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IS TRANSITION TO RETIREMENT STILL VIABLE? As many readers will be aware, legally getting access to superannuation before retirement can be rather difficult. But, back in 2005 things were made just a little easier. Find out more


April 2020

After period of optimism, global investment markets have hit the panic button on fears about the possible economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19).  We are seeking significant falls as well as rallies as the markets react to what measures policy makers are taking to provide economic support and soften the impact of the coronavirus.

Autumn 2019

After one of the hottest summers on record, many Australians will welcome Autumn and the opportunity to be more active outdoors and perhaps get busy in the garden.  There will be no let-up in the heat on the political and economic front though, with the Budget and a Federal election looming.

Have Oil Prices Peaked?

Australian's motorists are not the only ones hoping that global oil prices have peaked after reaching four-year highs in 2018.  Not only do high oil prices flow through to the price of petrol at you local service station, but they also increase the cost of doing business for everyone from farmers to airlines and push up the cost of living for households.

Winter 2018

Australia's national economic agenda in May was dominated by the Federal budget and the promise of tax cuts.  Consumers rode a wave of optimism until the final week of May when the ANZ/Roy Morgan consumer confidence index fell for the first time in 7 weeks, down 3.2 per cent to 117.7.  Confidence is up 4.3 per cent this year, with the late pull-back attributed to a cooler sharemarket, rising fuel prices and on-again off-again US-North Korea peace talks.

The Golden Rules on Investing

At first glance, investing can seem daunting.  So much complex information and so little time to absorb and act on it when you're busy getting on with life.  It's little wonder that so many of us put it in the too hard basket for longer than is good for our wealth.

Lessons from the GFC 10 Years on

It's been a decade since the market crash known as the Global Financial Crisis rocked the investment world.  At the time investors could only watch in disbelief as 50 per cent was wiped off the value of their shares.  Arguably, the actions those investors took are still reverberating today.  Which begs the question: what are the key lessons of the GFC and did we pay attention?

September 2017

Spring is finally here and it's not just nature showing signs of growth; the Australian economy is also bearing fruit. Most of the top 200 ASX-listed companies have now announced their results for the 2017 financial year and the overall report card is good. According to CommSec, 90 per cent of companies reporting full-year results turned a profit while 91 per cent paid a dividend.

Home Ownership in the Spotlight

Housing affordability continues to be a major concern in Australia and not just for would-be first home buyers. It also affects pre-retirees forced to work longer to repay bigger mortgages and older Australians unable to downsize from large family homes due to a lack of affordable options.  

Federal Budget Analysis 2017-2018     
Getting the right balance. Treasurer Scott Morrison's first budget of the Coalition's second term in office marked a significant shift in tone from the tough stance of its three previous budgets.  The centrepiece of the budget is the use of 'good debt" to fund $75 billion worth of infrastructure projects to create jobs and promote economic growth.

  Australia Still Punching Above Its Weight

Australia, take a bow.  We are on the brink of overtaking the Netherlands' record for the longest period without a recession and very close to pulling off an even greater feat.  Not only have we survived the end of an extraordinary mining boom without going bust, but the economy is showing signs of renewed growth. Many economic commentators feared the worst when Australia's economic growth went backwards by 0.5 per cent in the 2016 September quarter. But as the latest Bureau of Statistics national accounts show, the economy rebounded by 1.1 per cent in the December quarter, taking the annual rate of GDP growth to 2.4 per cent.

Autumn 2017

Autumn has arrived after a flurry of economic data on the home front during February.  The company reporting season for the six months to December was extremely positive overall, confirming that corporate Australia is in good shape.  CommSec's survey of results from the ASX top 200 companies showed 94 per cent recorded a profit in the December half, with total profits up 130 per cent on the previous corresponding period (up 37 per cent excluding BHP).

