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"Dignified retirement": Aussies set for $21k cash boost

<p>The average Australian is set to receive a $21,000 cash boost following a change to superannuation contributions. </p> <p>From July the superannuation guarantee increased from 11 to 11.5 per cent, meaning that the compulsory superannuation payments made by employers have risen. </p> <p>This means that an average worker earning around $72,000 would pocket an extra $21,000 at retirement as a result of the permanent increase, according to an analysis by the Treasury Department. </p> <p>“Wages growth and tax cuts are putting cash in people’s pockets now, and our increase to the super guarantee will put cash in people’s pockets for the future,” Treasurer Jim Chalmers said.</p> <p>“This will make a meaningful difference for millions of Australians who deserve a dignified retirement.</p> <p>“The superannuation guarantee has increased three times under our government.”</p> <p>The government has been progressively increasing the super guarantee rate until it hits 12 per cent, which will come into effect from July 2025. </p> <p>The concessional super contributions cap - the amount that you can invest into your super each year without copping extra tax and includes employer payments - also increased on July 1, up from $27,500 to $30,000 per year.</p> <p>In addition to this, the after-tax super or non-concessional super contributions cap has also been increased from $110,000 to $120,000.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Aussies working in "priority occupations" eligible for cash increase

<p>Thousands of hard-working Aussies who work in certain areas are now eligible for new training and support payments of up to $10,000.</p> <p>The initiative comes to support Australians working in sectors with a high demand for skilled workers, and a commitment to clean energy.</p> <p>From July 1st, thousands of apprentices working in what the government deems as “priority occupations” are eligible for the $5,000 Australian Apprenticeship Training Support Payment. </p> <p>If those priority occupations also offer exposure and experience in “clean energy”, apprentices are instead eligible for the more lucrative New Energy Apprenticeship Support Payment of up to $10,000.</p> <p>The list of "priority occupations" is extensive and includes aged care workers, arborists, bakers, beauty therapists and many more. </p> <p>According to the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR), the jobs are characterised by a strong current demand for skilled workers, and a strong demand expected in the future.</p> <p>The clean energy jobs also include many different professions, with agricultural and agritech technicians, automotive electricians, regular electricians, gas fitters, glaziers, joiners, plumbers and welders all included.</p> <p>The full list of priority jobs can be found on the <a href="https://www.dewr.gov.au/skills-support-individuals/resources/appendix-australian-apprenticeship-priority-list-1-january-2024" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline">Department of Employment and Workplace Relations website.</a></p> <p>For the Australian Apprenticeship Training Support Payment, the $5000 payment comes in four instalments over two years, while the New Energy Apprentice Support Payment is paid out over the course of the apprenticeship — up to $5000 for part-time apprentices and up to $10,000 for full-time apprentices.</p> <p>It is hoped the payments will incentivise apprentices to remain on the career pathway.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Aussies urged to claim their share of millions of unclaimed cash

<p>Aussies are being urged to claim their share of $577 million which is sitting unclaimed with Revenue NSW, with about $234 million of that designated as belonging to residents who have yet to claim it.</p> <p>During the last financial year, NSW Government returned more than $21.8 million in unclaimed funds to Aussies, setting a record in the process. </p> <p>The unclaimed funds are comprised of payments, refunds, unpresented cheques, dividends and other money that organisations cannot transfer to its rightful owners, sometimes due to something as simple as changed addresses or bank accounts.</p> <p>While $234 million is being held by the government for NSW residents who are known, the further $343 million is designated to those who live outside New South Wales or are currently unknown. </p> <p>For Sydney residents alone, approximately $85.4 million is currently waiting to be claimed by rightful owners. </p> <p>The average amount of unclaimed money owed on the register is $391, and more than $154 million has been claimed back from the government in the past decade.</p> <p>“Despite doing our best to give unclaimed money back to the people it’s owed to, we’re still seeing more money referred to us than people are claiming,” Chief Commissioner of State Revenue Scott Johnston said.</p> <p>“We want to make sure everyone knows about the unclaimed money register, so they can jump online, find out if any money is owed to them and undertake the process to get it back."</p> <p>“That way we can ensure more money is being returned to those it belongs to, rather than sitting with us for extended periods of time after enterprises and organisations pass it on.”</p> <p>You can find more information about the unclaimed funds, and search the register for your share on <a href="https://www.revenue.nsw.gov.au/unclaimed-money" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline">Revenue NSW’s website</a>.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Aussie carers to receive a hefty cash boost

<p>Australian carers are set for a hefty financial increase in addition to their ongoing support payments from July 1st. </p> <p><a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/carer-supplement" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Services Australia</a> confirmed that those receiving the Centrelink Carer Supplement will see a $600 cash boost automatically hit their bank accounts between July 3rd and August 2nd. </p> <p>Carers will receive the $600 annual supplement for each of the carer payments they receive.</p> <p>That includes the Carer Payment, which provides income support for over 300,000 Australians who, “because of the demands of their caring role, are unable to support themselves through substantial paid employment.”</p> <p>The payment will also supplement recipients of the Carer Allowance, which can be received in addition to income support payments, and is received by over 640,000 carers who “provide daily care and attention at home for a person with a disability, severe medical condition or who is frail and aged”.</p> <p>Those receiving the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Partner Service Pension and Carer Allowance, and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Carer Service Pension will also be eligible for the cash boost. </p> <p>“How much you get depends on the percentage of care you provide,” Services Australia said.</p> <p>“You’ll get a Carer Supplement for each eligible payment you get. For example, if you get a Carer Payment and a Carer Allowance, you’ll get two Carer Supplements.”</p> <p>“This payment doesn’t add to your taxable income,” Services Australia said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Trying to save money? Our research suggests paying in cash – while you still can

