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Super Rugby player dies at just 25

<p>New Zealand rugby player Connor Garden-Bachop has died aged 25.</p> <p>Police were called to the scene of a sudden death in Fendalton, Christchurch just before 6pm on Monday, according to the <em>NZ Herald</em>. </p> <p>“The death is not being treated as suspicious and will be referred to the Coroner,” police said.</p> <p>Garden-Bachop, son of former All Black Stephen Bachop, was part of the Highlanders' Super Rugby squad this season, and they have also confirmed his death in a statement shared on Facebook.</p> <p>“On behalf of the entire rugby community, the Highlanders, Wellington Rugby, New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association would like to extend our deepest thoughts and love to the Garden-Bachop family,” the statement read.</p> <p>“Connor passed away on Monday following a medical event, and rugby’s collective focus at this time is on supporting his family.</p> <p>"All of rugby walks alongside the Garden-Bachop family at this time and we are collectively united in our grief," the statement continued. </p> <p>“Connor was a fantastic young player, an exciting New Zealand age-grade representative and a proud Māori All Black. Wherever he played, he was a committed and popular teammate with infectious energy and someone who could light up the room.</p> <p>“Most importantly, he was a loving father to his twin girls, a brother, a son and immeasurably loved by all those who knew him.</p> <p>“NZR, the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board, the Highlanders, Wellington Rugby and the Players Association are providing support and we ask that the privacy of the Garden-Bachop family is respected.”</p> <p>Garden-Bachop, an outside back, made his Highlanders debut in 2021. After five seasons with the team, the Highlanders announced on Facebook last week that he would not return to the team next season. </p> <p>The rugby player is survived by his twin daughters. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

Caring

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Super funds are using ‘nudges’ to help you make financial decisions. How do they work?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/fernanda-mata-1533222">Fernanda Mata</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/breanna-wright-267597">Breanna Wright</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/liam-smith-5152">Liam Smith</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>Late last year the federal government announced <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/stephen-jones-2022/media-releases/government-unveils-comprehensive-financial-advice">measures</a> to make it easier for Australians to access financial advice.</p> <p>As part of this, the government wants super funds to use “nudges” to get members to engage more with their retirement investments and superannuation, especially when they’re starting work and approaching retirement.</p> <p>While the legislation containing the changes is still in the consultation phase, super funds are <a href="https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/super-funds-spend-big-ahead-of-advice-reforms-20240418-p5fkx6">upskilling staff</a> and making other changes to improve customer service or risk a government crackdown.</p> <p>Telling funds to use <a href="https://www.behaviourworksaustralia.org/blog/nudging-what-is-it-and-how-can-we-use-it-forgood">nudge theory</a> to advise on super comes as more than five million Australians are heading towards retirement.</p> <h2>What is nudge theory?</h2> <p>Nudging is used to encourage people to pick the “better” option, without taking away their freedom to choose differently.</p> <p>For example, sending regular reminders to members about the benefits of voluntary contributions can get them to increase the amount they put in. This nudge makes it easier for them to contribute more – the better option – while still allowing them to choose not to.</p> <p>Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/stephen-jones-2022/media-releases/government-unveils-comprehensive-financial-advice">explained</a> the government’s changes were needed because so-called “fin-fluencers” were providing unregulated financial advice on social media platforms to Australians unable to pay an adviser.</p> <h2>Helping people protect their interests</h2> <p>There are three ways, supported by research, nudges can help Australians engage with their super.</p> <p><strong>1. Future self visualisation</strong></p> <p>This involves getting young people to think about their <a href="https://www.halhershfield.com/considering-the-future-self">future selves</a> and visualise their life in retirement. This can help them to recognise the long-term benefits of getting actively involved with their super.</p> <p>Showing fund members how they might look when older by using an ageing filter software, for example, can make this visualisation more real for them and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/23794607231190607">enhance understanding of their future selves, leading to higher engagement</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Simplification</strong></p> <p>We all know financial products and superannuation can be complicated. The information and choices presented can lead to <a href="https://thedecisionlab.com/biases/choice-overload-bias">decision paralysis</a>, causing people to delay or opt out of making a decision. By simplifying the process, funds can motivate people to get more engaged with their super.</p> <p>To get people to make voluntary contributions, for example, it might be more effective for funds to recommend <a href="https://siepr.stanford.edu/news/how-simple-nudge-can-motivate-workers-save-retirement">a specific percentage of their salary</a> rather than offering several options. Deciding whether to boost contributions by an extra 3%, 4% or 5% can be overwhelming, especially for people with poor <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-you-financially-literate-here-are-7-signs-youre-on-the-right-track-202331">financial literacy</a>.</p> <p><strong>3. Language and framing</strong></p> <p>The way options are framed and the language super funds use can significantly impact member engagement.</p> <p>Australians may be more likely to make higher voluntary contributions if they are asked how much they want <a href="https://www.bi.team/press-releases/the-small-nudges-that-could-make-young-people-142000-better-off-in-retirement/">to “invest” in their super </a> instead of how much they want to “contribute” or “add”.</p> <p>The word “invest” encourages people to think about future benefits, motivating them to make higher contributions.</p> <p>How options are labelled can also have an impact on <a href="https://www.bi.team/press-releases/the-small-nudges-that-could-make-young-people-142000-better-off-in-retirement/">member engagement</a> and decision making.</p> <p>For example, highlighting concrete benefits of different voluntary payments, such as “a 4% contribution keeps you above the poverty line”, and “a 10% contribution allows for a comfortable retirement according to Australian standards” can increase how much people are willing to contribute.</p> <h2>Ethical use of nudges</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.superreview.com.au/news/superannuation/industry-body-backs-super-fund-nudges-though-parameters-need-be-set">Financial Services Council</a> backs the government on getting super funds to nudge members about contributions and investments but says there are limits.</p> <p>Parameters around nudging should be set […] to ensure that the language is appropriate and does not ultimately amount to defaulting.</p> <p>For example, letting a customer know that as they approach retirement, they need to make a decision about what retirement product they wish to utilise would be an acceptable nudge, while contacting a customer to let them know that they will be placed in a product when they retire, would not necessarily be acceptable.</p> <p>The council emphasises the importance of super funds recognising <a href="https://www.superreview.com.au/news/superannuation/industry-body-backs-super-fund-nudges-though-parameters-need-be-set">people’s autonomy</a> when delivering a “soft” or “hard” nudge.</p> <p>Soft nudges are gentle prompts and reminders designed to guide people to make good choices without pressuring them, such as sending an email reminder to review their investment options. Hard nudges are more direct in their guidance. These might include recommending specific investment options.</p> <p>Despite these differences, <a href="https://www.behaviourworksaustralia.org/blog/can-we-have-a-quiet-word-about-behavioural-science">ethical use of nudges</a> should encourage engagement while respecting people’s autonomy by making it easy for them to opt out.</p> <p>The use of nudges presents a valuable opportunity to increase superannuation fund members’ engagement.</p> <p>Whether through future self visualisation, simplification or language framing, ethical nudges can motivate members to take action, leading to greater confidence in navigating the retirement transition and achieving retirement goals.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/230404/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/fernanda-mata-1533222">Fernanda Mata</a>, Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/breanna-wright-267597">Breanna Wright</a>, Research fellow, BehaviourWorks Australia, Monash Sustainable Development Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/liam-smith-5152">Liam Smith</a>, Director, BehaviourWorks, Monash Sustainable Development Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/super-funds-are-using-nudges-to-help-you-make-financial-decisions-how-do-they-work-230404">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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REVIEW: Super-intelligent, dog-detecting robot lawn mower

