Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 year in review


Millionaire on Heels 2013 year in review
Lillie Rubin evening gown from 1957 ... perfect for a New Year's celebration
Source: 
http://myvintagevogue.com

This is it … the final progress report against the Millionaire by 2020 plan for 2013.  There’s both a qualitative (2013 New Year’s resolutions and financial goals) and quantitative (the Millionaire by 202 chart) aspect to the report card.

2013 New Year’s resolutions and financial goals


Back in January, the MoH set out her six financial resolutions for 2013:
  • Develop my $1 million by 2020 financial plan and successfully achieve the first year milestones
  • Open an online share trading account (at the moment I go through a broker) and execute at least five trades

Friday, 27 December 2013

Renovating: kitchens, part 2



Source: www.homelife.com.au

As I said earlier in the week, I think a kitchen renovation is about the most expensive project you can undertake on your home apart from building an extension – or a knock down and rebuild.


And as with bathrooms, kitchen renovations always seem to end up taking longer and costing more than planned.  While you may have a spare bathroom to cope while another is being renovated, most people do not have a spare kitchen.  And there’s only so much toast and takeaway one can eat – particularly when the washing up has to be done in the laundry!



Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Happy Christmas!

Source: www.zazzle.co.uk

The MoH is online sending out her Christmas greetings to all and sundry, so I’d thought I’d stop by and say Happy Christmas!

It’s raining here in Sydney for the second year in a row, so an indoor Christmas is definitely in order.  Not even my mum’s gift of a catnip toy has been able to shift the Millionaire Cat from her chair.

I have a few days off over the holiday period, which I’ll be using to catch up on my gardening, launch a couple of new projects, and plan for next year.  I’ll be revisiting my New Year’s resolutions from last year, plotting out a new course for next year, and of course doing the final 2013 tally of my progress on my Millionaire by 2020 plan.  That’s a lot to do in a week!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Renovating: kitchens, part 1

Source: http://www.pimpyourkitchen.com/

As with bathrooms, doing a kitchen renovation is a major project.  I think it’s about the most expensive endeavor you can undertake on your house apart from building an extension.

So if you can make smaller changes and avoid a full renovation, your bank account will be much better off.

Similar to my bathroom renovations part 1 post, I’ve compiled a set of kitchen “decoration” (as opposed to a full reno) ideas below, everything I could think of that doesn’t require a complete overhaul.

To distinguish between them, I’ve grouped the ideas in line with the following guide:
  • $ – hundreds of dollars
  • $$ – thousands of dollars
  • $$$ – tens of thousands of dollars


Saturday, 21 December 2013

Book review: Renovation Inspiration: Ideas to Inspire

Renovation Inspiration by Emma Peacock

Renovation Inspiration: Ideas to Inspire was authored by Emma Peacock, and published in 2012.

The book “features innovative interiors designed by some of Australia’s best architects and designers” and offers advice, tips, and product listings for each room of the house.  It is a colourful tome, produced on quality, glossy paper that highlights all the photos. 


Basically, the book works through each room of the house:

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Living areas
  • Bedrooms
  • Children’s Rooms
  • Outdoors
  • Other Rooms
  • Staircases
  • Windows

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Renovating: bathrooms, part 2


Source: http://www.theartofbathrooms.com.au

The bathroom is one of the most trying rooms of the home to renovate.  This is particularly so if you only have one and have to make do with temporary facilities.  You should always allow at least twice as long as the tradies say to have the work completed; you have to project manage the workers on a daily basis; and even then, quality is not guaranteed.  I have yet to meet a single person who is 100 percent happy with his or her bathroom renovation!

To minimise your pain and suffering and improve your chances of a quality result, I recommend following a 12-step process:
  1. Envision your desired bathroom
  2. Create a detailed plan

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Your feedback, please


Well, the weekend is nearly over, and the MoH really is planning to finish her planned post for Friday.  Really.

My procrastination hasn’t been entirely fruitless, and I’ve put a lot of effort into launching a new MoH site design.  I wasn’t a big fan of all the purple, and I wanted something a little more modern, yet elegant. I’ve also invested some time in adding images to my posts.  It will take me some time to retrofit them all, but the later posts are looking pretty good, if I say so myself.

But the real question is what do you think?

