Five great charts on investing



 Investing is often seen as complicated. And this has been made worse over the years by the increasing complexity in terms of investment products and choices, regulations and rules around investing, the role of the information revolution and social media in amplifying the noise around investment markets and the expanding ways available to access various investments. But at its core, the basic principles of successful investing are simple. And one way to demonstrate that is in charts or pictures – after all, a picture tells a thousand words. So this note looks at five charts I find useful in understanding investing. I’ll put out part 2 – another five great charts on investing – in a few weeks’ time.


Market update: JUNE 2017

The Australian economy hits another rough patch – implications for investors


Growth slows again

Despite numerous forecasts for an “unavoidable” recession following the end of the mining boom early this decade, the Australian economy has continued to defy the doomsters and keep growing. However, recently it seems to have hit a bit of a rough patch. After contracting in the September quarter, the economy bounced back in the December quarter only to falter again in the March quarter. While there was relief that we didn’t see another contraction, as had been feared, and the economy has now had 103 quarters without a recession, it would be wrong to get too excited. March quarter growth was just 0.3% quarter on quarter and annual growth slowed to 1.7% year on year, its slowest since the global financial crisis (GFC).


Market updateAPRIL 2017

Global growth looking healthier – underpinning share markets and a rising trend in bond yields



 Despite numerous geopolitical threats (Eurozone elections, tensions between the US and China, North Korea, etc.), worries about the demise of the so-called “Trump trade” and shares being overbought and due for a correction at the start of the year, share markets have proved to be remarkably resilient with only a minor pull back into their recent lows. This despite a more significant fall back in bond yields. Partly this is because the geopolitical threats have not proven to be major problems (at least so far) and Trump remains focussed on his pro-business policy agenda (he has already embarked on deregulation and his tax reform proposals – while lacking in details – indicate that tax reform remains a key objective). More fundamentally though, markets have been underpinned by an improvement in global growth. This is likely to continue.

Market update: MARCH 2017

Market update: MARCH 2017

The $US200 trillion global debt mountain – how big a threat is it really and what are the implications for investors?


 Excessive debt tends to be at the centre of most scare stories regarding the investment outlook – whether they relate to China, public debt in developed countries, corporate debt in the US or Australian household debt. The standard debt related scare story runs something along the lines of “we have lived beyond our means. Any attempt to prevent a debt implosion won’t work or will just delay the inevitable. Divine retribution will get us in the end!” One big debt scare that gets wheeled out is that total global debt outstanding has reached a new record high of nearly $US200 trillion and either that on its own or in combination with any significant rise in global interest rates will trigger the next crisis. To be sure problems with debt or a desire to reduce it are part and parcel of most financial crises and economic downturns. And total global debt has indeed reached record levels. But that’s not the same as saying another financial crisis is imminent. This note looks at the main issues.

Market update: JANUARY 2016

Market updateJANUARY 2016

2017 – a list of lists regarding the macro investment outlook.



 Despite a terrible start to the year and a few political surprises along the way, 2016 saw good returns for diversified investors who held their nerve. Balanced super funds had returns around 7.5%, which is pretty good given inflation was just 1.5%. 2017 is commencing with less fear than seen a year ago but there is consternation regarding Donald Trump’s policies, political developments in Europe and the growth outlook. This note provides a summary of key insights on the global investment outlook and key issues around it in simple dot point form.

Market update: DECEMBER 2016

Market update: DECEMBER 2016

Review of 2016, outlook for 2017 – looking better despite the political noise.


2016 was a messy, but OK year. US share market analyst Joe Granville once observed that “if it’s obvious, it’s obviously wrong”. 2016 was perhaps remarkable for the things that many thought were obvious at the start of the year but did not happen.

This update takes us back through 2016 and looks at what was predicted vs what actually happened. It looks at the investment returns for each major asset class and then provides a prediction for 2017.

Please don’t hesitate to call us if you’d like to discuss your own financial situation.

Federal Budget summary 2016


Federal Budget summary 2016



Chances are you’ve got bills to pay, a family to support and goals you want to achieve in retirement. So how might this year’s budget affect those things and you financially?

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison put forward a number of proposed changes, mainly around contributions to superannuation and taxation, in the budget last night.

Here’s a brief roundup of what the proposals could mean for you—whether you’re starting out in your career, taking care of a family, on the cusp of retirement or enjoying life after work.

Remember, proposals are not set in stone and could change as legislation passes through parliament.