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Couple's retirement plans "ruined" after investment fail

<p>A couple from Brisbane claim their retirement has been "ruined" after an investment went wrong. </p> <p>After first visiting Coffs Harbour in 1976, Raymond and Wendy Dibb saw potential in the area, land-banking 2.7 hectares of rural acreage in the late 1980s. </p> <p>The couple bought the land in Korora for $118,000 in 1988 and sat on it for decades, waiting for the day they could make their retirement fortune by subdividing and selling it off.</p> <p>However they never got the chance, as the land was compulsorily acquired by Transport for NSW back in 2021 in order to make way for the Pacific Highway bypass.</p> <p>The $2.2 billion highway is now currently being built over the top of the block, which will be the site of a major intersection when the project opens to traffic in late 2026.</p> <p>The couple believed the land was worth a hefty $5.5 million, although Transport NSW valued it at just $1.062 million back in 2021.</p> <p>A gruelling three-year legal battle finally ended in the NSW Court of Appeal on June 28th, with the Dibbs being awarded $1.359 million in compensation, although they argued they deserved more. </p> <p>“This was a pretty significant financial transaction that’s really gone bad for us,” Raymond Dibb told the<em> </em><a title="www.smh.com.au" href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/couple-loses-property-fight-after-highway-swallows-5-5-million-dream-20240703-p5jqrx.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Sydney Morning Herald</em>. </a>“And it’s got nothing to do with our investment choices."</p> <p>“We’re talking about landowners just minding their own business, and someone comes knocking on your door, saying, ‘We’re going to take your land’”.</p> <p>Mr Dibb slammed the entire process of the acquisition, saying that he believed an independent body should conduct compulsory acquisitions rather than the government.</p> <p>In the Land and Environment Court, Justice Nicola Pain ended up increasing the couple’s compensation to $1.42 million after it was determined the land could have produced seven residential lots with less risk and cost.</p> <p>She found they were also entitled to money to cover fees and stamp duty on a replacement block for their land bank, which the couple argued they would need to buy to delay paying capital gains tax.</p> <p>Transport for NSW argued that they should not have been granted any money for stamp duty, with Justices Kristina Stern, Anthony Payne and Jeremy Kirk agreeing.</p> <p>This was stripped from the award and they refused to revalue the block of land. The couple were also ordered to pay the government’s costs of the two-day appeal.</p> <p>Mr Dibb is considering seeking leave to appeal against the High Court’s decision. He added that the couple’s retirement plans had been ruined by Transport for NSW, which originally offered just $470,000 for the land back in 2019.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Transport for NSW said the government body “empathises with residents and landowners affected by property acquisitions” and said they always “try to minimise the need for property acquisition”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Is Valentine’s Day worth the romantic investment? Here’s what we can learn from economics

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/selma-wather-1510222">Selma Wather</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sussex-1218">University of Sussex</a></em></p> <p>Expressing affection can be expensive. Spending on heart-shaped gifts, romantic cards, chocolates and flowers (other gifts are available) to celebrate Valentine’s Day has reached <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/510981/valentines-day-total-spending-great-britain/#:%7E:text=In%20the%20United%20Kingdom%20%28UK%29%20alone%2C%20Valentine%E2%80%99s%20Day,increased%20by%20just%20over%20300%20million%20British%20pounds.">close to £1 billion</a> in the UK.</p> <p>So the value of Valentine’s to retailers seems clear enough. But just how valuable is the annual ritual to consumers? What return can you expect for the money you invest in that bouquet of roses or candle lit meal?</p> <p>Broadly speaking, and depending on your relationship status, buying into Valentine’s Day traditions suggests two possible scenarios. You might be sending a card or gift to a potential partner to inform them of your interest; or you might be giving something to your current partner to remind them of your continuing love.</p> <p>Research suggests that both options have intrinsic economic value.</p> <p>For those seeking to express interest, sending a card is like dipping your toe into what economists might refer to as the “marriage market” – the search for someone you like, who likes what you have to offer in return.</p> <p>This search can happen smoothly, with plenty of information about your potential match, or it can be paved with obstacles, where you may not know much about who is available, and <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1703310">learning about potential partners</a> takes time.</p> <p>So suppose you are searching for a partner, and comprehensive information about potential matches is not freely available. What do you do?</p> <p>One option might be to put all your hopes into meeting someone on your daily journey to work. You pray that one day, just like in the movies, you will simply bump into “the one”.</p> <p>A second option might be to focus your search on single work colleagues, or people you know socially, and send Valentine’s Day cards to those you are attracted to.</p> <p>The option with the highest chance of success is the second one. You are using reliable information – knowledge of who is single. And sending a card to them can provide them with important information about you – that you’re also single, and that you’re interested. This is why research suggests that sending a Valentine’s Day card can be a <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2938374?origin=crossref">logical investment</a> of time and money.</p> <h2>‘Match quality’</h2> <p>Fast forward five years or so and imagine you are happily married to the recipient of one of those cards. Is it worth repeating the gesture now that you’re settled down together?</p> <p>Economists think of marriages or partnerships as having an inherent “<a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-2354.2006.00385.x">match quality</a>”, which reflects how good (or bad) your relationship is – and the likelihood of you breaking up.</p> <p>If match quality falls below the level of happiness you might expect to have if you were to leave, a <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2759255">separation may well follow</a>. But many studies also show that <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2535409">match quality is malleable</a> – that it can change, for better and indeed for worse, over time.</p> <p>You can invest in trying to improve match quality in various ways. It might be starting a family, sharing hobbies and interests, or gestures such as cooking a special meal or exchanging gifts on the 14th day of February. Improving your match quality <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228431914_How_Does_the_Change_of_Marriage_Quality_Affect_Divorce_Decisions">directly reduces the probability</a> of a separation.</p> <p>Then there’s the question of commitment – the willingness to stay in a relationship rather than walking away. And again, gestures can make a difference.</p> <p>Imagine you have just started a new job, and your employer asks you to complete an intensive training session in your free time, for a skill that would only be useful for that particular role. If you expect to hold the job for a long period, you might happily invest your time. But if your employer is struggling financially and redundancy is on the cards, you are much less likely to agree to perform the task.</p> <p>Relationships work in a similar way. People are more prepared to invest in things like having children or buying a house together if they expect the relationship to last. Given that commitment is not guaranteed by a marriage certificate, people <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=950688">need to find other ways</a> to signal their continued devotion.</p> <p>Celebrating Valentine’s Day is one way of making such a signal. It can show faith in your shared commitment, signify that you wish to continue investing in the relationship and improve match quality, further stabilising the partnership.</p> <p>So even if deep down you think that Valentine’s Day has become over commercialised and meaningless, research suggests it makes good economic sense to send that card.<!-- 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/223128/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/selma-wather-1510222"><em>Selma Wather</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sussex-1218">University of Sussex</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/is-valentines-day-worth-the-romantic-investment-heres-what-we-can-learn-from-economics-223128">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"Too good to be true": Bank teller saves couple from losing $40k

<p>A Tasmanian couple have been saved from losing $40k into an online investment scam after a bank teller noticed the red flags. </p> <p>The couple visited the NAB branch in Rosny, Hobart after their account was blocked during an attempt to transfer the money to an ‘online investment firm’ in Perth. </p> <p>The payment was the first of two instalments that they were set to pay the "firm" but NAB Customer Advisor Erin Bugg saved them from a massive loss. </p> <p>Bugg became suspicious of the firm after they promised a 12 per cent return on their term deposit  and a guaranteed pay out if the firm went bust. </p> <p>“If there was a scam red flags bingo card, ‘online investment opportunity’ would be top of the list,”  the NAB Customer Advisor said. </p> <p>“Immediately, alarm bells went off for me. It sounded like an investment scam and I was concerned this couple could lose their life savings.” </p> <p>The couple, however, insisted that they weren't being scammed so Bugg decided to look into the matter further and found a website and article about the firm. </p> <p>When she looked into the rates they offered she realised it “was literally too good to be true." </p> <p>“No one likes to be told they’re being lied to, especially when they feel like they’ve done all the right things. They had done their own research, and even spoken to the company on the phone,” she said. </p> <p>She added that "alarm bells" started ringing when the wife explained that a man from the firm kept calling her to thank her for the investment and encourage her to open an account. </p> <p>The couple then rang the "firm" in front of Bugg to try and convince her it was real. </p> <p>“I declined to speak to the ‘firm’, but I could hear them telling the customers, ‘Oh, NAB always flags us as a scam’,’”  she recalled. </p> <p>NAB’s fraud team then informed them that the firm had a bank account at another bank, and to call the bank to confirm whether it was legit. </p> <p>After calling the other bank, they found that the account was not connected to the investment firm and suggested them to not transfer anything. </p> <p>“It was such a relief to hear from the customer that they’d avoided being scammed,” Bugg said. </p> <p>This comes after Scamwatch received  over 7,000 reports of investment scams collectively costing Aussies  over $275 million in the last year. </p> <p><em>Image: NAB </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Balmain Private: A decade of trust and success