Any and all feedback is appreciated.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Renovating: bathrooms, part 1

Source: http://superseventies.tumblr.com

Installing a new bathroom or kitchen is a major project.  Trust me.  The MoH did a big reno in her last home, including two bathrooms, the kitchen, and the laundry.  And a various other times, built-in wardrobes, new carpet, and a new paint job.  The bathrooms were by far the most complex, the quality most variable, and the tradespeople the most difficult to communicate with.

I’ll share my experiences in a case study later on.  But in the meantime, my first piece of advice is not to renovate unless you absolutely need to!  You’ll save a lot of potential heartache and a lot of money to boot.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Case study: Christmas preparations … learnings from 2012

Source: http://sabotagetimes.com

The MoH was at her hairdresser on Saturday when the reality of Christmas fast approaching truly sunk in.  The hairdresser casually asked “Are you ready for Christmas?”  And of course the answer was definitely not.  I still had to buy presents for my largish team at work, plus various other friends and acquaintances.  Plus I really wanted to decorate my house a little bit this year, which meant buying decorations.  Oh and at the time, the office was looking a little bare and in need of some festive cheer.

Two hours, a cup of coffee, and a cut and colour later, I had a few potential themes for the office gifts and decorations.  Off to the shopping centre …

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Saving money by purchasing HEALTHY food

Source: http://www.mangoes.net.au
 
The MoH made a birthday commitment to prioritise her health and wellbeing this year.  Previously I exercised five hours per week like clockwork and ate well.  However, over the past year or two, I’ve adopted some increasingly slack habits, spending far too much time in the office.  The exercise has dropped off, and proper meals have been replaced/supplemented by unhealthy snacks.

So the past week has been about making a new start.  I’ve done my five hours of exercise and loved it.  I’ve completed three out of five days of a veggie/fruit juice cleanse (absolutely yum for a vegan!), with the final two days to go next week.  And I’ve eaten absolutely no junk food. 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Renovating: home office

Source: http://freshome.com

The MoH has a home office set up with the basics for tax purposes.  But it’s not the most inspiring location at the best of times.  I can easily imagine myself counting my millions at my elegantly tooled antique desk.  Or tapping away in bursts of creativity in a fresh white space surrounded by green plants and fresh flowers.  And admittedly, I can spend hours in stationery shops envisioning my perfectly organised life once everything is sorted into (expensive) little containers and drawers.  But the reality is that I’m far more likely to end up working at the dining room table or on the sofa.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Upcoming December posts


Source: http://travel.ninemsn.com.au/

December for me will be about getting back on track with my planned renovations.  There’s still thousands of dollars left in my planned “spending goals” expenditure for the year and only one month to go.

I don’t have to spend the money obviously … and it could definitely pad out my Millionaire by 2020 progress.  But things are starting to get a bit dire, with a few bits and pieces falling off my house during the windy weather a couple of weeks ago.  And while I have the tradies out fixing things, it makes sense to work on the renovations at the same time.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

November 2013 in review

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Millionaire on Heels!

The last month or so has been quite challenging for me due to BAU work commitments.  So apologies for the lack of posts.

The good news about working constantly is that it’s hard to spend money on big items.  Although it is tempting to fritter away a few dollars here and there on takeaway.

So … the Millionaire by 2020 plan is on track and more – 13.5% versus a target of 9.1% for November.


Expect a return to full-on posting in December.

Thanks for reading over the last year!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Book review: The Great Life Redesign : Change How You Work, Live How You Dream and Make it Happen Today

The Great Life Redesign by Carolyn Cameron
The Great Life Redesign by Carolyn Cameron 
Source: Booktopia - Australia's # 1 Online Bookstore. Choose from over 4 million titles all discounted. Flat rate shipping Australia wide.

The Great Life Redesign : Change How You Work, Live How You Dream and Make it Happen Today was published in 2012.  Its author is Carolyn Cameron, an executive, career, and lifestyle coach.  She has personally accomplished four lifestyle and multiple industry and career changes, and received the ANZI Coaching “Coach of the Year” award in 2011.

The book’s primary stated objective is to help you create the future you want, whether it’s revamping the life you have or totally redesigning it to follow your dreams.

The journey consists of five parts:

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Apologies ...

Source: http://www.lasvegas.com

I'm sorry for the lack of posts in the past couple of weeks.

I was on holiday (purposely) without a lot of connectivity!

