Autumn Edition 2010 Fixed interest rate ideas are in a spin THE Reserve Bank's decision last week to leave the official cash rate on hold has put a new spin on the "fixed or variable'' debate. Financial markets have gone from pricing in a cash rate of 5.5 per cent by the end of the year to pricing in a rate of less than 4.5 per cent. That means variable rates are unlikely to rise by as much as was feared, and also that fixed rates are due to be repriced downwards. While the decision of whether to fix or stay variable confuses everybody at some point, the pressure on owners of investment properties to get it right can be even greater because many have two mortgages to maintain. However, experts say there are ways to minimise the impact of a rate rise on your investment property, but any increase on your principal residence has to be taken on the chin. So, we say, if you're going to fix anything, consider fixing the mortgage on your family home. "Broadly speaking, there is more you can do about rate hikes on an investment property than there is on your home, but talk to us as everyone’s situation is different''. First, there is negative gearing the ability to add up all of your outgoings on your investment property, including interest, insurances and expenses, and offset a portion equivalent to your tax rate off your tax bill. This doesn't help much with cash flow. So landlords who are struggling can apply for an income tax variation which enables them to have the benefits of negative gearing effectively added to their monthly salary. Investors can apply for a Section 221D variation, which allows you to provide the tax office with an estimate of what your tax position will be at the end of the year, the ATO will then contact your employer, who will deduct less tax from your pay cheque. Our advice from Infochoice.com.au chief executive Shaun Cornelius says the premium to fix rates is just too high. "If you look at three-year fixes you're paying about 1.1 per cent more for fixed rates compared to variable rates,'' he says. Remember if at any time you are concerned about your current loan situation please call me to discuss any options that may be available to you. Competition Winner Announcement The WINNER of our Summer Edition 2009 Newsletter ‘Win an Overnight Stay and Show Package’ competition is: ANGELA TILBROOK of Everton Park, QLD Congratulations! You have won an overnight stay and show package in your Capital City to the value of $500. Also in this issue: How big is the Internet? The type of getaway you fancy may depend on your star sign! Hobbies Page 2 How big is the internet? Epic scale... feel like you've got information overload? There are now so many website addresses that it would take one person 31,000 years without any sleep to visit all of them | Source: news.com.au The internet has permeated everything from buying to banking. But just how big is it? Microsoft's Bing team puts the amount of web pages at "over one trillion". And Google has already indexed more than one trillion discrete web addresses. There are more addresses than there are people on Earth. The current global population stands at more than 6.7 billion. That means there are about 150 web addresses per person in the world. Translated: If you spent just one minute reading every website in existence, you’d be kept busy for 31,000 years. Without any sleep. Bing was more generous with its estimate for those who take more time to read. "An average person would need six hundred thousand decades of nonstop reading to read through the information," it said. Number of users - Mark Higginson, director of analytics for Nielsen Online, said the global online population had jumped 16 per cent since last year. "Approximately 1.46 billion people worldwide now use the internet which represents a solid 16 per cent increase from the previous year’s estimate (1.26 billion in 2007)," The largest internet population belongs to China, which claimed this week to have more users online – 338 million - than there were people in the US. However InternetWorldStats.com (IWS), a website that combines multiple data sources, claims China's online population is more like 298 million, just a few million shy of overtaking the US population. "With the rates of India and China still quite low, there is ample room for growth in the coming decade," Mr Higginson said. Measuring the online population can be tricky. There are servers, users, per capita numbers, and penetration percentages to evaluate. It's an epic-scale guessing game using a series of sources to get just one number. IWS combines data from the UN's International Telecommunications Union, Nielsen Online, GfK and US Census Bureau. Its latest global figures puts the number of internet users in the world at 1,596,270,108. That's just 23.8 per cent of the estimated 6,0706,993,152 people in the world. But it changes every day. "In terms of the future, we anticipate mobile to contribute significantly to internet usage," Mr Higginson said. "In the US, the number of people accessing the internet through mobile devices grew 74 per cent between February 2007 and February 2009." How we size up - According to IWS, the top 5 countries with the most