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					Perceptions
In this issue:

A world of opportunities

The good, the bad
and the ugly
A New Year revolution


Summer 2009
Economic update                                                                Contact:
It seems that Santa is about to deliver us a recession buster of a Christmas   Moneytax Financial Planning
this year!                                                                     E admin@moneytax.com.au
                                                                               W www.moneytax.com.au
The Australian share market is up more than 48 per cent since its low
in March. The dollar is up from US61c in October 2008 to above US90c.          Matt Gadd & Jim Gellett
Unemployment is much lower than was feared 6 months ago. Some                  Bankstown
superannuation funds are already back in the black. The iron ore ships         P (02) 9796 3711
and coal freighters are queued up outside our ports in what looks like         F (02) 9796 3301
a new resources boom.                                                          E matt.gadd@moneytax.com.au
                                                                                 jim.gellett@moneytax.com.au
Frankly, if racing for the end of the Global Financial Crisis was an
international Olympic event, we’d be in line to win gold! (And gold            Michael Behlevanas
broke through the US$1,000 an ounce barrier for the third time ever            Wentworthville
last September.)                                                               P (02) 9688 1144
                                                                               F (02) 9688 1294
The recent interest rate rise is the only cloud on our horizon, but we all     E michael@moneytax.com.au
knew that the Reserve Bank had only dropped the rate to keep credit
flowing in hard times. So this rise is actually a sign of our economic         Disclosure: Moneytax Financial Planning Pty Ltd
                                                                               AFS Licence 280928.
recovery and a very welcome Christmas bonus for retirees living on fixed
investments. Naturally we all hope that the recovery continues, that the
rest of the world soon follows Australia, and that we’re not going to be
hit by a significant spate of interest rate rises in 2010.
In the mean time, please have yourself a merry little Christmas, you’ve
earned it!




                                                                                                       Moneytax Perceptions
     world of opportunities
 One year after the global
 economy plunged into the
 worst recession in decades,
 Australia has cemented its
 reputation as the Lucky
 Country. Investors could
 be forgiven for asking
 why anyone would live or
                                           Australia accounts for just 1.2 per cent    While company profits were actually
 invest anywhere else.                     of GDP and 1.7 per cent of world            down around 15 per cent in the year to
                                           assets.                                     June 30, the market had been bracing
                                                                                       for worse.
                                           Choice is another reason to look
                                           beyond Australia’s shores. If Australians   The rapid rise in the Aussie dollar has
In fact, Australia is the only advanced    want to share in the future profits of      also increased the attraction of
nation to escape recession this year.      global heavyweights such as Microsoft,      Australian shares for local investors.
According to figures from the              Google, Sony, Toyota, Johnson &
International Monetary Fund, Australia’s                                               How do currency fluctuations affect
                                           Johnson, Nokia and British Petroleum
economy is on track to grow by 0.7 per                                                 the mix?
                                           they have to invest overseas, even if
cent in 2009, compared with an             they do so via an Australian-based          While it’s prudent for Australians to
average of -3.4 per cent for the top 33    managed fund.                               diversify their investments beyond the
economies.                                                                             local market, currency fluctuations add
                                           Timing and market cycles should also
The economy is in such good shape                                                      another layer of complexity. When the
                                           be taken into consideration. While
that the Reserve Bank of Australia                                                     Australian dollar strengthens,
                                           Australian shares are enjoying their
(RBA) has gone out on a limb and                                                       investment earnings measured in
                                           moment in the sun, at some point they
started lifting interest rates.                                                        foreign currencies, especially the US
                                           will be eclipsed by other markets. As
                                                                                       dollar, are worth less when converted
As a result, overseas investors have       the past year proves, it is impossible to
                                                                                       into Australian dollars.
been piling into Aussie dollars, shares    predict what lies ahead. So it is prudent
and bonds. The Australian share            to ensure you are not overly exposed to     For example, while the MSCI global
market recovered 48 per cent from its      a single market or investment.              market index excluding Australia
low in March to the end of October and                                                 jumped 17.1 per cent in the year to
                                           Asset consultant Mercer believes
the dollar managed a similar feat, up                                                  October 31, in Australian dollar terms it
                                           overseas shares have been
50 per cent from its low in October last                                               actually fell by 14.5 per cent. This
                                           undervalued for the past year. In its
year.                                                                                  occurred because the Aussie dollar
                                           October market valuation report it
                                                                                       moved higher over the period.
While there’s no question that Australia   points to the stronger outlook for
is a great place to live, there are        earnings growth in the US and notes         Of course, the currency effect works
compelling reasons why it is as            that while Australian shares are fair       both ways. When the Australian dollar
important as ever to build a diversified   value, they are no longer trading at        weakens, foreign investment earnings
investment portfolio with a range of       bargain basement prices.                    are worth more when converted back
asset classes and geographic                                                           into Aussie dollars. Hedging can help to
                                           We’re not suggesting selling Australian
locations.                                                                             reduce the impact of currency
                                           shares to buy US shares. Far from it.
                                                                                       fluctuations, especially for Australian
The attraction of international            There is still good reason to buy
                                                                                       investors with a stake in international
investments                                Australian.
                                                                                       markets.
When it comes to investing, size           We have the good fortune to be a
                                                                                       In other words, investing is always a
matters. The US accounts for more          major exporter of commodities in a
                                                                                       case of swings and roundabouts with
than one fifth of the world’s gross        region where demand is high.
                                                                                       good reason to diversify your
domestic product (GDP), twice that of      The better-than-expected performance        investments while you stay the course.
China, and one third of world equities,    of company profits means Australian         If you want more information about the
real estate and debt securities.           shares have been able to recover a          extent to which your investments are
                                           significant amount of lost ground.          diversified just give us a call.