Now I'm madly trying to catch up on my to do list for my day job.

Hopefully this week things will be a bit calmer, and I'll catch up on my posting backlog.

Speak soon!
The MoH

Friday, 1 November 2013

Upcoming November posts

Source: http://www.womansday.com/

November is going to be a sparse month at the MoH.  My bricks-and-mortar job is calling, with a major milestone on the program I run due this month.

So I’m only planning a couple of posts:
20. Book review: The Great Life Redesign : Change How You Work, Live How You Dream and Make it Happen Today
30. November 2013 in review


To ensure you stay up to date with the latest from the MoH, please sign up to follow the blog by email. 

Thursday, 31 October 2013

October 2013 in review

I ran my Millionaire by 2020 numbers today, and WOW, what a result.  One of my colleagues always says that typing in all caps is just like shouting.  And I’m definitely shouting inside now!


October came in at 13.3% versus a target of 8.3%.
 
My holiday hasn’t had much of an impact, as that money was budgeted for earlier in the year.  And staying with my family doesn’t require too much expenditure.

At this rate, I might hit 15% by the end of 2013!

November is going to be a big month for me in my day job.  So apologies in advance if you don’t see too much of me online.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Book review: Planning Your Perfect Home Renovation

Source: www.propertybooks.com.au

Planning Your Perfect Home Renovation was authored by Alex May, a freelance writer who specialises in property and design, and who has written for the Sydney Morning Herald’s Domain section and the Sun Herald.

The book aims to provide a “blueprint to a stress-free, well-planned, and well-budgeted renovation that improves the value of your home.”

The book contains 16 chapters:
  1. Introduction to renovating
  2. The buck starts here
  3. The real value of renovating
  4. Your heart’s desire: working out what you want
  5. Plans, estimates, and schedules
  6. Repairs and maintenance: make it a mantra
  7. Refurbishing

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

And the MoH 10k contest winner is …


... Helen!

Helen, I'll be in touch with the prize details.

I'll post more a bit later on the great feedback I received.

Thanks again to everyone who entered!

The MoH

Monday, 14 October 2013

Last day to enter the MoH 10k contest

Source: http://udleditions.cast.org/

There are only 24 hours remaining to enter the MoH 10k contest!

If you haven’t done so already, you need to sign up to follow the site and receive RSS feeds and then email me with an improvement you’d like to see on the site.  The best response received on or before midnight 15 October 2013 (AEST) will receive a $50 prize.

The full details of the contest can be found on http://www.millionaireonheels.com/p/win-50-to-celebrate-our-10000th-page.html.

I’ll announce the winner on 16 October.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Renovating: walls and floors


Your walls and floors are the first thing you notice when you step inside the house.  And because of their relatively lower cost to renovate per square meter (than say a kitchen or bathroom), they can be a high value area to target early in your renovation plans.

I’ve listed a range of possible wall and flooring projects below, everything from quick fixes to major renovations.

To distinguish between them, I’ve grouped the ideas in line with the following guide:
  • $ – hundreds of dollars
  • $$ – thousands of dollars
  • $$$ – tens of thousands of dollars


Saturday, 12 October 2013

MoH 10k contest enters its final three days

Source: http://kellyskindergarten.com

Time is running out to enter the Millionaire on Heels 10,000 page contest!  If you’re planning to do so, I recommend you get it out of the way now.

All you need to do is sign up to follow the site and receive RSS feeds and then email me with an improvement you’d like to see on the site.  The best response received on or before midnight 15 October 2013 (AEST) will receive a $50 prize.

The full details of the contest can be found on http://www.millionaireonheels.com/p/win-50-to-celebrate-our-10000th-page.html.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Case study: landscaping


I try to do most of my own gardening.  It’s a great way to get outdoors, socialise with the neighbours, and save money, in comparison to hiring someone.

However, around once a year, I need professional assistance.  My property has lots of vines and tropical plants that grow profusely and require someone with stronger willpower than me to prune.  I always look at them after their “haircut” and think they’ll never grow back, but they recover surprisingly quickly.


I have a regular landscaper that I use.  He comes out for a day and tackles all the jobs that have built up over the past year.


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Renovating: outdoors


Given the number of people that see the outside of your house versus the inside, investing in outdoor projects can give you a lot of bang for your buck.  And living in cul-de-sac, as the MoH does, where everyone knows everyone, means spending time outside is essential.