<p>Having celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2022, Balmain Private has firmly established itself as one of Australia's most reliable investment options. Since its inception in 2012, the company has consistently delivered impressive results, making it a trusted choice for individuals and advisers alike.</p> <p>With a track record of $244 million in interest paid to investors – and with an even more impressive capital loss of zero dollars – Balmain Private has demonstrated its commitment to delivering solid returns. Over the past decade, investors have enjoyed an average annual return of 7.56%*, with the highest reaching an outstanding 11.25% net return*.</p> <p>What sets Balmain Private apart is its unique approach to investment. The company empowers investors by allowing them to build, select, and manage their own portfolio of first mortgage loans. This flexibility appeals to a wide range of investors, including Retail, High Net Worth and Self-Managed Superannuation Fund investors, who seek alternative income sources beyond traditional options.</p> <p>At Balmain Private, the approval process for investment offerings is highly meticulous. Only the best loans make it to the investors, ensuring a carefully curated selection that prioritises quality and performance. Remarkably, more than 20% of loans repaid have exceeded the target return rate, while the rest have consistently met their target rate of return.</p> <p>Investing with Balmain Private is not only rewarding but also convenient. The entire process can be completed online, allowing investors to transact at their leisure. Whether on a PC, tablet or smartphone, investors have easy access to their portfolio. Additionally, Balmain Private offers a Mobile App that enables investors and advisers to manage, invest and review their portfolio on the go. The app allows for seamless depositing or redeeming of funds and provides downloadable reports right on your mobile device.</p> <p>To further enhance transparency and control, investors or their advisers can manage their portfolio through an intuitive online investor portal. This portal provides comprehensive details on current investments, capital movements, income distributions and transactions, ensuring that investors stay well-informed every step of the way.</p> <p>If you're ready to explore the opportunities offered by Balmain Private, you can download their complimentary <a href="https://info.balmain.com.au/rs/929-AKB-976/images/BPD%205727%20Target%20Market%20Determination.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Target Market Determination</a> (TMD), their <a href="https://info.balmain.com.au/FactSheetOrder-Over60_01LandingHomepage.html?utm_source=Over60&amp;utm_medium=Editorial&amp;utm_campaign=June&amp;utm_content=Editorial_TextLink" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Investor Fact Sheet</a>, or get in touch with their Investments Team at 02 9232 8888. For more detailed information, you can also visit their library of materials at <a href="https://linktr.ee/balmainprivate" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://linktr.ee/balmainprivate</a>.</p> <p>Balmain Fund Administration Limited, with ABN 98 134 526 604 and AFSL No: 333213, serves as the issuer of units in the Balmain Discrete Mortgage Income Trusts ARSN 155 909 176. Before making any investment decision, it is crucial to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and the Target Market Determination (TMD) available on the company's website or by calling 02 9232 8888. It's important to carefully consider whether investing in the Trust aligns with your financial goals, as rates of return are not guaranteed and are subject to future revenue, which may be lower than expected. </p> <p>As with any investment, there is a risk of losing some or all of the principal investment. However, Balmain Private's exceptional track record and commitment to investor satisfaction provide a solid foundation for a successful investment journey. </p> <p>Choose Balmain Private for your chance to embark on another decade of trust and prosperity.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Balmain Private.</em></p> <p><em>*Since inception. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Investors should consider the risk associated with any Loan as set out in the PDS and any relevant Supplementary PDS (SPDS) pertaining to that Loan.</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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How to downsize without leaving the suburb you love

<p style="text-align: left;">If you find yourself rattling around in a home that now has too many rooms to clean, and you’d prefer to spend more time doing things you love rather than household chores, it might be time to downsize. Not only can downsizing your property simplify your lifestyle, it has the potential to free up some funds as well. If you manage your ‘empty nester’ status well, it can become a profitable nest egg!</p> <p style="text-align: left;">But downsizing to a smaller home can be a daunting process. You may not be ready for the close proximity of a retirement village, nor are you keen to leave the neighbourhood you love. You have great neighbours, you’re close to family, and you have all the amenities you want nearby, but your house just doesn’t suit your lifestyle anymore.</p> <p>So, what are your options? There are in fact a couple of great alternatives to packing up and leaving everything you’ve known behind: building a dual occupancy home or a knockdown rebuild on your existing block of land.</p> <p><strong>What is a dual occupancy development?</strong></p> <p>A dual occupancy home design, also known as a ‘duplex’ or ‘multi-dwelling’, can come in a variety of layouts: either two attached dwellings side by side, where both properties have street frontage, or one behind the other, where there’s a driveway down one side of the property. A dual occupancy home is a great consideration for those who:</p> <ul> <li>Want to remain in the same area but don’t need as big a house.</li> <li>Want a low maintenance lifestyle.</li> <li>Have a large block in an area where land prices are increasing.</li> <li>Want to realise some of the equity in the land.</li> <li>Want to create an ongoing income stream through an investment property.</li> </ul> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Unlocking wealth with a dual occupancy home design</strong></p> <p>The Australian property boom has made many people many millions. But the fact is that the wealth lies in the land not in the dwellings themselves. Many people who have owned a slice of the Aussie Dream for more than 10-15 years are sitting on potential gold, however all their equity is tied up in the land beneath their house. For empty nesters that are ready to downsize, this offers enormous opportunity.</p> <p>It’s no surprise that dual occupancy house designs are increasing in popularity. There are a number of ways you can capitalise on this opportunity:</p> <ul> <li>Live in one house and sell the other.</li> <li>Live in one house, then rent the other one. This provides a potential income stream and is particularly great if your property is in an area where rental supply is low.</li> <li>Sell both houses and live somewhere else. This option works well in areas where housing stock is low and demand is high – and when you’re prepared to find somewhere else to live!</li> </ul> <p>There are some design limitations when it comes to building a dual occupancy home due to the somewhat restricted footprint, and a number of things to consider such as the size of your block, street frontage, driveways and council approvals. Thankfully however, experienced homebuilders such as Metricon have the expertise and know-how to provide you the guidance you need to make the most of your asset.</p> <p><strong>Knockdown rebuild – build a brand-new home, wherever suits your lifestyle</strong></p> <p>“Don’t move your life, improve your life!” is a fitting motto for those looking to take advantage of their great location by building a more suitable home for their life stage. If you really love where you live but your home just isn’t right for you any more, then there are two likely options: a renovation or a knockdown rebuild.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">A knockdown rebuild is especially a great option when you are looking to downsize – such as replacing your double storey home with a more suitable single storey option. Perhaps you are weighing up the option of moving but also hoping to build new. Let’s explore your options.</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>To renovate or rebuild?</strong></p> <p>Before jumping on the renovation bandwagon, assuming it is an easier option, there are a few factors to consider that may ultimately influence your decision. These can include: the extent of your renovation, the comparable costs between renovating and rebuilding, and the expected increase in value of your property. Other factors such as the condition of your home (some old homes can’t cope with structural changes), and ongoing expense (a new home is typically cheaper to maintain than an older home), may preclude you from renovating.</p> <p>Renovating can often result in unforeseen cost blowouts and uncover previously hidden or undiscovered faults. There’s also the hassle of shifting furniture, isolating rooms, living in only part of your home or moving out completely during the renovation. A knockdown rebuild however, may be easier and deliver a more satisfying result than you think: a brand-new home where everything is clean and reliable, in a floorplan that matches your desired lifestyle perfectly.</p> <p><strong>Re-locating and building new</strong></p> <p>If you’re looking for a complete lifestyle change when downsizing, perhaps weighing up the options of a sea or tree change, you can have the best of both worlds and build your dream home to perfectly suit your new location. </p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Downsizing

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Should I invest in a unit or a house?

<p><em><strong>The first tenet of investment is to get the best possible returns, so let’s look at where the money comes and goes when you’re investing in residential real estate.</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Initial cost</strong></p> <p>Units are typically more affordable than houses, so it’s easier for a first-time investor to raise the necessary capital. Houses often have a higher entry pricepoint due to land value. According to the latest Domain Group House Prices Report, the national median house price is $636,315 while units are $476,023. With the surge in Sydney prices, the median price of units in Sydney is now higher than the current median house price in Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra.</p> <p><strong>Ongoing expenses</strong></p> <p>Council rates are usually higher on a house and you’ll be required to pay land taxes on an ongoing basis. With a unit or apartment, you will have to account for strata fees quarterly for the life of the investment, including any special levies that may be raised.</p> <p><strong>Maintenance</strong></p> <p>If you own a house, all maintenance issues are your responsibility (unless you have a property manager), whereas the maintenance and care of an apartment building and surrounds is the responsibility of the body corporate.</p> <p><strong>What do you want from your investment?</strong></p> <p>What sort of investor are you? Are you looking for regular long-term income, or do you plan to renovate and ‘flip’ the property as soon as you can?</p> <p>A house generally offers higher capital growth, due to the land component of the property. There’s also more potential for negative gearing. Units, on the other hand, tend to offer higher rental yields so they are more favourable from a cashflow perspective. Their lower pricepoint may allow you to build a diversified property portfolio more quickly.</p> <p>Older units in smaller blocks might offer better value than swanky new apartments in skyscrapers. You’re less likely to pay ongoing levies for amenities such as gyms, concierges and heated swimming pools; your voice will be louder in owners’ corporation meetings. It’s also easier to find new tenants if there aren’t 20 other vacant properties in the same location.</p> <p><strong>Rentability</strong></p> <p>Both houses and units are in demand right now. To optimise your investment, look for places where rental demand is high, such as around universities, transport or lifestyle areas with easy access to schools, parks, cafes, shops or beaches.</p> <p>Ultimately, there are reasons for and against almost any dwelling type. The right investment choice for you will depend on your financial position, risk profile and investment strategy.</p> <p><em>First appeared on <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/advice/unit-or-house-the-better-first-investment/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Domain.com.au</span></strong></a>. Republished with permission.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Real Estate

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Will you be able to afford to retire?