<p>I was recently invited to an onsite demonstration of a brand new line of lawn mowers that were pitched as being not just a lawn mower, but a furry-friend dodging, grass-grooming marvel of modern technology.</p> <p>According to the specs, the <a href="https://au.worx.com/vision-technology/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">WORX LANDROID® Vision</a> is the world’s first advanced AI, "unbox &amp; mow" robot lawn mower. "No wire. No satellite. No beacons. No time between unboxing and mowing."</p> <p>Using a combination of HRD camera, the latest AI smarts and a deeply trained neural network to identify grass to mow and obstacles to avoid, it features the innovative "Cut-to-Edge" function, multi-zone management and adaptive auto-scheduling. Plus an<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> optional LED headlight safe night-mowing (apparently, unlike conventional robots, Vision sees nocturnal animals and stays away from them).</span></p> <p>But the real test for me was always going to be: how would something like the Vision get along with my dog, Rosie? I was offered the chance to try out one of the mowers for a few weeks, and so I jumped at it.</p> <p>But let's talk about Rosie for a moment. Now, this little ball of fur thinks she's the queen of the backyard. She zooms around like a tiny tornado, and honestly I think she believes the grass is her personal chew toy. So, when I introduced the LANDROID into the mix, I was half expecting chaos and half hoping for a miracle.</p> <p>Lo and behold, this mower is not just a lawn whisperer; it's a puppy ninja. The WORX LANDROID has some sort of superpower in its sensors, allowing it to detect my pup's presence and skilfully manoeuvre around her. It was like watching a graceful dance between technology and canine curiosity.</p> <p>For the duration of the test, Rosie basically appointed herself as the official supervisor of lawn maintenance, proudly watching from a safe distance (and sometimes not so safe) as the LANDROID worked its magic.</p> <p>But let's not forget about the real star of the show: the lawn itself. The LANDROID doesn't just dodge around obstacles; it trims with precision, leaving my yard looking like a freshly coiffed celebrity. It's like having a personal stylist for my grass – one that never sleeps. </p> <p>And the best part? I get to sit back, relax and sip my lemonade while the LANDROID does all the heavy lifting (or should I say, mowing). It's like having a reliable little garden gnome, except this one runs on electricity and has impeccable dodging skills.</p> <p>So if you want a lawn mower that's not only efficient but also entertaining, look no further than the <a href="https://au.worx.com/vision-technology/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">WORX LANDROID Vision</a>. It's the perfect blend of technology, pet sensitivity and grass-grooming prowess. Plus, it's the only mower I know that can outmanoeuvre a puppy – and that is definitely something to bark about.</p> <p><em>Images: Alex Cracknell</em></p>

Home & Garden

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12 super simple ways to save some cash

<p>Saving money is a lot easier said than done. Whether you’ve got a holiday you’re thinking about taking, or you just want to make day to day life a little less stressful, there is a range of strategies you can employ to put a couple of dimes together. Here are 12 tips to cut costs:</p> <p>1. Don't buy luxury, sometimes the budget brands are just as good and save you heaps.</p> <p>2. Read the junk mail and compare offers because you can get a better deal where you didn't think you could.</p> <p>3. Cut unnecessary expenses and reduce, if possible, the necessary expenses as well.</p> <p>4. Buy used goods, it's cheaper and you can haggle.</p> <p>5. See if you can switch power companies. I'm aware of several people who are saving $250 a year.</p> <p>6. Borrow books and movies from the library or movie store - it's free or low cost compared to buying new and it's fast.</p> <p>7. Barter with family and friends, it's free and everyone wins.</p> <p>8. Take advantage of specials, sales and deals including buying in bulk, it can save you more than you realise.</p> <p>9. Walk, bike or car pool or use other public transport, it's good for the environment and saves you money.</p> <p>10. Shop around for the best deal, it might be better elsewhere.</p> <p>11. Follow insurance company advice: Don't smoke, do have alarms and do get multi policies - it protects you and saves cash.</p> <p>12. Have a savings account with all the savings from this and don't touch it, you will be amazed at what you have saved in a short time.</p> <p><em>Written by John Murphy. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz</span></strong></a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Heroic fan tackles deadly shooter at victory parade

<p>Three people have been taken into custody after a deadly shooting at a Super Bowl victory parade, where one person has died. </p> <p>At least 21 people have suffered injuries, nine of which being children, at the parade in Kansas City, following the Kansas Chiefs victory over the San Francisco 49ers.</p> <p>As one of the shooters opened fire in the crowd, one heroic football fan was captured on video tackling the gunman to the ground. </p> <p>The video also shows panicked crowds fleeing the sounds of the gunfire, as police ran towards the commotion.</p> <p>Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves confirmed in a second update to media that one person had died after 22 people had been shot.</p> <p>“We have three persons detained and under investigation,” she said.</p> <p>“We are working to determine if one of the three is the one that was in that video where fans assisted police.”</p> <p>She added that “right now we do not have a motive, but we are asking those who may potentially have any kind of information, a witness or video, to contact police”.</p> <p>At an earlier briefing, Ms Graves said she was “angry at what happened today”.</p> <p>Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said, “The celebration was marred by a shooting. This is absolutely a tragedy.” </p> <p>Witness Kade Collins, who attending the parade with his dad, described the ordeal to local news station Fox 4 KC.</p> <p>“We heard 10 to 12 gunshots, but we thought they were fireworks, so we didn’t really panic at first or get too worked up. But then everyone started screaming and took off running,” Mr Collins said.</p> <p>Mr Collins said his dad saw police tackle a suspect after the crowd saw the gunman. </p> <p>“When we were walking out, there was someone pointing and saying, ‘He’s right there, he’s right there’, and police ran to the guy the crowd was pointing at and tackled him and put him in handcuffs,” he said. “Everyone took off running and screaming.”</p> <p>The Kansas City Chiefs said in a statement that all players, coaches, staff and their families were “safe and accounted for”, while sharing their condolences for those who were impacted by the shooting. </p> <p>“We are truly saddened by the senseless act of violence that occurred outside of Union Station at the conclusion of today’s parade and rally,” the team said.</p> <p>"Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and all of Kansas City ... We thank the local law enforcement officers and first responders who were on-scene to assist.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 24px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-kerning: inherit; font-variant-alternates: inherit; font-variant-ligatures: inherit; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-variant-position: inherit; font-feature-settings: inherit; font-optical-sizing: inherit; font-variation-settings: inherit; font-size: 18px; vertical-align: baseline;"> </p>

Caring

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It’s not just about accumulating super. Australians need to learn how to spend their retirement savings

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marc-olynyk-1493791">Marc Olynyk</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>Australia’s superannuation and retirement income system is complex and difficult to navigate.</p> <p>Retirees need to make decisions on numerous issues where they have less than full information and understanding, both financial and non-financial. They also require access to retirement products to help them manage and balance income needs against longevity risk.</p> <p>Recognising these issues, the government released a <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2023-441613">discussion paper</a> this month seeking views on three key issues:</p> <ol> <li> <p>helping super fund members navigate the retirement income system</p> </li> <li> <p>supporting superannuation funds to deliver better services</p> </li> <li> <p>making retirement income products more accessible.</p> </li> </ol> <p>Australia has one of the largest and most sophisticated pension systems in the world. Valued at more than <a href="https://www.apra.gov.au/quarterly-superannuation-statistics">A$3.5 trillion</a> as at September 2023, and is the <a href="https://www.thinkingaheadinstitute.org/research-papers/global-pension-assets-study-2023/">5th largest pension scheme</a> in terms of asset size.</p> <p>It is also the <a href="https://www.mercer.com/insights/investments/market-outlook-and-trends/mercer-cfa-global-pension-index/">5th most highly rated retirement income system</a> internationally behind the Netherlands, Iceland, Denmark and Israel.</p> <h2>What is wrong with the super system?</h2> <p>But while the super system ranks highly in terms of integrity and sustainability, the numbers are not as flattering when it comes to “adequacy”.</p> <p>Adequacy is the level of income available to retirees depending on their different circumstances. According to a recent <a href="https://www.mercer.com/insights/investments/market-outlook-and-trends/mercer-cfa-global-pension-index/">study</a>, Australia is ranked 20th out of 47 worldwide on the adequacy index.</p> <p><a href="https://www.investmentmagazine.com.au/2023/02/purpose-of-super-law-to-herald-tax-reform/">Reform</a> in the <em>pre-retirement</em> phase of Australia’s retirement income scheme is ongoing and designed to support accumulating wealth for retirement.</p> <p>These ongoing reforms have been designed to make superannuation easier to understand and to reduce much of the decision making required. They’ve been needed because of an apparent lack of skills, interest and financial literacy among Australians.</p> <p>While the message that we need to save to be comfortable in retirement is getting through, the lack of information about how to manage these savings once we retire means many retirees are left to navigate the complex system as best they can.</p> <p>Given the complexity and volatility of Australia’s financial system, it’s hardly surprising many of the decisions made by retirees don’t produce the best financial results. For example, more than <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2023-441613">84%</a> of retirement savings are held in account-based pensions which, if not properly managed, can run out. This is despite government and community awareness that outliving your savings is a real possibility.</p> <p>About 50% of retirees currently withdraw at the minimum pension rate, which means many people experience a lower standard of living than what would normally be expected with the super they have accumulated. This can result in wealth not being used and instead being passed on to the next generation.</p> <h2>Help is needed now because the retiree sector is booming</h2> <p>Over the next decade there is going to be a big increase in the number of people retiring and transitioning from the accumulation phase of their super to the pension phase. It’s estimated <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2023-441613">2.5 million</a> Australians will move to the retirement phase in this period.</p> <p>Following the 2014 <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/publication/c2014-fsi-final-report">Financial System Inquiry</a>, the government introduced the <a href="http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/sia1993473/s52.html">Retirement Income Covenant</a> in 2022 to force super fund trustees to develop a strategy that would provide better retirement outcomes for their members.</p> <p>The strategy is based on retirees maximising their expected retirement income, managing expected risks to their retirement income and having flexible access to super funds during their retirement.</p> <p>A 2022-23 review conducted by <a href="https://asic.gov.au/regulatory-resources/find-a-document/reports/rep-766-implementation-of-the-retirement-income-covenant-findings-from-the-apra-and-asic-thematic-review/">Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission</a> found while trustees were providing more help to retirees, overall there was a lack of progress and urgency among trustees to improve retirement outcomes.</p> <h2>How the system could be improved</h2> <p>Several proposals have been put forward to improve the experiences and decision-making of retirees. These have included:</p> <ul> <li> <p>improved support from and education by superannuation fund trustees</p> </li> <li> <p>changing how people view their super savings from an accumulation of wealth to a system that enables drawdown of retirement savings over time to fund expenses.</p> </li> <li> <p>providing an automatic rollover of retirement savings into an income-stream instead of allowing a lump sum withdrawal on retirement</p> </li> <li> <p>expanding existing income products (that are starting to be offered by several financial institutions) which combine providing investment choice with a pension for life</p> </li> <li> <p>setting up a MyRetire product that would run parallel to <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/programs-and-initiatives-superannuation/mysuper">MySuper</a> and provide a simple and cost-effective retirement income system for less engaged members. MySuper only applies to the accumulation phase. Once a member starts an income stream in retirement, their MySuper account ceases</p> </li> <li> <p>improving access to financial planning advice which is shown to play a significant role in preparing Australians for retirement.</p> </li> </ul> <p>The government, superannuation industry and the community all have a greater role to play in improving the financial outcomes and experiences of retirees.</p> <p>With Australia’s ageing population, the need to better support retirees to achieve a dignified retirement is becoming more urgent.</p> <p>All Australians expect and deserve a financially secure retirement.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/219217/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marc-olynyk-1493791"><em>Marc Olynyk</em></a><em>, Director of Financial Planning, Deakin Business School, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/its-not-just-about-accumulating-super-australians-need-to-learn-how-to-spend-their-retirement-savings-219217">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Aussie town becomes the hottest place on earth for one day

