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Are 9.5% Super Guarantee Contributions Enough to Retire Comfortably in Sydney Today?

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) Retirement Standard updates for the December 2016 quarter showed retiree couples in Sydney will need between $640,000 (if they own their own home) and more than $1 million (if they are renting) to retire in Sydney. With house prices in Sydney showing no signs of coming down to earth and continued strong demand for housing from young families to retirees, will retirees have enough to maintain a modest standard of living off the 9.5% Super Guarantee contributions alone?

 

Begs the question why the Government is reducing the contribution levels from pre-tax salary into super from 1 July 2017 when they would much prefer more self-funded retirees instead of those relying on the Centrelink Age pension.

See the article from Money Management: http://www.moneymanagement.com.au/news/superannuation/renting-retirees-need-1m-asfa

Pauline Hanson, Dr Google, & the Value Equation

Over the weekend we saw one of our Federal Senators (who are arguably running the country) tell Australians during an interview that parents should do their OWN research when deciding to vaccinate their children. As a parent myself I think it is imperative to be informed of the issues, benefits, and potential risks for anything that involves my children; but at   the end of the day instead of trusting Dr Google I will trust the advice of my GP. I may inform myself of the opinions of the pro and con vaccination camps to be better informed, and then would base my decisions on the advice of my GP who knows my child and has the experience, skills, and knowledge required to steer my family in the right direction as far as our health is concerned.

Makes sense, right? Well the same thing is occurring in the investment world where individuals are focusing on investments (this property, this share,….), conducting some limited research, and then basing their investment decisions on results from Google without considering the potential outcomes, risks, tax or Government support implications, and whether the strategy will meet their overalls needs and goals.

The main reasons for this seems to be drawn out from the low-cost culture we are in today where we are all looking for the cheapest price as opposed to the best deal, where the ‘best deal‘ is the most amount of Value for the price. We price shop on legal, accounting, and financial advice just like we compare the price per 100g of groceries at the supermarket. In the Financial Planning industry unfortunately the ‘Compare the Pair‘ ads have taken the focus away from Value Added Advice and Strategy to Low Cost Product Sales, which industry super funds are; but at the end of the day this is like comparing apples to oranges, as a good end investment product will only be appropriate and work for someone if it is consistent with the goals and objectives of the individual from a Holistic perspective considering tax, risk, potential growth, time-frame, and other such factors.

To highlight the value of advice over the coming weeks we will be blogging about the mistakes that were made and lessons learned during the GFC to serve as a reminder for all of us in these volatile and uncertain times. These perspectives can’t be delivered by an investment product – cheap or expensive – or its providers, but can be addressed by a professional adviser who provides Value through advice that meets a client needs and is in their best interests – Value through experience, Value through education, Value through lessons learnt.

The following video shows how an individual can build their own personal finance team and directing them towards their goals and objectives.

Building Your personal Finance Team

 

A Family Who Talks About Money

Did you know that on average it takes a recipient of inheritance 19 days until they buy a new car? What are your thoughts on whether this a financially-savvy way to spend an inheritance?

In our busy lives talking about money with our family members may prove to be a daunting and sometimes an emotional subject to bring up, especially around the dinner table.We may think that if we do not disclose our wealth we will encourage hard work, and by putting our chips on the table our family may start to become lazy and entitled. Read More

Interest Rates Down Again

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut interest rates on Tuesday this week to the historic low of 2.0% with the aim of boosting borrowing by businesses and households for further investment, particularly to strengthen the weakness in business investment and capital expenditure in both the mining and non-mining sectors. Whether this further cut will provide businesses with the confidence to borrow and invest in the face of a subdued consumer spending environment is the big question.

The other primary reason to cut rates has been to lower the value of the Australian Dollar (AUD) against other currencies such as the US dollar (USD). This will help our exports become more competitive abroad.

Funnily enough the share market fell upon news of the interest rate cut, and the AUD appreciated against the USD. This is puzzling as the share markets should rally upon news of reduced interest rates with a reduction in business interest costs and increase in consumer demand driving higher profits and shareholder dividends. Similarly the AUD rose against the USD. Commentators have proposed that the reverse effect of the share market and AUD have been upon the signal from the RBA that this is probably the end of the interest rate cutting cycle…. It seems like anyone’s guess as to why this has occurred.

Possibly the markets over the last few days have come to the realisation that the global economy is weak and share prices at the current highs are not supported by the business conditions, consumer demand, and business profitability that underpin company share prices. Several recent weak (or weakening) economic reports out of the US and China have also supported this view and the subsequent sell-off.

One thing that is certain are the winners and losers from this move. The winners are those with mortgages who will pay lower rates on their interest and are looking to fix the current low fixed rates on offer, and anyone who has anything to do with property in Sydney (Real Estate agents, Conveyancers, Mortgage Brokers, house styling business, decorators, builders preparing houses for sale, and the State Govt collecting Stamp Duty), and those selling their homes to downsize such as upon retirement.

The losers are retirees who rely on their term deposit interest, and first home buyers or those looking to upsize their homes in Sydney who can now afford to borrow more, but can’t afford to buy in Sydney.

It will be interesting to see when the interest rate tightening cycle begins, which many believe will be instigated with a rise in interest rates in the US. With the recent economic reports out of the US pointing to weakening growth we may see these low interest rates continue for some time to come.

Another Interest Rate Cut

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decided to cut the official interest rate by 0.25% from 2.50% to 2.25% amidst low global and domestic economic growth.

This interest rate cut along with the recent fall in oil prices will give Australian households much more room in their household budgets to boost expenditure. The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, in welcoming the news from the RBA stated that this cut plus the fall in oil prices have provided the equivalent of a 0.75% cut in interest rates. This cut will be important for households with the current and projected rise in unemployment during 2015.

The cut also aims to put downward pressure on the Australian Dollar (AUD) against several currencies. The AUD has fallen against the US dollar, however, has not fallen the same way against other currencies, and a fall against these currencies will make Australian exports cheaper and help boost economic growth.

The share market rallied on the news in late trade.