In this issue:
- How to prepare for climbing interest rates
- Life insurance: inside or outside of super?
- The lost art of conversation
Spring is finally here and it’s not just nature showing signs of growth; the Australian economy is also bearing fruit.
Most of the top 200 ASX-listed companies have now announced their results for the 2017 financial year and the overall report card is good. According to CommSec, 90 per cent of companies reporting full-year results turned a profit while 91 per cent paid a dividend. Earnings were up a combined 67 per cent on a year ago, dividends were up 10 per cent and cash levels rose 27 per cent to almost $108 billion. The strongest sectors were mining, which benefited from stronger commodity prices and cost cutting, followed by food companies, REITs and companies dependent on the housing market. Dragging the chain were consumer-focused and media companies.
A healthy outlook for the job market was reflected in a fall in unemployment from 5.7 per cent to 5.6 per cent in July, although wage growth is still sluggish – up just 0.5 per cent in the June quarter for an annual rate of 1.9 per cent. The NAB business conditions index rose to a 9-year high of 15 points in July while the business confidence index also firmed 8.4 points to 11.7. Consumers are less positive, with the weekly ANZ/Roy Morgan consumer confidence rating lifting off a 12-month low to finish August at 113.5. The Australian dollar remains a challenge for exporters, firming to end the month close to US80c.
Interest rates have been low for so long it’s tempting to think low rates are the new normal. So when the Reserve Bank suggests that a cash rate of 3.5 per cent is the new ‘neutral’, people take notice. Even the Prime Minister warned Australian householders to prepare for higher interest rates ahead…Read more
If you have super, chances are you’ll have some default insurance included and the option to buy more at an attractive price. It’s a cost effective way to get a basic level of cover, but holding insurance inside super does have some downsides. There are three types of insurance you can hold inside super…Read more
When was the last time you had a lengthy chat to a friend over the phone or, rarer still, a decent face-to-face catch up? Remember spending time with a loved one making the most of precious hours having saved up every story, anecdote and interesting conversation starter up your sleeve? Nowadays the bulk of our relationships seem to be conducted via text…Read more