internet users are: 1 - China (298,000,000 users, or 22.4% of their population) 2 – US (227,190,989, or 74.7%) 3 – Japan (94,000,000, or 73.8%) 4 – India (81,000,000, or 7.1%) 5 – Brazil (67,510,400, or 34.4%) Australia comes in at 25th, with 16,926,015 internet users. But we zoom all the way up to 7th place if we measure what percentage of the population uses the internet – a whopping 80.6 per cent, according to IWS. "The Australian online population has now reached maturity in terms of the number of people online and their experience using the internet," Mr Higginson said. "Despite this fact, the rate of internet participation, Australia- wide, increased notably for the first time in several years," he said, adding that the latest Nielsen statistics showed it had jumped 6 percentage points to 86 per cent. However, even experts aren't keen to guess when every person in the world will be online. "It's too hard to tell," Page 3 The type of getaway you fancy may depend on your star sign! Adventurous Aquarians tend to travel to exotic destinations such as Thailand and Hawaii. Source: The Sunday Telegraph WE all love to go on holiday, but the type of getaway you fancy may be written in the stars, according to Jetstar. The airline, after looking at the travel habits of almost 2000 of its customers over six months, said it found that travel choices were strongly influenced by the horoscope. Aries travellers, who astrologers say tend to be dynamic types, were most likely to holiday in long-haul destinations such as Hawaii. The apparently more cautious Virgos, on the other hand, preferred to stick closer to home: a third of their bookings were for flights to the Gold Coast. Libras, said to be free-spirited, tended to buy tickets at the last minute, while the apparently cool-headed Scorpios were most likely to take advantage of sales and special deals. David Koczkar, executive manager commercial at Jetstar, said he was taken aback by the results. "It's uncanny. I was a little cynical ... to see how star signs could actually influence people's travel choices, but the proof is in the stats," he said. Geminis, reputed to be restless, spent the most on international travel, forking out 20 per cent more than any other star sign, Jetstar said. Cancerians, meanwhile, liked to hunt down the best deals, booking a wide variety of destinations from Cairns to Singapore. Taureans (unpretentious) and Sagittarians (fun-loving) were mad about cheap and cheerful Bali, Leos (creative) hanker for culture-rich cities such as Melbourne, and Aquarians (adventurous) favoured the exotic, such as Bangkok. Astrologer Shauna Crowley, of Camberwell, said: "I'm pretty pleased someone has done such a study. I think it's on the ball." Terry Kelly, president of Victorian Sceptics, said he was suspicious. "In any scientific research, there's never been any link established with star signs being a predictor of personality or outcomes," he said. Whatever your holiday choice is, next time we meet let me know if the study was reflective of your choice. Above all enjoy your next holiday, wherever that may be! Hobbies Did you know? : About 2.1 million people in Australia were involved in art and craft only as a hobby, during a 12-month period. A further 356,900 people were involved in writing as a hobby only, and 265,000 people had a musical hobby only. This information was collected during a 2007 survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on hobby activities for art and craft, writing and music. Hobbies were defined as activities undertaken solely for a person’s own use or for the use of their family or friends. In addition to this, around 2 million Australians work in arts and crafts; 606,500 in writing; and 335,100 in music. These figures include a number of people who both work in these industries and enjoy them as hobbies. But the top hobby in Australia is: Recreational Fishing - without any doubt the most practised leisure activity in Australia. Source :Australian Bureau of Statistics, Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities, April 2007 (cat. no. 6281.0). Page 4 Thank You....... 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For full details of prize contents, please go to: www.nationalbrokersgroup.com.au/prizeInfo.htm How to Enter: Refer a friend, family member or acquaintance to: Receive a copy of this Newsletter and receive one entry per referral. Make an appointment with someone from our office and receive one entry. Refer a friend, family member or acquaintance for a consultation with someone from our office and receive one entry per referral. Note: for full details of the terms and conditions of this competition, please go to www.nationalbrokersgroup.com.au/termsandconditions.pdf Authorised under NSW LTPS/09/00882, ACT TP 09/00357 Conditions: 1. All travel is subject to availability at all times and maybe dependent on specific room category availability with accommodation partner. Travel must be completed by the 28 February 2011. Blocked out for travel periods will apply including but not limited to Easter Long Weekend, Christmas School Holiday period and during special event periods. 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