<p>A small town in regional South Australia has broken records amidst the relentless heatwave slamming Aussies, by being named the hottest place on earth for a whole day. </p> <p>Marree, located 589 kilometres north of Adelaide, is home to fewer than 100 residents, with the town acting as a service centre for the large sheep and cattle stations in the northeast of the state. </p> <p>Locals sweltered through record-breaking temperatures on Wednesday, with temperatures of 46.4ºC making the tiny town the hottest place on the planet for the whole day. </p> <p>According to online world temperatures site <a href="https://www.eldoradoweather.com/climate/world-extremes/world-temp-rainfall-extremes.php?extremes=World#google_vignette" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline">El Dorado Weather</a>, Australia took out not just the Number 1 spot, but was also home to the top 15 hottest places in the world, with cities and towns in Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales also making the list. </p> <p>Five Aussie states cracked temperatures of over 44ºC according to the Bureau of Meteorology, with the extreme weather to continue over the weekend. </p> <p>Other than Victoria and Tasmania, every state has been issued an official extreme weather warning, with senior meteorologist Miriam Bradbury saying on Monday that heatwave conditions were not likely to start easing until “early next week”.</p> <p>With the worst of the heatwave expected to hit on Saturday, people are being urged to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day, to wear sunscreen, sunglasses and hats and stay hydrated.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Google Maps</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Not all beer and pokies: what Australians did with their super when COVID struck

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nathan-wang-ly-1380895">Nathan Wang-Ly</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ben-newell-46">Ben Newell</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>What happens when people withdraw their retirement savings early?</p> <p>We’ve just found out.</p> <p>During the first year of COVID Australians who faced a 20% decline in their working hours (or turnover for sole traders) or were made unemployed or were on benefits were permitted to take out up to <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/In-detail/Withdrawing-and-using-your-super/COVID-19-early-release-of-super-(closed-31-December-2020)/">A$10,000</a> of their super between April and June 2020, and a further $10,000 between July and December.</p> <p>Five million took up the offer. They withdrew <a href="https://www.apra.gov.au/covid-19-early-release-scheme-issue-36">$36 billion</a>.</p> <p>Most of those surveyed by the Institute of Family Studies said they used the money to cover <a href="https://aifs.gov.au/sites/default/files/publication-documents/2108_6_fias_superannuation_0.pdf">immediate expenses</a>. But definitions of “immediate” can vary.</p> <p>Real time transaction card data appeared to show early withdrawers boosted their spending by an average of <a href="https://www.illion.com.au/buy-now-pay-later-winner-of-stimulus/">$3,000</a> in the fortnight after they got the money.</p> <p><a href="https://www.stptax.com/emergency-super-withdrawal-spent-on-pokies-beer-and-uber-eats/">One interpretation</a> said they spent the money on “beer, wine, pokies, and takeaway food, rather than mortgages, bills, car debts, and clothes”.</p> <p>In order to get a more complete picture, we obtained access to millions of anonymised transaction records of customers of Australia’s largest bank, the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0313592622001060?via%3Dihub#bfn3">Commonwealth Bank</a>.</p> <p>The data included 1.54 million deposits likely to have been money withdrawn through the scheme including 1.04 million we are fairly confident did.</p> <h2>Who dipped into super?</h2> <p>The data provided by the bank allows us to compare circumstances of withdrawers and non-withdrawers including their age, time with the bank, and banking behaviour before COVID.</p> <p>We find withdrawers tended to be younger and in poorer financial circumstances than non-withdrawers before the pandemic. Six in ten of the withdrawers were under the age of 35, a finding consistent with data reported by the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-25/coronavirus-early-access-superannuation-young-people/12282546">Australian Taxation Office</a>.</p> <p>Withdrawers tended to earn less than non-withdrawers, even non-withdrawers of the same age. Only 17% of withdrawers for whom we could identify an income earned more than $60,000 compared with 26% of non-withdrawers. And withdrawers had lower median bank balances ($618 versus $986).</p> <p>For those with credit cards and home loans, withdrawers were about twice as likely to be behind on repayments as non-withdrawers (9.7% versus 5.8% for credit cards, and 8.2% versus 3.4% for home loans).</p> <p>These characteristics suggest that, despite concerns of the scheme being exploited due to the application process <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-03/-are-people-being-allowed-to-access-their-super-without-scrutiny/12618002">not requiring any documentation</a>, most of those using the scheme genuinely needed the money.</p> <h2>Where did the money go?</h2> <p>Compared to non-withdrawers, those who withdrew increased their spending (on both essential and discretionary items), paid back high-interest debts, boosted their savings, and became less likely to miss debt payments.</p> <p>Withdrawers spent an average of $331 more per month on debit cards in the three months after withdrawal, and $126 per month in the following three months.</p> <p>They spent an extra $117 per month on credit cards during the first three months, which shrank to an extra $13 per month in the following three months.</p> <p>The average withdrawer spent 7% more per month on groceries than the average age and income matched non-withdrawer, 12% more on utilities such as gas and electricity, 16% more on discretionary shopping, and 20% more on “entertainment,” a Commonwealth Bank category that includes gambling.</p> <h2>Less debt, less falling behind</h2> <p>In the three months that followed withdrawing, withdrawers also averaged $437 less credit card debt and $431 less personal loan debt than age and income matched non-withdrawers, differences that shrank to $301 and $351 in the following three months.</p> <p>They also became less likely to fall behind on credit card and personal loan payments, a difference that vanished after three months.</p> <p>Our interpretation is that the scheme achieved its intended purpose: it provided many Australians in need with a financial lifeline and helped buoy them during uncertain and turbulent times.</p> <h2>Lessons learned</h2> <p>At the same time, our <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0313592622001060?via%3Dihub#bfn3">findings</a> identify areas of concern. The fact that most withdrawals were for the permitted maximum of $10,000 highlights the need to carefully consider the withdrawal limit.</p> <p>While these sums might simply reflect the true amount of money individuals needed to sustain themselves, it might be that many withdrawers were unsure of how much to <a href="https://cepar.edu.au/sites/default/files/Determinants%20of%20Early%20Access%20to%20Retirement%20Savings_Lessons%20from%20the%20COVID19%20Pandemic_BatemanDobrescuLiuNewellThorp_July21.pdf">withdraw</a> – not knowing how long the pandemic would continue.</p> <p>Another consideration is how to best support withdrawers after they have taken out the money. More than half were under the age of 35, and might find themselves with a good deal less super than they would have in retirement.</p> <p>The government has already introduced <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/super/apra-regulated-funds/in-detail/apra-resources/re-contribution-of-covid-19-early-release-super-amounts/">tax concessions</a> for withdrawers who contribute funds back into their retirement savings accounts. Super funds might also be able to help, by sending targeted messages to those who have withdrawn.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/190911/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nathan-wang-ly-1380895"><em>Nathan Wang-Ly</em></a><em>, PhD Student, School of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ben-newell-46">Ben Newell</a>, Professor of Cognitive Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/not-all-beer-and-pokies-what-australians-did-with-their-super-when-covid-struck-190911">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Marvel star ties the knot in super secret ceremony