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lachlan-schomburgk-1535737">Lachlan Schomburgk</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-belli-1538870">Alex Belli</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/arvid-o-i-hoffmann-1150527">Arvid O. I. Hoffmann</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p>Cash is in crisis. In Australia, it’s now only used for 16% of in-person transactions, down from <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/cash-use-and-attitudes-in-australia.html">about 70%</a> in 2007.</p> <p>The situation is so dire that on Monday, independent federal MP Andrew Gee introduced a <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/saving-the-lobster-prawn-and-pineapple-mps-fight-to-force-shops-to-take-cash-20240603-p5jit4.html">private member’s bill</a> that would force businesses to accept cash or else face big fines.</p> <p>The reality is that over the past decade, technological advancements have utterly transformed the way we pay for goods and services.</p> <p>Phones and smartwatches can now easily be used to pay by card, and buy-now-pay-later schemes and cryptocurrency payments offer further alternatives.</p> <p>The shift away from cash only <a href="https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2022/06/29/covid-19-drives-global-surge-in-use-of-digital-payments">accelerated</a> throughout the COVID pandemic, as health experts recommended avoiding using it for hygiene reasons.</p> <p>Despite these big changes in <em>how</em> we spend money, Australians have perhaps been more focused on <em>how much</em> amid a stubborn cost-of-living crisis.</p> <p>In light of this, our research team wanted to investigate how our choice of payment method can interact with our actual spending habits.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022435924000216#bib0104">latest research</a> offers a simple solution for anyone looking to save money — carry more cash!</p> <h2>We pay less when we pay cash</h2> <p>Drawing on both academic and industry sources, our research team combined the results from more than four decades of prior research on spending behaviour and payment methods into a large dataset.</p> <p>This data spanned 71 research papers, 17 countries, and more than 11,000 participants. State-of-the-art meta-analysis techniques then allowed us to collectively analyse the results from all these prior studies, and re-examine their insights.</p> <p>We found that cashless payments were indeed associated with higher levels of consumer spending compared to cash transactions, something that is referred to in the literature as the “cashless effect”.</p> <p>This cashless effect was consistent across all other payment methods in the data set.</p> <p>Put simply, it doesn’t matter whether you use a credit card, debit card or a buy-now-pay-later service – you are likely to spend more money using cashless methods than when you pay with cash.</p> <h2>The pain of paying</h2> <p>Under the traditional economic view that consumers behave rationally, there should be no differences in spending behaviour between different payment methods – money is money after all.</p> <p>But the existence of the cashless effect shows that the payment methods we use do indeed influence our spending behaviour.</p> <p>The leading theory to explain this effect attributes it to differences in the “pain of paying”, a concept <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280711796_The_Pain_of_Paying">first coined in 1996</a> that describes the emotions we feel when spending money.</p> <p>Importantly, our choice of payment method can influence the level of pain felt.</p> <p>When paying with cash, we have to physically count out notes and coins and hand them over. Humans seek to avoid losses, and paying by cash sees us physically lose a tangible object.</p> <p>Conversely, nothing has to be handed over to pay cashlessly. We don’t lose anything tangible with a swipe or a tap, so it feels less painful.</p> <p>Preliminary neurological evidence suggests that the “pain of paying” isn’t just an abstract metaphor, and we may feel actual psychological pain with each transaction we make.</p> <p><a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2901808">Research</a> employing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to observe brain activity in consumers has shown that paying activates brain regions related to experiencing psychological discomfort.</p> <p>Picture this: You’re at a theme park, excited for a fun day. You use your smartwatch to pay for snacks, souvenirs and rides. It’s all so convenient that you don’t realise how much you’re spending until you check your account later and see that you have completely blown your budget!</p> <p>This is the cashless effect in action − if nothing is physically handed over, it’s easy to lose track of how much is spent.</p> <h2>A great tool for budgeting – while it lasts</h2> <p>The cost of living crisis has made spending control front-of-mind for many people. Our meta-analysis suggests that returning to “cold hard cash” whenever possible could be one valuable tool to help.</p> <p>The increased friction felt when using cash could help people better control their money, even just by providing a moment to pause and consider whether a transaction is necessary.</p> <p>This could help individuals make more mindful decisions, saving money while they can in an increasingly cashless world.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231499/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lachlan-schomburgk-1535737">Lachlan Schomburgk</a>, PhD Researcher in Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-belli-1538870">Alex Belli</a>, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/arvid-o-i-hoffmann-1150527">Arvid O. I. Hoffmann</a>, Professor of Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/trying-to-save-money-our-research-suggests-paying-in-cash-while-you-still-can-231499">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Where did money come from?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/steven-hail-1302961">Steve<em>n Hail</em></a><em>, <a href="https://www.torrens.edu.au/">Torrens University Australia</a></em></p> <p>For the most part, economists continue to believe a story of money told to generations of students by a series of textbooks over the past 150 years.</p> <p>This story asks us to imagine a pre-monetary barter economy, where people bought goods and services by trading them for other goods and services.</p> <p>Eventually a suitable commodity – perhaps gold or silver – emerged as both an acceptable means of exchange for conducting trade and a convenient unit of account for expressing value.</p> <p>Later, coins were issued – eventually to be monopolised by governments – and later still paper money, credit, and banking systems.</p> <p>The problem with this story is that there is no historical evidence to support it. As was <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2802221?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents">noted</a> by prominent anthropologist Caroline Humphreys:</p> <blockquote> <p>No example of a barter economy, pure and simple, has ever been described, let alone the emergence from it of money … all available ethnography suggests that there has never been such a thing.</p> </blockquote> <p>So where did money come from exactly? One difficulty we face is that writing about money – what gives it value, and how monetary systems work – is not something young economists are generally encouraged to do.</p> <p>As a consequence, among the best articles ever written about money are two now more than 100 years old by British economist Alfred Mitchell-Innes, entitled “<a href="https://www.community-exchange.org/docs/what%20is%20money.htm">What is Money</a>?” and “<a href="https://cooperative-individualism.org/innes-a-mitchell_credit-theory-of-money-1914-dec-jan.pdf">The Credit Theory of Money</a>”.</p> <p>These papers, until recently almost completely ignored by the economics profession, tell a different story, rejecting the idea that money evolved naturally from barter.</p> <p>We can now be confident this version is closer to the truth. And it has big implications for how we think about the role of governments within monetary systems, and what gives money value. Acknowledging the true story of money would force a paradigm shift among economists – no wonder a lot of them don’t want to think about it.</p> <h2>Actually, early governments invented money</h2> <p>The truth is that money predates markets. <a href="https://youtu.be/7cLDFjTt4Bs?si=fDTafcZD_u1S23kD">Governments invented money</a> – it did not emerge independently from pre-existing barter systems.</p> <p>Market economies simply could not develop until money existed. For much of history, the currency tokens people regarded as money had little or no intrinsic value, taking the form of clay tablets, hazelwood tally sticks, base metals, shells or paper.</p> <p>The earliest forms of what Keynes called “modern money” – to distinguish it from gift tokens used for ceremonial purposes in communal groups – go back to the origins of taxation, accounting, and even literacy and numeracy. These early currencies were units of account used to assess the tributes that had to be paid to early governmental institutions in the Middle East.</p> <p>The word shekel is still used as a currency unit, but dates to ancient Babylon and the emergence of money itself, over 5,000 years ago.</p> <p>The idea that the need to pay taxes is what creates a demand for a currency was well understood by colonial governments. They knew how to introduce their currencies into countries they had invaded. To force locals to supply labour or goods to the government, they imposed a tax liability – often, a hut tax. This tax could only be paid using the currency of the colony.</p> <p>Locals had to either work for the colonial government or supply goods to others who did, else they wouldn’t have the specific currency needed to pay taxes. This created a demand for the colonial power’s currency, which the government could then spend.</p> <p>If such a government spent more overall than it withdrew in taxation – running a budget deficit – the community could add the remaining currency to its savings. Taxation and the legal system created a demand for the government’s money and provided the impetus for the development of a monetary economy.</p> <p>Even today, it’s the tax system that drives the monetary system. Demand for a government’s money is guaranteed because people need it to pay federal taxes.</p> <h2>But banks create money too</h2> <p>Actual physical cash makes up a tiny proportion of the money in circulation. Most of what we regard as money is held in our bank deposits, effectively a bunch of numbers on a ledger. Most of these bank deposits are created by banks when they make loans to us, and this is not government money at all – it is private money, created by the banks themselves.</p> <p>When a bank makes a loan to you, that loan becomes an <em>asset</em> for the bank, because you have to pay it back with interest. But at the same time, the loan appears as a deposit of funds in your account, which is a <em>liability</em> for the bank. Technically, you both owe each other.</p> <p>On paper, this means there’s now money in the system that wasn’t there before. The bank hasn’t actually lent you someone else’s money, the loan deposited in your account represents the bank’s IOU to you.</p> <p>Both the loan and the deposit are created by the bank, using nothing more than a computer keyboard. The bank has promised to use its holdings of government money to make payments on your behalf, including tax payments to the government, or to provide you with government money in the form of physical cash.</p> <p>As economist Hyman Minsky once said, “anyone can create money – the problem lies in getting it accepted”.</p> <p>Obviously, private banks don’t issue government currency. The Commonwealth government and its agent, the Reserve Bank of Australia, sit at the top of our own monetary system.</p> <p>Government-issued currency will always have value because it’s the unit of account needed to assess and pay our taxes. How much value the currency holds depends on how much the economy produces, how difficult it is to obtain the currency and on how much tax we have to pay.</p> <p>Here is some food for thought. If we accept that money and markets did not emerge naturally but had to be created by governmental institutions and legal systems, this means that there is no such thing as a genuinely free market, no such thing as a natural rate of unemployment, and no such thing as a natural distribution of income and wealth.</p> <p>The theory that money emerged naturally in the private sector encourages people to believe that free markets are natural systems in which governments only interfere. But in truth, early governments invented the very institutions of money and markets, and the regulatory frameworks that determined how those markets work and in whose interests.</p> <p>Exchange economies have always depended on systems of law and they always will. The more pertinent question concerns who writes those laws – and in whose interests those regulations are applied.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Correction: This article has been amended to reflect that a loan deposit represents a bank’s IOU to the customer, not to a bank’s other customers, as originally reported.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/229481/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/steven-hail-1302961"><em>Steven Hail</em></a><em>, Associate Professor, <a href="https://www.torrens.edu.au/">Torrens University Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/where-did-money-come-from-229481">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Bold idea sees hotel offer thousands in cash back if it rains