www.moneytax.com.au
The good, the bad
and the ugly




There’s good debt and there’s bad debt, and then there’s the good debt that can get pretty ugly if
it’s not managed properly. In a nutshell, good debt is when you borrow to buy an appreciating asset
and bad debt is when you borrow to buy a depreciating asset or to meet day-to-day expenses.

The trouble with bad debt is that you      either sell your portfolio to clear the     of at least seven years.
can often be paying for it long after      investment loan, or keep the portfolio
                                                                                       Whether debt is good or bad, it’s
you have forgotten what it was you         going and use future income from
                                                                                       always good to clear it as quickly as
bought in the first place! And if your     your dividends to reduce the loan.
                                                                                       possible. It is wise to pay off your bad
bad debt is on a credit card, then it
                                           Margin lending can also be in the           debt before your good debt as you
can be all too easy to let the debt roll
                                           good debt basket. As long as you            should be able to take advantage of
over each month.
                                           are not too highly geared, the market       the tax concessions available with
Good debt, meanwhile, can provide          needs to fall by a significant amount       your good debt.
you with a platform to accelerate the      before you would be asked to make
                                                                                       In years gone by, it was common to
growth of your wealth. Borrowing to        a margin call to bring your loan-to-
                                                                                       wait until you had saved up for what
buy an appreciating asset such as          valuation ratio back into line.
                                                                                       you wanted. Nowadays the ease of
a share portfolio or property means
                                           To make doubly sure you are not             obtaining credit cards and loans can
you can get more for your money, and
                                           hit for a margin call, consider             lead to reckless behaviour. But there’s
then leverage off that larger slice of
                                           making regular interest payments            still an important place for good
the pie. In many instances you can
                                           and reinvesting income from your            debt. Given most of us will have a lot
claim tax deductions on the interest
                                           investments rather than capitalising        more years in retirement and would
paid on good debt borrowings.
                                           the interest (adding the interest to        like to be self funded, borrowing to
The equity you have built up in your       your loan amount).                          accelerate wealth can prove to be a
home can increase either by making                                                     very successful investment strategy.
                                           Margin lending has become more
additional repayments while interest
                                           attractive since the reduction in the       It’s just important to remember to
rates are still low or simply through
                                           caps on deductible contributions to         keep bad debt to a minimum and
rising property prices. If you then
                                           super. Since July of this year, the         make sure you use good debt wisely
take out an investment loan with
                                           maximum concessional contribution           — otherwise it can all turn a little ugly.
that equity as security and invest,
                                           to super has been slashed from
say, in a share portfolio, you can use
                                           $100,000 to $50,000 each year — and
the dividends you earn from your
                                           to $25,000 if you are under age 50.
share portfolio — your good debt
— to make extra payments on your           As a result, you may find you need
mortgage.                                  other ways to accelerate your wealth,
                                           particularly in light of the share market
This can accelerate paying off your        shakeout we have experienced over
home loan. Each year as you pay            these past 22 months. Leveraging
off more of your mortgage, you             through margin lending can provide
can extend your investment loan,           that option but it is not suitable for
so the investment loan increases           all investors. Margin lending can be
while the mortgage decreases. Once         considered as one part of an overall
your mortgage is paid off, you can         long-term strategy with a time frame




