switch, a campaign by One Big Switch, aims to bring down the cost of electricity for households.

The campaign is seeking 40,000 households to help unlock group-discounted energy offers to fight the rising cost of power.

Go to this site for more information.

There is no obligation to take up any offer.

News Corp Australia and One Big Switch will earn a commission from any accepted deals.

News Corp is a shareholder of One Big Switch.

Watch out for moving money goalposts on pensions and property




FOOTY finals are reaching their peak, and while our sporting stars face many challenges at this pointy end of the season, they don’t have to worry about the goalposts moving.

Its a different story in the world of money, where moving goalposts has almost become a sport itself.

From pensions to property to a new Prime Minister, heres a look at why many Aussies finances are in a state of flux.

AGE PENSION

THE CHANGES TO AGE PENSIONS IN FULL

January 2017 is approaching fast, and that means more than 320,000 retirees are going to lose part or all of their age pension.

In June the Senate approved changes to the age pension assets test, which is estimated to save the Federal Government $2.4 billion, although the government estimates more than 170,000 pensioners with low or modest assets will receive an extra $30 a fortnight.

While there are winners and losers, the hardest hit are those who saved aggressively for their retirement, and are now losing a big chunk of the income they had expected. Some will consider spending a big chunk of their nest egg on an overseas holiday just to regain access to the pension.

PROPERTY FINANCE

Lenders have tightened the rules around how much people can borrow to buy property.

Most are also inflicting an interest rate rise on more than two million Australians with investment loans or interest-only loans, using the flimsy excuse that financial regulators want them to rein in investment lending.

There are other options to tighten investment lending but they dont deliver profit increases like the across-the-board hit on new and existing borrowers has. Its easier to handball costs on to customers if you can argue regulators gave you a green light.

PRIME MINISTER MALCOLM

The biggest goalpost move came with Malcolm Turnbull taking Australias top job from Tony Abbott.

It probably means that all bets are off around some of Mr Abbotts previous promises, such as refusing to change the rules around superannuation.

The overall view among investors is that the rise of Mr Turnbull should be good for business, given hes a rich entrepreneur and is expected to better articulate the changes our economy needs to fire up again.

SUPERANNUATION

SUPERANNUATION IDEAS SPARK DEBATE

Moving goalposts in super are nothing new governments on both sides have been doing it for decades.

At the moment theres a big push by many industry experts to remove some super tax breaks that are mainly enjoyed by wealthy Australians. Labor has made reducing super incentives an election policy, The Abbott Government ruled out cuts, but the Turnbull Government has a chance to make changes without too much backlash.

Theres every chance that super will be a big focus in future Budgets, as its one of the few areas where billions of dollars of savings can be made if government choose to wind back some of the overly-generous tax breaks doled out in the 2000s.

While it may be frustrating to see the rules constantly changing, the key is keeping up with the game to make sure the financial effects on you are minimal.

Keep a close eye on news from Canberra and seek professional advice if you have any concerns. The strategies that a good financial planner can pass to you will more than offset the cost of their advice.