<p>It was once likely that you’d die before retiring; it’s now highly probable that there will be a gap of several  (or even many) years between when you permanently leave the workforce and when you die. How are you going to survive when you’re no longer willing or able to swap your time for money?</p> <p>A friend recently remarked to me that his work made him feel like a consumable part in a big machine. That sounds brutal, but there is a truth in it, and a revelation that we have to use our productive time to set ourselves up for life after we’ve ‘worn out’.</p> <p>So how do you plan to survive once you’ve retired?  Here are four possible sources of income to pay your lifestyle expenses:</p> <p><strong>Welfare</strong></p> <p>The age pension is a subsistence payment that’s barely enough to survive on. It isn’t an option you’ll want to rely upon solely in your retirement years. Even when used as a supplement to other income, the age pension is still welfare—it’s not an entitlement nor a return of taxes paid. And don’t forget, the age pension is only available to those with insufficient income or assets to look after themselves.</p> <p>Any financial plan that causes you to rely on a subsistence payment in retirement is surely a poor one, leading to a poor outcome.</p> <p><strong>Compulsory super</strong></p> <p>Do you know that superannuation has a two-fold meaning? The more well-known one is your retirement savings available for survival once you retire. However less well-known is this: a stage in life when you become obsolete for full-time work.</p> <p>The superannuation (aka super) that employers deduct from your pay is sent directly to your nominated superannuation fund. The money invested in superannuation is usually locked away until after retirement and can’t be easily accessed.  The profits made are concessionally taxed and reinvested to boost your super balance.</p> <p>A burning question many people wonder is ‘will I have enough super to survive in retirement?’ Sadly, the answer for many is no.  The gap might be able to be closed if you qualify for the age pension or draw down on your superannuation balance or other assets, but the reality is more likely that you will have to downsize your living standards to lower your living expenses.</p> <p><strong>Voluntary super</strong></p> <p>What about occasionally topping up your superannuation account voluntarily by making some extra contributions? Well, that may be a good idea if you’re not too far off retirement (10 years or less). However, for others, locking away inaccessible money for decades may result in a severe loss of flexibility, which makes this option quite unattractive. There are also limits on how much can be voluntarily contributed on tax-effective terms.</p> <p><strong>Super sufficient</strong></p> <p>You can, of course, save and invest outside the superannuation regime, in your own name or using an entity such as a company or a trust (e.g. family trust, unit trust). These are non-superannuation assets, and they generate non-superannuation investment income. Such income can be used to pay for your lifestyle expenses at any time, not just after you’ve retired, or better yet, used to purchase other non-superannuation assets or to make voluntary contributions into your superannuation fund.</p> <p>While investing profits outside superannuation may be taxed at higher rates, the money is not locked away until retirement, and so you can use it to fund your financial freedom and avoid having to work until you are at least 60 years old.</p> <p>The ideal goal to aim for is to be what I call ‘super sufficient’ - an outcome where your investment income exceeds your tax and living expenses, so you can live independently without the fear of running out of money because you’ll never have to eat into your capital.</p> <p><strong>So, which option is best?</strong></p> <p>Well, the answer depends on your circumstances, choices and chances.</p> <p>Time is the biggest consideration. The less of it you have, the fewer options are available. If you’re in your 60s or older and don’t have much investment income or capital, then your choices are limited, and you’ll likely have to reign in your living expenses and perhaps rely on the age pension.</p> <p>Younger people need to make the most of the time they have left until retirement, because the longer your investing horizon, the greater your ability to benefit from compounding. Don’t limit yourself to one option; be smart and keep your options open. Consider all the options in some sort of combination: the age pension (to the extent you qualify for it), money inside superannuation (topped up when your circumstances say it is sensible to do so) and wealth outside of superannuation that you can access as needed before you retire.</p> <p>You might be lucky some of the time, but you can’t be lucky all of the time. I’ve found that while luck does have a role to play, investing skill is a far bigger determinant of an investor’s long-term success. If you want to improve your chances, your choices, or your circumstances, then invest inwards by improving your financial knowledge and ability before investing outwards and acquiring investments.</p> <p><strong>Edited extract from Steve McKnight’s <em>Money Magnet: How to Attract and Keep a Fortune that Counts</em> (Wiley $32.95), now available at all leading retailers. Visit www.moneymagnet.au</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Super funds should use their substantial holdings for public good

<p>Last month Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers unveiled the <a href="https://theconversation.com/albanese-governments-first-budget-delivers-election-promises-but-forecasts-soaring-power-prices-192844">National Housing Accord</a>, intended to build a million new homes in Australia. Part of the plan is to encourage superannuation funds to invest in social and affordable housing. </p> <p>The proposal was met with <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/money/super-and-retirement/only-if-the-return-stacks-up-super-funds-will-demand-sweeteners-to-back-labor-housing-plan-20221028-p5btsq.html">criticism</a> from some quarters, with <a href="https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2022/09/hey-labor-hands-off-our-superannuation-savings/">critics arguing</a>Australia’s superannuation savings belongs to its members, "it is their money, not Labor’s play money."</p> <p>These critics are forgetting it was not so long ago people’s taxes (which can also be seen as “their” money) paid everyone’s pensions. And while in consolidated revenue on their way to keeping us in comfort in our old age, these taxes helped build extensive public and social infrastructure.</p> <p>The transfer of retirement funding from the national government to non-government super funds is just one example of the shift from public provision of social goods towards individual accumulation that has defined Australian politics for four decades. This shift, along with associated income tax cuts, has contributed directly to the housing affordability crisis via the emphasis on property as an investment. </p> <p>Australia’s super funds now control <a href="https://www.superannuation.asn.au/resources/superannuation-statistics">$3.3 trillion</a> – the <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/publication/p2020-super">fourth-largest pool</a> of retirement savings in the world. </p> <p>Most of them invest in <a href="https://www.marketforces.org.au/superfunds/">fossil fuels</a> and some, directly or indirectly, in <a href="https://novowealth.com.au/the-dirty-dozen-part-3/">armaments</a>, exploited labour and old-growth logging. All of them invest <a href="https://www.investordaily.com.au/superannuation/50298-super-funds-continue-shift-to-international-investments">internationally</a>where, if they are not doing actual harm, they are still not doing any good for their members in Australia beyond delivering financial returns.</p> <p>Super funds are regulated by federal legislation which originally stipulated they must act in the “<a href="https://theconversation.com/labor-is-winding-back-reforms-meant-to-hold-super-funds-accountable-to-their-members-187594">best interests of their members</a>”. This was changed by the Coalition government in 2020 to read “<a href="https://archive.budget.gov.au/2020-21/factsheets/download/your_future_your_super_factsheet.pdf">best financial interests</a>”. It is this requirement that has the critics of Chalmers’ plan <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/news/super-funds-cant-solve-our-affordable-housing-problem/">baulking</a>: how can it be in members’ best financial interests to invest in social housing?</p> <h2>Why super funds should invest in social housing</h2> <p>If even 1% of the $3 trillion – $30 billion – were invested in social housing, rental pressures in the private housing market would be massively reduced as tens of thousands of households currently in the private rental market vacated those dwellings for new social housing. </p> <p>The flow-on effects of decent secure housing, including improvements in physical and mental health, and general social welfare are <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/08854122211012911">well</a> <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/migration/documents/Final-Report-Trajectories-the-interplay-between-housing-and-mental-health-pathways.pdf">documented</a>. </p> <p>The Albanese government could re-amend the regulations to their earlier form, and could require all super funds to invest a proportion of their portfolios in socially and ethically beneficial activities.</p> <p>Super fund members are workers and members of society too, making up most of the adult population. They would all benefit from a more equal society. </p> <h2>Investing for social good is already happening</h2> <p>Some local funds and other financial institutions are already investing in social goods. Various super funds like <a href="https://www.cbussuper.com.au/super/my-investment-options/investing-in-australia#:%7E:text=Cbus%20Super%27s%20social%20and%20affordable%20housing%20investment&amp;text=The%20Fund%20has%20been%20a,more%20social%20and%20affordable%20housing.">CBus</a> and community banks like <a href="https://bankaust.com.au/impact-finance/inclusive-and-accessible-housing">Bank Australia</a>invest in or give low-interest loans to community housing associations. Australian Super has a 25% stake in <a href="https://assemblecommunities.com/australiansuper-makes-cornerstone-investment-in-assemble-communities/">Assemble</a>, an affordable housing developer – bought before the 2020 amendment.</p> <p>They are taking small steps in a direction that is well-established in many European countries, where the notion of corporate responsibility has much greater resonance. This can be seen in the German constitution, which stipulates property ownership entails obligations, and “<a href="https://www.deutschland.de/en/topic/politics/the-german-basic-law-article-14-property-and-the-right-of-inheritance-shall-be">its use shall also serve the public good</a>.”</p> <p>European funds are finding low-yielding, slow-returning investments in social and co-operative housing complement their diverse portfolios well. Germany’s <a href="https://www.umweltbank.de/_Resources/Persistent/3/8/c/c/38ccacb3aabab0e602c8da17624d59d40b4b385f/20220705_UmweltBank_Anno_engl.pdf">UmweltBank</a> supports various housing initiatives including the famous <a href="https://www.umweltbank.de/2019/sauber-finanziert/wohnprojekt-spreefeld">Spreefeld co-op</a> in Berlin, which provides a steady, low-risk return. </p> <p>Investments in social housing are regarded as the lowest risk of all, as rents are mostly paid from financial assistance guaranteed by the state. Pension funds and community banks can commit to the long term, unlike <a href="https://overland.org.au/2021/12/vulture-landlords-and-the-justice-washing-of-housing-struggle/comment-page-1/#comment-1060442">corporate investors</a> that purchase social housing for a limited period before selling it on the private market.</p> <p>Oversight of these initiatives must be careful and regulated, but there is no reason why they should not be implemented. Chalmers’ plan should be applauded, and could go much further.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/super-funds-should-use-their-substantial-holdings-for-public-good-194443" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

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How investors can build a sustainable income in an inflationary market