<p>In a move that's making waves in the travel industry, a posh hotel in the heart of Singapore has rolled out a revolutionary offer: rain insurance. Yes, you heard it right – rain insurance!</p> <p>InterContinental Singapore, a sanctuary for jet-setters seeking respite from both the humidity and the occasional tropical deluge, has unleashed a game-changer for travellers. Dubbed the "Rain Resist Bliss Package", this offer promises to keep your spirits high even when the rain gods decide to throw a dampener on your plans.</p> <p>Picture this: you've booked your suite at this 5-star haven, eagerly anticipating your Singapore escapade. But lo and behold, the forecast takes a turn for the soggy, threatening to rain on your parade – quite literally. Fear not, dear traveller, for with the Rain Resist Bliss Package, you can breathe easy knowing that if your plans get drenched, your wallet won't.</p> <p>Now, you might be wondering, how does this rain insurance work? Well, it's as simple as Singapore Sling on a sunny day. If the heavens decide to open up and rain on your parade for a cumulative 120 minutes within any four-hour block of daylight hours (that's 8am to 7pm for those not on island time), you're entitled to a refund equivalent to your single-night room rate. The package is available exclusively for suite room bookings starting from $SGD850 per night – so that’s around $965 rain-soaked dollars back in your pocket, no questions asked. No need to jump through hoops or perform a rain dance – just sit back, relax, and let the rain do its thing.</p> <p>And fret not about having to keep an eye on the sky – the clever folks at InterContinental Singapore have got you covered. They're tapping into the data from the National Environmental Agency Weather Station to automatically trigger those rain refunds. It's like having your own personal meteorologist ensuring that your plans stay as dry as your martini.</p> <p>But hey, if the rain does decide to crash your party, fear not! The hotel has an array of dining options to keep your tastebuds entertained while you wait for the clouds to part. And let's not forget, Singapore isn't just about sunshine and rainbows – there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you occupied, from feasting at Lau Pa Sat for an authentic hawker experience to retail therapy at Takashimaya.</p> <p>And here's a silver lining to those rain clouds: fewer tourists! That's right, while others might be scrambling for cover, you could be enjoying shorter lines, less crowded attractions, and even snagging better deals on accommodations. Plus, let's not overlook the fact that the rain brings a welcome respite from the tropical heat, making outdoor adventures all the more enjoyable once the showers subside.</p> <p>So, pack your umbrella and leave your worries behind. With InterContinental Singapore's Rain Resist Bliss Package, you can embrace the unpredictable and turn even the rainiest of days into a memorable adventure. After all, as they say, when life gives you lemons, make Singapore Slings and dance in the rain!</p> <p><em>Images: InterContinental Singapore / Getty Images</em></p>

