Viewing posts from: October 2016

Are we too comfortable with debt? What you can do.

All / 26.10.20160 comments

Australians have some of the highest amounts of debt in the Western world. What can you do to manage your own debt?

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The Earlier You Start Investing, the Easier It Is to Reach Your Goals

All / 20.10.20160 comments

Monthly savings needed to accumulate $1 million by age 65

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Economic Update – October 2016

All / 13.10.20160 comments

How did markets perform in September and what were the key factors driving markets?

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The Importance of Staying Invested

All / 13.10.20160 comments

Ending wealth values after a market decline.

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Mindfulness 101: reduce your financial stress

All / 13.10.20160 comments

In today’s hectic world we often spend so much time worrying about the future or lingering in the past we forget to enjoy the present. But tuning into the wonderful things happening around us as they happen can be life changing. It’s also a great way to combat stress, especially when it comes to our finances.

The Australian Psychological Society’s 2015 stress and wellbeing in Australia survey found financial concerns are the top cause of stress among Australians. Whilst we stress about our finances sometimes things fall outside of our control. Being more mindful is one way to address this.

Mindfulness 101 reduce your financial stress

Mindfulness expert Elizabeth Granger explains mindfulness is moment-to-moment awareness. “This can be cultivated by doing formal mindfulness practice where you set aside meditation time to deliberately pay attention to the present moment in a non-judgemental way. It involves bringing curiosity and a sense of allowing what is here to be here, as opposed to judging what’s happening in our lives.”

Mindfulness practices originated from Buddhist traditions more than 2500 years ago. So they are not new phenomena. More recently these techniques have been embraced by western culture.

Nevertheless, mindfulness takes a certain amount of effort, says Granger. “We spend so much time wanting experiences or ourselves to be different it can feel difficult to allow things to be the way they are, as opposed to how we wish them to be. While there is nothing technically difficult about mindfulness practice, it does require discipline to pay attention this way.”

Path to the practice

Granger came to mindfulness while working as a litigation lawyer and studying psychotherapy on the side, all while raising two young children.

“As soon as I started practising I noticed how it helped me manage stress and how I could think more clearly under pressure. It helped me open up to many more possibilities,” she enthuses.

According to Granger she is now more able to manage her emotions thanks to her mindfulness practice. “My focus has improved, including my ability to resist distractions. But the biggest change is the way I am open to the world around me. I have more capacity than before and I’m happier as I savour more moments of my life.”

Mindfulness can be practised anywhere, says Granger. “I remember once meditating while walking around the airport when my plane was cancelled, so it is a very portable practice which can be done anywhere.”

If you’re feeling the stresses of life, mindfulness can be a way to control or reduce those feelings. Another way to ease your money worries is to ensure you have your financial affairs in order. If your financial future is keeping you up at night and mindfulness just isn’t doing the trick, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances

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Shaking the foundations

All / 06.10.20160 comments

Shaking the foundations

High prices. Fast bidding auctions. A mass of new constructions. The housing market has risen fast in the past few years but is it becoming too risky? Tim Rocks, Head of Market Research & Strategy, believes there is little to fear from housing at the moment but investors might find more attractive opportunities in shares.

Burning down the house

The view of rapid increases in house prices since 2011 has lead to fears around:

  1. a housing bubble
  2. the potential of a crash and mortgage stress
  3. timing for a potential crash.

But are high house prices really a sign of bad things to come?

The truth is, the increases have been concentrated in areas with rising employment, incomes and population flows like Sydney and Melbourne, while others have just risen with inflation – or even fallen like Adelaide and Perth (Source: Corelogic). Falling interest rates have offset increasing house prices so households are actually spending roughly the same percentage of their income on mortgage repayments as they did before the rapid rise in prices. Mortgage defaults are also lower than historic averages (Source: Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)). This might change if interest rates or unemployment suddenly rise, but at this stage, interest rates are more likely to stay the same or even decrease.

Nothing lasts forever

The sharp increase in housing prices, even in areas like Sydney and Melbourne, is unlikely to last forever but doesn’t  necessarily mean a crash. While prices have increased, construction of new apartments has also been rapid. For example,
developers added 30% to city apartment supplies in Melbourne, 36% in Brisbane and 18% in Sydney by the end of 2015 (source: RBA). This additional supply has seen rent increases slow down and vacancies rise, which should gradually translate to a slowdown in prices and construction.

So from an investment perspective, housing is likely to be less attractive over time because a greater supply not only means less opportunity to command high rent, but also less certainty of a constant rental income. But for owner-occupiers, this change may translate to some stabilisation in house prices – and greater opportunities if interest rates stay low.

A share in time

Investors specifically targeting returns may need to extend their search beyond bricks and mortar. Currently, shares and listed REITs (listed property trusts) offer higher yields compared to the rental income and deposits from residential property
(Source: Datastream). This is likely to continue over the next couple of years, particularly as supply in residential property increases, but also as the need for office space, warehouses and shopping centres continue to make listed REITs necessary.

An investment property may still be an important part of a portfolio, but it depends on what your goals and needs are, along with your expectations for returns. Shares and listed REITs can be a riskier type of investment, but do offer the potential both
for higher gains – or bigger losses – depending on a range of factors.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances
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  • Switch and Save

    Switch and Save When developing a budget, it’s easy to think that you have no control over costs for essential items such as electricity, particularly when every bill seems to be higher than the last. But if you look closely at your energy usage at home and make a few small changes to reduce your […]

  • If you think you’d never fall for a scam, read this…

    If you are over 50, male, highly educated, financially literate and manage your own super, beware. You’re at a higher risk of being the target (and victim) of organised investment fraud. This isn’t necessarily because your demographic is particularly gullible. Rather, it’s because you’re more likely to control higher levels of wealth, perhaps as the […]

  • Salary sacrifice vs personal contributions to super

    Amongst the changes made to superannuation effective 1 July 2017 was the welcome and sensible move to give everyone who makes a personal contribution to super the option of claiming a tax deduction for it. Prior to this date, tax deductions on personal contributions could only be claimed by the “substantially self-employed”. The upshot is […]

  • Invest for the future not the past

    Investing bears no resemblance to gambling and, unfortunately past ‘form’ seldom provides an indication of future performance. Many investors are tempted to look at the best performing sector over the past year and then switch their investments accordingly. Beware this can be a recipe for disaster. In many cases, last year’s poor performer can turn […]

  • When was your last financial review?

    The months seem to fly past in a blink of an eye and although it feels like we were celebrating Christmas just a few months ago, it’s looming on the horizon again – another year gone! Almost every year we see changes to our superannuation system, interest rates, the stock market and the property market. […]

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