How do interest rates affect your investments?

Interest rates are an important financial lever for world economies. They affect the cost of borrowing and the return on savings, and it makes them an integral part of the return on many investments. It can also affect the value of the currency, which has a further trickle-down effect on other investments.

So, when rates are low they can influence more business investment because it is cheaper to borrow. When rates are high or rising, economic activity slows. As a result, interest rate movements are also a useful tool to control inflation.

Rising steadily

For the past few years, interest rates have been close to zero or even in negative territory in some countries, but that all started to change in the last year or so.

Australia lagged other world economies when it came to increasing rates but since the rises began here last year, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has introduced hikes on a fairly regular basis. Indeed, the base rate has risen 3.5 per cent since June last year.

The key reason for the rises is the need to dampen inflation. The RBA has long aimed to keep inflation between the 2 and 3 per cent mark. Clearly, that benchmark has been sharply breached and now the consumer price index is well over 7 per cent a year.

Winners and losers

There are two sides to rising interest rates. It hurts if you are a borrower, and it is generally welcomed if you are a saver.

But not all consequences of an interest rate rise are equal for investors and sometimes the extent of its impact may be more of a reflection of your approach to investment risk. If you are a conservative investor with cash making up a significant proportion of your portfolio, then rate rises may be welcome. On the other hand, if your portfolio is focussed on growth with most investments in say, shares and property, higher rates may start to erode the total value of your holdings.

Clearly this underlines the argument for diversity across your investments and an understanding of your goals in the short, medium, and long-term.

Shares take a hit

Higher interest rates tend to have a negative impact on sharemarkets. While it may take time for the effect of higher rates to filter through to the economy, the sharemarket often reacts instantly as investors downgrade their outlook for future company growth.

In addition, shares are viewed as a higher risk investment than more conservative fixed interest options. So, if low risk fixed interest investments are delivering better returns, investors may switch to bonds.

But that does not mean stock prices fall across the board. Traditionally, value stocks such as banks, insurance companies and resources have performed better than growth stocks in this environment.iAlso investors prefer stocks earning money today rather than those with a promise of future earnings.

But there are a lot of jitters in the sharemarket particularly in the wake of the failure of a number of mid-tier US banks. As a result, the traditional better performers are also struggling.

Fixed interest options

Fixed interest investments include government and semi-government bonds and corporate bonds. If you are invested in long-term bonds, then the outlook is not so rosy because the recent interest rates increases mean your current investments have lost value.

At the moment, fixed interest is experiencing an inverted yield curve, which means long term rates are lower than short term. Such a situation reflects investor uncertainty about potential economic growth and can be a key predictor of recession and deflation. Of course, this is not the only measure to determine the possibility of a recession and many commentators in Australia believe we may avoid this scenario.ii

What about housing?

House prices have fallen from their peak in 2022, which is not surprising given the slackening demand as a result of higher mortgage rates.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed an annual 35 per cent drop in new investment loans earlier this year.iii

The changing times in Australia’s economic fortunes can lead to concern about whether you have the right investment mix. If you are unsure about your portfolio, then give us a call to discuss.

https://www.ig.com/au/trading-strategies/what-are-the-effects-of-interest-rates-on-the-stock-market-220705
ii https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2023/02/inverted-yield-curve-predicts-australian-recession/
iii https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/finance/lending-indicators/latest-release

Economic Update – September 2022

In August, the focus was on US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s speech at the annual Jackson Hole business gathering on August 26, and he was blunt. To hose down talk of interest rate cuts in 2023, he said the Fed was focused on bringing US inflation down to 2% (from 8.5% now), even at the risk of recession.

He said this will “take some time”, will likely require a “sustained period of below trend economic growth”, and households should expect “some pain” in the months ahead. The S&P500 share index promptly fell 3.4% and bond yields rose. Economists expect the US central bank will continue lifting rates each month for the remainder of 2022.

In Australia, economic conditions are less gloomy. Australia’s trade surplus was a record $136.4 billion in 2022-23. Unemployment fell to 3.4% in July while wages growth rose to an annual rate of 2.6% in the year to June, the strongest in 8 years but well below inflation. The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index rose slightly in September to a still depressed 85.0 points while the NAB business confidence index jumped to +6.9 points in July, well above the long-term average of +5.4 points. Half-way through the June half-year reporting season, CommSec reports ASX200 company profits increased 56% in aggregate while dividends are 6% lower on a year earlier.