International Travel

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Millions of Aussies to get cash boost in weeks

<p>Millions of Australians are set to receive more money when payments are indexed. </p> <p>On March 20, those on the age pension, disability support pension and carer payment will be pocketing extra money. </p> <p>Single people on the pension and carer payment can expect an extra $19.60, with maximum amount increasing to $1116.30. For couples, the rate will go up $29.40 per fortnight, with the maximum being $1682.80.</p> <p>People on rent assistance, JobSeeker, single parenting payments and ABSTUDY will also benefit from payment increases, with single parenting payment going up by $17.50 a fortnight.</p> <p>Single JobSeeker recipients with no kids, and people over 22 on ABSTUDY, will get an extra $13.50 per fortnight, while each member of a couple will get an additional $12.30 per fortnight.</p> <p>The government has also changed the eligibility criteria for parents seeking welfare payments, with the last budget revealing that 77,000 parents will receive benefits for the youngest child up to the age of 14 instead of eight. </p> <p>The income and assets limits will also be increased in line with indexation in March.</p> <p>Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said that these changes will be implemented to ensure that Centrelink recipients would be able to have more money in their accounts, with the rise in cost-of-living. </p> <p>“Our number one priority is addressing inflation and cost of living pressures,” Rishworth said.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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12 super simple ways to save some cash

<p>Saving money is a lot easier said than done. Whether you’ve got a holiday you’re thinking about taking, or you just want to make day to day life a little less stressful, there is a range of strategies you can employ to put a couple of dimes together. Here are 12 tips to cut costs:</p> <p>1. Don't buy luxury, sometimes the budget brands are just as good and save you heaps.</p> <p>2. Read the junk mail and compare offers because you can get a better deal where you didn't think you could.</p> <p>3. Cut unnecessary expenses and reduce, if possible, the necessary expenses as well.</p> <p>4. Buy used goods, it's cheaper and you can haggle.</p> <p>5. See if you can switch power companies. I'm aware of several people who are saving $250 a year.</p> <p>6. Borrow books and movies from the library or movie store - it's free or low cost compared to buying new and it's fast.</p> <p>7. Barter with family and friends, it's free and everyone wins.</p> <p>8. Take advantage of specials, sales and deals including buying in bulk, it can save you more than you realise.</p> <p>9. Walk, bike or car pool or use other public transport, it's good for the environment and saves you money.</p> <p>10. Shop around for the best deal, it might be better elsewhere.</p> <p>11. Follow insurance company advice: Don't smoke, do have alarms and do get multi policies - it protects you and saves cash.</p> <p>12. Have a savings account with all the savings from this and don't touch it, you will be amazed at what you have saved in a short time.</p> <p><em>Written by John Murphy. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz</span></strong></a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Money & Banking

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AusPost customer faces extra charge for using cash

<p dir="ltr">As conversations continue about moving to a cashless society, an Australia Post customer was outraged after being slapped with a charge for using cash. </p> <p dir="ltr">Brisbane resident Gerrie Hoogland shared her outrage after hearing about the supposed cash charge through a friend, who claims they were charged $2.20 for wanting to use cash to pay a bill. </p> <p dir="ltr">Hoogland recounted the story on X, formerly known as Twitter, to share the story, while asking if anyone else had encountered anything similar. </p> <p dir="ltr">She wrote, “A friend of my husband’s went to pay a bill at the Post Office last week. He gave them $82.00 in cash and they said they would have to charge him $2.20 for using cash.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“He refused to pay it after telling them cash is legal tender, and then he left without paying the bill at all. Is anyone else hearing more of this?”</p> <p dir="ltr">A number of Aussies took to the comments to call out Australia Post for being “shady”, with some calling the fee a “scam” and a “disgrace”. </p> <p dir="ltr">However the outrage towards Australia Post may be misplaced. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em><a href="https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/australia-post-customer-charged-220-for-using-cash---but-is-the-outrage-warranted-025519571.html">Yahoo Finance</a></em> has contacted the national postal service and understands the fee is set by individual billers, rather than Australia Post themselves.</p> <p dir="ltr">The fee relates to bills paid in person at an Australia Post outlet via Post Billpay and can apply to both cash and card transactions, and whether or not the fee is passed onto the customer will depend on the individual biller. </p> <p dir="ltr">In recent years, a number of billers charge an additional payment fee for bills paid in person, with some notable examples include telcos Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-934db778-7fff-f88e-e460-f8550a0ce109"></span></p>

Money & Banking

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"Like the cash cow had come out": Commuters puzzled by money bundles on motorway

<p>Motorists in Perth have been left puzzled after bundles of cash were spotted flying across a motorway. </p> <p>On Monday evening, several members of the public called Western Australia police after up to $40,000 in cold hard cash was seen flying across the Mitchell Fwy in Connolly, in the city’s northern suburbs. </p> <p>According to Commissioner Col Blanch, honest civilians bundled up some of the mysterious money and “came forward with large wads of cash”.</p> <p>“We believe that up to $40,000 has been recovered,” he said.</p> <p>Police believe that the money came from an alleged drug deal gone wrong, but the incident is still under investigation. </p> <p>"It looks like it was a total fiasco by the person involved and probably not one of our smartest (alleged) offenders," Mr Blanch said.</p> <p>"It's like the cash cow had come out, and there was cash flying everywhere."</p> <p>"There's no more money on the freeway … let's not go there."</p> <p>After police attended the scene, they arrested a man close by who had another $8,000 in his possession, along with 51g of cocaine. </p> <p>Despite some people stopping to retrieve the money to hand over to police, the free money prompted some motorists to stop their cars to retrieve a share for themselves.</p> <p>Talk on social media suggested one commuter even pocketed about $10,000. </p> <p><em>Image credits: WA Police</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Flower tycoon pays $76 million in CASH for epic mansion

