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Economic Snapshot – FY17 & Outlook for FY18

Economic Snapshot – FY17 & Outlook for FY18

In Summary

If ever investors wanted proof that uncertainty and political events in markets is a fuse to volatility but that economic fundamentals win, 2016/17 would be a good case study. Despite fears of an uncertain geo-political world results were strong in all equity markets – the area volatility excels.
Financial markets commenced 2016/17 in the wake of the Brexit result just a few days before and offered a frightening outlook. At the same time we had looming elections in Europe, where extremist candidates seemed to be making headway, as well as an unheralded US Presidential election with Clinton vs Trump. As things turned out, the European elections proved more benign than feared, the US election delivered one of the most startling results in decades and markets responded favourably through economic policy stimulus. Who would have imagined that?
After all the turmoil, global equity markets commenced a sustained rally that delivered strong double digit gains for the year as a whole. Other risk (equity) assets, such as high yield bonds, also performed very well. However, government bond markets had a poor year and bond-sensitive equities, such as AREIT’s [Australian Listed Property], underperformed with negative returns. In general these developments were driven by investors chasing the “reflation trade” – that is, a view that the world economy was finally entering a period of better growth with moderate inflation.

As 2017/18 starts, risk assets are looking less attractive than a year ago and markets are facing up to the end of the global interest rate easing cycle. From here on, interest rates go up rather than down, with implications for all asset classes, but most especially bonds and currencies. At the same time, the pace of global growth looks set to slow down, thereby providing less support for profits and cash flows. Given all this, equity markets sitting on high valuations look vulnerable to many analysts.

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How to improve your life NOW for a brighter future: 15 tips

How to improve your life NOW for a brighter future: 15 tips

by Julie Tassone

Are you in your twenties and wondering how to improve your life now so that the future is brighter?

One of the characteristics of the Y-generation and people born this millennium is that they like to ponder the future. The trouble is, good, honest guidance about this future can be in short supply.

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Budget Update 2017

Budget Update 2017

The Balancing Act

The problems that any Australian Government is expected to resolve and the wish list they are supposed to fulfil , is extensive regardless of which party is in power. As author John Lydgate wrote:

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

This Budget delivers a series of measures to attempt to please as many people as possible. It tackles the issues currently in focus across the Australian community – gaps in healthcare, first home ownership, foreign workers, investment and bank accountability to name a few of the pressure points. It also delivers an economic ‘sugar hit’ in the form of $75 billion in infrastructure projects. Key measures include:

Business

  • Extension of the $20,000 immediate deduction until 30 June 2018
  • Contractors in the courier and cleaning industries face greater compliance
  • Access to small business CGT concessions tightened
  • Banks slugged with ‘major bank levy’

Superannuation

  • Super concessions for over 65s to downsize – up to $300,000 per member
  • The ability for would-be first home owners to salary sacrifice into super to save a deposit

Investors

  • An array of housing affordability measures including: a CGT discount increase to 60% for investments in affordable housing, and Managed investment Trust investment opportunities in affordable housing
  • Deductibility of investment property travel costs to end and restrictions on depreciation deductions
  • A series of restrictions on foreign property investments

Individuals & Families

  • Medicare levy increase to 2.5% from 1 July 2019
  • Help with energy bills for some social security recipients
  • Demerit system for job seekers

Overall the 2017-18 Budget will not offend anyone (except perhaps the banks) and there are plenty of give-aways. The only danger is the level of optimism in the economic projections in a climate of uncertainty.

For further detail view the NTAA’s Budget Update Financial Planning Association – Budget Wrap 2017 and SMSF Association – Budget Update 2017-18

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Good debt vs bad debt, and why you need a financial check-up

Good debt vs bad debt, and why you need a financial check-up

by John Tutt

If you’re in your forties like I am, or perhaps even older, chances are your doctor has checked your cholesterol levels.

Now I always thought all cholesterol was bad. But I’ve since learned there are two types of cholesterol, and one of them is actually good for you.

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2017 Individuals Tax Planning Guide

2017 Individuals Tax Planning Guide

The biggest super and tax changes in the last 10 years will affect you in 2017 and 2018.

Now’s the time to review what strategies you can use to minimise your tax before 30 June 2017.

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