<p>Over recent months, rising inflation has hit our back pockets more and more each day, while our hard-earned dollar is getting us less than it used to.</p> <p>The last 12 months have seen Aussies grapple with terms like inflation, interest rates and volatility, along with plenty of numbers and percentages, as we try to make sense of what’s happening in the financial world.</p> <p>Tim Montague-Jones, Head of Australian Equities Research at ASR Wealth Advisers, tells <em>OverSixty</em> that during periods of inflation, like the one we’re experiencing currently, we can actually become poorer despite our bank balances staying the same.</p> <p>“In simplistic terms, if you had $100,000 in savings, and you have 10 percent inflation, then that $10,000 is just evaporating out of your bank account each year,” he explains.</p> <p>“But in reality, what it means is you go into the shop and everything just costs more money, your dollar buys less. So you become poorer.”</p> <p>If we do nothing or invest in generally considered safe options such as bonds, government securities or term deposits, our money can also lose value.</p> <p>“If cash value goes down 10 percent a year, you lose 10 percent. Now, if you go and put it in a bond, you’ll be lucky to get a four or five percent return,” Montague-Jones says.</p> <p>“So what people talk about is real rates, which means the difference between inflation and what you can return from an investment, a cash account for example is unable to offer a higher return than inflation, meaning your money is going down in value every year.</p> <p>“If people do nothing in such conditions, they will lose wealth.”</p> <p>“You’re seeing higher prices and lower economic growth, and it just erodes people’s savings. “And it hits the hardest for people who aren’t employed, who don’t have a salary because they’re not going to get wage inflation.”</p> <p>As unstable as everything might seem, Montague-Jones says it is possible to still get a return on your investments and ensure your hard-earned cash isn’t losing all of its value.</p> <p>“In reality, there’s no safe place to put your money to offset inflation, but there are certain strategies you can take to try and mitigate that inflation,” he says.</p> <p>Income portfolios, like the one offered by <a href="https://www.australianstockreport.com.au/top-3-income-stocks-2022-o" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ASR Wealth Advisers</a>, are created by analysts who scan the market for high quality stocks that are expected to achieve a steady return on investment and therefore may provide you with a sustainable income in addition to your other income sources.”</p> <p>“We have put together what we call our income portfolio. I have a team of analysts, and what we do is we are looking for businesses which pay what we call a ‘defensive’ cash flow,” he explains.</p> <p>“So we’re not trying to buy a company which is going to double in price, we’re not looking for that capital growth. What we’re looking for is a company with that annual cash flow.”</p> <p>In times like these, Montague-Jones says it comes down to investing in defensive stocks.</p> <p>This refers to buying stock in businesses that return consistent profits each year, rather than those that are high risk and high reward. Examples of defensive sectors of the market include infrastructure, utilities, supermarkets and healthcare.</p> <p>“What we like is electricity distribution, gas pipelines, toll roads, port facilities, airports. We like what we call defensive infrastructure, utilities, things that are expected to continue doing well and are resilient to an economic cycle,” Montague-Jones explains.</p> <p>“Because we will continue to have economic cycles, what we want to do is just have that cash flow, so we’re not going to really look at the share price from month to month, what we’re going to be looking at is the consistency of that cash flow through time.</p> <p>“And that’s what we’ve helped our investors to get exposure to through our income portfolio.”</p> <p>As a result of its consistent returns, the <a href="https://www.australianstockreport.com.au/top-3-income-stocks-2022-o">income portfolio</a> from ASR Wealth Advisers has a low turnover or a ‘set and forget’ nature, which Montague-Jones says allows some investors to essentially live off the income generated by the portfolio.</p> <p>“What we like about our income stocks is of the nature of its cash flow, even through an economic cycle, we still wake up, we turn the lights on, you turn the gas on, businesses still function, life goes on and so does income from the portfolio,” he says.</p> <p>In terms of strategies investors can use during inflation, Montague-Jones says that there aren’t many places where your money can go without incurring some kind of loss. Even areas that have done well in the past, such as property, offshore assets and precious metals aren’t generally offering the same kinds of returns as defensive stocks.</p> <p>“And I do think you have just got to invest in infrastructure assets, such as a utility business churning out cash flow, is where you need to hide at the moment until the smoke clears and we can work out where to go,” he says.</p> <p>“Longer term, we still like commodities, we like green metals. We particularly like copper, there’s a big structural shift happening into electric vehicles and a move away from combustion vehicles,” Montague-Jones explains.</p> <p>“And there’s a big boom for lithium, copper, nickel and aluminium, so we like to get more speculative investors to invest in these commodities.”</p> <p>With over 20 years of experience in investment management, Montague-Jones has personally adopted some successful strategies over the years, including having a “get rich slow” mindset.</p> <p>“I like to set and forget, to own a business and then just let it do what it does, which is generate income.</p> <p>“And that’s what it’s all about. It’s not get rich quick, it’s get rich slow.</p> <p>“It’s about that compound return, year in year out. If you can make nine or ten percent every year, you compound that over 10 or 20 years, you’ll have better chances to become extremely wealthy, rather than trying to make 30 percent this year then lose 30 percent next year.</p> <p>“So it’s about get rich slow and about income; it’s a key ingredient to becoming wealthy.”</p> <p>To find out more and receive a free report detailing how you can see attractive growth on your investment, head <a href="https://www.australianstockreport.com.au/top-3-income-stocks-2022-o" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with </em><a href="https://aaigl.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>AAIGL</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p><em> </em><em>Atlantic Pacific Securities Pty Limited ABN 72 135 187 085 trading as ASR Wealth Advisers CAR 339207 of Trilogy Group Australia Pty Ltd ABN 80 078 111 654 AFSL 218770 and Amalgamated Australian Investment Solutions Pty Ltd ABN 61 123 680 106 AFSL 31461 distributes a wide range of its investment research reports through Australian Stock Report Pty Ltd ABN 94 106 863 978 AFSL 301682. ASR Wealth Advisers and Australian Stock Report Pty Ltd are part of Amalgamated Australian Investment Group Limited ABN 81 140 208 288.</em></p> <p><em>General Advice Warning: Any views and recommendations expressed in this article are limited to general advice only without taking into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether this information is appropriate for you in light of your personal circumstances and seek professional investment advice. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investment in securities involves risk. Share prices rise and fall. The payment of dividends and the return of capital are not guaranteed.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Cash is not king when it comes to super

<p>Record low interest rates are shrinking financial returns for conservative fund members.</p> <p>Regardless of whether your nest egg is self-managed or in a retail or industry super fund, if it’s mainly been sitting in cash you’ve missed out on healthy returns delivered by diversification.</p> <p>Five years ago, seven per cent term deposits were offered. But this is no longer the case. Many experts expect slim cash returns for a long time. Recently, deposits pay only two-and-a-half per cent.</p> <p>The fast-growing self-managed superannuation sector seems to be hit the hardest by the cash crash as members usually make their own investment decisions. Those who don’t use SMSFs should also check that cash does not dominate their savings. Most will already have a diverse range on investments through their fund’s default investment options.</p> <p>In Australia, we have almost 550 million SMSFs with more than one million members. According to official figures, they hold about 28 per cent of their money in cash. Typical retail and industry super funds hold 14 per cent of their money in cash.</p> <p>International shares, which is a top-performing asset class over the last five years, represents less than one per cent of SMSF assets compared with 22 per cent for other funds. </p> <p>Barbara Smith, CEO of Oasis Wealth and author of new book Keep it Super Simple, says that cash returns were nice for those who locked money in term deposits five years ago. But record low interest rates today mean now is not the time to do it again.</p> <p>“Our experience is sometimes people get scared and just leave it sitting in cash,” she says.</p> <p>“Now that rates have fallen, people are being a little proactive.”</p> <p>She says that people need to do their research and “always keep yourself close to your money.”</p> <p>Online share trading websites such as CommSec have more information than they’ve had before, Smith says.</p> <p>“The worst thing people do is invest in things they don’t understand. Once they do that you can start to see the money drizzle away. Take it slowly and gradually invest.”</p> <p>Andrea Slattery, CEO of the SMSE Association, says that the claim that SMSFs invest mainly in cash is incorrect. She says they get a lot of international exposure via investing in Aussie companies with big offshore earnings, like BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Westfield.</p> <p>“SMSFs are more flexible and leading the market in moving into new investments,” she says.</p> <p>“In the main, people are more engaged, they trust their specialist adviser and are more comfortable with the decisions that have been made.</p> <p>“You can’t actually do everything yourself – there are a couple of compulsory advisers you need – one’s an auditor and one’s an actuary. You manage it through professional advice directly to you,” Slattery says.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Retirement Income

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How do I find out what my superannuation fund invests in? A finance expert explains