<p>A Sydney businessman and flower mogul has expanded his real estate portfolio, snapping up one of NSW's most prestigious properties. </p> <p>Leo Lynch and his wife Christina have bought a Federation mansion in Sydney's Bellevue Hill, with the eight-bedroom eight-bathroom property boasting impressive views of Sydney Harbour. </p> <p>The mansion, which was built in the 1890s, also showcases a pool, tennis court, and endless luxury amenities for the well-off buyers. </p> <p>"Designed by architect Walter Vernon," read the listing for the property, "the home is considered his most significant residence. Other heritage buildings designed by Vernon include the Australian Museum, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Central Railway Station. A truly rare offering to earn a piece of Australian history."</p> <p>While securing the house seems like a huge feat in itself, the Lynch's decided to take the purchase to the next level, buying the home for $76 million in cold hard cash. </p> <p>Despite paying the whopping eight-figure for the mansion, the home needs work and is set to undergo renovations. </p> <p>The purchase of the property, named Leura, comes just after the Lynch's sold their former home for $52.4million more than he bought it.</p> <p>The same night he made the enormous purchase for the Leura estate, he sold his mystery home, just blocks away, for $61.5 million after rebuilding the property he had bought for just $9.05 million in 2014.</p> <p>Leo Lynch, 60, is a third generation of the wholesale flower family's company, founded in 1915 and for which private equity group Next Capital took a majority interest in 2015, before it was publicly listed in 2021.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Domain</em></p>

Real Estate

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“This is their money”: Aussies to receive cash boost in days

<p>The Australian government appears to be on a mission to play Santa, as it attempts to return a whopping $234 million in unclaimed Medicare benefits to one million of its hard-working citizens. Move over, jolly old Saint Nick; it's time for Bill "Santa" Shorten to shine.</p> <p>It turns out that Australians have been missing out on an average of $240 each in Medicare rebates, akin to losing a crisp, green note between the couch cushions – but on a national scale.</p> <p>Apparently, the government has been holding onto this financial treasure trove because some Aussies forgot to update their bank details with Medicare. Who knew that keeping your bank info up-to-date could be more rewarding than finding a forgotten $20 in last winter's coat?</p> <p>Government Services Minister Bill Shorten is riding the sleigh of generosity, announcing that, "We know Australians are doing it tough, and I want to reunite people with millions in unpaid Medicare benefits before the holidays." </p> <p>In the grand spirit of giving, Shorten has a plan. Australians can reclaim their lost loot within three days by undertaking the Herculean task of updating their bank account details on the myGov website. It's like a high-stakes version of changing your password but with a much more tangible reward – immediate funds in time for holiday shopping sprees.</p> <p>According to Shorten, the age group with the most to gain from this unexpected Christmas bonus is 18 to 24-year-olds, collectively owed a jaw-dropping $49 million. It seems like Santa Shorten is making a list and checking it twice, ensuring even the Millennials and Gen Zs get their fair share of financial cheer.</p> <p>While nearly 700,000 lucky Aussies are set to receive a notification about their long-lost financial windfall, there's a Grinchy catch: 300,000 individuals without a myGov account may remain out of reach. It's a modern-day Christmas tragedy – the equivalent of getting coal in your stocking because you forgot to sign up for the "nice" list.</p> <p>Opposition spokesman Paul Fletcher is urging Australians to create a myGov account, stating, "Two minutes on the app, three days later money in your account, good news for Christmas." It's like a financial magic trick - poof, and the money appears!</p> <p>In the midst of this Yuletide monetary magic, opposition spokesman Paul Fletcher throws some shade, claiming the coalition exposed these unclaimed benefits figures in October. "Families are struggling with cost-of-living pressures, and this is their money, not the government's," he declared, sounding like a fiscal superhero fighting for the rights of the underpaid and overtaxed.</p> <p>So, as Aussies rush to create myGov accounts and update their banking details, it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Santa Shorten and his merry band of government officials are on a mission to spread holiday cheer, one direct deposit at a time.</p> <p>Who needs mistletoe when you can kiss your financial worries goodbye, thanks to the jingling sound of unclaimed Medicare benefits? It's the season of giving, after all, and in Australia, Santa Shorten is coming to town.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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New commemorative Queen coin worth serious cash

