Posts Tagged ‘long-term wealth’

Economic Update – January 2018

Friday, January 5th, 2018

Within this month’s update, we share with you a snapshot of economic occurrences both nationally and from around the globe.

2018 shaping up as another good year for investors

– Global growth co-ordinated
– United States (US) tax reform
– Strong jobs growth in Australia

We hope you find this month’s Economic Update as informative as always. If you have any feedback or would like to discuss any aspect of this report, please contact your Financial Adviser.

The Big Picture

After almost a decade of economic woes around the world, all the major economies are starting to come good together.

China, as we expected, not only stayed strong, it also gathered a little pace towards the end of 2017. The US certainly gathered momentum finishing the year at a rate of 3.2% pa.
Even Europe is looking strong, but the big surprise is the way that the third largest economy, Japan, has at last put five strong quarters back to back.

When growth is co-ordinated like this, it is much harder for any individual country to fall into recession anytime soon.

But the prospects for 2018 became even better after Trump got his tax reform through at the eleventh hour. It is doubtful if analysts have yet fully digested the consequences. It may well be that macro and market forecasts will be revised upwards in the next few months.

Citi produces a ‘surprise index’ for many major countries. It is based on how often analysts’ forecasts are beaten by the actual events. The US index stands at a reading of +73 which is a six-year high. The Australian index stands at 10.9! We keep thinking things are better than they really are.

Global growth is likely to keep us well out of recession, but we are likely to continue to underperform. Our jobs creation has been strong all year – largely because of immigration. Our unemployment rate stubbornly stands at a moderately high 5.4%

The Westpac consumer sentiment index stands at just above 100, but that is only for the second month this year. NAB’s business conditions and confidence indexes however, remain consistently strong.

Major share markets did well around the world with Wall Street being the stand-out performer. But Australia didn’t do too badly after a bad reaction to various bank inquiries. The ASX 200 posted growth of over 13% over 2017 when dividends and franking credits are factored in.

There are a number of things to watch out for in 2018. The Brexit negotiations between Britain and Europe are progressing without any major problems so far. The new US Federal Reserve chairman looks set to make two or three rate hikes, while our RBA is not expected to move in 2018.

Our Royal Commission into Financial Services might cause some angst, depending how press releases are handled.

The more difficult possibility to assess is Trump’s wish to commence a big infrastructure programme. In the election campaign he was talking about a trillion-dollar deal, but that has since been scaled back to 200-300 billion dollars. With tax reform behind him, we should see some movement on this front in January.

The ASX 200 closed at the highest level since December 2007 on the penultimate trading day of 2017, and we see growth of about 5% in 2018 – but that means that the November 2007 peak is unlikely to be surpassed this coming year.

We see strong growth continuing on Wall Street in 2018. But, if analysts revise earnings forecasts upwards in January based on company tax cuts, we might see very strong growth in the first half of the year.

On the commodities front, copper, gold and oil prices did well in 2017. It would be sufficient for our resources sector to have a good 2018 if these prices just hold over 2018.

In conclusion, we see it unnecessary to take on extra risks in 2018 to chase returns. Volatility on share markets was unusually low in 2017, and that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

We wish you all a safe and prosperous New Year.

Asset Classes

Australian Equities

Our market was seemingly stuck in a tight range from mid-2017 but then it blasted through 6,000 at last – and it even finished 2017 above that psychological barrier.

The Resources sector led the charge in December to give the broader index a boost of 1.6% for the month.

The Financials sector was down slightly for the year, but there were outstanding double digit returns to be had in all other sectors except for Property, Telcos and Utilities.

The February reporting season is only just around the corner, so this is the time for companies to ‘confess’ if they are likely to miss their guidance for earnings. We found analysts have started revising their forecasts in an upwards direction for the last month or two. Therefore, we are expecting a good “report card” in February.

Foreign Equities

The S&P 500 index recorded another positive month in December making it 12 in a row for 2017 and the first time on record! We do not, however, think the market is over-priced by more than two or three percent.