The Aussie dollar fell more than one cent over the month to close around US68.5c. Aussie shares bucked the global trend, finishing steady over the month.

If you wish to speak to an adviser about any information in relation to our articles, please get in contact via email.

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Your investing style – as unique as you

As interest rates start to increase after a lengthy period of historical lows, it’s a good time to think about how your money is working for you and whether your investing style and strategy is still in line with your goals.

Higher interest rates don’t just send a ripple through the economy, aside from the obvious impact on the property market, they often impact stock prices. There are a myriad of other factors that contribute to market movement and portfolio performance and trying to navigate all the things that need to be considered can be challenging but being aware of your preferred investment style and having a considered and appropriate strategy can help.

The benefits of style and strategy

Just as we are all unique individuals, our goals and approach to investing will also be different to our family and friends and it pays to be familiar with your own style and preferences.

It can be common for those new to investing to take the plunge without any real plan, let alone an investment strategy that’s likely to align with their current circumstances, future requirements, and investment goals.

Even those who have been investing for some time can be guilty of a ‘set and forget’ approach that might mean hanging on to a strategy that does not meet their present or future needs.

Having the right investment strategy – the one that’s right for you – improves the likelihood of your investments meeting your goals and allows you to sleep at night.

Your tolerance for risk at the core of your style

While approaches to, and styles of investing are many and varied, your comfort with risk is often the primary driver of any approach you may choose to take. There is of course a trade-off between risk and return that needs to also be considered. Your comfort with risk will determine the right mix of asset classes in your portfolio.

An aggressive investor, commonly someone with higher risk tolerance, is willing to take on greater risk for the possibility of better returns than a conservative investor. This type of investor will be comfortable with a higher proportion of growth assets like shares or listed property that offer higher returns over the long-term that may come at the expense of less stable returns.

A conservative investor will employ a larger proportion of defensive assets in their portfolio to provide long-term stable returns with lower volatility and exposure to risk. Defensive assets are fixed interest investment options including fixed income bonds and cash investment options.

Hands-on vs hands-off approach

Investing strategies can be further separated into two distinct groups: active and passive. Passive investing, as the name implies, focuses on benefitting from the overall increase in market prices over time. One of the benefits of passive investing is that it minimises the mistakes investors can make when they react emotionally to stock market movement.

Active investing involves a more hands-on approach, with more frequent buying and selling to take advantage of short-term price fluctuations and is generally undertaken by a portfolio manager.

Changing your strategy over time

Most investors find that their investment style shifts as they age. Younger investors have a longer time horizon, so they may feel more comfortable making riskier investments as they have time for the market to recover from market falls. Mature investors may be more focused on preserving their savings for retirement, so they may be more interested in diversification and dollar-cost averaging.

For investors nearing or at retirement, a shift from asset growth and capital gains to a focus on income may be something worth considering and is often desired. The advantage of an income focussed strategy is that investments can produce some of the cash flows needed when you’re no longer working. Dividend stocks are a common way to achieve this goal, with companies showing stable and growing dividends providing the most value.

To ensure you are employing the right strategy to meet your objectives, it pays to be aware of your options and revisit your comfort with risk and your overall investment goals. We can ensure your investment portfolio meets both these elements throughout your various life stages.

If you are interested in exploring the options available to you, please get in touch via our contact page or contact us on 03 5120 1400. We can work closely with you to review your strategy or if you are new to investing, find the right mix for your unique circumstances.

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

When bankruptcy is the best way forward

As interest rates and debt levels rise, many individuals and small business owners are feeling the pinch. Most will make it through with some belt-tightening, but some may need to take further action.

As a last resort, a debt agreement or bankruptcy may be an option. But what are the implications?

Solutions to financial pressure

There are many reasons consumers and businesses are finding it harder to pay their bills, with pandemic closures, natural disasters and now an energy crisis piling on the pressure.

Figures from the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) show in April 2022 there were 700 new personal insolvencies across the country, with the majority (61.4 per cent) being bankruptcies. Within these, 37.7 per cent were business-related bankruptcies.

But bankruptcy is not the only option. If you find yourself unable to pay your debts, you can also consider making a debt agreement, a personal insolvency agreement, or seeking temporary debt protection (TDP).

A TDP prevents creditors from seizing your assets or wages and gives you time to seek advice, while the other formal insolvency options (such as debt and personal insolvency agreements) are a longer-term answer for pressing financial problems.

