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After a nail-biting campaign, the first-round of voting in the French Presidential election took place over the weekend. The centrist Emmanuel Macron and euro-sceptic Marine Le Pen winning the most votes.
The French people will now be choosing between two radically different visions for the country in the second round of voting on the 7th of May.
If Macron wins, he will be the first independent President of the Republic in France. This would delight France’s EU partners and reassure investors. This is the most likely outcome, but anything is possible.
The world economy looks like it should expand at a healthy pace over the next two years if the latest forecasts from the International Monetary Fund are anything to go by.
It can be a real challenge to prepare a budget unless you take the right steps from the start. We all have different priorities but there are some basic principles that can make the process clear and easy to prepare. We provide some simple tips and steps in setting out a budget that can work for you.
A travel card can be an easy and secure way to manage the costs of FX while travelling. They're the travellers cheques of the 21st century. They’re easy to use because you can load multiple currencies onto the card before you go: once loaded, the travel card can be used to pay for items at point of sale, online and where credit cards are accepted.
A share is issued by a company to raise money. A share also represents a unit of ownership in the company, its assets and in its profits, as well as allowing the investor to vote on major decisions associated with the company. Shares may also pay dividends, which are a share of the company’s profit. Shares can be transferred from one investor to another. For listed companies this happens on a stock exchange or stock market which allows the selling and buying of shares. A company may also issue shares through the stock market to raise extra capital. Investors buy shares, expecting the value of the share to rise and dividends to be paid.
Property is a location game: where and what you buy could affect your return on investment. When you're considering where to buy, you should ensure that you stick to property markets that you’re familiar with. Try to look for areas where high growth is expected, and areas where rental income is high compared to the property value.
A bond is issued by a government or company as a way of borrowing money. Investors buy the bonds, and receive an interest payment on the fixed dates, at the stated interest rate, or ‘coupon.’ The bond has a known maturity date, at which the investors are entitled to be repaid the money lent via the bond. It is possible that at maturity date the company or government cannot repay the bond or is unable to pay the coupons: .this is the main risk associated with owning a bond. Bonds can usually be bought and sold like shares, but if you sell or buy a bond before maturity it may have a different value than the initial amount loaned, which can give rise to a capital gain or loss.
Benjamin Franklin was right: "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” That’s certainly true in investment, where any investment has tax implications. First of all in Australia, any income you receive from an investment may be added to your income, and taxed at your marginal tax rate, which is the rate of tax that applies to the income range into which your taxable income falls. Australia currently has four marginal tax rates, or five if you count nil as the tax rate on for low incomes below the tax threshold. So if you have interest from cash or bonds, dividends from shares, or rental income from a property, that is added to your assessable income and taxed at your marginal tax rate.
In this video James Dunn explains the key issues in considering borrowing for your property investment. While arranging finance can bring residential property for your SMSF within reach for many investors it can be a double-edged sword, it's important to not only understand the potential advantages and pitfalls but also your obligations.
Unlike a bank account which allows you to deposit and withdraw money at almost any time, a term deposit is a deposit made with a bank for a specified term. The money in a term deposit will be locked up for that term. The bank agrees to pay you a specified interest rate – which will not change – for the term, and to repay the full amount at the end of the term. You can choose a term, from one week to five years, and whether interest is paid on a regular basis or at the end of the term (when you get your original deposit back.) You can ‘break’ the term deposit before the end of its term, but there may be a penalty cost if you do. In the hierarchy of investment products, term deposits are considered very safe and can also be eligible for the government guarantee on bank deposits, which was introduced in 2010.
The Testamentary trust is usually established to protect assets but it’s important to go beyond the motivation to understand the reasons why you might consider this to be a good idea that suits you. We also explain how it may insulate you and your beneficiaries from a variety of circumstances.
The stock market is the marketplace in which ‘listed’ shares are traded: it is also known as a stock exchange. Buyers and sellers indicate the price levels at which they are willing to buy or sell their shares: if the buy and sell price match, the shares are transferred. The day-to-day trading of listed shares is known as the ‘secondary’ market. The other function of the stock market is to allow companies to raise money to fund their business from investors. Companies will sell shares directly to investors to raise the money: this is called the ‘primary’ market. These markets co-exist.
