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Edition: 356

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Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 356

  • 7 May 2020
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Few investors are as influential as Warren Buffett, although for the moment, the market is ignoring his caution. The annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway revealed Buffett did not use the heavy market falls in February to buy shares. Rather than 'buy when others are fearful', he was a net seller of US$6 billion for the quarter, disposing of all airline shares. Berkshire is sitting on US$137 billion in cash, suggesting he expects better buying opportunities to come.

The vibe of future returns: tell ‘em they’re dreamin’

It's the vibe, but not much else. Super balance calculations default to earnings rates of 7.5%, but that's in the past. Global experts suggest financial plans are now dreaming at this level.

Buffett's meeting takeaway: extreme caution

Warren Buffett's annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway showed he has not been 'investing while others are fearful' during the crisis. lt's a reminder to take caution and preserve cash.

Retiree spending patterns differ from most expectations

A study of actual spending habits shows retirees have a faster-than-expected drop-off in spending in later years, casting doubts on financial plans that assume increasing expenditure over time.

Why is tax increasing my LIC’s NTA?

The net tangible assets of a LIC should show its real value and sounds simple to calculate. So why is there a great disparity in the methods, and what does tax have to do with it?

Australian banks undervalued amid economic turmoil

Australian bank share prices are down about 40% since February 2020, with many of the risks factored in. It's hard to estimate short-term loan losses and asset growth, but the longer term is more positive.

Post Covid, the risks are skewed to the downside

Despite the unknowns, Australia is vulnerable as a medium-sized open economy dependent on smoothly functioning international trade. It was already under stress before the onset of the crisis.

Payment deferrals more expensive than borrowers expect

Reductions in loan repayments, either deferrals or failing to opt out of lower payments, seem like a good idea. But they are expensive and should only be adopted if the borrower needs the money.

Four ethical challenges in exiting Covid-19 rules

As Australia prepares to relax Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, crucial questions of lives versus livelihoods are being asked. At its most pointed, it's also a matter of lives versus lives.

68 bits of unsolicited advice

On his 68th birthday, Wired magazine's co-founder posted 68 bits of wisdom. I like: To get to the real reason, ask a person to go deeper. Then again, and once more. The third time’s answer is close to the truth.

Corporate bonds: why now and in what structure?

Investors hold non-government bonds for both their income and defensive characteristics, but there must be sufficient diversification and liquidity in quality names to manage the risk.

Most viewed in recent weeks

Lessons when a fund manager of the year is down 25%

Every successful fund manager suffers periods of underperformance, and investors who jump from fund to fund chasing results are likely to do badly. Selecting a manager is a long-term decision but what else?

2022 election survey results: disillusion and disappointment

In almost 1,000 responses, our readers differ in voting intentions versus polling of the general population, but they have little doubt who will win and there is widespread disappointment with our politics.

Now you can earn 5% on bonds but stay with quality

Conservative investors who want the greater capital security of bonds can now lock in 5% but they should stay at the higher end of credit quality. Rises in rates and defaults mean it's not as easy as it looks.

30 ETFs in one ecosystem but is there a favourite?

In the last decade, ETFs have become a mainstay of many portfolios, with broad market access to most asset types, as well as a wide array of sectors and themes. Is there a favourite of a CEO who oversees 30 funds?

Betting markets as election predictors

Believe it or not, betting agencies are in the business of making money, not predicting outcomes. Is there anything we can learn from the current odds on the election results?

Meg on SMSFs – More on future-proofing your fund

Single-member SMSFs face challenges where the eventual beneficiaries (or support team in the event of incapacity) will be the member’s adult children. Even worse, what happens if one or more of the children live overseas?

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