As the weather warms up, the MoH has been contemplating a range of new projects.


I’ve brainstormed a list of possible outdoor projects below.  I’ve tried to include everything from inexpensive improvements to major renovations.


To distinguish between them, I’ve grouped the ideas in line with the following guide:

  • $ – hundreds of dollars
  • $$ – thousands of dollars
  • $$$ – tens of thousands of dollars

MoH 10k contest enters its final 10 days

Source: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

The final countdown is now on to enter the Millionaire on Heels 10,000 page contest.

It’s super easy to enter the contest.  All you need to do is sign up to follow the site and receive RSS feeds and then email me with an improvement you’d like to see on the site.  The best response received on or before midnight 15 October 2013 (AEST) will receive a $50 prize.


The full details of the contest can be found on http://www.millionaireonheels.com/p/win-50-to-celebrate-our-10000th-page.html.


I look forward to seeing some more new members and suggestions to improve the site.


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Upcoming October posts


As of the beginning of October, I have about 20% of my “spending goals” budget left in my account.  As I receive my main bonus in February, I lock the money away until I need it to fund my spending goals.  Then I track any expenses related to my goals separately from my day-to-day spending.  My Millionaire by 2020 spreadsheet assumes I’ve spent the whole amount for simplicity, and to smooth any large swings due to major one-off expenditure.

The big ticket items in my spending goals for 2013-14 include:

  • Update wardrobes
  • Renovate outside entertaining areas
  • Paint inside and outside
  • Renovate kitchen
  • Renovate two bathrooms
  • Renovate laundry
  • Two week trip to US

Monday, 30 September 2013

September 2013 in review

I don’t know whether to start with the good news or the bad news … maybe I’ll just hide the bad news in the middle in the hope that none reads it!

The good news is that I have actually completed some of my goals for the last couple of months (and therefore you no longer have to hear about them).  These include:
  • Completing my tax return … with one day in the month left to go
  • Organising my annual garden prunathon … this cost a bundle, but my garden is spotless and should be a bit more maintainable this year
  • Reorganising my share portfolio

Sunday, 29 September 2013

MoH 10k contest enters week 3

The celebrations are continuing chez the Millionaire on Heels, as we hit our 10,000th page view on Blogger this week (after reaching the same milestone on AdSense last week).

I'm excited to see some new members joining up.


For anyone who has not entered the contest yet, it's not too late.  All you need to do is sign up to follow the site and receive RSS feeds and then email me with an improvement you’d like to see on the site – easy!  The best response received on or before midnight 15 October 2013 (AEST) will receive a $50 prize.



Saturday, 28 September 2013

Case study: tax deductions

Today has been an extremely satisfying day.  I finally completed my tax return.  It’s one of my highest paydays of the year, after bonus time, and completing it is certainly the highest earning activity I do on a per hour basis.  So I don’t know why I procrastinate so much!

For me, completing my return is a six-step ritual each year:

  1. First, I download e-Tax and do a trial run, based on what’s prepopulated and some estimates.  The promise of a refund then usually inspires me to complete step 2
  2. Second, I sort out my paperwork for the year, which is often stacks of accumulated material organised by date – i.e., the oldest stuff is at the bottom of the stack!
  3. Third, I do a full run-through of the tax return, answering all the material and identifying any documentation gaps

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Tax tips, part 17: tax offsets

After you’ve dragged yourself kicking and screaming through income and deductions, the remainder of your tax return is generally a piece of cake.  There are umpteen questions, loosely grouped into offsets (T1-T11), adjustments (A1-4), credits (C1), Medicare (M1-M2), and income tests (IT1-8).

If you are entitled to an offset, it’s fantastic, as they directly reduce the amount of tax payable on your taxable income (as opposed to deductions, which only reduce taxable income).  However, I’d say 90% of these wouldn’t apply to most people, ever.  Occasionally you may be able claim for large medical expenses and whatnot.  But who does the landcare and water facility apply to?

What you can claim

The offsets, rebates, adjustments, and so on fall under the following categories:

  • T1 - Spouse (without dependent child or student)
  • T2 - Seniors and pensioners (includes self-funded retirees)
  • T3 - Australian superannuation income stream

Saturday, 21 September 2013

MoH 10k contest update

The Millionaire on Heels is celebrating today, as we hit our 10,000th page view on AdSense last night!