                                                                                                         Moneytax Perceptions
It happens every 31st of                                          The first thing you should do is decide                            you can spend fewer hours at the office
December. Millions of people                                      whether or not you have the time and                               without sacrificing the quality of your
all over the western world                                        energy available to achieve the change                             work?
                                                                  you want, because if your life is already
promise themselves to                                             overcommitted you are more likely                                  As you can see, the difference between
improve at least one important                                    to fail than to succeed. If your day is                            wishful thinking and real behavioural
aspect of their lives and make                                    already overcrowded, for example, it                               change is commitment and a plan, and
it their New Year’s Resolution                                    is unlikely that you will find the extra                           this is never more important than when
to do so.                                                         30–60 minutes each day to jog, swim,                               planning a brighter financial future.
                                                                  ride a bike or go to the gym unless you
According to Wikipedia, the most                                  drastically reorganise things.                                     In a famous Yale University survey,
popular resolutions remain unchanged                                                                                                 graduates were asked if they had ever
year after year, drawn from a list that                           It is also important to prepare yourself                           written down a financial plan. Only 3
includes getting out of debt, saving                              long before New Year’s Day. Don’t                                  per cent said Yes. Twenty years later,
money, getting a better job, getting fit,                         promise yourself to start eating                                   they quizzed the same graduates about
reducing stress, drinking less alcohol,                           healthier food from January 1st and                                their financial worth. The 3 per cent
and quitting smoking. Sound familiar?                             then do nothing about it until after                               who had taken the trouble to write
                                                                  feasting at Christmas.                                             down a plan were richer than the other
These are all important and worthwhile                                                                                               97 per cent put together. (It also helps
goals, but here’s the sad thing.                                  Start investigating a healthier eating                             if you can automate the plan — a bank
Research indicates that by January 7th                            plan now, source suppliers of healthier                            transfer to place part of your salary to
of the new year, 25 per cent of these                             foods like an organic home delivery                                an investment account every month,
resolutions will already be broken. And                           service, see a nutritionist if you need                            for example, eliminates the need for
this attrition rate will continue, so that                        to, and be ready to start your healthy                             willpower.)
up to 80 per cent are likely to have                              eating plan on January 1st.
been abandoned before March 1st.                                                                                                     And finally, tell all your friends about
                                                                  Similarly, if you are resolved to achieve                          your resolution so you can earn their
So how can you make sure that you                                 a healthier work–life balance in 2010                              praise if you succeed and feel their
will be one of the minority who do                                by giving more time to your partner,                               scorn if you fail — peer pressure is a
not break their new year’s promise to                             family, social life or personal fitness,                           powerful incentive!
themselves? We think the answer is a                              you are going to have to work out how
New Year Revolution instead of a New                              to implement your new priorities well                              Commit, plan and make your
Year Resolution — a whole new way to                              before the new year starts. Isn’t the                              commitment public: three simple
approach this important commitment.                               December break a great opportunity to                              steps to staging a New Year’s
                                                                  experiment with some new routines and                              Revolution in 2010!
                                                                  make some key decisions about how


Important Note: Perceptions is a private communication to clients and contains general information only. As the particular circumstances and needs of individual investors may vary greatly, the
information herein should not be used as a substitute for personalised professional advice. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information is correct, its accuracy and completeness
cannot be guaranteed, thus Moneytax Financial Planning Pty Ltd cannot be held responsible for any loss suffered by any party due to the reliance on the information or arising from any error or
omission. Opinions expressed may change without notice. This newsletter may contain editorial content which should not be construed as advice. If you require specific advice, please contact
Michael Behlevanas, Jim Gellett or Matt Gadd.


www.moneytax.com.au

				
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