<p>Marvel movie star Chris Evans has tied the knot with his girlfriend Alba Baptista in an intimate ceremony at their home in the state of Massachusetts. </p> <p>According to <a href="https://pagesix.com/2023/09/10/chris-evans-marries-alba-baptista/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Page Six</em></a>, the Hollywood A-lister and Baptista, a Portuguese actress, got married on Saturday, with only a handful of their closest friends and family attending the nuptials. </p> <p>An insider told <a href="https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/celebrity-life/hook-ups-break-ups/chris-evans-marries-alba-baptista-in-intimate-athome-wedding/news-story/872c843aa221bc8173f0a82feb7c6477" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a> that the nuptials were “locked down tight,” as guests signed NDAs and phones were forfeited for the "beautiful" ceremony. </p> <p>The guest list also included some of the actor’s Marvel co-stars, including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner.</p> <p>The <em>Captain America</em> actor and Baptista first sparked rumours of a romance in November 2022, when a source told <em><a href="https://people.com/movies/chris-evans-dating-alba-baptista-source-exclusive/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">People</a></em> that the duo had been dating for “over a year.”</p> <p>“They are in love, and Chris has never been happier,” the insider said, already calling their relationship “serious” at the time.</p> <p>“His family and friends all adore her.”<iframe id="google_ads_iframe_/5129/ndm.nent/entertainment/celebritylife/hookupsbreakups_5" tabindex="0" title="3rd party ad content" role="region" name="google_ads_iframe_/5129/ndm.nent/entertainment/celebritylife/hookupsbreakups_5" width="4" height="4" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" aria-label="Advertisement" data-load-complete="true" data-google-container-id="6" data-integralas-id-69c76c0a-f5d2-9885-70ea-25cce3e0243a=""></iframe><iframe width="1" height="1" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>Just hours after the news broke, the couple was spotted holding hands during a stroll in Central Park.</p> <p>While little is known about the low-key couple’s relationship, Evans has proudly been flaunting his affection for Baptista online.</p> <p>The <em>Knives Out</em> star was spotted leaving a flirty comment on Baptista’s Instagram post around the same time that news broke of their relationship.</p> <p>Then, in February, the couple went Instagram-official as Evans began posting a series of PDA-filled pics to his Instagram Story in honour of Valentine’s Day.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram</em></p>

Relationships

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How to double your money just by shopping during Super-September

<p>Did you know you can effortlessly boost your retirement savings simply by shopping – no strings attached? It might sound too good to be true, but thanks to <a href="https://go.linkby.com/SNUFMPYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Super-Rewards</a>, a leading cashback provider, this is now a reality. And what's more the process is free, with no ongoing costs, and is incredibly simple.</p> <p>Super-Rewards, a widely recognised program in the industry, operates much like typical cashback programs – but with one key difference: instead of receiving cash in your pocket immediately, your earnings are <a href="https://go.linkby.com/SNUFMPYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener">directed into your superannuation fund</a> for later use. </p> <p>The best part? There are no fees or hidden costs; it's essentially free money when you shop at one of Super-Rewards' 500 <a href="https://go.linkby.com/SNUFMPYC/category/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">online partner stores</a> or 1,000 <a href="https://go.linkby.com/SNUFMPYC/category/instore/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">physical stores</a> across the country – including big names like Apple, Catch, eBay, EnergyAustralia, Virgin Australia, The Good Guys, Petbarn, Big W, Appliances Online, BWS, Adore Beauty and more.</p> <p>Spanning categories like food and drink, health, automotive, clothing, beauty and more, you are literally being paid towards your retirement just for doing the shopping you were going to do anyway.</p> <p>The beauty of Super-Rewards <a href="https://go.linkby.com/SNUFMPYC/how-it-works/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">lies in its versatility</a>; you can link your cashback to any super account with ease. All you need to do is shop through the Super-Rewards app, website, or in-store, using their browser extension.</p> <p>"Boosting your super contributions has never been more crucial, especially in light of recent ASFA research showing an increase in retirement living costs," says Pascale Helyar-Moray, CEO of Super-Rewards.</p> <p>Super-Rewards presents a simple and effective solution for accumulating wealth in your super through everyday spending.</p> <p>"Whether you're male or female, employed or not, earning super has never been this straightforward," adds Helyar-Moray. "Super-Rewards is a 'set and forget' strategy for wealth-building, accessible to all Australians. It's incredibly user-friendly."</p> <p>And now Super-Rewards has launched <a href="https://go.linkby.com/SNUFMPYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener">"Super-September"</a>, during which users can earn a $10 bonus in their Super-Rewards account once they accumulate $10 in cashback between September 1st and October 31st. This offer is open to all Super-Rewards users, and cashback from all Super-Rewards retailers, both online and in-store, is eligible.</p> <p>Helyar-Moray explains, "We want to reward users with $10 for making responsible super contributions through Super-Rewards. While immediate cashback might be tempting, we understand that money spent today can't grow. Our mission is to foster responsible and sustainable wealth creation; we're excited to reward prudent super behaviour by contributing to our users' superannuation accounts."</p> <p>“This is about being smart in how you spend your money. You’re already buying groceries with MILKRUN, purchasing pet food at Petbarn, acquiring appliances at The Good Guys. It’s a no-brainer; you’re undertaking these activities anyway so you may as well be rewarded into your super for doing so, and let the power of compound interest help create a more financially secure retirement for you. It’s super – easy.”</p> <p><a href="https://go.linkby.com/SNUFMPYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Super-Rewards</a> app is available for download on both the App Store and Google Play.</p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with <a href="https://go.linkby.com/SNUFMPYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Super-Rewards</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Retirement Income

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The "happiest place on Earth" heading Down Under

<p>Australia could be getting its first Disneyland theme park, after one state capital claim they have the "perfect spot for it". </p> <p>Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp has thrown her support behind the idea of a Down Under Disney, while also pitching the perfect location. </p> <p>“As Australia’s capital city of fun, of course we should have a Disney theme park in Melbourne. We’ve even got the perfect spot for it – Fishermans Bend,” Ms Capp told the <em>Herald Sun</em>.</p> <p>“We saw with the Firefly Zipline just how much Melburnians love a thrilling ride. At Fishermans Bend, exhilarating roller-coasters could soar over the Yarra as part of a Disneyland, Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom."</p> <p>“Melbourne also offers visitors the best tourism experience available in Victoria, from world-class hotels, unbeatable retail offerings and some of the best food and drink in Australia."</p> <p>“I know a Disney theme park in our municipality would be a huge hit with residents — myself included — visitors, students and traders.”</p> <p>Another piece of land has been floated for the location, with a prime spot north of Geelong, 30 minutes from the CBD, seeming to be a more achievable spot for a theme park. </p> <p>A third site has also been proposed, with David Fox, the son of billionaire trucking magnate Lindsey Fox, confirming an entertainment precinct is already earmarked for the huge block of vacant land near Avalon Airport.</p> <p>“There’s an entertainment precinct that we’ve defined. I wouldn’t say (for a) Disneyland at this moment in time, but anything is possible,” Mr Fox said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Domestic Travel

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"Get a grip": Retirees roasted over tone-deaf pension question

