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Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 341

  • 22 January 2020
  • 1

The majority of investors hold a diversified portfolio no more than half invested in equities. The share exposure often declines with age as retirees seek capital preservation, and even young people place their super in balanced funds. Delight in the noisy 'all-time highs' is far from universal, with millions of Australians missing the big gains.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 340

  • 15 January 2020
  • 1

Companies hit by technology disruptions from competitors often face tough decisions to hang on to customers. It's why many investment analysts require strong 'economic moats' in the best companies as evidence of resistance to competition.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 339

  • 8 January 2020
  • 3

In this new decade, Australia is expected to add another four million to its population, as it did in the previous decade. We have the fastest-growing population in the developed world (1.5% in the year to June 2019), which is one reason for nearly 30 years of economic growth. More people means more stuff. It's driven by net overseas migration of about 250,000 a year, and when most live in Sydney and Melbourne, the prosperity comes at a cost in transport, crowding and property prices. 

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 338

  • 1 January 2020

We start the new year with some previous highlights. Chris Cuffe has selected his favourite articles from 2019, and our free ebook collates 30 of my interviews with leading global and local financial markets experts. Plus a summer reading list, reviews of 2019 and previews of 2020.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 337

  • 18 December 2019

If there were ever a time to offer a 20/20 vision about the future course of markets, a few days out from 2020 would be it. While we are happy to publish the views of others, here at Firstlinks, we don't profess to have a crystal ball. When major geopolitical risks rest in the hands of Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping, with the potential of a midnight tweet to cause a market meltdown, predictions are fraught. It's better to set up a portfolio according to your goals and risk appetite, and stick to a long-term plan.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 336

  • 11 December 2019

The irony of the focus on longevity and the retiree fear of money running out is that most people leave more assets to their estate than they held when they entered retirement. If it's possible to look from beyond the grave, it must be frustrating to have worked hard and saved, then lived a frugal retirement, only to see the following generations fritter the money away.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 335

  • 4 December 2019

I doubt the Reserve Bank Governor, Philip Lowe, is looking for a new home at the moment. If he were, he would know first-hand that Sydney residential is red hot, and it might make him think again about cutting rates. For the first time in 30 years, I am looking for a new home, and it's clear that FOMO has replaced the FONGO (Fear of Not Getting Out) in the space of a few months. It's a market where selling before you buy can quickly become expensive.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 334

  • 27 November 2019
  • 2

Two reports this week confirm that superannuation will remain at the forefront of social, business and political debate forever. Deloittes issued an estimate that super assets will grow from the current $3 trillion to $10 trillion over the next 20 years, and super funds will become so large that they will own most of the listed assets in Australia.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 333

  • 20 November 2019
  • 1

This week, JP Morgan downgraded its global growth outlook for 2020 by 0.2% to 2.3%, blaming 'population ageing'. Then Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said: "As our ageing population puts pressure on our health, aged care and pension systems, we need to develop policies that respond effectively."

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 332

  • 13 November 2019

Almost overnight, 'OK Boomer' has become a biting retort for younger people. The New York Times calls it "the end of friendly generational relations". OK Boomer entered Hansard in New Zealand when Chloe Swarbrick, a 25-year-old politician, silenced a heckler. How much have Boomers benefitted from favourable policies and markets? 

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 331

  • 6 November 2019
  • 3

Sludge. Well done ASIC for calling out the meaningless warnings, disclosures and disclaimers in financial presentations and offer documents. ASIC even says they are often harmful to client outcomes. Consider the dreaded disclaimers at the start of every talk. They interrupt well-crafted and strong introductions, and they are usually the butt of jokes by presenters, along the lines of "You've all read that, right? Good, now I'll get on with what really matters."

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 330

The superannuation industry is its own worst enemy. The disagreements spill into the public domain and reduce confidence and trust in the system. Research released this week by Qantas Super shows only 60% of Australians (and worse, only 52% of those in the critical savings years of 40 to 49 years old) trust their super fund to act in their best interests. Confidence in having enough money in retirement languishes at an average score of 5.4 out of 10.

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20 great ways the government helps retirees

This list could save a retiree thousands of dollars and provides ideas for a better lifestyle. It's surprising what you might be entitled to, but it's often hard to track down the benefits.

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Sweet spot helping bull market rampage

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Why good investing is like a healthy diet

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Interview Series eBook, investing insights from global experts

30 interviews from 2013 to 2019, from global experts such as Markowitz, Malkiel, Dimson and Merton, to local fund managers sharing the secrets and lessons for investment success in 2020. 

Authorities reveal disquiet over LIC fees

Internal emails from the regulator released under an FOI request reveal warnings about advice conflict when selling fees are paid on LICs. Investors need to understand the consequences of the debate.

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