<p>The Royal Australian Mint has confirmed that it will be releasing a commemorative 50c coin to celebrate the life of Queen Elizabeth II, on Thursday. </p> <p>The coin will feature all six effigies which have been featured on Australian coins during the late monarch’s reign, with two versions up for sale. </p> <p>One is an uncirculated version which will cost $15 and, the other is silver proof edition for $135.</p> <p>“With limited mintage, this coin is expected to be a highly prized addition to any coin collection,” the Mint said. </p> <p>Australian coin expert Joel Kandia said that online marketplaces are already selling the coin at “seven times the RRP”. </p> <p>Royal Australian Mint CEO Leigh Gordon added that this latest release is the perfect tribute to the late Queen. </p> <p>“Historically, coins bear witness to a Monarch’s reign with their royal effigies appearing on the obverse. In keeping with that tradition, this exceptional coin showcases the Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Effigy by Jody Clark on the obverse,” he said. </p> <p>“The Mint’s trademark storytelling is strongly represented on the coin’s reverse, which features a central design depicting the first six effigies, fanned above the Queen’s royal cypher.”</p> <p>This surprise release will be in high demand, with a “frenzy” expected for coin collectors, according to the Perth coin and bank note expert. </p> <p>“It is essentially the last coin commemorating the Queen,” Kandiah said in an interview with<em> 7News</em>. </p> <p>“It is extremely special because it features all six effigies of the Queen that have appeared on Australian coinage since 1954, so it unique in that respect.</p> <p>“There will definitely be a frenzy, which is why the RAM have reduced the allocation to just one per person through their physical store, through the phone and their authorised distributors.</p> <p>“There have been murmurings about the coin for a while, so collectors are really excited to see it confirmed and able for purchase.”</p> <p>The uncirculated coin itself will have a mintage of  25,000 and the silver proof version has an even lower mintage of 7,500. </p> <p>The coins will be for sale at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra from 8.30am on Thursday November 23, through the Mint’s Contact Centre on <strong>1300 352 020</strong>, or through the Mint’s authorised distributors.</p> <p><em>Image: Royal Australian Mint</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Cash could be almost gone in Australia in a decade – but like cheques, who’ll miss it?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>Late last year, the Reserve Bank gave 1,000 Australians diaries and asked them to record every payment they made over the course of a week. Of the 13,000 payments, only <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/consumer-payment-behaviour-in-australia.html">17</a> were with cheques.</p> <p>It’s been an astounding collapse. Back in 1980 at the start of the credit card era, <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/1996/oct/pdf/bu-1096-2.pdf">85%</a> of non-cash payments were made with cheques. Today it’s less than <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/consumer-payment-behaviour-in-australia.html">0.1%</a>.</p> <p>Earlier this month, the government announced it was following <a href="https://www.justice.govt.nz/about/news-and-media/news/the-ministry-is-phasing-out-payment-by-cheque/">New Zealand</a>, Denmark, the Netherlands and <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/the-death-of-the-cheque-book-australia-to-phase-out-cheques/qu0e4xf55">others</a>, closing our cheque system down by <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/jim-chalmers-2022/media-releases/modernising-payments-infrastructure-phasing-out-cheques">2030</a>.</p> <p>Meanwhile, New Zealand is already on to the next thing. Having <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/300011579/bnz-anz-westpac-to-phase-out-cheque-use">phased out cheques</a>, it’s now looking at winding down the use of <a href="https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/-/media/project/sites/rbnz/files/research/future-of-cash-issues-paper.pdf">cash</a>.</p> <p>So how close is Australia now to becoming a cash-free nation?</p> <h2>The hidden costs of cheques and cash</h2> <p>Cheques are horrendously expensive to process. The average cost of everything that had to happen to process a cheque exceeds <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2014/pdf/rdp2014-14.pdf">$5</a> per payment, mostly borne by banks.</p> <p>But cash is expensive in its own way. The average cost of creating, sorting and trucking all those sheets of plastic and coins exceeds <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2014/pdf/rdp2014-14.pdf">50 cents</a> per payment, mostly passed on to banks and retailers, and it is soaring as the number of payments plummets.</p> <p>As recently as 2007, the vast bulk of consumer payments – 69% – were in cash. By 2019 only 27% were in cash. By 2022, after two years of COVID, it was only <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/consumer-payment-behaviour-in-australia.html">13%</a>.</p> <p>At this rate, it’s hard to be certain how long cash will last.</p> <h2>What made cheques so slow and costly</h2> <p>For those who’ve never had to write one, cheques are bank-issued pieces of paper on which the owner writes the name of the person they want the bank to pay and the amount. They they hand it to that person, who then hands it to their bank, which then tries to get the money from the payer’s bank.</p> <figure class="align-right "><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>Behind the scenes, until recently when the electronic transmission of digital images changed things, each bank would collect all the cheques that had been presented to its branches each day and sort them into bags, one for each originating bank.</p> <p>Then, late at night, its “bag man” would travel to a nondescript city location with a bag for each bank, hand the correct one to each of the other bagmen, and be given bags in return, which the bagman would take back to the bank for signature checking.</p> <p>When each bank worked out what it owed the other bank, they would usually discover the flows largely cancelled each other out, and then make net payments which would be reflected in the cheque-writer’s account, up to five business days later.</p> <p>Always expensive, the cost per cheque grew and grew as the number of Australians paying with cheques dwindled to a fraction of what it had been.</p> <h2>How moving cash became a loss-making business</h2> <p>It’s the same sort of story with cash. Although we don’t often think about it, cash costs an awful lot to move, sort and restock.</p> <p>Printing the notes still makes money – it costs about 32 cents to make each note, whether it’s worth $5 or $100, although making some coins now <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-mint-and-note-printing-australia-make-billions-for-australia-but-it-could-be-at-risk-190901">loses money</a>.</p> <p>The real expense is in moving notes and coins around, keeping them nearby and restocking banks and cash registers. Aside from payments the Reserve Bank makes to banks for returning damaged notes, the banks (and, through them, the retailers) are expected to pay for the lot.</p> <p>Until recently that gave the two firms that dominate the business (Linfox Armaguard, and Prosegur, which owns Chubb Security) a pretty good deal.</p> <p>Except that the volume of cash they’ve carried has dived <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/public-registers/documents/Application%20for%20merger%20authorisation%20-%2027.09.22%20-%20PR%20VERSION%20-%20MA1000022%20Armaguard%20Prosegur.pdf">47%</a> over the past ten years, 30% of it during COVID.</p> <p>Both firms say their money-moving arms are incurring “heavy financial losses” and that if they increase their prices much more, retailers might move even <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/532829/original/file-20230620-48940-4a5amn.PNG">further away from cash</a>, pushing their costs even higher.</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>Last week, the Competition and Consumer Commission allowed them to <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/public-registers/mergers-registers/merger-authorisations-register/linfox-armaguard-pty-ltd-and-prosegur-australia-holdings-pty-ltd-proposed-merger">merge</a> on the condition that they limit their price increases to the consumer index plus 7.5% per year. That increase is so steep as to suggest a <a href="https://www.energynetworks.com.au/news/energy-insider/the-death-spiral/">death spiral</a>: the more they charge, the less retailers will use cash, the more they’ll have to charge.</p> <p>The only way out, unless they can make really big efficiencies, or unless the decline in the use of cash stops, would be for the government to return to subsidising the use of cash. It’s hard to see how it could make the case to do that when there are cheaper emerging technologies.</p> <p>Bank transfers cost a <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2014/pdf/rdp2014-14.pdf">mere fraction</a> of using cash, and pretty soon we’ll be able to use them for everything, via things such as <a href="https://www.mobiletransaction.org/qr-code-payment-works/">QR codes</a>.</p> <h2>So when will cash go the way of cheques?</h2> <p>A previous federal government has already tried to eliminate the use of cash for transactions worth more than $10,000, as part of its attack on the black economy.</p> <p>Announced in 2016 by the Turnbull Coalition government, the ban was due to come into force in <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/kelly-odwyer-2016/media-releases/tackling-illegal-behaviour-black-economy">2019</a>. But, after delays, in 2020 the Morrison-led Coalition government <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-07/cash-ban-law-10000-dollars-abandoned-amid-covid-crisis/12951720">backed down</a>.</p> <p>If Australia wants to ban cash (and ban it for small transactions too – cash is now used less than cards for transactions <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/cash-use-and-attitudes-in-australia.html">of all sizes</a>) the easiest solution might be simply to wait.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="HykMF" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/HykMF/10/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Cards are now the dominant means of exchanging money, and electronic transfers are growing from a small base.</p> <p>Pure extrapolation would suggest cash has less than a decade to go, but it will probably hang around for longer as an (expensive, little-used) backup that maintains privacy.</p> <p>Like cheques, cash will probably die <a href="https://quoteinvestigator.com/2018/08/06/bankrupt/">gradually, then suddenly</a>. By the time it does, there will be few users left who care.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/208020/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, Visiting Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/cash-could-be-almost-gone-in-australia-in-a-decade-but-like-cheques-wholl-miss-it-208020">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"Ice in his veins": Stunning result in First Ashes Test

