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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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Great new ways the Government helps retirees

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Four simple strategies deliver long-term investing comfort

A long-time advocate of the merits of generating income by investing in industrial companies rather than bonds or deposits checks his 'mothership' chart for the latest results, and continues to feel vindicated.

$100 billion! Five reasons investors are flocking to ETFs

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A close look at retiree fears and expectations

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Cut it out ... millionaires are not wealthy

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Minister Jane Hume on SMSFs and superannuation reform

Senator Jane Hume presented at the SMSFA conference this week, and we reproduce the full transcript as a guide to what the Government is thinking on superannuation reforms as we head into the next election.

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Dog-eat-dinner: a tough day in the life of a broker analyst

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What drives Australian versus global equity performance?

We tend to think of the 'stockmarket' as one beast, but it pays to know the drivers of the different parts, especially global versus Australian stocks. The outlook favours global due to better sector exposure.

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Invest in Australian value stocks before it is too late

By now, we know 'growth' stocks have outperformed 'value' for many years and investors look to the future, but there are good reasons why the switch is on, especially as value companies emerge from the pandemic.  

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Gains of a lifetime reward new retail investors

Nobody knows how to pick the bottom of the market, but new investors did well in 2020. They captured most of the returns since the lows, and contrary to popular opinion, they are not punting away on tech stocks. 

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FANMAG: Because FAANGs are so yesterday

FANMAG returns have been strong but not relative to their predecessors. Looking at a broader group of large tech companies, most have lagged the market. Fad-based investing is no substitute for broad diversification.

Overdue overhaul of Australia’s aged care system

To support a better aged care system appropriate to the needs of all Australians, critical changes are needed including a new financing approach. The current system has failed seniors, carers and providers for years. 

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‘Super-defensive equities’ may rescue struggling 60/40 portfolios

The 60/40 portfolio has been the mainstay of 'default' Australian investing, but large allocations to bonds compromise returns when rates are low. Strategies with exposures negatively-correlated to equities are needed.

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