Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Mon 12 Dec 2011



The Northern Territory news Mon 12 Dec 2011

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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www.ntnews.com.au Monday, December 12, 2011. NT NEWS. 33 P U B : NTNE-WS-DA-TE:12-DGE:33 CO-LO-R: C-M Y-K Save your Christmas coin Make financial stress vanish and enjoy the next 12 days CHRISTMAS is all about festive joy and fiscal stress. So its time to make the most of the last 12 days before Christmas with a program to not only limit any fiscal follies but to also ensure your gifts are financially fruitful. So here is your 12-day action plan. 1. Gifts that dont cost Learn to be creative in your gift giving. Many parents with younger children will appreciate your gift to babysit while they spend time alone. Do you like dogs and cats? A gift certificate to a pet owner for walking or grooming will be appreciated. 2. Sneaky shopper If you dont catch up with family until after Christmas, do your shopping at the Boxing Day and New Year sales. Youll save a bundle not only on gifts but also on the table decorations. 3. Use a debit card rather than a credit card All banks now offer debit cards, which can be used in the same way as credit cards, except youre using your own money in your own account rather than someone elses and paying an exorbitant interest rate for the privilege. Its a great way to keep your Christmas shopping budget on track. Once the moneys gone, its gone. 4. Earn extra cash to cover your expenses The Christmas/summer period can be a great time to turn that hobby of yours into a money-spinner. If you love knitting, craft, cooking or whatever, start a stall at the local markets or sell through local shops to earn a little extra cash to help survive the Christmas period. Stash the extra cash away to pay for Christmas fe stivities or for when the January credit card bill comes in. 5. Give a charity gift A lot of charities, such as World Vision and Oxfam, offer gift vouchers at Christmas where you can you buy things such as a chook, water hole or birthing kit for someone in need but in the name of your friend or relative. It really is the heart of the Christmas spirit and is also tax-deductible to you. 6. Shop online If you cant afford the time to shop around and compare prices, do it online. It saves time and the maddening Christmas melee around the cash register. Those with an iPhone can download an app called Red Laser. If you see an item in a store, scan the bar code and Red Laser will show you where to buy that product online and for what price. At least it will give you a bargaining chip. 7. Write down a financial blueprint Having a blueprint on what to do with your savings now and in the future is a vital ingredient of building wealth. It can be put together by a financial planner (make sure they are a member of the Financial Planning Association). Start with the financial planners at your bank or your accountant. Fees vary depending on the complexity of the plan but start at about $800, with the average about $2000. It is an ideal present for a loved one who is continually in financial disarray. 8. Help start a regular savings discipline Most people have the best intentions, but few actually start a disciplined savings program. Open a savings plan for that relative or grown-up child who simply refuses to save and needs the incentive. Most major fund managers offer savings plans, which can be opened with as little as $200 and require $50 a month to achieve maximum benefit. The money is invested in a balanced portfolio of shares, property and fixed-interest investments. Open the account in the name of the beneficiary, contribute the first $50 and then leave it up to them to keep their end of the bargain each month. It is a great incentive. 9. The gift of knowledge Knowledge is one of the best investments anyone can make and there are plenty of good books around. Stick to authors such as Paul Clitheroe and Noel Whittaker. And, of course, look out for our books as well. For any budding entrepreneurs you know, Warren Buffetts biography, Snowball, and the new biography on Steve Jobs would make inspirational gifts. Consider iP hone and iPad apps such as Bloomberg and CNN Money, which are great sources of information. 10. Golden bunker There is certainly a lot of doom and gloom around with a lot of scary predictions about Europe and raging inflation next year. Gold is best in a crisis and it has been a solid investment performer. This year gold has risen 25 per cent in value and has gone up in value over the past 11 consecutive years. Gold coins are a popular way to invest but you pay a fairly hefty price premium. A better alternative is simple gold bars, which cost about $927 for half an ounce. Perth Mint is the place to start or ask your bank. 11. Protect the future Amazingly, more than half the adult population does not have a will. If your spouse has not made a will, stop nagging them and give them one for Christmas. Ring up a local solicitor for a gift voucher to do a will up to a certain value or buy one of the will kits that have been endorsed by the legal professional bodies. The average cost of doing a will is $120-$2000, depending on the complexity. Like wills, thousands of Australians do not have the protection of a life insurance policy. Term life insurance cover is essential for anyone with dependants and financial commitments. Just be careful the way you present your loved one with a term life insurance policy, otherwise they could get the wrong impression. 12. Start them young How about a clear money box or piggy bank for youngsters? Put some coins in it for Christmas and organise a plan where you will offer to match any coins they put in from their pocket money. European compact should pushmarket higher Market THE Australian share market is expected to open strongly higher today after key offshore bourses jumped on the back of Europes latest plan to address its economic crisis. All 17 of the eurozone countries on Friday agreed to a fiscal compact on sustainable public finances and penalties for rule breakers. The plan, which would bring uniform discipline to government spending, was rejected by Britain, preventing it from applying to all 27 European Union countries. EU leaders also agreed to bring forward the start-up of the regions bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, to July next year. They also capped it at 500 billion euros. European central banks also agreed to lend 200 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for use in Europe in the hope that other countries would contrib ute. Additionally, the leaders pledged to remove demands that private investors share in the cost of bailouts. This would go some way to restoring confidence in European sovereign bonds as an investment, AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said. Mr Oliver said the boost to total bailout funds and the fiscal compact were to be welcomed, although the latter had an element of building a better barn door after the horse has bolted. As always, the latest plan lacks many details, will suf fer from implementation risks and does nothing to remove the reality that fiscal austerity will make the economic and budgetary situation get worse before it gets better, Mr Oliver said. That reality didnt stop share markets in Europe and the US gaining ground on Friday. Wall Streets Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.53 per cent to 12,181.76 points, the S&P 500 jumped 1.68 per cent to 1255.05 points, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite put on 1.94 per cent to 2646.85 points. Paris CAC-40 jumped 2.48 per cent to 3172.35 points, Frankfurts DAX-30 rose 1.91 per cent to 5986.71 points and Londons FTSE-100 index added 0.83 per cent to 5529.21 points. CommSec market analyst Savanth Sebastian said the local futures market, up 73 points, suggested the domestic bourse would open with big gains today. It indicated the Australian stock market could make up ground after closing weaker on Friday on expectations the European leaders sum mit wouldnt deliver a firm, credible plan to tackle the regions debt. Mr Oliver said the major focus this week would be to see whether the European Central Bank stepped up its bond-buying and whether other countries committed to providing support for Europe via the IMF. Mr Oliver said he expected Australian housing finance data for October, to be released today, would show very little change while housing starts were likely to have fallen further.

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