<p>You want your superannuation savings to be invested in things that also serve the planet’s long-term interests. But how can you be sure your fund’s values align with yours – or even its own claims?</p> <p>This question has become increasingly pertinent as demand for environmentally and socially sustainable investments <a href="https://asic.gov.au/about-asic/news-centre/find-a-media-release/2022-releases/22-141mr-how-to-avoid-greenwashing-for-superannuation-and-managed-funds/">grows</a> – and with it incentives for financial institutions to put the best spin on their offerings. </p> <p>One consultancy specialising in “responsible investment” reckons <a href="https://thenewdaily.com.au/finance/superannuation/2021/08/16/greenwashing-super-funds/">10% of the funds</a> it has examined do not have the sustainability orientation they claim.</p> <p>Among those <a href="https://www.edo.org.au/2022/08/10/hestas-fossil-fuel-investments-may-amount-to-a-breach-of-the-law/">accused of greenwashing</a> in recent months is one of Australia’s biggest super funds, HESTA (the industry fund for health and community service workers), which has promoting its “clean energy” credentials while still holding shares in fossil-fuel companies <a href="https://www.ai-cio.com/news/australias-hesta-accused-of-greenwashing/">Woodside and Santos</a>.</p> <p>So how can you check what your superannuation fund invests in? </p> <p>Super funds are legally obliged to disclose how they invest your money in two different disclosure documents – a Product Disclosure Statement and a Portfolio Holdings Disclosure. </p> <p>Both will be available on a super fund’s website, though how easily you can find them will vary.</p> <p>The rest of this article is going to explain what information these documents provide, how useful this information is likely to be, and your best bet to ensure your super fund reflects your values.</p> <h2>The Product Disclosure Statement</h2> <p>Product disclosure statements are required by the financial regulator (the Australian Securities and Investments Commission) for all financial products. </p> <p>This document outlines the most basic but important information of an investment product’s features, benefits, risks and costs, including fees and taxes. The format is standardised, with one section (Section 5) covering with “How we invest your money”. </p> <p>The information it contains is broad. At best you’ll learn how the fund splits its investments between safe and riskier assets, and between different asset classes – Australian shares, international shares, property trusts, infrastructure trust, cash and so on.</p> <h2>Portfolio Holding Disclosure</h2> <p>For a comprehensive look at where your money is invested in, you can consider the Portfolio Holdings Disclosure. </p> <p>This document lists a fund’s complete holdings – including the percentage and value of every single company stock held.</p> <p>Portfolio holdings disclosures are relatively new, being obligatory only since March 2022 under <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2021L01531">legislation</a> meant to improve transparency in the sector.</p> <p>However, super funds aren’t obliged to provide this information in a consistent, easily understandable way. </p> <p>For a non-expert who doesn’t know what to look for, the level of detail can be mind-boggling. You may find yourself scrutinising a spreadsheet listing thousands of items.</p> <p>The Australian Retirement Trust’s Portfolio Holdings Disclosure for its “Lifecycle Balanced Pool”, for example, has more than <a href="https://www.australianretirementtrust.com.au/investments/what-we-invest-in/superannuation-investments">8,000</a> line items.</p> <p>Some super funds have made the effort to provide this information in a more user-friendly format. An example is Future Super, which allows you to <a href="https://www.futuresuper.com.au/everything-we-invest-in/?utm_source=google&amp;utm_medium=cpc&amp;utm_campaign=1757241588&amp;utm_content=68234193065&amp;utm_term=future%20super&amp;campaigntype=SearchNetwork-1757241588&amp;device=c&amp;campaignid=1757241588&amp;adgroup=68234193065&amp;keyword=future%20super&amp;matchtype=p&amp;placement=&amp;adposition=&amp;location=9069039&amp;gclid=CjwKCAjwmJeYBhAwEiwAXlg0AYOEe2tJViZiZBgUk3bt1h9LNuHx1jWnGy6VzqGaNjBzOEi60852JRoCel8QAvD_BwE">search and filter</a> portfolio holdings by asset class and country of origin. </p> <p>But if your concern is to avoid investing in some specific activity such as in mining fossil fuels or gambling, you’ll need to know the companies and other assets you want to avoid for this to be helpful.</p> <h2>Your best options</h2> <p>This is not to say portfolio holding disclosure obligations are useless. They are incredibly useful – a huge leap forward in the sector’s accountability. They just aren’t designed for consumers. </p> <p>So there is still much work to be done to make the sector truly transparent. </p> <p>What would really help is independent certification and ratings of super products, similar to government websites and programs that certify energy efficiency and allow comparison of electricity plans. </p> <p>In the meantime, I can offer you one big tip.</p> <p>Choose a specific superannuation product that markets itself on its environmental or social sustainability credentials. Most super funds now provide these choices alongside their more traditional investment options.</p> <p>There is a variety of “screening” approaches to ethical investments. Some exclude entire sectors. Others include the best environmental and social performers even among “sinful” industries such as tobacco or weapons.</p> <p>So just because a super product is marketed as “ethical” or “sustainable” doesn’t guarantee you will agree with all its investments. </p> <p>But there is a much higher likelihood of it living up to its claims due to greater scrutiny by third parties such as environmental groups as well as the financial regulator. </p> <p>The Australian Securities and Investments Commission put super funds on notice earlier this year with a “<a href="https://asic.gov.au/regulatory-resources/financial-services/how-to-avoid-greenwashing-when-offering-or-promoting-sustainability-related-products/">guidance note</a>” about the growing risk of greenwashing in sustainability-related financial products. </p> <p>It reminded funds that “making statements (or disseminating information) that are false or misleading, or engaging in dishonest, misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to a financial product or financial service” is against the law.</p> <p>So super funds know their portfolios are being scrutinised.</p> <p>Switching your investment option or fund is simpler than you think. You only need to fill out and lodge a form. Just be sure to compare fees and performance, and seek a second opinion from trustworthy adviser before “voting with your wallet”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-do-i-find-out-what-my-superannuation-fund-invests-in-a-finance-expert-explains-188802" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

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Aussie speedster Steven Bradbury sells luxe apartment

<p dir="ltr">Aussie Olympian Steven Bradbury has sold his beachside investment apartment in Queensland after holding onto it for over a decade.</p> <p dir="ltr">The gold medallist skater listed the four-bedroom ground-floor apartment in the coastal suburb of Kings Beach in Caloundra earlier this year and has gone on to offload the flat for an undisclosed price.</p> <p dir="ltr">After 11 years of owning the apartment, Bradbury initially <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/unit-2-kings-palazzo-4-6-orvieto-terrace-kings-beach-qld-4551-2017750581" target="_blank" rel="noopener">listed</a> the home for $2 million in May before agents Danelle Wiseman and Jonathan Pattinson of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate revised the price to $1.8 million, per <em><a href="https://www.smh.com.au/property/news/steven-bradbury-times-his-run-perfectly-with-kings-beach-pad-20220517-p5am5r.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Sydney Morning Herald</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Even with the reduction, Bradbury’s potential earnings were more than double the amount his investment company, Pricefinder, paid in 2011.</p> <p dir="ltr">Prior to its sale on August 16, the home was maintained as a weekender and rental with an asking price of $660 a week in rent.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sitting just metres aware from the surf of King’s Beach, the 111-square-metre flat includes plenty of luxe amenities, such as its two courtyards - with one on each floor - timber herringbone hard floors in the living areas, and a large granite waterfall bench in the well-appointed kitchen.</p> <p dir="ltr">The flat also has access to the amenities offered by the Kings Palazzo complex, including a pool and BBQ area shared with just 11 other apartments.</p> <p dir="ltr">Bradbury, a four-time Olympian, shot to fame after his unlikely win at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games, getting through the semi-final and earning gold in the final after his competitors all crashed in the final seconds.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite trailing behind them all, Bradbury was able to skate into first place, giving rise to the phrase “doing a Bradbury” for winning as an underdog.</p> <p dir="ltr">Earlier this year, Bradbury took to Instagram to reflect on that fateful win 20 years later.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’ll always be seen as an overnight success, but it took me many years of sweat, tears and plenty of blood to get there and I’ll always appreciate those who helped me and backed me against the odds,” he <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CaBaljsvBl5/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link" target="_blank" rel="noopener">wrote</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Courage, belief, determination and a little luck, all helped me to be the original #lastmanstanding, and now it’s fantastic to see our next generation of @ausolympicteam legends taking our Winter Olympic Dream into the future!”</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-414adfac-7fff-b93d-0e1b-4618063616c7"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: @stevenbradburyofficial (Instagram) / Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate</em></p>

Real Estate

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Richard Wilkins makes huge profit on Mosman home

<p dir="ltr">Richard Wilkins has offloaded his second investment property in Mosman for $925,000 - nearly $100,000 more than the auction guide.</p> <p dir="ltr">The two-bedroom apartment, set on the ground floor of the boutique ‘Tremaine’ building and overlooking the garden, went to auction with a price guide of $850,000 in late July.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-a880b50d-7fff-f488-f073-33618f75cfb9">Boasting a newly-updated kitchen, views of the garden, and natural light that filters through the north-facing balcony into the combined living and dining room, the 95.3-square-metre apartment is also in a prime location, just 200 metres away from the vibrant Mosman village, and 800 metres from Balmoral Beach. according to <a href="https://www.realestate.com.au/sold/property-apartment-nsw-mosman-139694615" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the listing</a>.</span></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/CgjAvhvLTOg/?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/CgjAvhvLTOg/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Richard Wilkins AM (@richardwilkins)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Tremaine, a tightly-held building, has only seen two sales in the past seven years prior to Wilkins’, with two apartments fetching $820,000 and $900,000 in 2020.</p> <p dir="ltr">The sale also marks Wilkins’ exit from the area, after the <em>Today Show</em> host sold another apartment earlier this year for $1.01 million, which its new owner listed for rent at $650 a week.</p> <p dir="ltr">With his Mosman properties sold off, Wilkins’ remaining portfolio includes two investment properties in Cremorne - which he spent $530,000 and $664,000 on in 2013 - as well as his longtime home, which he bought in 2004 for just over $2 million.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-1ce62cd3-7fff-7ab3-8133-585000d21320"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: @richardwilkins (Instagram), realestate.com.au</em></p>

Real Estate

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Yet again, the census shows women are doing more housework. Now is the time to invest in interventions