If you’re one of the nine million Australians who travelled overseas last financial year, you’ll know that foreign exchange rates can play a big part in your holiday. Whenever you spend money overseas – be it in US$, euro, pound or yen – you’re running foreign exchange risk, because you’re converting A$ into those currencies. If the A$ falls against those currencies while you’re travelling, you're losing spending power.
Superannuation is concessionally taxed. This means that the government gives incentives through the tax system to encourage people to save for retirement.
The investment earnings of a super fund are taxed at 15%. The lower rate of tax means your money can grow faster than investments held outside the super system, which may be taxed at a higher rate.
Our presenter, Donna Sawyer, looks at the advantages and pitfalls of borrowing and how getting into debt is a lot easier than getting out of it. Your borrowing decision is not solely about what, why, and how much, timing can be as crucial a factor as well and as always don’t forget to read the fine print.
Many people face a great deal of frustration when confronting trouble in managing their debt. Debt is a powerful tool that can deliver benefits but it can also be dangerous if not used properly. Our video explores some of the options available and there are always skilled people that can help. Taking action can stop a small problem turning into a big one.
Did you know that your employer’s default fund must offer a minimum level of Life Insurance? There are benefits to having insurance cover in super but it’s important to be aware of the detail. We look at how super funds typically have three types of insurance for members, the sort of conditions, to expect and what this means to you.
Investing in shares makes you part-owner of a business but the expectation is that you will be rewarded by capital gain and dividends. Shares can be a terrific investment but there are always risks you need to be aware of before making a decision. We explore the basics of share investment so that you’re better informed.
With literally hundreds of options when choosing a home loan how do you work through to the right offer for you? There are rewards to be had in doing your homework but it’s important you understand the basics and know what to look for in advance of making a commitment. James offers great guidance on the benefits and pitfalls in making a choice.
It’s one thing to decide to get Life Insurance but how do you determine just how much you need? We all know that the more insurance gives us more protection but it also increases costs. It’s all about balancing what you can afford and future needs, it’s a trade off and taking the right approach
James Dunn takes a look at the DIY Investor and some of the advantages and disadvantages in taking this approach. It's never been easier to be a self-directed investor but there aren't many tools to help you build a well-diversified share portfolio. James explains the importance of not just specific benefits in stock selection but to consider how it may intelligently complement your current portfolio
It very easy to incur debt and always challenging to save, it requires real discipline to work out a plan that strikes the right balance and delivers the best outcomes. We discuss a way forward in helping to understand your financial position and work out an approach that suits your priorities
In this video we discuss what Diversification means to you in practice. James Dunn explains the basic building blocks of establishing a diversified portfolio of investments that may include a small or large range of asset classes. There are many approaches to achieving your investment goals and terrific tools to assess your risk profile. The question is what is your appetite for risk?
We insure all sorts of things we think are important like our house or car but what could be more important than your life? James Dunn takes a keen look at Life Insurance and provides a clear view of why planning is all about putting your family first when making a decision about the right amount of cover.
Just what does it mean to invest in a bond? When is a bond a sound investment and what are the risks? In this video we discuss all this and more to give you an overview of this important part of a diversified investment portfolio. Not all bonds are the same and there are many factors to consider before making a decision
Many Australian investors like to invest in residential property, and there are good reasons for that. Residential property has been a strong long-term performer, comparable with the sharemarket, although the dividends from shares return more than net rents, and are more tax-effective. But if you borrow to buy an investment property, interest on the loan and most property expenses can be offset against rental income, for tax purposes.
Structured products are a pre-packaged investment instrument designed to meet specific objectives. They can be used as an alternative to a direct investment, or as part of the asset allocation process to reduce a portfolio’s exposure to downside risk. Structured products are not new and the derivatives used to create them can be traced back to biblical times.
Before you set up a transition to retirement pension, you need to consider if this type of income stream is right for you and how it fits with your work and super plans.
You’ll need to check your fund type: TTR pensions are only available for members of accumulation super funds. If you’re in a defined benefit fund, you cannot access a TTR pension. If you run a self-managed super fund (SMSF) you can set up a TTR pension, but your pension account must be separate from the super account that accepts contributions.