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Edition 195

  • 24 March 2017

A trader-friend who lives in Illinois USA sent me this chart from The Economist, with the question, "What is it about the old British Empire and house prices?" I replied with the usual stuff on Chinese investment, low interest rates and strong economies, and he came back on the ratios of household debt to GDP, price to disposable income and price to rents. The Economist has a fantastic interactive chart showing 27 countries, but for all their skilled analysis, they've been wrong on Australia since 2002. They now call it 'severely overpriced', and surely we're due at least a flat period.

Four things retirees must know about shares

Investors and financial market professionals underestimate the power of franking credits to enhance returns, especially in pension phase where franking is fully refunded.

You get what you don’t pay for

While there is a role for both active and passive investments in portfolios, the impact of relatively small reductions in management fees can compound to large amounts over a lifetime of saving.

10 grey swans to watch out for

'Grey swans' are surprises that are improbable but more likely to occur than 'black swans', and investors should consider the possible impact on their portfolios. Some of these swans will paddle by this year.

Should we exclude companies purely on ethical grounds?

General principles previously governed ethical investing, but both fund managers and clients now accept the more hard-nosed approach of eliminating certain companies from portfolios.

Big increase in retirees expecting to outlive their savings

New research shows a rapid increase in the proportion of retirees expecting to outlive their savings, and those not yet retired are worried about markets and not saving enough.

Watch premiums and discounts in LICs

Independent Investment Research has released its December Quarter 2016 review of the performance of the 34 LIC's under its coverage. Understand the premiums and discounts to NTA before investing.

Future oil prices: it takes two to contango

US shale oil producers and the combined alliance of OPEC and Russia need one another to maintain the 'sweet spot' in oil sector dynamics and profitability into the future.

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Three steps to planning your spending in retirement

What happens when a superannuation expert sets up his own retirement portfolio using decades of knowledge? He finds he can afford much more investment risk in his portfolio than conventional thinking suggests.

Finding sustainable dividend stocks on the ASX

There is a small universe of companies on the ASX which are reliable dividend payers over five years, are fairly valued and are classified as ‘negligible’ or ‘low’ on both ESG risk and carbon risk.

Among key trends in Australian banks, one factor stands out

The Big Four banks look similar but they are at fundamentally different stages as they move to simpler business models. Amid challenges from operating systems, loan growth and neobank threats, one factor stands tall.

Why mega-tech growth are the best ‘value’ stocks in the market

They are six of the greatest businesses ever and should form part of the global portfolios of all investors. The market sees risk in inflation and valuations but the companies are positioned for outstanding growth.

How inflation impacts different types of investments

A comprehensive study of the impact of inflation on returns from different assets over the past 120 years. The high returns in recent years are due to low inflation and falling rates but this ‘sweet spot’ is ending.

How to manage the run down in your income in retirement

The first of five articles on modern retirement income products that aim for an increasing pension that lasts for life and on average should not decline in real terms. They are not silver bullets but worth a look.

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