In this issue:
- Expand your horizons with ETFs and LICs
- Retirement villages: look beyond the brochure
- Introducing the new smart(er?) home
October is here after the record-breaking heat of September and all the signs point to a hot summer. Things are also beginning to heat up on the global interest rate front.
The US Federal Reserve surprised markets in late September by confirming that not only will it begin winding back its bond buying (or quantitative easing) in October but that it expects to raise official interest rates again in December with three further rate rises in 2018 also on the cards. This is despite persistently low inflation below 2 per cent. The Fed is pinning its hopes on a solid labour market producing higher wages and prices. The US dollar rose slightly on the news, pushing the Aussie dollar back below US80c. The interest rate differential between the US and Australia looks set to widen, with Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe confirming in a speech that a lift in rates here is still some way off. Our stubbornly high currency, weak wages growth and booming property market are to blame, although Governor Lowe expressed guarded confidence in Australia’s economic outlook.
In another surprise announcement, S&P downgraded China’s sovereign credit rating one notch to A+ for the first time in 18 years due to concerns about rising debt levels. This followed a similar move by Moody’s in May. If China tightens credit in response it could put downward pressure on iron ore prices and the Aussie dollar.
One of the golden rules of investing is diversification, but that can be difficult to achieve when you are just starting out or have limited funds to tap into a world of opportunities. Which is why investors have been flocking to exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and listed investment companies (LICs). ETFs and LICs are like managed funds in that your money is pooled with other investors to create a large portfolio of assets which is professionally managed…Read more
They are marketed as being the optimum lifestyle choice for recent retirees, often in ideal locations with all the facilities for a stress-free lifestyle. But with complex fee structures and inconsistent regulation, retirement village living should be approached with caution. Before becoming emotionally attached to the idea of living next to…Read more
Driving towards a mega mansion and watching the house light up as the gates open. Clapping hands to dim the lights and turn up the music. Blinds opening automatically to reveal a stunning vista from the exclusive perspective of a minimalist holiday home / evil lair. If these scenes sound familiar, it’s because they’ve been TV and film tropes for years, used to illustrate a certain kind of conspicuous consumerism. But home automation has come a long way…Read more