Noel Whittaker answers your questions

Noel Whittaker answers your questions

I am 65 and find I am eligible for a part-aged pension of about $9640 in addition to my public-sector superannuation (PSS) pension of $23,816 a year. My wife receives a part-age pension of $10,842 a year plus income of $1600 a year. Do I have a tax liability?

You will both be eligible for the Senior Australians Tax Offset (SATO), which makes the first $26,680 a year each tax-free. Your wife will pay no tax and not be required to lodge a return. Your affairs are more complicated, so talk to an accountant. You will be entitled to use some of your wife's unused SATO and might be eligible for a 10 per cent offset on your PSS pension. The accountant might decide you do not have to pay tax, either.

I am in my early 30s, I've got about $220,000 owing on my only property and have a small share portfolio. I have no other debts and just let my employer make regular payments into my super. I have a little HECS debt but have just let this get paid off through my taxes. How should I tackle my investment strategy? In the present climate, should I just pay down my home loan, or should I buy some more shares? Is it ever a good time to cut back on home loan repayments and invest money elsewhere?

The earlier you can start investing the better because that gives compounding more time to work its magic. However, your first priority should be to get the mortgage under control so you can handle rate rises and any financial challenge such as being out of work. You are the best person to decide when your mortgage has become manageable.

Noel Whittaker, AM, is a co-founder of Whittaker Macnaught. Advice is general and readers should seek their own professional advice. Contact noel.whittaker@whittakermacnaught

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