I do commit a fair bit of time to writing for the blog, so I’m quite chuffed that so many people actually read it.


In case you missed last week’s post, we are having a contest to celebrate.  All you need to do is sign up to follow the site and receive RSS feeds and then email me with an improvement you’d like to see on the site – easy!  The best response received on or before midnight 15 October 2013 (AEST) will receive a $50 prize.


Tax tips, part 16: advice for specific occupations

In addition to the bog-standard work-related deductions you can claim, like travel and home office expenses, you may be able to claim for expenses that are unique to your industry and occupation.

What you can claim

As noted previously, you can only claim a deduction for expenses that directly relate to your work as an employee.

The ATO publishes a number of guides for specific industries and occupations that outline some of the work-related expenses you are entitled to (and not entitled to).  Available guides include:

  • Adult industry workers
  • Airline employees
  • Australian Defence Force members 
  • Building and construction employees 
  • Business professionals 
  • Cleaners 
  • Earthmoving plant operators 
  • Education professionals 
  • Electricians 
  • Engineers 
  • Factory workers 
  • Fitness and sporting industry employees 
  • Flight attendants 
  • Guards and security employees 
  • Hairdressers 
  • Hospitality industry employees 
  • IT professionals 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Book review: The Penguin Small Business Guide

The Penguin Small Business Guide by Nicholas Humphrey
The Penguin Small Business Guide
Source: Booktopia - Australia's # 1 Online Bookstore. Choose from over 4 million titles all discounted. Flat rate shipping Australia wide.

Today I’m taking a break from tax to bring you a new book review.

The Penguin Small Business Guide (the complete reference handbook for small to medium enterprises) was authored by Nicholas Humphrey, a corporate law partner at Norton Rose, the author of several bestselling books, and a regular contributor to the media.

The book aims to provide a general introduction to setting up and running a small to medium business.

Its contents include:
  • Chapter 1 – The concept for your business
  • Chapter 2 – The business plan
  • Chapter 3 – Understanding your market
  • Chapter 4 – Developing your marketing strategy

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Millionaire on Heels celebrates ... again

This week will be a major milestone for the Millionaire on Heels.  We’ll reach our 10,000th page view according to both Blogger and AdSense (both of which have different ideas of a page view!).

Compared to the mega-sites that generate 37 squizillion page views a day, of course, this is not huge.  But I continue to be amazed that people actually enjoy reading the blog.  The page views in the beginning were around 100 per month; now they're in the thousands.  The total word count in case you’re interested has now hit over 120,000 words – that’s several good-sized books’ worth.


So to celebrate this milestone and say thank you to everyone who’s registered to read the blog, I thought I’d organise another contest.  All you need to do is sign up to follow the site and receive RSS feeds and then email me with an improvement you’d like to see on the site – easy!  The best response received on or before midnight 15 October 2013 (AEST) will receive a $50 prize.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Tax tips, part 15: capital gains

A capital gain (or loss) is basically the difference between what it cost you to acquire and keep an investment asset and what you received when you disposed of it.  Selling an investment (e.g., shares, managed fund units, investment property) is the most common way you can trigger a capital gain or capital loss. Other capital gains events include managed funds’ periodic distributions of capital gains, company liquidations, and mergers and acquisitions.

Managing capital gains requires keeping a number of finicky records, a task that the MoH is truly hopeless at.  The memories of all my share purchases and sales this year keep flooding back to me every time I contemplate starting my tax return.  Each of those no doubt will require numerous searches to ascertain purchase and disposal costs from half-completed tracking registers and the original hard copy confirmation orders that I may or may not have received from my broker … Once you are ready to tackle the subject, capital gains (losses) get calculated in section 18 of your supplementary tax return.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Tax tips, part 14: property

If you earn rental income or your property is available for rent, your net rental income (loss) gets entered into section 21 of your tax return.  Many Australians choose to negatively gear their property investments; hence they record a loss over a number of years, hoping that a future capital gain will more than recover the accumulated losses.

The MoH was a direct residential property investor for about a year recently, which straddled two tax years.  It was intended to be a medium-term strategy where I upgraded to a new house and rented out my previous apartment.  My financial returns were OK, but the experience of owning residential property required far more hands on involvement that I have ever experienced with shares.  With residential property you have two constituents you will never encounter on the sharemarket: difficult and/or evil tenants and difficult and/or useless real estate agents.  