Debt and declaring bankruptcy

The best-known formal insolvency option is bankruptcy. This is a legal process where you are released from most of your debts and can make a fresh start with your finances.

In 2020-21, around 6,800 Australians declared bankruptcy. This was 46.7 per cent down on the previous year, due largely to the special debt forgiveness rules in place due to COVID-19.

Although bankruptcy is tempting when you or your business are drowning in unpaid bills, it’s a serious step so please speak to us to understand the consequences before taking any action.

Once you file for bankruptcy, a Trustee is appointed to manage your ‘bankrupt estate’ and dispose of assets to pay your debts. If you earn over a set amount during your bankruptcy, you may be required to make compulsory ‘contributions’ from your income to your Trustee.

Impact of bankruptcy

Bankruptcy has serious consequences. Your name will permanently appear on the National Personal Insolvency Index, which is likely to affect your ability to obtain credit in the future. When applying, you must inform any credit provider you are bankrupt and credit reporting agencies will keep a record of your bankruptcy for five years from the date you become bankrupt.

You are required to request written permission from your Trustee to travel overseas, even if it’s for work. Travelling without permission could extend your bankruptcy or result in a prison sentence.

Bankruptcy doesn’t stop you from working and normally the AFSA doesn’t inform your employer, but there are limitations when operating as a sole trader. Court permission is required to be a company director or manage a company.

Your Trustee may sell your assets to help repay your debts, although you are able to keep ordinary household goods, tools up to a set amount used to earn your income and vehicles valued under a threshold.

Recoverable debts

Once you are discharged from bankruptcy (which usually lasts for three years and one day), your creditors can’t recover any remaining pre-bankruptcy debts.

Bankruptcy doesn’t, however, release you from all your debts. If you have secured debts (such as a mortgage over your home), creditors have the right to take possession of your property even if you are in bankruptcy.

While most unsecured debts (such as credit cards, personal and pay day loans, utility bills and unpaid rent) are covered by bankruptcy, some debts must be paid. These include court-imposed penalties, child support and debts incurred after your bankruptcy starts.

Tax and bankruptcy

If you declare bankruptcy, you still need to lodge a tax return and outstanding personal returns and Business Activity Statements must be filed.

The ATO ranks equally with other unsecured creditors, so if it’s one of your creditors, your Trustee will not necessarily pay this debt first. The only priority tax claims are unpaid Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGC) debts if you have employees.

If your Trustee decides to sell some of your assets to clear your debts, this may create a capital gain or loss and the CGT event must be recorded in your annual tax return. The ATO may also offset any tax refunds you become entitled to against any tax, child support or family assistance debts.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, please contact your adviser to discuss your options via email or call us on 03 5120 1400.

Source: Australian Financial Security Authority

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Economic Update – July 2022

June was a big month in an eventful year for the local and global economy, with inflation and interest rates continuing to dominate. The US Federal Reserve lifted official rates by 0.75% to a target range of 1.50-1.75% to combat surging inflation of 8.6% in the year to May, stoking fears of a US recession.  

Australia faces similar but less acute challenges. With inflation sitting at 5.1%, the Reserve Bank lifted the cash rate by 0.5% to 0.85% in June and Governor Philip Lowe hinted at more to come in July, which it did in the form of a further rate hike to bring the cash rate to 1.35%. Many economic analysts have predicted further rate rises to curb inflation with an expected cash rate to be somewhere in the three’s come Christmas time. 

The Australian economy is still growing relatively strongly at an annual rate of 3.3%. Retail trade rose 10.4% in the year to May on the back of low unemployment and high household savings. Household wealth rose to a record high of $574,807 in the year to March, but since then there has been a global sell-off in shares, a slowdown in the Australian housing market and cost of living pressures are mounting.  

Australia’s national average petrol price rose to 211.9c a litre in June, the second highest on record, on the back of a surge in global oil prices. Brent Crude rose almost 45% over the past year as the war in Ukraine disrupts supply. Despite a late bounce in shares, the ASX200 fell 9.6% in the year to June, while US shares were down more than 12%. The Aussie dollar lost ground over the financial year to finish below US69c.  

If you wish to speak to an adviser about any information in relation to our articles, please get in contact via email.

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

How to manage rising interest rates

Rising interest rates are almost always portrayed as bad news, by the media and by politicians of all persuasions. But a rise in rates cuts both ways. 