<p>A pair of retirees - and their significant others - have found themselves at the centre of a new online debate, all because of their submission to one financial advice column, and its circulation on social media.</p> <p>Both retirees - each with millions of dollars to their names - submitted their concerns to the <em>Sun Herald</em>’s George Cochrane, hoping for financial advice and a solid strategy moving forward with their respective retirements.</p> <p>The first request saw a 78-year-old man and his 79-year-old wife ask if they should look into selling some of their shares in order to stay below a threshold. </p> <p>The couple were receiving an account-based pension from their self-managed super fund, with a combined total of nearly $2.3 million - he had $1,5999,956 and she had $675,590 as of July 2017.</p> <p>Their combined funds were invested in Australian shares, they noted, and gave them a “healthy return which includes imputation credits”. They went on to share that since 2017, some of their shareholdings had “more than doubled in value”, and that the husband’s contribution to their fund had exceeded “the $3 million limit which the government intends to bring in.”</p> <p>“What will be the tax implications if my SMSF reaches $4 million and my wife’s $1.8 million?” they asked. “Should we sell some of our shares to stay below the $3 million threshold?”</p> <p>The second request came from a 60-year-old woman on behalf of herself and her 50-year-old husband, in which she revealed they had property valued at $4 million, and that they’d accessed her super to pay their $300,000 mortgage. His super, meanwhile, still contained half a million. </p> <p>Additionally, the two had plans to relocate to Europe to a “less expensive property” in order for them to spend more time - and have more funds to put towards - travelling. </p> <p>“We prefer not to work,” she shared, “have no children and intend to spend all our money. What would be a good strategy?”</p> <p>Advice was given, but the column’s wave of response came when The Guardian’s deputy news editor Josephine Tovey shared it to her Twitter, sharing her thoughts on the “generational inequality” it represented, and closing her take with the line “what problems to have”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Honestly if you want to get your blood up about generational inequality in Australia may I recommended the letters on the Money page of the Sun Herald? What problems to have. <a href="https://t.co/uka3EpbOOj">pic.twitter.com/uka3EpbOOj</a></p> <p>— Josephine Tovey (@Jo_Tovey) <a href="https://twitter.com/Jo_Tovey/status/1660073911944638464?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 21, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>Many - mostly those from younger generations, primarily millennials - were quick to side with Tovey, unable to wrap their heads around the idea that the couples’ problems were valid ones. </p> <p>“Oh no. I have TOO MUCH MONEY. What to do, what to do,” one user wrote.</p> <p>“‘I have more money than I know what to do with. Please help’,” another contributed. </p> <p>“I'd ‘prefer not to work’ too but here I am,” one quipped. </p> <p>And as someone else put it, “more than $4 million in assets but too cheap to pay for professional advice. Nothing could be more boomer than this.”</p> <p>“I think that there is huge inequity and variance among Boomers - often depending on the presence or absence of intergenerational wealth,” another user noted. “Ditto with millennials cos of [the] same reason”.</p> <p>However, for every person who was condemning them, another was prepped and ready to come to their defence. </p> <p>“Dear oh dear. Tall poppy syndrome strikes again - Australians are so good at trying to tear down the successful,” one said. “Seriously, get a grip everyone. Good luck to them and I hope they enjoy their respective retirements.”</p> <p>“My partner and I don’t have kids, we live in a modest house and save as much as we can so that we can retire early and travel, we are not landlords, we didn’t inherit any money but we should have about $2 million to retire on, we are working class,” one shared, “doesn’t seem wrong to me.”</p> <p>“They obviously worked hard and earnt it!! Haters going to hate - but good on them - I hope in 20 years when I retire, I have problems like this too,” another wrote. </p> <p>“So they have worked hard all their lives, they don’t have children and they want to travel - why is this an issue?” someone wanted to know, before adding that “they deserve to spend their twilight years in comfort.”</p> <p><em>Images: Twitter</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Are bigger super funds better? Actually no, despite what the industry is doing

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/geoff-warren-3657">G<em>eoff Warren</em></a><em>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>Australia’s superannuation funds are getting bigger – and fewer. There were <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/aug/29/australian-superannuation-mergers-cut-number-of-funds-by-half-in-a-decade">close to 400</a> funds in 2010. With mergers, it’s now <a href="https://www.investordaily.com.au/superannuation/53144-are-mega-funds-poised-to-dominate-the-super-industry">closer to 120</a>. By 2025, according to industry executives surveyed last year, there will be <a href="https://www.investordaily.com.au/superannuation/50971-rise-of-mega-funds-set-to-intensify-erasing-100-funds-by-2025">fewer than 50</a>.</p> <p>The portfolios of the two biggest super funds, AustralianSuper and Australian Retirement Trust, are bigger than even the federal government’s Future Fund Management Agency, which oversees the A$194 billion <a href="https://yearinreviewfy22.futurefund.gov.au/performance-results.html">Future Fund</a> and several other funds worth a total $242 billion.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="0wOBb" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/0wOBb/5/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Underpinning this consolidation is the idea that larger scale is beneficial for superannuation fund members. But that’s not necessarily true. A bigger fund is no guarantee of better returns.</p> <p>I’ve examined the issue of fund scale with Scott Lawrence, an investment manager with 35 year’s industry experience. Together we’ve written <a href="https://theconexusinstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Does-Size-Benefit-Super-Fund-Members-24-March-2023.pdf">a report</a> for the Conexus Institute, an independent research centre focused on superannuation issues.</p> <p>Our conclusion: funds, large and small alike, succeed or fail depending on how well they formulate and execute their strategies.</p> <h2>Managing assets in-house</h2> <p>The first potential benefit of bigger size is that funds can manage assets using their own dedicated investment professionals, rather than outsourcing everything to external investment managers to invest on their behalf.</p> <p>For example, UniSuper (the higher education industry fund) manages <a href="https://www.unisuper.com.au/investments/how-we-invest/investment-managers">70% of assets in-house</a>. AustralianSuper, with more than double UniSuper’s assets, manages <a href="https://www.australiansuper.com/-/media/australian-super/files/about-us/annual-reports/2022-annual-report.pdf">53% of assets</a> in-house.</p> <p>This can be cheaper than paying fees as a percentage of assets to these external providers. It offers more control as the super fund can decide the assets in which they invest, rather than leaving the decision to someone else.</p> <p>But fund members will only benefit if the internal team makes investment decisions that are as good as the service they are replacing. For this reason, there is no reliable correlation between performance and degree of in-house management.</p> <h2>Investing in big-ticket items</h2> <p>The second potential benefit is it becomes more possible to become successful direct investors in “big ticket” assets such as infrastructure and property, instead of just focusing on shares and other assets traded on stock exchanges.</p> <p>For example, AustralianSuper owns <a href="https://www.australiansuper.com/-/media/australian-super/files/about-us/media-releases/australiansuper-increases-investment-in-westconnex.pdf">20.5% of WestConnex</a>, Australia’s biggest infracture project, having contributed $4.2 billion to the consortium that is building the mostly underground toll-road system linking western Sydney motorways.</p> <p>Opportunities like this are easier to access by large funds, and can help to diversify their portfolios.</p> <p>But such direct investment is costlier than buying shares and bonds. This limits the potential for fee reductions.</p> <p>For members to benefit, these investments must deliver attractive returns. This requires a fund developing capability in what are specialised markets. Size alone won’t deliver on its own.</p> <h2>Economies of scale and scope</h2> <p>The third potential benefit is that size brings economies of scale and scope.</p> <p>Scale can reduce fees, by spreading the fund’s fixed costs over a larger member base.</p> <p>Our review of the research literature confirms there are solid reasons to expect administration costs to reduce with size, as well as in-house management reducing investment costs.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="26cxr" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/26cxr/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Economies of scope involve an organisation being able to improve or increase services, say by investing in better systems and more staff.</p> <p>But investing in better systems also brings potential pitfalls. Big visionary projects tend to run over time and over budget, and sometimes fail.</p> <p>An example is the disastrous attempts of five industry funds (AustralianSuper, Cbus Super, HESTA, Hostplus and MTAA Super) to develop a shared administration platform, called Superpartners. It was meant to cost $70 million, but development costs blew out to $250 million before <a href="https://www.investmentmagazine.com.au/2016/12/link-group-completes-superpartners-integration/">they gave up</a>.</p> <h2>Size brings its own challenges</h2> <p>Large funds also face some unique challenges. Because they have more money to invest, they have more work to do in finding sufficient attractive assets to buy.</p> <p>The risk is they need to accept some assets offering low returns to do so. They can also outgrow some market segments, such as owning shares in smaller companies.</p> <p>Large organisations are typically more complex, more bureaucratic and less flexible. They can find it difficult to coordinate staff to work towards a common purpose. These elements may create dysfunction if not managed.</p> <p>This may explain why, despite the potential increased scope of their offerings, surveys suggest large funds tend to deliver <a href="https://www.investmentmagazine.com.au/2022/08/members-willing-to-pay-for-better-service-post-retirement/">less personalised service</a>.</p> <p>So the idea “bigger is better” is not necessarily true. Large size is not an automatic win. Whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and challenges ultimately depends on fund trustees and management doing their jobs well so that members benefit.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/203417/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/geoff-warren-3657">Geoff Warren</a>, Associate Professor, College of Business and Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-bigger-super-funds-better-actually-no-despite-what-the-industry-is-doing-203417">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Government will require bosses to pay workers their super on payday