<p>The Australian Census numbers have been released, showing women typically do <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/census/find-census-data/community-profiles/2021/AUS/download/GCP_AUS.xlsx">many more hours of unpaid housework</a> per week compared to men.</p> <p>It’s not a new development. In <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/home/2016+Census+National">2016</a>, the “typical” Australian man spent less than five hours a week on domestic work, while the “typical” Australian woman spent between five and 14 hours a week on domestic work. Before that, the <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/7d12b0f6763c78caca257061001cc588/c0e6e1069c8d24e9ca257306000d5b04!OpenDocument">2006 census</a>showed, again, that more of the domestic workload is shouldered by women.</p> <p>So, in the 15 years since the Australian Census <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/census-to-count-unpaid-work-20060226-ge1ty0.html">started collecting</a> unpaid housework time, women are shown to do more than men. Every. Single. Time.</p> <p>What is unique about these latest census numbers is Australians filled out their surveys during one of the greatest disruptors to work and home life – the COVID pandemic.</p> <h2>Pandemic pressures</h2> <p>We have a breadth of <a href="https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?hl=en&amp;user=EHPbrxgAAAAJ&amp;view_op=list_works&amp;sortby=pubdate">research</a> showing the pandemic disrupted women’s – especially mothers’ – work and family lives, in catastrophic ways. </p> <p>Economic closures knocked women out of employment at <a href="https://arts.unimelb.edu.au/the-policy-lab/projects/projects/worsening">higher rates to men</a>, forcing them to rely more heavily on their savings and stimulus payments to make ends meet. All this while managing intensified housework, childcare and homeschooling.</p> <p>The <a href="https://read.dukeupress.edu/demography/article/59/1/1/286878/Research-Note-School-Reopenings-During-the-COVID">transition</a> to remote and hybrid learning meant mothers, not fathers, reduced their workloads to meet these newfound demands. </p> <p>Fathers picked up the slack in the home – doing <a href="https://theconversation.com/covid-forced-australian-fathers-to-do-more-at-home-but-at-the-same-cost-mothers-have-long-endured-154834">more housework</a> at the start of the pandemic and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1097184X21990737">holding it</a> over time.</p> <p>Yet, as my colleagues Brendan Churchill and Lyn Craig <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gwao.12497">show</a>, fathers increased their housework but so did mothers, meaning the gender gap in that time remained. </p> <p>So, while men should be applauded for doing more during the unique strains of the pandemic, we <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gwao.12727">show</a> mothers were the true heroes of the pandemic, stepping into added labour at the expense of their health and well-being.</p> <p>Quite simply, the pandemic placed unparalleled pressures on Australian families. So it is perhaps no surprise our surveys are showing <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/the-juggle-is-real-parents-want-greater-flexibility-in-return-to-office-20220325-p5a820.html">Australians are burnt out</a>.</p> <p>(As discussed in <a href="https://theconversation.com/dont-give-mum-chocolates-for-mothers-day-take-on-more-housework-share-the-mental-load-and-advocate-for-equality-instead-182330">previous articles</a>, the chore divide in same-sex relationships is generally found to be more equal. But some critiques suggests even then, equality may suffer <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/upshot/same-sex-couples-divide-chores-much-more-evenly-until-they-become-parents.html">once kids are involved</a>.)</p> <h2>Time for action</h2> <p>So, where to now? </p> <p>We pay upwards of <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/mediareleasesbyReleaseDate/1B9C46E8DBFC05FFCA25847D0080F9A2?OpenDocument">$640 million dollars</a> every five years to document Australia through the census. </p> <p>And, in each of these surveys we find the same result – women are doing more housework than men. </p> <p>This <a href="https://theconversation.com/sorry-men-theres-no-such-thing-as-dirt-blindness-you-just-need-to-do-more-housework-100883">parallels decades of research</a> showing women do more housework, even when they are employed full-time, earn more money and especially <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2008.00479.x">once kids hit</a>the scene.</p> <p>Men have increased their <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-21635-5_2">housework</a> and <a href="https://aifs.gov.au/aifs-conference/fathers-and-work">childcare contributions</a> over time and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/00113921211012737?journalCode=csia&amp;fbclid=IwAR0Vgrre91fTarMY_EFLmDl1iJk7hPms6p3FhfM0E0y52Bbe9bZqmJ7Gs1A">younger men want</a> to be more present, active and attentive in the home.</p> <p>Simply put: men want to step into greater care giving and women are suffering from “doing it all”.</p> <p>We have documented these trends for decades – enough. Now it is time for action.</p> <h2>Creating a fair future</h2> <p>These are the critical questions we are asking through <a href="https://www.unimelb.edu.au/futureofwork">The Future of Work Lab</a> at the University of Melbourne – how do we create a future that is fair to everyone, including women and mothers? </p> <p>A few key projects illuminate some of the next steps towards clear interventions. The first is to provide Australian families with a comprehensive safety net to support their care-giving lives.</p> <p>All of us will be, at some point, called upon to care for a loved one, friend, family member or colleague. At these moments, work becomes difficult and housework demands soar. </p> <p>So, providing <a href="https://theconversation.com/if-were-serious-about-supporting-working-families-here-are-three-policies-we-need-to-enact-now-105490">care-giving resources</a> beyond just paid time off is critical. This underscores the need for </p> <ul> <li>universal free high-quality childcare</li> <li>paid caregiver leave, and/or </li> <li>better and longer term cash payments for caregivers.</li> </ul> <p>Second, we need comprehensive policies that allow <a href="https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/flexible-families-workplace-equality">men to step</a> into care-giving roles without fear of retribution and penalty at work.</p> <p>Australians work more <a href="https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=AVE_HRS">annual hours</a>, on average, than their Canadian and United Kingdom counterparts, working hours more similar to the overwork culture of the United States. And, only <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/may/28/only-one-in-20-fathers-take-primary-parental-leave-in-australia">one in 20 Australian fathers</a> take paid parental leave following childbirth, an abysmal rate relative to other high-income countries. </p> <p>We can do better. </p> <p>The pandemic created the space for many men to step into larger care-giving roles with great pleasure and showed workplaces that flexible work is feasible.</p> <p>Next, the Australian workplace must become more supportive of men’s right to care.</p> <h2>Unpaid domestic work and the mental load</h2> <p>Finally, we must redress the challenges of unpaid domestic work and the <a href="https://theconversation.com/planning-stress-and-worry-put-the-mental-load-on-mothers-will-2022-be-the-year-they-share-the-burden-172599">mental load</a> on women’s physical, mental and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13668803.2021.2002813">economic health and well-being</a>.</p> <p>Perhaps tech holds some solutions. </p> <p>The demand is clearly there with some super impressive women building out concrete tech solutions to reduce the mental load and unpaid domestic work - like <a href="https://getmelo.app/">Melo’s mental load app</a> or <a href="https://www.yohana.com/">Yohana’s virtual concierges</a>. </p> <p>Others are using old tech solutions – like <a href="https://www.fairplaylife.com/the-cards">Eve Rodsky’s Fair Play</a> cards – to help couples equalise the often unseen, and undervalued household chores. We are working on a research project to understand the impact of these different resources on families’ unpaid domestic loads and lives more broadly. </p> <p>The census is valuable in showing us we remain unchanged. </p> <p>But, now, is a time to invest in intervention and innovation to make us better versions of ourselves into the future.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/yet-again-the-census-shows-women-are-doing-more-housework-now-is-the-time-to-invest-in-interventions-185488" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Home Hints & Tips

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7 savvy ways to grow your wealth

<p dir="ltr">You don’t need to start with a fortune to grow wealth – but you do need good foundations on which to build. From where you get investment ideas to how you manage your taxes, it is the little things that add up to quickly grow wealth.</p> <p dir="ltr">Lay the groundwork with these easy-to-implement tips:</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>1. Start early </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The longer your investments have to grow, the more wealth you should accumulate.</p> <p dir="ltr">That’s thanks to a combination of value growth over time and the compound effect of reinvesting profits and dividends. So start investing now.</p> <p dir="ltr">Additionally, good habits formed early are more likely to become ingrained.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2. Create a savings and investments plan </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">I hate the word ‘budget’ – it’s the financial equivalent of a diet. A savings and investments plan both sounds nicer and is more encompassing.</p> <p dir="ltr">This plan gives you visibility over your incomings and outgoings, your assets, and liabilities. Then you can determine if debts are being paid down as fast as possible and whether any surplus funds are being invested prudently.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3. Have an emergency fund </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">This might seem counter-intuitive – squirrel money away that you could be used to invest and grow your wealth.</p> <p dir="ltr">But having available cash should disaster unexpectedly strike – such as redundancy, illness, even another pandemic – means you won’t have to sell assets to make ends meet.</p> <p dir="ltr">Forced sales may generate below fair value for a quick result or occur at a low point in the investment cycle. Plus, that asset and its growth potential are gone for good.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4. Reduce your tax bill</strong> <strong> </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">No one likes paying taxes. Surprisingly, though, many people pay more than they need to.</p> <p dir="ltr">Avoid under-declaring your deductions: good record-keeping will help you claim your rightful deductions, such as for donations, investment expenses, business costs, and even financial advice fees.</p> <p dir="ltr">Embrace legitimate tax breaks: for instance, spousal super contributions and certain investment structures (like family trusts) can be used to cut your income tax or get taxed at a lower rate.</p> <p dir="ltr">Look at the calendar: Which financial year you sell an asset or claim a benefit can affect your tax liability.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>5. Invest wisely </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">A gung-ho approach to investing can be a costly mistake, so invest wisely. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.</p> <p dir="ltr">Only invest what you can afford to lose – while the aim is for investments to grow in value, you shouldn’t be left destitute if things go pear-shaped.</p> <p dir="ltr">Have a clear exit strategy – know when and how you will sell to maximise your returns, keep costs down and minimise your tax on the profits.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>6. Get good advice </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Your father, sister, friend, or hairdresser may mean well, but unless they are qualified to give advice, you could be making a mistake.</p> <p dir="ltr">Money matters are complicated and most people simply don’t know what they need to know. Plus, everyone’s circumstances are different – so what worked for dad, Julie, Tom, or Bev might not be beneficial for you.</p> <p dir="ltr">Just as you want medical advice from a doctor, seek advice about money from those qualified and registered to give it: your financial adviser, tax accountant, estates solicitor, and mortgage or insurance broker. Chances are the cost of that advice is far less than you stand to lose through an avoidable mistake.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>7. Invest in you </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">You are an asset that, when in tip top condition, can deliver a solid return on investment.</p> <p dir="ltr">Invest in education and training: gaining extra qualifications and skills allows you to boost your earning potential.</p> <p dir="ltr">Invest in your wellbeing: Good mental health equals wiser decision-making, better productivity, and hence more room to grow your income.</p> <p dir="ltr">Invest in your health: Good health means lower healthcare costs, fewer lost work hours and cheaper life and disability insurances. Not to mention a longer lifespan allows you to enjoy the fruits of your wealth-building efforts!</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Helen Baker is a licensed Australian financial adviser and author of the new book, On Your Own Two Feet: The Essential Guide to Financial Independence for all Women (Ventura Press,</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>$32.99). Helen is among the 1% of financial planners who hold a master’s degree in the field. Proceeds from book sales are donated to charities supporting disadvantaged women and children. Find out more at www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au </strong></p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-09db139f-7fff-cae5-9a26-0d2483c45735"> Image: Shutterstock</span></em></p>

Money & Banking

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The hidden dangers of investing in property