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Tax tips, part 13: other deductions

Sections D11-15 of the supplementary tax return are a catchall for less-commonly used tax deductions.  It’s worth having a read through and seeing if any of these apply to you in a given year.

What you can claim

Examples of what you can claim include:

  • The deductible amount of the undeducted purchase price of a foreign pension or annuity – most notably Austrian, British, Dutch, German, and Italian penions
  • Personal superannuation contributions – provided that you were fully self-employed and less than 10% of the sum of your assessable income plus your reportable employer superannuation contributions plus your total reportable fringe benefits amounts is attributable to the activities that result in you being treated as an employee for the purposes of the superannuation guarantee

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Upcoming September posts



As I highlighted yesterday, I had less than a 50% success rate with my August goals.  So I’ve got some catch-up work to do in September.  In a positive light, a number of them involve spending money, and the longer I delay, the more cash there is in the MoH account!

So my goals for September will include:

  • Finally completing my tax return … and receiving my long anticipated refund
  • Closing out my unnecessary bank accounts (four accounts at three different banks …)
  • Getting a quote for one of my planned renovation activities
  • Scheduling my annual garden prunathon (I do most of the gardening myself, but once a year, I like to get a professional in to do the heavy lifting)
  • Getting the packaging sorted out for my new bricks-and-mortar/online business (including the final designs, packaging samples, and label samples)
  • Doing some further optimisation of my share portfolio

Saturday, 31 August 2013

August 2013 in review

Looking back at my goals for August I was meant to have:
  • Completed my tax return
  • Sorted out the packaging for my new bricks-and-mortar/online business
  • Started at least one of my planned renovation activities
  • Closed my unnecessary bank accounts
  • Removed the winter jungle from my backyard
Well, I’ve managed to tackle the backyard jungle and to research the packaging more thoroughly.  I’m actually quite pleased with how the design is going to look.  Now I just need to get quotes from the designers and various packaging companies to work out the unit cost per pack, and then get some samples printed to ensure everything looks as good in real life as it does in my mind.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Tax tips, part 12: cost of managing tax affairs

Costs related to managing your tax affairs are understandably tax deductible.  You can also claim costs in complying with your legal obligations relating to another person's tax affairs (which are even more understandably deductible!).  These deductions get claimed at section D10 of your tax return.

What you can claim

Four general types of costs can be claimed in section D10:
  1. Expenses you incurred in managing your tax affairs
  2. Expenses for complying with your legal obligations relating to another person's tax affairs
  3. Any interest charge the ATO has imposed on you
  4. Any amounts the ATO charged to you for underestimating a varied GST or PAYG instalment 
Expenses you incurred in managing your tax affairs can include:
  • The preparation and lodgment of your tax return and activity statements
  • Travel to obtain tax advice from a recognised tax advisor
  • Appeals made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal or courts about your tax affairs
  • Obtaining a valuation needed for a deductible donation of property or for a deduction for entering into a conservation covenant

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Tax tips, part 11: gifts or donations

Many gifts and donations are tax deductible.  Your claims for these go into section D9 of your tax return.

What you can claim

You can claim a deduction for:
  • Voluntary gifts of $2 or more made to an approved organisation – an organisation that has the status of deductible gift recipient (DGR)
  • A net contribution of more than $150 to an approved organisation for a fund-raising event
  • Contributions of $2 or more to
- A registered political party
- An independent candidate in an election for parliament
- An individual who was an independent member of parliament or in limited circumstances was an independent member
  • A donation to an approved organisation of shares listed on an approved stock exchange valued at $5,000 or less
  • Making an approved cultural bequest
  • A donation to a private ancillary fund
  • Entering into a conservation covenant

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Book review: Manager's Guide to Social Media

Manager’s Guide to Social Media by Scott Klososky
Manager’s Guide to Social Media
Source: Booktopia - Australia's # 1 Online Bookstore. Choose from over 4 million titles all discounted. Flat rate shipping Australia wide.

I picked up the Manager’s Guide to Social Media by Scott Klososky by chance at my local library.  At first, it piqued my interest purely for my bricks-and-mortar job, as social media is becoming an increasingly more important vehicle for communication in my workplace.  

