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The 20 most popular articles in 2020

The most popular articles of 2020 show the wide range of subjects covered by Firstlinks. As we return to work in 2021, although mainly from home, it's useful to reflect on the issues that grabbed our attention. Unlike many other publications, Firstlinks does not simply focus on stock picks or finance industry issues.

These should be read in the context of when they were published, such as a few articles on how we may be affected by COVID. The most-viewed article of the year, my piece on Afterpay, was written when the share price was around $70 and it is now about $120. I'm still not making a recommendation to buy or sell but at this stage, I have held my own shares after participating in the DRP at $66.

Each of these articles has received over 10,000 views as measured by our CMS platform. Each heading includes a link to the relevant article.

11 lessons from my lousy $50K profit on Afterpay

Graham Hand

Afterpay listed at $1 in 2016 and traded recently at $70. How should an investor treat a small holding in a 70-bagger when each new level defies the experts? Should true believers let the profits run?

10 undervalued stocks if you're worried about volatility

Emma Rappaport

Amid the coronavirus-induced turmoil, many quality names are trading at a discount to fair value, according to Morningstar analysts. A smaller list of companies also screen for earnings certainty.

The 20 Commandments of Wealth

Noel Whittaker

To mark his 80th, we publish a Noel classic plus his timeless commandments for retiree wealth, based on decades of advising clients, writing bestsellers and reaching millions of people every week.

A hard dose reality check on vaccines

Rod Skellet

With 160 programmes underway and billions of dollars spent on COVID-19 vaccines, investors are drawn to optimistic news. However, the company that has developed most new vaccines has a sober view.

Five famous investors with cheap listed funds

Graham Hand

Why invest in an unlisted fund by a well-known, experienced fund manager when the equivalent listed fund is offered at a substantial discount? Maybe there's a structural problem to fix here.

20 great ways the government helps retirees

Brendan Ryan

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.

After 30 years of investing, I prefer to skip this party

Roger Montgomery

Eventually, prices become so extreme they bear no relationship to reality, and a bubble forms. I believe we are there today, not for all stocks but for many in the technology space.

Easy money: download Robinhood, buy stonks, bro down

Graham Hand

Millions of inexperienced traders have entered global equity markets since the end of March, fuelled by hype in a rapidly-rising market. What is happening and how are they having an impact?

Magic money printing and the reality of inflation

Tim Congdon

It looks like a magic money tree, where the central bank simply deposits money in the government's bank account. We asked one of the world's leading authorities on monetarism for an explanation.

What is the likely effect of COVID-19 on the Australian economy?

Moray Vincent

Our close links to China mean the impact of the virus could tip the local economy into recession and certain sectors such as resources, education and travel will be harder hit than others.

Howard Marks on 'Which way now?' - UPDATED

Graham Hand

Howard Marks is the largest investor in the world in distressed securities. What does he think after checking the virus positives and negatives, and how much has he changed his mind in only a few days?

Australian house prices: Part 2, the bigger picture

Chris Rands

Three key indicators are useful for predicting the short-term outlook for house prices, although tighter lockdowns make the outlook gloomier. There is enough doubt to create cause for concern.

Six ratios show the market is off the charts

Graham Hand

There is an infinite variety of financial charts an investor can watch, with many spurious claims about factors and causality. But here are six common charts that are at historical extremes.

How $200 billion is magically created

Shane Oliver

Australia is in a relatively good position to borrow $200 billion, with the RBA using printed money to buy bonds in the market. The long-term consequences are better than the alternative.

COVID-19 and the madness of crowds

Phil Ruthven AO

57 million people die every year, including over 3 million from respiratory diseases. Why is COVID-19 allowed to panic nations around the world and destroy so many businesses and jobs?

Warren Buffett's letter about new investors and speculation

Warren Buffett

A pin lies in wait for every bubble. And when the two eventually meet, a new wave of investors learns some very old lessons: speculation is most dangerous when it looks easiest.

The creator of the 4% rule and his own retirement

Michael Kitces

The 4% withdrawal rate in retirement is an industry standard, a level where a retiree could be confident of not running out of money. Its creator Bill Bengen explains its use in this interview with Michael Kitces.

The three key issues in the COVID-19 outlook

Hamish Douglass

Hamish Douglass outlines the three main issues in the outbreak of coronavirus, with consequences which may change businesses and consumers forever. Will we face V-shape, U-shape or depression?

How do your financial priorities stack up with our pyramid?

Christine Benz

Make sure you're not focussing on minor investment problems while giving short shrift to the game-changers. This pyramid describes the important decisions and it might surprise what comes last.

Who's next? Discounts on LICs force managers to pivot

Graham Hand

The boards and managers of six high-profile LICs, frustrated by their shares trading at large discounts to asset value, have embarked on radical strategies to fix the problems. Will they work?

 

These articles have previously appeared in Firstlinks but they do not take into account the circumstances of any investor.

 

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Buffett's favourite indicator versus all-in equities

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In fact, most people have no super when they die

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Five timeless lessons from a life in investing

40 years of investing is distilled into five crucial lessons. An overall theme is to embrace uncertainty to make an impact on how much you earn, how much you spend, how much you save and how much risk you take.

Super changes, the Budget and 2021 versus 2022

Josh Frydenberg's third budget contained changes to superannuation and other rules but their effective date is expected to be 1 July 2022. Take care not to confuse them with changes due on 1 July 2021.

Latest Updates

Property

Whoyagonnacall? 10 unspoken risks buying off-the-plan

All new apartment buildings have defects, and inexperienced owners assume someone else will fix them. But developers and builders will not volunteer to spend time and money unless someone fights them. Part 1

Superannuation

Super changes, the Budget and 2021 versus 2022

Josh Frydenberg's third budget contained changes to superannuation and other rules but their effective date is expected to be 1 July 2022. Take care not to confuse them with changes due on 1 July 2021.

Economy

Why don't higher prices translate into inflation? Blame hedonism

Why are prices rising but not the CPI? When we measure inflation, we aren’t measuring raw price changes, we’re measuring the pleasure-adjusted or utility-adjusted price changes, and we use it incorrectly.

Economy

Should investors brace for uncomfortably high inflation?

The global recession came quickly and deeply but it has given way to a strong rebound. What are the lessons for investors, how should a portfolio change and what role will inflation play?

Risk management

Revealed: Madoff so close to embezzling Australian investors

We are publishing this anonymously knowing it comes from an impeccable source. Bernie Madoff’s fund was almost distributed to retail Australian investors a year before the largest-ever hedge fund fraud was exposed.

Exchange traded products

How long can your LICs continue to pay dividends?

Some LICs have recently paid out more in dividends than their net profit as they have the ability to tap their retained profits and reserves. Others reduced dividends to ease the burden on cashflow and balance sheets.

SMSF strategies

How SMSF contribution reserving can use the higher caps

With the increase in the concessional cap to $27,500 on 1 July 2021, a contribution reserving strategy could allow a member to make and claim deductions for personal contributions of up to $52,500 this year.

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