<p dir="ltr">When it comes to investing in property, there are several things that can jeopardise the perfect sale to add to your portfolio. </p> <p dir="ltr">While it's important to be aware of the risks, there are also a few hidden “dangers” that each buyer needs to feel out on an individual basis. </p> <p dir="ltr">In order to make the best decisions, keep a lookout for these secret dangers in investing in property and how to properly manage them. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Buying in your local neighbourhood</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Despite emotional attachment, investing in the neighbourhood you live in may not be the best idea for long-term capital growth. </p> <p dir="ltr">If there are over 10,000 real estate markets across Australia, statistically speaking the odds are very low that the property for sale right next door is your best choice.</p> <p dir="ltr">In order to make the best choices, it’s best to analyse and compare markets from all over the country to make the perfect pick and to minimise risk. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Relying on “friendly” real estate agents</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While a lot of agents are there to guide you through the selling and buying process, it's easy to fall for a real estate agent’s charm. </p> <p dir="ltr">Just remember, they are working for the vendor, and their best interest is maximum profit for their client. </p> <p dir="ltr">The same goes for non-independent buyer’s agents who effectively are just sales agents for developers. </p> <p dir="ltr">Do your own research and comparisons on any investment, or seek the help of a truly independent buyer’s agent to assist you in the process. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Not considering the risks in investment</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Buying property is a risky game, as vacancy, bad tenants or even interest rate rises can throw a spanner in the works. </p> <p dir="ltr">Engaging with professionals can help mitigate the risks, and help you be more aware of the harsh reality of investing. </p> <p dir="ltr">It’s important to embrace these risks and learn how to reduce them, not shy away from them.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Short term vs. long term</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Buyers, investors and estate agents can tend to be reactive to what is happening in the market right now, and focusing on short term gains. </p> <p dir="ltr">The key to success in property is to take a long-term approach and ignore all the short-term noise.</p> <p dir="ltr">Starting with a plan first, then actively seeking out properties that suit your investment criteria will move you away from just being another property speculator to a true investor.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Real Estate

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The economics of ridiculously expensive art

<p>What would possess someone to buy Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi for <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/15/arts/design/leonardo-da-vinci-salvator-mundi-christies-auction.html">US$450 million</a>? You might think it’s an investment - after all it was previously sold <a href="https://news.artnet.com/market/timeline-salvator-mundi-went-45-to-450-million-59-years-1150661">for just US$10,000</a> in 2005. </p> <p>From an economic point of view, art can be an investment. Although the research shows art investing has mixed results. Art also has what economists refer to as “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Price-Economics-Institute-Political/dp/0521183006">psychic benefits</a>”. It is something to be enjoyed, experienced or flaunted, and this may be the key to the high price paid for Salvator Mundi. </p> <h2>Art as an investment</h2> <p>As an investment, art’s performance varies wildly, depending on a number of factors. For instance, artworks associated with movements that are currently fashionable will outperform other types of art.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/contemporary-art-1519">Contemporary art</a> is <a href="http://www.artagencypartners.com/market-analysis/impressionist-and-modern-2/">currently outperforming</a> <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/impressionism-29990">impressionist art</a>, for example. The strong demand for contemporary art coupled with limited supply has resulted in some previously overlooked artists, such as <a href="http://www.haring.com/">Keith Haring</a>, being embraced by collectors.</p> <p>But it is typically the works of leading artists that are in hot demand.</p> <p><a href="https://news.artnet.com/market/25-artists-account-nearly-50-percent-postwar-contemporary-auction-sales-1077026">Recent analysis</a> found that just 25 artists (including <a href="http://basquiat.com/">Jean-Michel Basquiat</a>, <a href="https://www.warhol.org/andy-warhols-life/">Andy Warhol</a> and <a href="https://www.gerhard-richter.com/en/">Gerhard Richter</a>) account for US$1.2 billion of the US$2.7 billion in worldwide art auction sales for contemporary art sold at auction this year.</p> <p>Only two women, <a href="http://www.artnet.com/artists/agnes-martin/">Agnes Martin</a> and <a href="http://yayoi-kusama.jp/">Yayoi Kusama</a>, made it onto the top 25 contemporary artists list. This is indicative of issues around <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-gender-pay-gap-is-wider-in-the-arts-than-in-other-industries-87080">gender representation in the arts</a> and the processes by which artists careers and reputations are established.</p> <p>Academic studies of art as an investment have mixed results. For instance, <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=563587">research</a> of the Canadian art market found that the returns are lower than investing in the stock market. However, the study identifies other benefits to having art in your portfolio, such as it being more diversified.</p> <p>But <a href="http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/10309610810891346">research</a> based on around 35,000 paintings by leading Australian artists show the financial returns average between 4% and 15%. Returns for paintings by leading Australian artists including <a href="http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/brett-whiteley">Brett Whiteley</a> and <a href="http://www.artnet.com/artists/jeffrey-smart/biography">Jeffrey Smart</a> exceed stock market returns. The study also found that oil and watercolour paintings, as well as those sold by certain auction houses, had higher prices.</p> <p>So-called “masterpieces”, such as those by Leonardo da Vinci, actually <a href="https://www.deepdyve.com/lp/american-economic-association/art-as-an-investment-and-the-underperformance-of-masterpieces-p7UeNVweF6">perform worse</a> financially than the art market as a whole. </p> <p>However, because art also provides benefits through consumption (prestige, decoration etc.), it is different to shares and bonds. The returns may be lower, but art is still attractive to invest in.</p> <p>The Australian art market reflects what has happened in the global market for contemporary art. For instance the five highest priced Australian works sold in 2017 <a href="https://www.aasd.com.au/index.cfm/annual-auction-totals/">account for almost 10%</a> of the total value of all works sold. </p> <p>And while the recent sale of Earth Creation 1 by the late Indigenous artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye has not attracted the attention of the Leonardo sale, its <a href="http://thenewdaily.com.au/entertainment/arts/2017/11/17/emily-kame-kngwarreye-aboriginal-art-record-auction/">price of $A2.1 million</a> is nearly double what it sold for at auction a decade earlier.</p> <h2>Art for consumption</h2> <p>The aesthetic pleasure of art, a feeling of being challenged or inspired, is subjective and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780444537768000040">difficult to measure</a>. But that doesn’t mean the consumption of art doesn’t add to its value. </p> <p><a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Price-Economics-Institute-Political/dp/0521183006">Economists</a> use the terms “psychic returns” or “psychic benefits” to describe the benefits of consuming art. This is broken down into three main areas. </p> <p>One area is the satisfaction of supporting the arts and artists. This motivation is especially important for those who donate their collections to museums or otherwise support the arts. While this motivation is important it is not directly related to auction prices. </p> <p>Then there’s the psychic benefit comes from the “functional” (or decorative) benefits of art that is used to adorn spaces. This is generally the closest to the artists intention when they create the work in the first place. </p> <p>There’s also the prestige that comes from possessing art - especially as it is used to display good taste, wealth and power. For instance, entrances and foyers of offices often display large striking works of modern or contemporary art. </p> <p>This is what <a href="https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.99.4.1653">economists</a> call “conspicuous consumption”. As people become wealthier, their demand for high-end art increases. Indeed, art has a long tradition of being used as a statement of power, including by the church.</p> <p>What drives the art market, especially at the upper echelons, is a curious mix of investment and consumption, fuelled by a limited supply.</p> <p>The work of famous artists provides a signal of quality and assurance to the market and so their work is coveted by the rich and powerful. The uniqueness and rareness of these pieces not only spurs demand, but restricts supply, creating a perfect storm to drive prices up. </p> <p>Although, even this doesn’t entirely explain the high price paid for Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi. <a href="https://news.artnet.com/market/the-gray-market-salvator-mundi-sale-1117208">Analysis</a> of the sale suggests the market campaign by the auction house was significant in achieving such a high price.</p> <p>But aside from its trade value, art can have cultural value and social significance that do not neatly translate to market prices. So while Leonardo’s Salvator Mundisold for US$450 million, non-tradable masterpieces such as Michaelangelo’s ceiling of the Sistine Chapel aren’t worthless. They’re “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Price-Economics-Institute-Political/dp/0521183006">beyond price</a>”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-economics-of-ridiculously-expensive-art-87668" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Art

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Instead of putting more massive trucks on our roads, we need to invest in our rail network

