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Emerging markets: Nothing new under the sun

As interest rates fell in recent years, there was a push into emerging markets debt, but as worldwide central bank stimulus reduces, many of these 'emerging' countries are showing why they are poorly rated.

Will sovereign defaults spark the next GFC?

The fundamentals point toward bankruptcies of major sovereigns like the US and Japan in the next decade. The after effects could be catastrophic on all major asset classes. It’s time to discuss the makeup and costs of insurance.

Australia’s default: who do you rescue?

As it became obvious that Australia would need to default on its government debt in the 1930s, the question of whether to prioritise foreign or local debt was put to the people, with surprising results.

Australia’s default: A primer on government debt, default and inflation

Very few people realise that Australia once defaulted on its sovereign debt during the Great Depression. Learn how the split between local and foreign currency debt affects the policy options available to Governments.

China’s growth slowdown is underway

Recent developments in China’s credit and property markets could lead to a slowdown in the country’s economic growth. If this happens there would be significant implications for global investors.

Running up and paying off government debt

In the second part of our Labor v Liberal series, we look at Australia’s level of government debt since Federation. Our current debt level is low when compared to national income and the rest of the world.

Budget time and Labor v Liberal on fiscal discipline

When comparing the fiscal disciplines of left- and right-leaning parties, do the stereotypes prevail? This first part of a three-part series looks at which parties have produced more federal surpluses and deficits.

Mind the (expectations) gap: demographic trends and GDP

If we expect government policies to deliver implausible growth when a demographic tailwind has become a headwind, we'll have temporary ‘growth’ with debt-financed consumption, with longer term adverse consequences.

Age pension reform: income taper change is unlikely

Tapering is the rate at which pensions reduce as other sources of income increase. A change is unlikely to make it onto Joe Hockey's list of pensions amendments in the upcoming budget.

Living within one’s means

Australia in 2014 is the lowest taxed nation in the developed world. Facing ten years of budget deficits, is the Abbott Government unwilling to raise tax rates, or will Joe Hockey make us share the pain come budget time?

Epilogue: Death duties, where angels fear to tread

An article in November 2013 suggesting death duties be considered as a public finance tool attracted some strong criticism, and in the context of the need to fund ever-increasing deficits, the author defends his views.

Beware the headache when the QE party ends

Buying long-term bonds at yields below historical inflation rates is asking for trouble, despite the recent rises in bond rates. Even QE policymakers have their doubts.

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Retirees facing steep increases for basic items

ASFA has updated its tables on how much money is needed for a 'comfortable' or 'modest' lifestyle in retirement, but there are some unavoidable prices rising well ahead of inflation.

Let’s stop calling them ‘bond proxies’

With cash and term deposit rates at all-time lows, and fixed interest bonds not much better, investors are looking for ‘bond proxies’ to deliver more income. But is ‘proxy’ a misnomer, and what are they anyway?

Adele Ferguson on ‘Banking Bad’ and weaving magic

The journalist most responsible for the calling of the Royal Commission takes care not to be roped in by everyone with a complaint to push. It takes experienced judgement to gather the right information.

Six warning bells against property spruikers

Property spruikers use common techniques, and con men will increasingly target older people who feel they do not have enough financial independence for their retirement years.

Helping your children build their super

It has become more difficult to build large superannuation balances with contribution caps and more people paying off home loans for longer. How can wealthy parents help their adult children?

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