<p>Australia has emerged victorious in the first Ashes Test, with captain Pat Cummins chasing down 281 with just two wickets left inside the final five overs on the last day at Edgbaston.</p> <p>Cummins scored an unbeaten 44 as he and Nathan Lyon (16) put on 55 for the ninth wicket to bag the win — a thrilling reversal of Australia’s famous two-run loss at the same ground in 2005.</p> <p>The captain and Lyon hit occasional boundaries, wearing several short balls on the body before Cummins got a thick edge to third man off Robinson and Harry Brook’s fumble on the boundary saw Aussie fans and players erupt in raptures — reigning in a 1-0 lead in the series.</p> <p>"Ice in his veins," England great Michael Atherton said in commentary when Cummins' boundary sealed the result.</p> <p>"Pat Cummins has led his side to a famous victory here at Edgbaston.</p> <p>"Seventy-two they needed when he came to the crease and he has got his team over the line.”</p> <p>Aussie cricket legend Ricky Ponting was astounded.</p> <p>"What an end to a Test match, what a game of cricket," the former captain said.</p> <p>Needing 174 runs to win at the start of the day, in-form opener Usman Khawaja laid a platform for the late charge with 65 off 197 balls, before being bowled late in the day.</p> <p>He admitted he was “Sh****ng [himself]” as he watched the rest of the brutal run chase from the sheds.</p> <p>Despite being confined to a knee brace, Ben Strokes brought himself on to bowl and claimed the wicket of the eventual man of the match, Usman Khawaja.</p> <p>As the Aussie dressing room spiralled into a frenzy, an elated Cummins raced over to Lyon at the opposite end of the wicket and lifted his batting partner off the ground.</p> <p>The pair were then seen in a triumphant embrace as ecstatic Aussies in the Birmingham crowd celebrated the incredible result.</p> <p>The victory — initially appearing highly unlikely when Lyon joined Cummins with the visitors needing 54 runs to win — made for Australia’s highest successful run chase against England since 1948.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

News

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Returning and Earning for your community

<p>Charities and community groups across NSW are cashing in empty drink containers to support their important work in the community, all with the added benefit of helping the environment. It’s an easy win-win to fundraise through Return and Earn, and it makes donating to a local charity or community group very easy.</p> <p>Return and Earn is the incredibly successful container deposit scheme in NSW, where 10 cents is refunded for every eligible drink container returned for recycling through the network of 600+ return points across the state.</p> <p>Since launching over five years ago, <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Return and Earn</a> has become an important and well used channel for charities and community groups fundraising to support a range of local and broader causes. Groups such as Rotary and Lions Clubs, animal rescue organisations, and fire and rescue services are just a few of the many different cohorts that have partnered with Return and Earn and relied on the generosity of NSW citizens to help them do vital work in their communities.</p> <p>“We’ve seen many groups really embrace the scheme, showing a humbling passion for giving back to the community – whether it’s to help fund an event for a local club, or to donate to a charity,” said Danielle Smalley, CEO of scheme coordinator, Exchange for Change.</p> <p>“Some of these groups have raised a lot of money from recycling drink containers through Return and Earn. Often local residents and businesses are handing over their containers or donating their refunds to support the cause, proving there is enormous goodwill in the community.”</p> <p>The Gerringong Lions Club recently celebrated one million containers collected, raising $100,000 that was donated to a variety of causes including medical research, local sporting facilities, as well as helping both Australian and oversees Lions Clubs provide relief during catastrophes.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-67811" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Gerringong-Lions-Club-image-2-for-article-2_RD.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p><em>The Gerringong Lions Club are now raising around $20,000 each year.</em></p> <p>The COVID shutdowns and restrictions put a halt to the activities that would normally bring funds to the club. Return and Earn was the only means for the club to generate an income to help the community during this time.</p> <p>As routine users of the scheme, the Gerringong Lions Club are now raising around $20,000 each year, all the while making positive impacts to the environment.</p> <p>Bruce Ray is a past president and active member of the club, and says he gets a sense of satisfaction knowing they are helping the community while also looking out for the environment.</p> <p>“We have the bins at the hotel, the bowling club, and campgrounds. The club also provides the container collection bins for events such as weddings and uses them at local New Years’ Eve events,” said Mr Ray.</p> <p>In Cobar, the local Rotary Club is also using Return and Earn to support the work in their community. They partnered with the local Girl Guides who help the club sort through any drink containers collected. They’ve now raised more than $25,000 since they began in early 2020.</p> <p>Club Secretary Gordon Hill said that one of the benefits for the Girl Guides is the real-world experience in seeing how much locally created waste can be recycled.</p> <p>“It also provides a healthy opportunity for a challenge to see which girls can pack the most containers during a 1.5 to 2 hour session. The record currently stands at 3,080, but the challenge continues,” Gordon added.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-67813" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Cobar-Rotary-Club-image-for-article-2_RD.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p><em>In Cobar, the local Rotary Club has partnered with the Girl Guides to help with sorting!</em></p> <p>Since Return and Earn launched in December 2017, over $42 million has been raised through donations and return point hosting fees. The funds have made a significant difference to individuals and groups who have received the support.</p> <p>“There are a lot more collection drives in the community that we don’t track, so the total fundraising amount is in fact even higher,” Ms Smalley said.</p> <p>“We encourage all our Return and Earn users to consider donating containers to a local charity or community group either at the nearest Return and Earn machine or using the Return and Earn app.</p> <p>“And if you’re a member of a group looking for an easy and effective way to fundraise, consider Return and Earn where you can double the benefit by raising funds while also helping the environment.”</p> <p>Every Return and Earn machine features a local donation partner, to whom users can donate part or all of their refunds to. The charity listed changes every six months to give as many groups as possible the opportunity.</p> <p>Charities and groups can also elect to be listed on the Return and Earn app, allowing anyone using the app at a machine or automated depot to donate direct to their favourite charity. There are currently over 170 charities featured on the app.</p> <p>When using a Return and Earn machine, select donate, then select which of the charities listed you want the funds to go. If you’re using the Return and Earn app, simply select donation as your payout option and then select the charity or group you would like to donate your refund to.</p> <p>“Contributions don’t need to be big to make a difference. It can be as easy as collecting a few eligible drink containers and donating them to a charity, helping local communities thrive while looking after the environment.” said Ms Smalley.</p> <p>For more information on donating through Return and Earn visit <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/donate/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">returnandearn.org.au/donate/</a></p> <p><em>Images: Supplied</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Return and Earn.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Seinfeld and Analyze This star dies at age 93