Beware of Pension Pressure

Changes to the pension assets test that came into force on January 1 have resulted in some retirees losing some, or all, of their pension entitlements.  The big question now is whether the tighter assets test will encourage people to change the way they plan and behave in the years leading up to retirement to qualify for the age pension. Human nature being what it is, people tend to worry more about financial loss than they do about missing our on a potential financial gain

A Global Sea Change. 2016: A year in Review

If 2016 taught us anything, it was to expect the unexpected. Britain's vote to exit the European Union and Donald Trumps election as the next US President surprised the pundits and markets alike. Markets generally hate surprises, yet in the closing weeks of the year so-called 'Trump trades' pushed shares, bond yields and the US dollar.

Summer 2016

Summer's here and the countdown to Christmas begins in earnest.  After such an eventful year on the global political and economic front, investors will no doubt be looking forward to some time out to relax with family and friends.

Aged Care Changes and the Family Home

Decisions around aged care are always difficult and emotional.  From the start of next year they are likely to get even more complex, with both the Age Pension and aged care sectors set for another shake-up.  Currently, many people entering aged care choose to keep their former home and rent it out to help supplement their accommodation payments.

Super Gets a Makeover

Just when those saving for retirement thought the rules couldn't get any more complex, the Turnbull Government has revised some of the key elements of the controversial superannuation reforms it announced in the May 2016 Federal Budget. After some noisy criticism, amendments were announced in mid-September to water down the more contentious elements.  Despite this, the reforms still represent significant alterations to the current superannuation system. Assuming the changes are legislated, retirement savers will need to ensure they are swimming between the new flags from 1 July 2017.

Spring 2016

Spring is here, time to put your winter woollies away for another year and get into the great outdoors.  If you are in need of inspiration, the recent Olympic Games and the Paralympics about to begin have something for everyone. The RIO Olympics were not the only spectator sport in August.  All eyes on global financial markets were trained on the annual meeting of central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, hoping for guidance about the direction of US interest rates.

Australian Growth

'Resilient' is perhaps the best way to sum up Australia's economic performance over the past 12 months. That was the word used by Standard and Poor's director of sovereign ratings, Craig Michaels, when confirming Australia's AAA credit rating in mid-June.

Winter 2016

May was a big month on the local economic front, beginning with the pre-election federal budget on May 3 and a surprise rate cut the same day.  The Reserve Bank cut the cash rate by 25 basis points to a new low of 1.75 per cent in response to a srop in the inflation rate to 1.3 per cent, well below the Bank's 2-3 per cent target band.

Federal Budget Analysis 2016-2017

Blueprint for an election. Treasurer Scott Morrison promised it would be no ordinary budget but instead an 'economic plan for jobs and growth'

With the federal election to be called as early as this week, the focus has shifted from an earlier emphasis on debt and deficit under Prime Minister Tony Abbott to a more upbeat message promising a new era of nation-building under new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Autumn 2016

After a sizzling end to summer we can now look forward to some cooler weather. Autumn is a perfect time of year to get back into the garden or to simply make the most of the great outdoors before winter arrives.

On the economic front, the outlook for Australia is still a case of two steps forward, one step back. The latest profit reporting season was a case in point. Qantas posted a record half year profit of $921 million before tax in the six months to December, making 2015 the national carrier's best year in its 95 year history.

Rent Exemption for Aged Care Removed
One of the toughest and emotional decisions when moving in to residential aged care often involves the sale of the family home. Sometimes turning the home into a rental property is a more appealing option. Not only does renting the house out delay making a decision to sell or avoid a fire sale, but the income generated can help with the cost of aged care accommodation.

2015: A Year of Fire and Ice 

The New Year's festivities were barely over, signing off on a difficult year for investors, when the fireworks started all over again on global markets.  In the first two weeks of 2016 Australian and US shares recorded their worst start to the year ever and the Aussie dollar dipped below US70c.  These market events can be traced back to China...

Summer 2015       

December is here and as the temperature rises the countdown to the Christmas break begins. But it appears at least one Australian is determined to 'chill'. When Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens was asked recently about the possibility of an interest rate cut he said: "We've got Christmas, we should just chill out... come back... and see what the data says." The markets took that as a no, for December at least...






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