Higher interest rates are a worry for people with home loans and borrowers generally. But they are good news for older Australians who depend on income from bank deposits and young people trying to save for a deposit on their first home.

Rising interest rates are also a sign of a growing economy, which creates jobs and provides the income people need to pay the mortgage and other bills. By lifting interest rates, the Reserve Bank hopes to keep a lid on inflation and rising prices. Yes, it’s complicated.

How high will rates go?

In early May, the Reserve Bank lifted the official cash rate for the first time since November 2010, from its historic low of 0.1 per cent. The reason the cash rate is watched so closely is that it flows through to mortgages and other lending rates in the economy.

To tackle the rising cost of living, the Reserve Bank expects to lift the cash rate further, to around 2.5 per cent.i Inflation is currently running at 5.1 per cent, which means annual wages growth of 2.4 per cent is not keeping pace with rising prices.ii

So what does this mean for household budgets?

Mortgage rates on the rise

The people most affected by rising rates are likely those who recently bought their first home. In a double whammy, after several years of booming house prices the size of the average mortgage has also increased.

According to CoreLogic, even though price growth is slowing, the median home value rose 16.7 per cent nationally in the year to April to $748,635. Prices are higher in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

CoreLogic estimates a 1 per cent rise would add $486 a month to repayments on the median new home loan in Sydney, and an additional $1,006 a month for a 2 per cent rise.

While the big four banks are not obliged to pass on the cash rate changes, in May they passed on the Reserve Bank’s 0.25 per cent increase in the cash rate in full to their standard variable mortgage rates which range from 4.6 to 4.8 per cent. The lowest standard variable rates from smaller lenders are below 2 per cent.

Still, it’s believed most homeowners should be able to absorb a 2 per cent rise in their repayments.iii

The financial regulator, APRA now insists all lenders apply three percentage points on top of their headline borrowing rate, as a stress test on the amount you can borrow (up from 2.5 per cent prior to October 2021).iv

Rate rise action plan

Whatever your circumstances, the shift from a low interest rate, low inflation economic environment to rising rates and inflation is a signal that it’s time to revisit some of your financial assumptions.

The first thing you need to do is update your budget to factor in higher loan repayments and the rising cost of essential items such as food, fuel, power, childcare, health and insurances. You could then look for easy cuts from your non-essential spending on things like regular takeaways, eating out and streaming services.

If you have a home loan, then potentially the biggest saving involves absolutely no sacrifice to your lifestyle. Simply pick up the phone and ask your lender to give you a better deal. Banks all offer lower rates to new customers than they do to existing customers, but you can often negotiate a lower rate simply by asking.

If your bank won’t budge, then consider switching lenders. Just the mention of switching can often land you a better rate with your existing lender.

The challenge for savers

Older Australians and young savers face a tougher task. Bank savings rates are generally non-negotiable, but it does pay to shop around.

The silver lining is that many people will also see increased interest rates on their savings accounts as the cash rate increases. By mid-May only three of the big four banks had increased rates for savings accounts. Several lenders also announced increased rates for term deposits of up to 0.6 per cent.v

High interest rates traditionally put a dampener on returns from shares and property, so commentators are warning investors to prepare for lower returns from these investments and superannuation.

That makes it more important than ever to ensure you are getting the best return on your savings and not paying more than necessary on your loans. If you would like to discuss a budgeting and savings plan, give us a call on 03 5120 1400.

https://www.rba.gov.au/speeches/2022/sp-gov-2022-05-03-q-and-a-transcript.html

ii https://www.abs.gov.au/

iii https://www.canstar.com.au/home-loans/banks-respond-cash-rate-increase/

iv https://www.apra.gov.au/news-and-publications/apra-increases-banks

https://www.ratecity.com.au/term-deposits/news/banks-increased-term-deposit-interest-rates

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Economic Update – May 2022

The economic event that overshadowed all others in April was the release of the March quarter Consumer Price Index (CPI), which showed inflation up 2.1% in the quarter and 5.1% on an annual basis. This was the biggest lift in prices since 2001 and well above the Reserve Bank’s target of 2-3%.  

The biggest increases were for fuel, housing construction, and food as the war in Ukraine pushes up global oil prices and the cost of transporting food and other goods. Most economists now agree that the Reserve will lift official interest rates from their current historic low of 0.1%. The question now is by how much. Any rate rise will be passed through to variable mortgage rates, putting more pressure on household budgets where cost of living was a major theme during the election campaign. 