2017 market growth has been dominated by the big tech companies. Some are looking to Amazon to become ‘master of the universe’ by establishing a major presence across a broad array of industries.

The strong Japan economy has supported its Nikkei index to record near 20% growth in 2017.

Bonds and Interest Rates

The RBA was on hold again and is unlikely to raise rates before the end of 2018. Indeed, another cut is quite possible before the next hike.

The Fed hiked rates in December, making it three for the year. Their so-called ‘dot plots’ show that they collectively expect three more hikes in 2018, but the market has only priced in two. The Fed is unlikely to want to risk too much so two is much more likely than four. US inflation is still below target.

Other Assets

Oil and copper prices were firmly higher in 2017. Iron ore prices were down on the year, but staged a very strong comeback, returning 36% from the lows experienced throughout the year.

Regional Analysis

Australia

Over 60,000 new jobs were created in November – the latest published data point – and two-thirds of them were full-time. However, the unemployment rate was stuck at 5.4%.

Around 1,000 jobs were created on each day of the year (on average), but it seems much of this was matched by immigration flows. Price and wage inflation are also stuck at below target rates. However, we at last got a better than expected growth in retail sales (+0.5% against 0.3%).

The government presented its mid-year report card (“MYEFO”) in December, which argues the deficit is better than that which had been previously expected.

China

China has reportedly been spotted exporting oil to North Korea which got Trump’s hackles up. But other than that, there is less reported bad news about China’s economy. Of course, any developing economy starts to slow gradually as it reaches economic maturity.

We do not see China’s economy being a problem for us in 2018.

US

After a bumpy ride, a tax reform bill passed through Congress giving Trump one victory for 2017.

The infrastructure programme could be even trickier to get through, as the size of it will require a public/private joint venture. That means the private sector will have a big say on which projects start first. That will put the Democrats off-side as they always want to lead with the public interest.

If the bill makes some progress in 2018, the US economy looks set for continued growth for a few years to come.

Europe

Greece finally came out of recession in December! While the European Union as a whole still has some problems to work through – notably Brexit – the general mood appears to be positive.

Rest of the World

Japan’s Q3 growth figure was revised upwards to 2.5% from 1.4%.

Article by Ron Bewley for Infocus Money Management

New year, new start

Monday, March 13th, 2017

how to make New Year’s resolutions that stick

How many of last year’s New Year’s resolutions did you keep? If you can’t even remember them all a year later, let alone whether you stuck to them, you’re not alone. One survey found that 58% of Aussies break their resolutions within the year. And 15% of those do so because they forgot what they promised they’d do in the first place.i

That doesn’t mean that you can’t set and achieve things you actually want. You just have to be smart about the way you do it.

Turn visions in to goals

When someone asks you to picture your ideal lifestyle, what you see in your head is actually a collection of dozens of different goals. It’s important to break it down and articulate those goals if you want your vision to become a reality.

This is easier than it sounds. Just say you want to ‘enjoy life more’. To make a start on this, you could write down a list of social activities and hobbies you love doing or would really like to try. Then turn each one in to a task that fits with your schedule and can be planned ahead of time, like ‘Make a date with a friend twice a week’ or ‘Book in for an evening class every month’. If your schedule is jam packed, set corresponding time management goals like ‘Leave work on time at least 3 out of 5 days’.

Tell people

Think of your friends and family as your cheerleaders and supporters in reaching your goals. If you tell them what you’re aiming for and why, they’ll be better able to help you. They might even be able to join you on your way. For example, if you decide you want to lose weight and get fitter, ask around for a gym buddy or someone to join you on walks. Or if you’re ready to make a change in your career, start putting the word out amongst your network, that you’re open to new opportunities.

Give yourself (the right amount of) time

Yearly goals, especially ongoing ones, can be hard to keep track of. Try to work out a reasonable time frame for your goal. Some small things might be quicker, and feel less significant – but you can always build on your results. And some things just take time. For example, you’re unlikely to save up for a new car or lose 20 kilos in a month. But you might lose two kilos, or save X-percent of the amount you need. Consultant Todd Herman reckons the ideal time frame for the brain to plan around is 90 days, and that it’s better to do a series of goals ‘sprints’ rather than one long marathon.