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-grattan-20316">Michelle Grattan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</a></em></p> <p>A government change requiring superannuation to be paid on payday could mean a young employee will be several thousand dollars better off by retirement.</p> <p>The reform – which will not come in until July 1 2026 – will benefit the retirement incomes of millions of Australians, according to Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones.</p> <p>They give the example of a 25-year-old median income earner presently receiving their super quarterly and their wages each fortnight, who could be about $6000 (or 1.5%) better off when they retire.</p> <p>The ministers argue there will be benefits to bosses, as well as to the workers, in the change. “More frequent super payments will make employers’ payroll management smoother with fewer liabilities building up on their books.”</p> <p>They say payday super will mean employees can keep track of the payments more easily and it will be more difficult for disreputable employers to exploit them.</p> <p>“While most employers do the right thing, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) estimates $3.4 billion worth of super went unpaid in 2019-20.”</p> <p>The ATO will get extra resourcing to help it detect unpaid super payments earlier. Treasury and the ATO will consult stakeholders on the changes later this year.</p> <p>The ministers say the July 1 2026 start will give employers, superannuation funds, payroll providers and other parts of the superannuation system enough time to get ready for the change.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/204759/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-grattan-20316">Michelle Grattan</a>, Professorial Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/government-will-require-bosses-to-pay-workers-their-super-on-payday-204759">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Super simple cake decorating ideas

<p>Whether you’re making a cake for a special occasion or simply want to create something extra fancy for a family dinner, you’d be surprised how easy it can be to decorate a cake into something fit for a cooking show. Whether it’s using a few store-bought meringues, slicing up some strawberries or using your favourite biscuits to make a balloon feature, you’ll never make a plain old cake again after reading our super simple cake decorating ideas.</p> <p><strong>Meringue on the mind</strong><br />For an effective alternative to piped-frosting rosettes or expensive store-bought edible roses, opt for some mini meringues from the supermarket. Use them around the edge of the cake for a simple yet stylish finish that packs a crunchy punch.</p> <p><strong>Up, up and away with cookies</strong><br />Whether you want to make biscuits of your own or buy your favourite biccies from the shop, once you’ve iced your cake arrange a cluster of biscuits nearer to one end of the cake and use liquorice shoestrings (or another thin long lolly of your choosing) to form the balloon strings coming from the biscuits. You may want to knot the strings for extra detail. Another tip you may want to use is, if your biscuits are on the plan side, cover them in different colour frostings and then decorate them with colours sprinkles.</p> <p><strong>Strawberry fields</strong><br />Sometimes things in your very own fridge make the perfect cake decorations. Strawberries not only taste delicious and fresh, their vibrant colour makes them an eye-catching decoration. Thinly slice one punnet of fresh strawberries. Starting from the outside perimeter, place a ring of strawberries around the cake, pointed facing out. Continue layering rings around the cake until you reach the centre.</p> <p><strong>Shaved Chocolate</strong><br />For all the chocoholics out there, this one’s for you. A decadent way to decorate a cake is with shavings of chocolate. If you’re worried you won’t be so good at making your own shavings, some stores do sell them. You can mix and match milk, white and dark chocolate and even throw in a few different flavours – think orange, mint or chilli chocolate. While there are many ways you can arrange the shavings, the circular, ring-type layering described above in strawberry fields works well.</p> <p><strong>Spotty dotty</strong><br />Polka dots are all the rage and white frosting dots on a cake that has been iced in a pale colour, will look extremely lovely. For neatly piped dots, you’ll want to use a pastry bag. Hold the pastry bag in both hands; keep the tip just above the cake's surface, at a slight angle. Gently squeeze out icing, release, and pull back. Frosting dots will also help to hide smudged edges or spotty icing. You can either use different size dots or big and small ones. But whatever you do, start with the large ones.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Food & Wine

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The Super Mario Bros. Movie: don’t watch it for the story but for how it successfully represents gameplay

<p>The first videogame I ever played was the arcade game <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp2aMs38ERY">Donkey Kong</a>. Released in 1981, it took us into a blocky-looking world where a carpenter in overalls raced along platforms and up ladders in a building site to rescue a lady kidnapped by a large ape. Its humble hero, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario">Mario</a>, went on to feature in scores of multi-million dollar grossing games, becoming an icon <a href="https://www.dukeupress.edu/recentering-globalization">as popular as Mickey Mouse</a>.</p> <p>Having grown up in the 1980s, the new <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnGl01FkMMo">Super Mario Bros. Movie</a> meant more to me than the average fantasy animation film. Watching <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKxaYsn_F78">Mario and Donkey Kong have it out</a> on a massive screen – at a resolution so high you can see a single hair or wrinkle on these crisp-looking, toy-like characters – was remarkable.</p> <p>Yet, it felt like the mission of this movie wasn’t just about creating flashy, fleshy cartoon characters or trying to tell a compelling story – it was about doing justice to the feel of these videogames that span decades and are still enjoyed by millions around the world.</p> <h2>A film about jumping</h2> <p>Story-wise, this is another of those PG-rated fantasy comedies that celebrate the 1980s and games culture. There’s a beta male baddy (Bowser, a fire-breathing dragon-turtle hybrid) and his army who must be defeated by a good-hearted guy (Mario) – helped by his brother (Luigi), a strong independent woman (Princess Peach), and a cast of zany allies.</p> <p>But what makes the film worth watching is how it tips its hat to aspects of gameplay.</p> <p>One of its biggest achievements is the unpretentious, funny recreations of moments from the videogames. Sometimes this happens by staging action-packed scenes that are <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP-Qduvw9zY">framed from the same perspective as the videogame players</a>. For instance, seeing Mario and Luigi dash through a building site with the camera zoomed out to capture the entire screen from a side perspective is the filmmaker’s nod to the pleasures of platform games.</p> <p>The film also humorously reflects on player experience. Anybody who has enjoyed a Mario game might recall the disappointing feeling of falling down a pit after a failed attempt to reach a high platform. In the movie, Mario is initially inept at all of this. He is put through a funny 1980s montage of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKKBlSzMs4o">trial and error</a>, which reminds us how players got the hang of these games.</p> <p>The emphasis on replicating gameplay may be the influence of Japanese games design superstar <a href="https://www.rollingstone.com/tv-movies/tv-movie-features/the-super-mario-bros-movie-shigeru-miyamoto-koji-kondo-nintendo-interview-easter-eggs-1234706449/">Shigeru Miyamoto</a>, the creator of Mario, who co-produced the movie.</p> <p>Where other designers may have attempted to create a “proper” Mario movie by focusing on realism or a more sophisticated story, Miyamoto has long been adamant about seeing videogames <a href="https://shmuplations.com/miyamoto1989/">as toys</a>. Now he has created a true videogame movie.</p> <h2>Games as toys</h2> <p>Approaching games as toys is consistent with the long history of Kyoto-based games company Nintendo. It started back in 1889 producing playing cards, and even <a href="https://www.hobbydb.com/marketplaces/hobbydb/subjects/n-b-block-series">competed with Lego</a> before going on to revolutionise the videogaming medium with titles such as Super Mario Bros. in the early 1980s.</p> <p>In most of Nintendo’s games, the end goal is not necessarily found in the stories – rather, these serve the pleasure of playing. In Super Mario Bros., for example, the damsel-in-distress narrative of Bowser kidnapping Princess Peach merely kicked off a game mostly about jumping.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6Al_DShXX0">Other Mario adaptations for the big screen</a> have sought to translate gameplay with varying success. Take the 1993 <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuXwMHF9y1Y&amp;ab_channel=RottenTomatoesClassicTrailers">Super Mario Bros. live action</a> film, which was critically panned but has gone on to gain cult status. As a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1993/05/29/movies/review-film-plumbing-a-video-game-to-its-depths.html">reviewer in the New York Times</a> put it: “This bizarre, special effects-filled movie doesn’t have the jaunty hop-and-zap spirit of the Nintendo video game from which it takes – ahem – its inspiration.”</p> <p>Gone, now, are the days of third-party licensing when cinematic game adaptations were left in the hands of external developers, resulting in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKqFEV9rA1U">output that could look very different</a> to the games themselves – such as Super Mario Bros. Super Show! from the late 1980s. This animated show was not particularly faithful to the games: Mario and Luigi had a different kind of Italian-American accent and a Princess Toadstool. The live-action segments also featured crasser and more adult iterations of the characters.</p> <p>This time, however, Nintendo has worked with Universal Pictures to adapt the game, so the new animated movie is more faithful in brand continuity.</p> <h2>Mario’s most successful cinematic appearance</h2> <p>There are now entire TV series based on story-driven games, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNF27c3-5Qw">whose scripts replicate the game almost verbatim</a>. For instance, the recent hit series The Last of Us saw fans cross-reference scene by scene with the original game.</p> <p>In contrast, the Super Mario Bros. Movie looks like an attempt to make a film that works more like a game. And in spite of a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2023/apr/09/the-super-mario-bros-movie-review-game-over-for-this-lazy-animated-mess">lukewarm reception from critics</a>, the new film stands to be the most successful cinematic Mario appearance yet.</p> <p>While the film has been downplayed by some as a “marketing machine” to sell Nintendo toys, critics overlook the fact that its success might be connected to how popular these toys already are. The games have <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2023/2/7/23589075/nintendo-switch-q3-2023-earnings-sales-console-third-bestselling">sold in the 100 millions</a>, which may explain the film’s ability to <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/super-mario-bros-movie-box-office-b2317192.html">smash box-office records</a>.</p> <p>This film will have gameplaying fans poring over frames to identify references to the games and “Easter eggs” – messages hidden for knowing watchers to look out for. Older and new fans alike will recognise <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otZ-D3OJeW4">the GameCube jingle in Luigi’s ringtone</a>, and enjoy vintage gaming items such as the “hammer power-up” that are on sale in the film’s antique shop.</p> <p>Many viewers will also recognise the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QilqLbynOsY">iconic musical motifs from the Super Mario Bros. levels</a>, and how the maps are reminiscent of Super Mario World. They will spot cutesy fan-favourites <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o6yvb5E2Sw">Yoshi</a> and Toad.</p> <p>The Super Mario Bros. Movie may indeed work to re-market Nintendo’s four-decade back catalogue of gaming classics to both nostalgic parents and kids. But in being driven by the very success of gaming culture, it defies critics looking at it as “just another movie”. Instead, they should see it as an extension of the videogame, and a celebration of how this expansive world makes people feel.</p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-super-mario-bros-movie-dont-watch-it-for-the-story-but-for-how-it-successfully-represents-gameplay-203592" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Universal Pictures</em></p>