<p>In recent years, the <a href="https://transport.vic.gov.au/ports-and-freight/freight-victoria">Victoria</a> and <a href="https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects/strategy/nsw-freight-and-ports-plan">New South Wales</a> governments have both unveiled strategies to move more freight across the country by rail and ease the increasing pressure of goods moving through the two largest container ports.</p> <p>The reality is, however, the numbers of containers coming and going by rail to the Port of Melbourne and Sydney’s Port Botany have been going backwards.</p> <h2>More massive trucks on Victoria’s highways</h2> <p>The Port of Melbourne moves more containers than any other port in Australia. In 2020-21, <a href="https://www.portofmelbourne.com/about-us/trade-statistics/quarterly-trade-reports/">3.3 million</a> containers passed through the port, a <a href="https://www.portofmelbourne.com/about-us/trade-statistics/historical-trade-data/">30% increase from ten years ago</a>.</p> <p>Over this time, the percentage of containers moving by rail has fallen, reaching a <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Container%20stevedoring%20monitoring%20report%202020-21.pdf">low of 6.1% in 2020-21</a>. This has meant the number of trucks going to and from the Port of Melbourne has significantly increased.</p> <p>This has been assisted by improvements to the state’s roads and bridges. But the Victoria government also in mid-2021 <a href="https://transport.vic.gov.au/about/transport-news/news-archive/guiding-road-freight">approved</a> large “A Double” trucks being able to access the Port of Melbourne. These trucks can carry two 12-metre containers and be up to 36 metres long – much longer than the standard semitrailer at 19 metres.</p> <p>Large numbers of trucks accessing the ports not only add to road construction and maintenance bills, they also make our roads less safe and more congested, and add to noise and air pollution.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/994-epc-lc/inquiry-into-air-pollution">recently released report</a> into the health effects of air pollution in Victoria notes the city of Maribyrnong has some of Australia’s highest levels of diesel pollution. This is mostly due to the number of trucks accessing the Port of Melbourne each day.</p> <p>The report also notes the transport sector is accountable for <a href="https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/SCEP/Air_Pollution/Report/LCEPC_59-04_Health_impacts_air_pollution_Vic_Report.pdf">20% of Victoria’s total greenhouse gas emissions</a>.</p> <p>In 2018, Victoria introduced a new <a href="https://transport.vic.gov.au/getting-around/roads/heavy-vehicles">freight plan</a> that included initiatives to move more goods from the port by rail. One of these projects was the Port Rail Shuttle Network, a $28 million investment to connect the freight terminal in South Dandenong to the rail network. This is now underway.</p> <p>Increasing the amount of freight moving by rail will not only make our roads safer and reduce maintenance costs, it makes environmental sense – <a href="https://www.railfutures.org.au/2017/07/submission-to-inquiry-into-national-freight-and-supply-chain-priorities">rail freight produces one-third the emissions of road freight</a>.</p> <p>However, rail freight in Victoria is crippled by two different track gauges and tracks with too many temporary and permanent speed restrictions. Without greater investment to improve the rail system, it remains a less feasible option than moving freight on massive trucks on our roads.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437972/original/file-20211216-19-ljbvpc.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">A freight train passing through a level crossing in Cootamundra, NSW.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></p> <h2>Sydney’s situation is not much better</h2> <p>A recent NSW <a href="https://www.audit.nsw.gov.au/our-work/reports/rail-freight-and-greater-sydney">auditor-general report</a> said the volume of freight passing through Greater Sydney is expected to increase by 48% by 2036.</p> <p>In 2020-21, <a href="https://www.nswports.com.au/nsw-ports-ceo-update-july-2021">2.7 million containers</a> moved through Port Botany. The NSW government had planned to increase the number of containers moving by rail from the port to <a href="https://www.nswports.com.au/resources-filtered/trade-reports">28% by 2021</a>. However, the auditor-general report said this effort would fall short. Just 16% is currently carried by rail.</p> <p>This means more trucks on the roads in NSW, as well. The NSW government has also recently <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/congestion-compounded-as-more-trucks-added-to-sydney-roads-20201101-p56aix.html">given permission</a> for “A Double” trucks to access Port Botany.</p> <p>The auditor-general report made recommendations on how NSW Transport could improve the operation of the state’s rail network to allow for more rail freight. It noted, for example, 54 trucks could be replaced by one 600-metre-long port shuttle freight train.</p> <h2>Rail moving less intercity freight</h2> <p>The rail network between Australia’s two largest cities is outdated and under-utilised. In fact, the proportion of freight moving between Melbourne and Sydney on rail has <a href="https://pacificnational.com.au/australias-major-highway-now-a-conveyor-belt-for-big-trucks/">fallen to about 1% today</a>. In 1970, it was <a href="https://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/2000/is_017">about 40%</a>.</p> <p>This is, in part, due to the total <a href="https://roads-waterways.transport.nsw.gov.au/about/environment/protecting-heritage/hume-highway-duplication/index.html">reconstruction</a> of the Hume Highway from a basic two-lane road to a modern dual carriageway, completed in 2013. There are now over <a href="https://roads-waterways.transport.nsw.gov.au/about/corporate-publications/statistics/traffic-volumes/aadt-map/index.html#/?z=6&amp;id=GNDSTC&amp;hv=1">20 million tonnes of freight</a> moved each year on the Hume Highway, with over 3,800 trucks on the road each day (and night at Gundagai).</p> <p>The result is more road trauma, higher maintenance bills and pressure for further road upgrades. Plus more emissions.</p> <p>The Sydney-Melbourne rail track, meanwhile, has been left with severe speed weight restrictions and a “steam age” alignment characterised by tight curves. It is also over 60 kms longer than it needs to be.</p> <h2>From a national perspective</h2> <p>Getting more freight on rail is not helped by hidden government subsidies to heavy truck operations, which in my estimations exceed <a href="https://theconversation.com/distance-based-road-charges-will-improve-traffic-and-if-done-right-wont-slow-australias-switch-to-electric-cars-150290">$2 billion per year</a>.</p> <p>It is also made harder by the current <a href="https://www.freightaustralia.gov.au/">National Freight and Supply Chain strategy</a>, which puts much more emphasis on increasing truck productivity with ever larger trucks.</p> <p>Instead, much more attention is needed to improving the efficiency and competitiveness of rail freight.<!-- 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; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/172491/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><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/philip-laird-3503">Philip Laird</a>, Honorary Principal Fellow, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></span></p> <p>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/instead-of-putting-more-massive-trucks-on-our-roads-we-need-to-invest-in-our-rail-network-172491">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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“That’s hot”: Aussie mum’s $500 investment becomes a $10 million business

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last year, Aussie brand Custom Neon received a voice message on Instagram from celebrity Paris Hilton, telling the signage brand she loved their products and would be keen to work with them.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, co-founder Jess Munday said nothing ever came of it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A year later, the star’s lavish four-day wedding included Kim Kardashian, Demi Lovato, Nicole Richie and custom items from the Geelong-based business.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“She asked us to create neon signs for her wedding and it was an awesome opportunity,” Ms Munday told </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/small-business/geelongs-custom-neon-finds-fans-in-paris-hilton-and-elon-musk/news-story/808941847d2bd4f0355f3fbf8eec1668" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“She had her wedding over three or four days I think and day two was a carnival themed party and in the party it had one of our neon signs - the biggest one, which said, ‘That’s hot’.”</span></p> <blockquote 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);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CWPq__GveP5/?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> <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;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CWPq__GveP5/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Custom Neon® (@customneon)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But the mum-of-two said it hasn’t been the brand’s only brush with celebrity fans.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla, posted a neon sign with the phrase ‘cyberviking’ on Twitter - a nod to cryptocurrency dogecoin that quickly went viral.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“That tweet went viral and we said that looks like one of our signs and we checked our records and it was created by us,” Ms Munday said. “He got it delivered to a place in California, which is very exciting.”</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">How much is that Doge in the window? <a href="https://t.co/bxTkWOr50V">pic.twitter.com/bxTkWOr50V</a></p> — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) <a href="https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1395328697436033032?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 20, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Initially, Ms Munday started Custom Neon as a side hustle with her husband in 2018, while the couple were expecting their first child.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We were decorating my son’s nursery and my husband wanted to get a neon sign with the baby’s name and we looked around and couldn’t find one that was affordable and the process wasn’t easy to get a custom-made design,” she recalled.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“He had seen it on Pinterest and he thought it was cool that you could get your son’s name and at the time having a baby and revealing the name is a big deal, so there was excitement of the baby coming and wanting something cool for the nursery.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The couple then found a supplier to make the sign, as well as a few for their upcoming wedding. Soon, they were renting out their wedding signs via Instagram, and began fielding inquiries for custom pieces from up to 20 businesses and individuals each week.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Their $500 investment in their first few signs has since grown into a $10 million business in just three years, with Ms Munday saying the business is on track for a turnover of $18 million by the end of the 2021-22 financial year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She said Custom Neon has been a “whirlwind” journey and a far cry from her job in HR prior to taking maternity leave.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">During the last three years, the 32-year-old said there have been some interesting requests for signs, including people asking for pictures of themselves or their pet dogs as neon signs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Their signs have also made appearances on </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Block</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, as well as inside a range of restaurants, bars and other businesses around the world.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though business from events dried up during the pandemic, Ms Munday said 70 percent of their orders now come from business signage, and that 60 percent of orders come from the US.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s such a huge part now and such a large country so there is much opportunity for growth,” she added.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We are planning to expand further into the US and set up our own manufacturing there in the next year. We also just secured an office in LA and have five people starting.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With such rapid growth already, this small business looks like it will have a bright, neon-lit future.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: Jess Munday (Facebook) / @customneon (Instagram)</span></em></p>

Money & Banking

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Bec and Lleyton Hewitt list Melbourne mansion after big investment

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tennis star Lleyton Hewitt and </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Home &amp; Away</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> actress Bec have </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-vic-toorak-137660686" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">listed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> their luxurious Melbourne mansion just weeks after scooping up a Gold Coast home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The pair’s Toorak home was listed for sale with a price guide of $15-16 million after they reportedly dropped $4.305 million on a coastal home in Burleigh Heads.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Their five-bedroom family estate became the country’s most viewed home according to </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.realestate.com.au/news/lleyton-hewitt-and-wife-bec-list-toorak-mansion-after-buying-burleigh-heads-home/?rsf=syn:news:nca:news:spa:strap" target="_blank"><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">realestate.com.au</span></em></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, having racked up over 12,400 views in one week.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It boasts multiple living and dining areas, a huge main bedroom, indoor and outdoor kitchens, and a basement with a 12-seat cinema, wine cellar, gym, and a six-car garage.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Outside, the property also includes a pool and a Rebound Ace tennis court.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The home is open to expressions of interest and the listing is being managed by Jellis Craig Stonnington agent Phillip French. Mr French first sold the property to the Hewitts for $12.7 million while it was under construction in 2016.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">said</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> the family had loved the home’s “very private position” and enjoyed its “great entertaining spaces”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The listing comes as the couple are expected to settle on their new Gold Coast home by November 15.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The four-bedroom home sits less than 100-metres away from Burleigh’s surf beach, and boasts a tropical outdoor entertaining area with a sunken fireplace, pool, and barbecue kitchen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Conal Martin, the agent managing the sale, declined to comment on the buyer’s identity but said the family had visited since the sale and loved it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I can say they do love the Gold Coast,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They’re a lovely family and they are welcomed in the area.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite purchasing a Queensland home, Bec and Llayton are rumoured to be moving to Sydney with their three children, Mia, 15, Cruz, 12, and Ava, 10.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: @bechewitt23 / Instagram, realestate.com.au</span></em></p>

Real Estate

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