Keep track of your progress

If you’re the kind of person who uses to-do lists – on paper, in an app, or in project management software – you’ll know how satisfying it is to tick something off. If you’re not in the habit of keeping lists, now is the time to start. Your list shouldn’t just be one point – your resolution with a check box next to it. Break it down in to smaller milestones. Say you’ve resolved to improve your diet – set yourself little achievements like ‘went a whole week without eating favourite junk food’. To make it fun, try a smart phone game like Habitica.ii

Don’t wait ‘til December 31st

It might be a New Year tradition, but you don’t have to wait for one particular time of year to set goals and resolve to change your life. With the right attitude and a bit of planning, you can start working your way towards a goal any time.

Speaking of this, we’re here to help you set and achieve your money-related goals. Don’t wait for an annual appointment to chat; drop us a line any time, we’d love to hear from you!

i. finder.com.au, Be a geek and live in Tasmania: How to win at New Year’s resolutions

ii. Habitica

General Advice Warning This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be specific advice on any particular matter. Michael J Berinson Pty Ltd strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information contained herein but should seek appropriate professional advice based upon their own personal circumstances. Although we consider the sources for this material reliable, no warranty is given and no liability is accepted for any statement or opinion or for any error or omission.

The Power of Compounding

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Financial graph

Investors’ decisions – both conscious and subconscious – have an important bearing on their long-term wealth. In this article, we examine the power of compounding.

Compounding isn’t a new concept – many of us will remember studying it back in our school days.

Legendary scientist Albert Einstein famously called it ‘the most powerful force in the universe’, while American business magnate John D Rockefeller suggested compounding is the ‘eighth wonder of the world’.

These might sound like bold claims, but the power of compounding on an investment portfolio should certainly not be underestimated.

What is compounding?

In simple terms, compounding is the process whereby returns made on an investment are reinvested in order to generate subsequent returns of their own.

The concept of compounding is best using an example.

Annie and Vanessa
Twins Annie and Vanessa both allocated $10,000 to the same interest-bearing investment on their 25th birthday. For simplicity, let’s assume the investment pays interest of 5% per year.

Annie reinvests all of her interest every year, while Vanessa banks the $500 each year and spends it on everyday living expenses. Let’s see how their investments had fared by their 45th birthdays.

Vanessa earned $500 interest each and every year for the 20 year period – a total of $10,000. Of course she still had her original $10,000 investment as well.

Annie, on the other hand, saw her investment grow to more than $26,000 by reinvesting her interest. The additional $6,000 she earned over and above Vanessa highlights the power of compounding.

Annie’s investment is now earning her $1,263 per year, while Vanessa’s investment is still earning her only $500. This differential would continue to grow over time if the sisters remained invested.

Make compounding work harder for you

The power of compounding can be magnified if you make small regular contributions to your investment. Let’s look at another example to highlight the concept.

Jim, Dan and Tom
Brothers Jim, Dan and Tom all decided to invest $10,000 in the same managed fund for 10 years. Over that time the fund returned an average of 8% pa.

Happy with his original investment decision, Jim did not make any additional contributions. Dan, the wiser brother, understood the effects of compounding and made additional regular savings of $100 per month.

Tom – the wisest of them all – worked out he could afford to save an extra $200 per month and made sure he always contributed that amount to his investment. The difference in their investment returns over 10 years is startling:

Of course the example is a stylised one. It ignores potential fluctuations in investment returns over the period, which would affect the three outcomes in reality.

These examples highlight how compounding and contributing regularly to an investment can have a major influence on investment performance.

The long-term performance impact of compounding can be significant and must not be overlooked by investors. Perhaps Einstein and Rockefeller were right, after all.

Speak to your financial adviser if you have any questions about compounding.

Source: Colonial First State Investments