Register For Our Mailing List

Register to receive our free weekly newsletter including editorials.

Home / 327

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 327

  •   9 October 2019
  • 1

When you consider all the things people might worry about, the current ABC survey called 'Australia Talks', uncovering our attitudes and experiences, is producing surprising results. Based on 54,000 responses, ahead of health but behind climate change, comes 'Saving enough money for retirement'.

Source: ABC 'Australia talks', October 2019

Retirement saving is double 'Providing for family'. The Government's Retirement Income Review is therefore timely, although as we wrote last week, expectations should be temperedNick Callil describes three ways retirees can spend their super, balancing running out of money ('ruin') with leaving it behind ('wastage').

There's no other country in the world where superannuation influences headlines and politics as much as Australia. Bill Shorten acknowledged last week that what the Liberals dubbed the 'retiree tax' had damaged Labor:

"We misread the mood in terms of the franking credits. What everyone thinks about the system in hindsight - and of course, hindsight is never wrong, is it? - what we saw is that there were a lot of older people who felt vulnerable and it also laid the seedbed for the fake campaign on the death tax."

He should read Firstlinks, because in the seven years of this publication, we have never received so many comments on one subject. Over one thousand. Shadow Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, has already flagged that Labor policies will change before the 2022 election.

In other highlights ...

Elizabeth Bryan and Chris Cuffe are two of Australia's most experienced board chairs and directors. It was fascinating to hear their views on how a good board should function, with tips for aspiring members to transition from executive to board roles. It's not suitable for everyone.

Plenty is being written about bubble asset valuations as investors scramble for returns, and Roger Montgomery gives specific examples of how some investors have lost perspective.

In looking for both yield and lower volatility, Adrian Harrington makes the case for quality property with first-class tenants and long lease (Weighted Average Lease Expiry or WALE) terms, and it's worth understanding more about 'triple net leases'. Similarly, real assets including infrastructure have a role in most portfolios, and Andrew Parsons shows the opportunities.

Adam Grotzinger explains that as opportunities in traditional markets become constrained, a flexible approach to global opportunities can enhance risk-adjusted returns.

We like to think markets are subject to a vast array of forces, but one dominates all others: the actions of central banks. They've fed us on sugar for years, and we all know what happens eventually when we consume too much sugar. Ashley Owen draws the chart and the conclusions. When central bank balance sheets have gone from US$10 trillion to US$22 trillion in a decade, as shown below, do we expect them to continue expanding to feed our endless appetites?

Finally, on the subject of major market trends, this week's Sponsor White Paper is from Martin Currie Australia (an affiliate of Legg Mason), on why the value style of investing will soon have its time in the sun after being in the shade of growth and momentum for many years.


Graham Hand, Managing Editor

For a PDF version of this week’s newsletter articles, click here.



Most viewed in recent weeks

How much super is enough?

We cannot see into the future, but here are some general guidelines on how much to save in super, and then how much you can spend to enjoy a good retirement. Start as soon as possible.

How to include homes in the age pension assets test

A reader speaks out about the inequity of ignoring own homes in the assets test for the age pension, plus a proposal on how it could work politically. Take our survey on the merit of the policy. 

OK Boomer: fessing up that we’ve had it good

The pre-Boomer generations faced global wars and depressions, but Australians born after 1946 have enjoyed prosperity. Superannuation, education, strong markets and surging property prices locked in gains.  

Four reasons to engage a financial adviser

The value of financial advice is increasingly questioned after the Royal Commission and changes to advice business models, but the case for financial advice for many people remains strong.

Should you buy CBA PERLS XII Capital Notes?

CBA's latest PERLS offer is directly offered to hundreds of thousands of investors who already hold CBA shares or other PERLS securities. How does it compare with the rest of the hybrid market? 

Latest Updates


OK Boomer: fessing up that we’ve had it good

The pre-Boomer generations faced global wars and depressions, but Australians born after 1946 have enjoyed prosperity. Superannuation, education, strong markets and surging property prices locked in gains.  

Investment strategies

Young women are investing more in shares

Young woment are showing increasing confidence in the sharemarket, promising a better future than the Boomers and Gen X women who hold significantly less assets than males of their generation.  

Investment strategies

Shorting deserves more respect

A fund manager that can short sell stocks with weak investment characteristics while reinvesting the proceeds in long positions in preferred stocks has a high degree of flexibility.


Policymakers fear cutting stimulus can lead to recession

Prolonging a recovery with stimulus could lead to a worse slump later. Even today, policymakers are haunted by actions taken in 1937 which led to a loss of production and jobs and a falling GDP.


Bank reporting season scorecard for FY19

Our annual scorecard for Australian banks shows earnings were hit by remediation costs and slow credit growth, but they are in good health and look attractive versus other listed companies. 



Special eBooks

Specially-selected collections of the best articles 

Read more

Earn CPD Hours

Accredited CPD hours reading Firstlinks

Read more

Pandora Archive

Firstlinks articles are collected in Pandora, Australia's national archive.

Read more