On a positive note, unemployment fell below 4% in March, its lowest since 1974 as the economy continues to recover from COVID-related disruptions. As a result, businesses are more confident, with the NAB business confidence index lifting to a five-month high of 15.8 points in March, well above its long-term average of 5.4 points. Consumers are less confident, with the Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment rating down 0.9% in April to a 19-month low of 95.8 points. 

The Aussie dollar fell from US75c to around US71c over the month, adding to cost pressures on imported goods. Oil prices eased slightly, with Brent crude down 6% in April but up 48% on the year. 

If you wish to speak to an adviser about any information in relation to our articles, please get in contact via email – moe@rgmgroup.com.au.

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Steering through choppy seas

Like it or not, we live in interesting times. More than a decade after the Global Financial Crisis, the global economy is facing fresh headwinds creating uncertainty for policy makers and investors alike.

This time around it’s not a debt crisis, although debt levels are extremely high, but geopolitical instability.

The ongoing US-China trade war and Brexit confusion in Europe have increased market uncertainty and volatility and put a spoke in the wheel of global growth. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forecasts global economic growth to ease to 3.3 per cent over 2019. It expects Australia to grow at 2.7 per cent.i

Against this backdrop, there has even been speculation that the Reserve Bank may need to resort to “unconventional measures” such as negative interest rates and quantitative easing to boost growth. These measures have been widely used overseas but are foreign concepts to most Australians. So what are they?

Why negative rates?

Negative interest rates have been a feature of the global financial landscape since the GFC, in Japan and in Europe. European central banks charged banks to hold their deposits, encouraging them to lend out cash instead to kick start economic activity.

So far, the Reserve Bank hasn’t followed suit, but we are edging closer. The cash rate is at a record low of 0.75 per cent with further cuts expected.

Most economists think the Reserve Bank is unlikely to take rates below zero. Taking interest rates too low could run the risk of igniting another property boom.

If negative rates are off the table, another way to bankroll economic growth is quantitative easing.

What is quantitative easing?

In the aftermath of the GFC, central banks in the US, Japan and Europe printed money to buy government bonds and other assets. By pumping cash into the system they hoped to boost economic activity.

There has been much debate about whether quantitative easing worked as intended. What it did do was push investors into higher-risk assets such as shares and property in pursuit of better returns.

It has also increased global public and private debt to $200 trillion, or 225 per cent of global GDP. Until now, high debt levels have been supported by high asset prices. But when coupled with geopolitical and trade tensions, debt adds to the downward pressure on growth.ii

The slowdown in economic growth in Australia and elsewhere is reflected in falling bond rates. In recent times more than 10 European governments have issued bonds with negative interest rates.ii

In recent months, yields on Australian government 3-year and 10-year bonds have dipped below 1 per cent, an indication that the market expects growth to slow over the next decade.

What does this mean for me?

It seems more than likely that bank deposit rates will stay low for some time. That means investors seeking yield will continue to look to property and shares with sustainable dividends. But it may not be plain sailing.

Trade wars, Brexit, high asset prices and slowing economic growth are creating a great deal of uncertainty. Each new twist and turn in trade talks sends markets up in relief or down in disappointment.

After a decade of positive returns, and average annual returns of 7 per cent from their superannuation funds, investors may need to trim their expectations.

Time to plan ahead

If retirement is still a long way off, you can afford to ride out short-term market fluctuations. Even so, it’s important to make sure you are comfortable with the level of risk in your portfolio.

If you are close to retirement or already there, you need to have enough cash to fund your pension needs without having to sell assets during a period of market weakness. For the balance of your portfolio, you need a mix of investments that will allow you to sleep at night but still provide growth for the decades ahead. When markets recover, you want to catch the upswing.

Successful investing requires patience but also adaptability. If you would like to discuss your overall portfolio in the light of market developments, give us a call on 03 5120 1400.

i https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2019/10/01/world-economic-outlook-october-2019

ii https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/200-trillion-in-global-debt-at-risk-if-trust-falters-oecd-20190909-p52pdr.html

iii https://www.ricewarner.com/can-super-funds-continue-to-meet-their-investment-targets/

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 or RGM Finance Brokers Pty Ltd ABN 81 330 778 236 (RGM) that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.