But as I started reading the book, I began to see its relevance to the MoH.  Back in March, I looked at the importance of publishing, promotion, and branding in successfully starting and growing a business:

This book really emphasises how important social media is, and provides a practical plan to build your online presence.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Tax tips, part 10: dividend deductions

You can claim a deduction for the expenses you incurred in earning any dividend and similar investment income you declared at item 11 on your tax return.  Dividend deductions get recorded at item D8 on your return (except for expenses incurred in earning foreign source dividends, which go in item 20 or D15 on your return).

What you can claim

Dividend expenses can include:
  • Management fees and fees for investment advice relating to changes in the mix of your investments
  • Interest charged on money borrowed to purchase shares or similar investments
  • Travel expenses related to the investment
  • The cost of specialist investment journals and subscriptions
  • Borrowing costs related to the investment
  • The cost of internet access for investment purposes
  • The decline in value of your computer related to the investment

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Tax tips, part 9: interest deductions

You are able to claim a deduction for any expenses you incurred in earning the interest you declared at item 10 on your tax return.  Interest deductions get recorded at item D7 on your return (except for expenses incurred in earning foreign source interest, which go in item 20 or D15 on your return).

What you can claim

Interest deductions can include:
  • Bank or other financial institution account-keeping fees for accounts held for investment purposes
  • Management fees and fees for investment advice relating to changes in the mix of your investments
  • Travel expenses related to the investment
  • The cost of specialist investment journals and subscriptions
  • Borrowing costs related to the investment
  • The cost of internet access for investment purposes
  • The decline in value of your computer related to the investment

Sunday, 11 August 2013

The millionaire next door … is out in the garden

The MOH is sitting with a cup of coffee on a glorious nearly spring day in Sydney surveying the back garden.

It is by no means the neatly manicured, verdant garden of my dreams with wandering paths and neat flower beds.  But the jungle that surrounded the garden shed and pool shed at the back until this morning is now gone.  And the inside of the pool shed is, dare I say it, actually clean.

This was a task I had planned to complete for a while now, but it truly became a necessity when I rang the pool shop yesterday for a contact to assist me with my salt water chlorinator, which is no longer producing chlorine.  I was only expecting a name and phone number, but they surprised me by saying they’d send someone out on Monday.  I was over the moon, as this was a chore I’d been procrastinating about for some time now.  But then I remembered the state of the backyard …


Friday, 9 August 2013

Tax tips, part 8: low-value pool deduction

As I discussed earlier in the week, when you use assets such as tools and equipment or professional libraries in the course of producing income, you are able to claim an immediate deduction for any item that cost $300 or less, or a deduction for the decline in value of an item over its effective life.  One way to claim your deduction for the decline in value of low-cost and low-value assets is by allocating them to what is called a low-value pool.  This is reported in section D6 of your tax return.

What you can claim

A low-value pool can include:
  • Low-cost assets – depreciating assets that cost less than $1,000
  • Low-value assets – depreciating assets that are not low-cost assets but which, at the start of the tax year, had been written off to less than $1,000 under the diminishing value method

Monday, 5 August 2013

Tax tips, part 7: other work-related expenses

Section D5 of the tax return is a businesswoman’s best friend.  Here is where you can claim a number of work-related expenses that can add up to a significant deduction – assuming of course that you actually incurred them and have kept appropriate records.

What you can claim

Other work-related expenses can include:
  • Union fees and subscriptions to trade, business, or professional associations
  • Overtime meal expenses
  • Professional seminars, courses, conferences, and workshops
  • Reference books, technical journals, and trade magazines
  • Tools and equipment and professional libraries (you can claim an immediate deduction for an item that cost $300 or less; otherwise, you can claim a deduction for the decline in value of an item over its effective life)
  • Items that protect you from the risk of injury or illness posed by your work or your work environment – e.g., hard hats, safety glasses, and sunscreens 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Upcoming August posts


The MoH didn’t make it through my tax return in July … or my full set of planned tax posts.  So I’ll keep plugging away on them in August.

My other goals for August include:

  • Getting the packaging sorted out for my new bricks-and-mortar/online business
  • Getting at least one of my planned renovation activities underway
  • Closing out my unnecessary bank accounts
And from a complete non-financial standpoint, I need to sort out the tangle of undergrowth that’s been allowed to take over my backyard during the winter.

It will be a busy month.