Movies

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Getting life cover can mean a 15% rebate for you

<p>We all have loved ones who rely on us. Life insurance offers security, but so many of us are doing it tough at the moment that another outgoing seems scary.</p> <p><a href="https://lp.compareclub.com.au/life-oversixty/?utm_medium=partner&utm_source=over60&utm_campaign=life&utm_content=nativearticle&category=life" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong>OverSixty is partnering with Compare Club</strong></a> to find ways you can still protect your family, without breaking your retirement budget.</p> <p>For example: Did you know you’re able to split your life insurance so some of it’s paid in your super fund? </p> <p>It’s true! Accessing your life cover like this gives you a way to:</p> <ul> <li>Keep your out-of-pocket expenses low.</li> <li>Access discounted premiums: your 15% rebate makes dollars and good sense.</li> <li>Afford better cover with more benefits for you - and your family.</li> </ul> <p><strong><a href="https://lp.compareclub.com.au/life-oversixty/?utm_medium=partner&utm_source=over60&utm_campaign=life&utm_content=nativearticle&category=life" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Compare Club’s life cover experts</a></strong> have this knowledge at their fingertips. They’re experts who have been helping Aussies save money on insurance policies since 2010.</p> <p>You don’t need to puzzle it all out on your own either. Compare Club’s brokers match policies to people’s real-life circumstances - and handle your paperwork.</p> <p>Compare Club looks at policies from Australia's leading life insurers#, so <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">talk to an expert today about your future, and your family.</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> </span></p> <h4 style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; font-family: -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; line-height: 1.2; color: #212529; font-size: 1.5rem; background-color: #ffffff;">Call 1300 863 204 now, or <a href="https://lp.compareclub.com.au/life-oversixty/?utm_medium=partner&utm_source=over60&utm_campaign=life&utm_content=nativearticle&category=life" target="_blank" rel="noopener">click here</a> to save today!</h4> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; background-color: #ffffff;"><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;"><em>The information contained in this guide is of general nature only and has been prepared without taking into consideration your objectives, needs and financial situation. As such, it is important that you consider the appropriateness of any advice and the relevant product disclosure statement (PDS) before proceeding. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.<br /></em></span><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;"><em>#Compare Club compares selected products from a panel of trusted insurers. We do not compare all products in the market.</em></span></p>

Money & Banking

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Super has become a taxpayer-funded inheritance scheme for the rich. Here’s how to fix it – and save billions

<p>Australia’s A$3.3 trillion superannuation system is supposed to boost people’s retirement incomes. The government says as much in its <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-02/c2023-361383.pdf">proposed leglislated objective</a> for superannuation. The system is supported by billions of dollars of tax breaks each year, ostensibly to that end. </p> <p>But there’s just one problem – increasingly, much of what is saved is never spent.</p> <p>Our new report, <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/super-savings-practical-policies-for-fairer-superannuation-and-a-stronger-budget">Super savings: Practical policies for fairer superannuation and a stronger budget</a>, points out that without an overhaul, super tax breaks are set to do little more than boost the inheritances of Australians with well-off parents. </p> <p>Super contributions and super earnings are both taxed more lightly than other income. These tax breaks cost the budget about $45 billion (2% of Australia’s gross domestic product, or GDP) each year.</p> <p>Treasury predicts that figure will hit 3% of GDP by 2060, and that the cost of super tax breaks will overtake the cost of the age pension by as soon as 2036.</p> <p>Super tax breaks are also unfair: about two-thirds go to the top 20% of earners. </p> <p>This means the tax breaks provide the biggest boost to the super accounts of high earners, who will almost all have a comfortable retirement regardless, and who tend to save the same regardless of the tax rate imposed. </p> <p>The wealthiest 10% of Australians get a bigger boost to their retirement savings from super tax breaks than poorer Australians get from the age pension.</p> <p>But much of what is saved for retirement never actually gets spent in retirement. </p> <p>Earlier research by <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/news/balancing-act/">Grattan Institute</a> and the <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-02/p2020-100554-udcomplete-report.pdf">2020 Retirement Income Review</a> found that, for a variety of reasons, spending falls substantially during retirement. Retirees often end up leaving much of their nest egg untouched, bequeathing it to their children.</p> <p>This means billions of dollars in super tax breaks simply end up boosting the inheritances received by the children of well-off parents. It makes super a taxpayer-funded inheritance scheme. </p> <p>This problem is set to get worse. With the rate of compulsory superannuation legislated to rise from 10.5% of wages to 12% by 2025, future generations of retirees are set to retire with even larger nest eggs that they will never spend. </p> <p>Treasury projects that by 2059, one in every three dollars paid out of the super system will be a bequest, up from one in every five today.</p> <p>Big inheritances boost the jackpot from the birth lottery. They help richer children get richer. Among the Australians who received an inheritance over the past decade, the wealthiest fifth received on average <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/news/the-great-australian-nightmare/">three times</a> as much as the poorest fifth.</p> <p>To help reverse this, the government needs to rein in the super tax breaks.</p> <h2>How to make super fairer</h2> <p>The government’s policy, <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/jim-chalmers-2022/media-releases/superannuation-tax-breaks">announced in February</a>, of taxing the earnings on balances bigger than $3 million at 30%, instead of 15%, will help. </p> <p>But the threshold ought to be lowered to $2 million. Balances between $2 million and $3 million are very unlikely to be spent in retirement, so winding back tax breaks on earnings on balances bigger than $2 million would further wind back taxpayer-funded bequests. </p> <p>And there’s more. Currently, many wealthier Australians receive a larger tax break per dollar contributed to super than many low income earners. </p> <p>Yet low earners have more to be compensated for. Putting money into their super cuts their age pension in retirement, and they live shorter lives, meaning less time to enjoy their super in retirement.</p> <p>The pre-tax contributions of people earning more than $220,000 a year should be taxed at 35%, instead of the 30% charged to those earning more than $250,000 currently. That would still offer a 10% tax break on super contributions for high earners (given the top marginal rate of 45%) and at least a 15% break on the contributions of low and middle earners. </p> <p>And the annual pre-tax contributions cap should be lowered from $27,500 to $20,000. Contributions above this level tend to be made by people close to retirement with already-high balances.</p> <h2>Tax earnings in retirement the same as while working</h2> <p>On the earnings side, the tax-free earnings enjoyed by retirees on their first $1.7 million ($1.9 million from 1 July this year) of their super should go.</p> <p>Superannuation earnings in retirement should be taxed at 15%, the same as superannuation earnings before retirement. This would save the budget at least $5.3 billion a year, and much more in future, and make taxing super more simple.</p> <p>More than 70% of this revenue would come from the top 20% of retirees. The top 10% would pay an extra $7,000 to $7,500 a year on average, whereas the poorest half would no more than $200 more each.</p> <p>Both sides of politics say they agree that super shouldn’t be a taxpayer-funded inheritance scheme. But there’s a long way to go before that vision is reality.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/super-has-become-a-taxpayer-funded-inheritance-scheme-for-the-rich-heres-how-to-fix-it-and-save-billions-202948" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