<p>Comedian and actor Pat Cooper has passed away peacefully in his Las Vegas home at 93 years of age.</p> <p>Cooper was known for his regular appearances on <em>The Howard Stern Show</em>, and his role in the film <em>Analyze This </em>alongside Robert De Niro, as well as its sequel <em>Analyze That</em>.</p> <p>His producer, Steve Garrin confirmed the news of the star’s death to <em>Fox News Digita</em>l.</p> <p>"There was nobody like Pat Cooper, who burned every bridge that he went over. I put out a lot of the fires!" he joked.</p> <p>“He was one man who was honest. You could depend on him. You could trust him. If he gave you his word and said he was going to do something, he did it. And he helped so many people,” Garrin added.</p> <p>The Brooklyn-born comic also made a brief appearance in a <em>Seinfeld </em>episode titled <em>The Friar's Club</em>, where he played himself, after his reputation as the roast-master at the Friar's Club - where comedians throw their best jokes at each other - garnered the attention of Larry David.</p> <p>“I was sitting at his table in his kitchen and the phone rings, and it’s Larry David,” Garrin recalled the moment Cooper was asked to appear on the show.</p> <p>"He picks up the phone, and he hangs it up. I go, ‘What was that?’ He says, ‘Some nut.’ The phone rings again, and he picks it up, and he hangs it up.</p> <p>“I said, ‘What’s going on with you?’ and he goes, ‘Some guy says he’s Larry David,’ and I said, ‘Well, maybe if he calls again, see if it is,’” Garrin added.</p> <p>A few comedians have paid tribute to the star.</p> <p>“Rest in Peace Pat Cooper. No one ever had the fire for as long as you did. An absolute force of nature and one of the greatest comedians I’ve ever seen,” wrote American comedian, Bill Burr, on Twitter.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Rest in Peace Pat Cooper. No one ever had the fire for as long as you did. An absolute force of nature and one of the greatest comedians I’ve ever seen.</p> <p>— Bill Burr (@billburr) <a href="https://twitter.com/billburr/status/1666843262714535937?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 8, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>“RIP Pat Cooper. I was lucky enough to interact with him on the radio, as well as Tough Crowd. We lived in the same neighbourhood and he always took the time to stop and talk for a few minutes in front of his apt,” tweeted American comedian Jim Norton.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">RIP Pat Cooper. I was lucky enough to interact with him on the radio, as well as Tough Crowd. We lived in the same neighborhood and he always took the time to stop and talk for a few minutes in front of his apt. His energy was limitless. Pat was an unstoppable, hilarious force.</p> <p>— Jim Norton (@JimNorton) <a href="https://twitter.com/JimNorton/status/1666619128273068032?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 8, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>“His energy was limitless. Pat was an unstoppable, hilarious force,” he added.</p> <p>Cooper is survived by his wife, Emily Conner, two daughters and a son.</p> <p><em>Image: Grant Lamos IV/ FilmMagic/ Getty Images</em></p>

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5 super simple ways to save cash for retirement

<p>During the lead-in to retirement, money management becomes more important than ever. And while we often get lost pondering over in the major financial decisions, getting the minor financial decisions right can be just as important.</p> <p>We’re going to run through five simple ways any soon-to-be-retiree can save cash for their golden years. Sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest difference. </p> <p><strong>1. Set targets</strong></p> <p>Saving can be difficult if you don’t know where the goalposts are placed. But how much do you really need to retire? As <a href="http://119.9.30.84/blog/are-you-retirement-ready" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Equip notes</span></strong></a>, “According to ASFA (the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia), a couple needs approximately $640,000 in retirement savings for a comfortable lifestyle. For a single person that number is $545,000.”</p> <p>Setting minor saving targets, even if it’s just a little bit of money here and there every week, can get the ball rolling and start putting yourself in a position to prop up your nest egg.</p> <p><strong>2. Shop smarter</strong></p> <p>While you don’t want to be living like a miser, smarter shopping choices can add up. Keeping your ear to the ground for discounts, taking advantage of specials and avoiding any discretionary purchases will help keep you in the black.</p> <p><strong>3. Clear any outstanding debt</strong></p> <p>Debt can be an inconvenient drain on your income in the lead-in to retirement. If you’re set to take the plunge and find yourself in a mire of debt, it’s important to take necessary steps as soon as possible, which might mean finding a financial planner. </p> <p><a href="http://119.9.30.84/blog/are-you-retirement-ready" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Equip says</span></strong></a>, “Having outstanding debts as you approach retirement isn’t necessarily a problem, but it does require some planning. For example - do you use your super to pay off your mortgage? There’s no simple answer, but speaking to a financial planner can help you understand your options and what they mean in the long term.”</p> <p><strong>4. Change spending habits</strong></p> <p>Ultimately, if you’re looking to save some extra cash for retirement you’re going to have to change your spending habits. Little things like drinking coffee at home, or staying in for lunch and dinner can make a big difference in the long run.</p> <p><strong>5. Explore your options</strong></p> <p>Taking the measures listed above is a good start, but you’re only scratching the surface of what you can do to prop up your retirement income. <a href="https://www.equipsuper.com.au/financial-planning/meet-our-financial-planners" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Qualified financial planners</span></strong></a> can give you advice and guidance on little things you can do in your day to day life that will ensure you’re in a better position when you’ve reached retirement. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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