Spring Newsletter 2018

Spring 2018

September is upon us and spring is in the air. AFL and NRL fans will be hoping the sun shines on their team this finals season.

Economic news was overshadowed by political instability in August, culminating in Scott Morrison being sworn in as Australia’s 6th Prime Minister in 11 years. Morrison is seen as a safe pair of hands economically, and consumer confidence rebounded after the vote. The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence rating rose 2.1 per cent, its biggest lift in 11 weeks.

Elsewhere the economic signs are mixed. As the latest profit reporting season ends, over 60 per cent of ASX 200 companies lifted profits in the year to June while 93 per cent paid a dividend. The unemployment rate fell to 5.3 per cent in July, while wages growth lifted slightly to 2.1 per cent in the year to June. Offsetting this, national home values fell 1.6 per cent in the year to July according to CoreLogic, the biggest annual fall in 6 years. The Reserve Bank remains positive, noting in the minutes of its August board meeting that the economy is improving, and its next interest rate move would be up. But it sees ‘no strong case’ to lift interest rates in the near term.

The Australian dollar fell to around US73c in August, down more than 7 per cent this year. In contrast, Wall Street hit record highs in August following comments from the Federal Reserve that it will continue to lift rates gradually provided ‘strong growth in incomes and jobs continues’.

Plugging in to technology stocks

On August 2, Apple became the world’s first company to reach US$1 trillion in market value. It took 42 years to get there from humble beginnings in an LA garage, but a handful of younger technology companies collectively known as the FANGs – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google – are already nipping at its heels.

What do they have in common? All have used innovative technology to create new markets, often beginning with a single product or service. Think Apple’s early desktop computers, Amazon’s online book retailer, Netflix’s streaming service, Facebook’s social network and Google’s search engine.

According to Forbes magazine, these tech giants have become so much a part of everyday life that their products or services are regarded almost as utilities, as essential to modern living as power or water.i They have also used technology and digital transformation to redefine customer experience in a way that is leaving traditional companies behind.

… Read more

Young invincibles – the importance of insurance

When you are young, healthy and just starting your working life the last thing on your mind is life insurance. In your 20s and 30s your financial focus is more likely to be on saving for a car, holidays, a home or the birth of a child. But failing to protect the lifestyle you are creating could have a devastating financial effect.

Like many Australians young and old, it’s possible that you already have insurance cover in your superannuation fund without realising it. But that could be about to change.

Under new legislation proposed with this year’s Budget, large numbers of super fund members are likely to lose their insurance cover. The legislation is still before the Senate but if the changes go ahead from July 1, 2019, those aged under 25 or with low super balances will be required to ‘opt-in’.

When to consider insurance

The move to ‘opt-in’ insurance for young members has been generally welcomed, as some may have more insurance… Read more

A little adrenaline can be a good thing

We all know what it feels like to be stressed. For most of us, it is a hallmark of our daily lives. While the word has very negative connotations, stress can actually drive us forward. That surge of adrenaline we get when tackling something out of our comfort zone helps us to achieve our goals. The challenge is managing stress so that it helps rather than hinders us.

In our lives we move between brief periods of ‘fight or flight’ and longer periods of ‘rest and digest’. These are governed by the levels of cortisol and adrenaline in our system, and all sorts of things can trigger them. Obviously, these days we are very rarely in mortal peril, so more often than not stress is triggered by simpler things in our lives; our job, our relationships, and our ability to achieve our goals.

What is good stress?

Known as eustress by psychologists, good stress gets us off the couch and helps us get things done. It is a driving force in our life: that… Read more

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