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Photographer reimagines the super-rich

<p>Indian photographer Gokul Pillai has shared his vision of “slumdog billionaires” with the world.</p> <p>Using Midjourney, an artificial intelligence program that pulls artists’ work from across the internet to generate AI ‘art’, Gokul has taken some of the world’s wealthiest and reimagined them in scenarios far from what they’re used to. </p> <p>The likes of Jeff Bezos, Donald Trump, Muskesh Ambani, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk were reimagined by the photographer after his viewing of the award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire inspired him to consider them as their own ‘poor’ counterparts. </p> <p>“It was very coincidental,” he told <em>The Daily Mail</em>. “The movie is set in the slums of India and I wanted to recreate something based on that.</p> <p>“The word 'millionaire' in the movie title and juxtapositioning it with actual billionaires, that's how it started.”</p> <p>Gokul posted his series to Instagram with the title “Slumdog Millionaires”, and called on his followers to let him know if he’d forgotten to include anyone. </p> <p>His post quickly went viral, with comments rolling in from supporters who had praise and suggestions in store, and also those who weren’t thrilled about his use of an AI generator. </p> <p>“Just amazing,” wrote one follower, “they look real.”</p> <p>“This is epic,” said another, alongside a flame emoji. </p> <p>“What an insane concept,” one noted. </p> <p>“Wonderful series of images,” praised one more, to a chorus of agreement. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CqvxGHwyyf1/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CqvxGHwyyf1/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Gokul Pillai (@withgokul)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>As Gokul confessed to <em>The Daily Mail</em>, he was delighted and “completely overwhelmed with the response” to his series, despite his idea that “it would be funny and [a] few might find it hilarious”. </p> <p>However, there were still those who believed Gokul - who has also shared his own photography to his account - could have approached it differently, without the use of AI, and made sure to point it out. </p> <p>“AI ‘artist’... that's funny,” one said. </p> <p>“Midjourney is honestly scary if you think about how evil people who desire to assassinate someone's character would use it,” another admitted, to an outpouring of likes. “As an artist it excites me but looking into the future it scares the c**p out of me.”</p> <p>As for how well Gokul felt he’d achieved his vision, he confessed that while it was hard to determine who had been the most popular, it was “probably Bill Gates”, and that his followers had decreed that Mukesh Ambani “looked the poorest.” </p> <p>And to those same supporters he gave his thanks, returning to his own post to write “thank you all for the great response on the post.. I totally appreciate the support.. thank you!!” </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram, Midjourney</em></p>

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Should I put more money into my super? What are the benefits and can I take it out before retirement if I need it?

<p>Superannuation is never far from the headlines lately, with the government recently calling for <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2023-361383">views</a> from the public on what the objective of super should be. </p> <p>The basic idea behind super is you set aside a portion of your pay over your working life, so you can build up a nest egg to see you through your retirement years. </p> <p>But what if you’re worried you might not have enough super by the time you retire? Yes, you could top up your super now and watch the nest egg grow through the magic of <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/saving/compound-interest">compound returns</a>– but what are the downsides?</p> <p>If you’re considering putting more money into your super, and want to know more about how the whole system works, here are the basics.</p> <h2>What are the rules about putting more money into my super?</h2> <p>First, make sure you know where your superannuation actually is and how much you’ve got so far. This <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/forms/searching-for-lost-super/">page</a> from the Australian Tax Office explains how to search for any lost super.</p> <p>The next thing to know is there are <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/super/in-detail/growing-your-super/super-contributions---too-much-can-mean-extra-tax/?page=2#Understanding_contribution_caps">limits</a> to how much you can contribute into superannuation. </p> <p>There are two types of super contributions you can make.</p> <p>The first category is called “<a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/grow-your-super/super-contributions">concessional contributions</a>”. These are taxed at 15%, which may be lower than the tax you’d otherwise have to pay on that money. So making these super top-ups can not only grow your nest egg, but save you tax.</p> <p>The amount of concessional contributions you can make is A$27,500 per annum. That figure includes all the super your employer puts in your super account and any extra contributions you make under a salary sacrifice scheme or where you are claiming an income tax deduction.</p> <p>The second category, known as “non-concessional contributions”, means money you pay into your super withoutclaiming a tax deduction. This could be, for example, money from savings, an inheritance or a lottery win.</p> <p>There is a limit of $330,000 over three years (or $110,000 per year), for these contributions.</p> <h2>What are the benefits of topping up my super?</h2> <p>Two words: compound returns.</p> <p>Compound returns are where you earn returns not only on the original investment you put in, but also on any returns on that investment. As the government’s <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/saving/compound-interest">Moneysmart</a> website puts it, “you get interest on your interest”.</p> <p>Over the years, this means you could earn a lot more than you would if you didn’t top up your super. </p> <p>How much more? Well, it depends on the investment return and fees of your fund.</p> <p>But as an example: thanks to compound returns, putting an extra $100 per month into your super from age 30 could <a href="https://www.calc.help/industrysuper/add-extra-to-your-super">mean you retire</a> with an extra $65,000 in your account (here, I’ve assumed investment returns of 7.5%, accumulation inflation of 4% and salary inflation of 4%).</p> <p>And the longer it is there, the more it will grow – so starting top-ups early might pay off. </p> <p>This is particularly important for <a href="https://theconversation.com/spirals-and-circles-snakes-and-ladders-why-womens-super-is-complex-103763">women</a>, whose super balances may look a bit feeble if they take parental leave or cut their hours while raising a family.</p> <p>Then there’s the tax benefits of super top-ups. If you would normally pay a net tax rate higher than 15% on investments such as shares, your money will grow more quickly inside superannuation than shares.</p> <p>You may also be eligible for government co-contributions that add to your balance if you make a non-concessional contribution during the year and your income is less than $57,016.</p> <h2>So what’s the downside? Can I access my superannuation before retirement?</h2> <p>Basically, no. You must meet a “<a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/super/in-detail/withdrawing-and-using-your-super/withdrawing-your-super-and-paying-tax/?page=2#Conditionsofrelease">condition of release</a>” before being able to access your superannuation.</p> <p>The most common is retirement, defined as reaching the age of 65 or leaving work after reaching “preservation age” (which is 60 for anyone born after July, 1964).</p> <p>There are some <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/Withdrawing-and-using-your-super/Early-access-to-your-super/">special circumstances</a> where you may be able to access your superannuation early.</p> <p>These are very narrow, and include serious financial hardship or necessary medical treatment that cannot be funded any other way. </p> <p>Death or terminal illness also qualify for release.</p> <h2>But what if I need a deposit for a house?</h2> <p>This is a dilemma for non home-owners. After compulsory superannuation guarantee deductions and HECS-HELP, it may be hard to save a deposit.</p> <p>One of the few circumstances where you access your superannuation early is through the <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/super/withdrawing-and-using-your-super/first-home-super-saver-scheme/">First Home Super Savers Scheme</a>. </p> <p>If you make voluntary contributions, you may be able to withdraw these contributions for a home deposit. </p> <p>However, this scheme is very tightly regulated. You can read more about the rules for this scheme <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/super/withdrawing-and-using-your-super/first-home-super-saver-scheme/">here</a>.</p> <h2>So… should I put more money into my super?</h2> <p>It depends. If you do, make sure you understand you will not be able to access that money until retirement.</p> <p>If you own your home (or intend to rent until retirement) you may want to put more into superannuation while you can afford it, knowing it is contributing to a secure retirement. </p> <p>But if home ownership is your goal, you should think carefully about choosing between superannuation and saving for a home deposit.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared in <a href="https://theconversation.com/should-i-put-more-money-into-my-super-what-are-the-benefits-and-can-i-take-it-out-before-retirement-if-i-need-it-201950" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

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