Wednesday, 31 July 2013

July 2013 in review

I approached my Millionaire on Heels spreadsheet with trepidation this month.  I was expecting bad things because of my large credit card payment for my holiday flowing through.  As expected, my cash balance decreased.  However, it was a low spend month otherwise, with no large bills and an intense schedule at my day job keeping me out of spending mischief.  And the sharemarket has bounced back a bit, leaving my super balance a lot higher.

The end result – a net $319 improvement in my financial position … in retrospective it was a good idea to postpone my work wardrobe update at the end of year sales!  I still have the items open on my browser and will take advantage of the sale prices in August.


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Tax tips, part 6: work-related self-education expenses

Work-related self-education expenses have featured in the news recently due to the current Labor government’s decision to cap self-education expenses at $2,000 per annum in future years.  If the next Coalition government doesn’t reverse this decision (assuming the Coalition wins government at the next election …), it will make quite legitimate degrees vastly more expensive – e.g., MBAs.  It makes me glad I did my MBA a few years ago!

Work-related self-education expenses get entered into section D4 of your tax return.

What you can claim

You can claim a deduction for self-education expenses if your study is work-related or if you receive a taxable bonded scholarship.

These expenses relate to courses you undertake to obtain a formal qualification from a school, college, university, or other place of education (attending cushy conferences comes in section D5). 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Tax tips, part 5: work-related clothing, laundry, and dry-cleaning expenses

One of the benefits of moving from consulting into an industrial business is being able to claim a tax deduction on a uniform.  In our corporate office, we aren’t required to wear a uniform, but for visits to our operational facilities, I don my trusty blue shirt and work boots.  I could never understand why the consulting firms never issued a consulting uniform … an Armani suit and matching Italian shirt with the firm logo anyone?

Anyway, work-related clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning expenses are entered into section D3 on your tax return.

What you can claim

You can claim a deduction for the cost of purchasing or renting:
  • Occupation-specific clothing
  • Protective clothing
  • Unique, distinctive uniforms
You can also claim the costs of washing, drying, ironing, and/or dry-cleaning the eligible work clothes above.

To support your deduction you need to keep written evidence that you purchased the clothing and diary records or written evidence of your cleaning costs.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Tax tips, part 4: work-related travel expenses

Work-related travel expenses get entered into section D2 on your tax return.  It’s a catch-all for non-car vehicle expenses (e.g., motorcycles, trucks) and incidental travel expenses.

What you can claim

According to the ATO, you can claim the following work-related travel expenses:
  • Expenses for vehicles with a carrying capacity of one tonne or more, or nine or more passengers (e.g., utility trucks and panel vans)
  • Expenses for motorcycles
  • Short-term car hire
  • Public transport fares
  • Bridge and road tolls
  • Parking fees
  • Taxi fares
  • Petrol, oil, and repair costs relating to work-related travel you did in a car owned or leased by someone else
  • Meal, accommodation, and incidental expenses you incurred while away overnight for work – e.g., going to an interstate work conference

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Tax tips, part 3: work-related car expenses

Work-related car expenses get entered into section D1 on your tax return.  This is a reasonably complicated exercise the first time you have to do it, but over time it becomes pretty straightforward.

What you can claim

Work-related car expenses are expenses you incur in the course of performing your job.

You are able to claim the cost of trips between your home and your workplace if:
  • You used your car because you had to carry bulky tools or equipment that you used for work and could not leave at your workplace (for example, an extension ladder or cello)
  • Your home was a base of employment (that is, you started your work at home and travelled to a workplace to continue your work for the same employer)
  • You had shifting places of employment (that is, you regularly worked at more than one site each day before returning home)

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

IE8 is working again!

Well after all that effort in downloading a new browser, Google has fixed the problem with the text editor in IE8.  I can select and format text again without using the shortcut keys!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Time for a new browser ...

I've been trying to catch up with my planned updates to some of my older posts, so please be patient. 

This week it has been virtually impossible to use Blogger using IE8.  There is no way to select text for formatting in the text editor using a mouse.  I've had to revert to shortcut keys.  So posts like this with no section headings or bullet points are easy ... but the others are a nightmare!

I understand lots of other people are having the same issue, and Google is not willing to debug Blogger for IE8 anymore.

So I'm installing Chrome at the moment.  Hopefully I'll be able to use Blogger with that.

I'll keep you posted.