In this issue:
- Home and away with super
- Weighing up the value of life insurance
- How blockchain is already changing your world
Autumn is here, and not a moment too soon after a prolonged heatwave over summer. The Winter Olympics provided some welcome relief from the heat at home, and even though we failed to score gold at Pyeongchang we came away with two silver medals, one bronze and some promising young athletes to celebrate.
In the US, there was relief when the US Federal Reserve reported to Congress on February 23 that it was comfortable with the inflation outlook and not inclined to lift rates more than three times this year. Global shares stabilised after their recent volatility.
In Australia, the Reserve Bank has indicated rates are likely to remain on hold for some time to encourage wage growth. Reserve Bank Governor Phillip Lowe told the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics he would like to see wage growth of 3.5 per cent. Instead, the Wage Price Index rose 2.1 per cent in the year to December, just above inflation of 1.9 per cent, with public sector wages (up 2.4 per cent) growing faster than private sector (1.9 per cent).
On a positive note, corporate profits were solid in the six months to December, with a record 94 per cent of companies reporting a profit, although only 57 per cent lifted profit. Unemployment fell from 5.6 per cent to 5.5 per cent in January and consumer sentiment continues to recover. The ANZ/Roy Morgan consumer confidence rating rose 2.3 per cent in the final week of February to 117.9, well above the historic average. The strengthening US dollar saw the Aussie dollar fall from over US81c in January to around US78.5c by the end of February.
Australians buying their first home or downsizing in retirement are about to receive a helping hand thanks to new superannuation rules which come into effect on July 1. From that date, first home buyers will be able to contribute up to $30,000 into their super fund towards a home deposit while downsizers can put up to $300,000 of the proceeds of selling the family home into super…Read more
It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that there is a significant underinsurance gap between what we would need to maintain our standard of living should the unthinkable happen, and what we are actually covered for in the way of insurance. Australia is one of the most underinsured nations in the developed world, ranking 16th for life insurance coverage…Read more
Although we are only at the tip of the iceberg of blockchain’s immense potential, industry leaders like Bob Greifeld, CEO of Nasdaq, have already pegged the emerging technology as “the biggest opportunity set we can think of over the next decade”. From the humble origins of Bitcoin, blockchain has since captured the imagination of everyone from Richard Branson to Bill Gates and virtually every large financial institution on the planet…Read more