Technology: An adversary in the fight for 2% inflation

It's been a generation since inflation last ravaged Australia, with costs for ordinary consumer goods rising on a seemingly daily basis. Indeed, in the wake of the global financial crisis, inflation in many countries has been lower than policymakers would like. Low inflation, it turns out, can be a problem too. Over time, declining or stagnant prices can strangle economic growth, depress workers' earnings and erode standards of living. That's why central banks here and in the US, Japan and...

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The art of downsizing

The kids have finally left home and now you’re rattling around in a house way bigger than you need. If it’s time to think about downsizing, there’s more to it than simply selling one house and buying another. Here are a few things to consider. Tax-free gain Selling a large house and buying a townhouse or unit, perhaps in a more affordable suburb, can free up a significant sum of money which you could use to help fund your retirement or take that dream international holiday. But before you...

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How to develop a "dynamic" approach to retiree spending

As Smart Investing recently discussed, the combination of historically-low yields, expected muted investment returns and growing life expectancies are making it particularly challenging for retirees to calculate how much to draw down from their retirement savings. A critical issue here is how much retirees can withdraw from their portfolios each year to finance their current spending and to generate future income for the rest of their lives, no matter how long. It's challenging. Two...

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Has your business got this covered?

It’s not uncommon for business owners to take short, irregular holidays because they don’t have the support to keep their business running without them for a longer break. Aside from taking time off for leisure, have you considered what would happen if you were forced to take six months off work due to a serious illness or injury? Would the business survive and how would the bills be paid? Or if you were to die, can you be sure that your business partners would give your family a fair...

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Does money bring happiness?

The short answer is ‘yes’, but only up to a point. People in richer countries are, collectively, happier than people in poor countries. Within countries, people with higher incomes are generally happier than people on low incomes. Surprisingly, once basic living needs are met, the amount of happiness gained from each additional dollar of income rapidly declines. What is ‘happiness’? What is it about money that contributes to happiness? And what does happiness even mean? Perhaps what...

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Wrapping up your super

Self-Managed Super Funds (SMSFs) have their attractions, but many find the administration effort and associated costs prohibitive. If you would like to take greater control of how your superannuation is managed but don’t want an SMSF structure, perhaps a Super Wrap is more your style. A Self-Managed Super Fund is a portfolio of individual assets, grouped together to create an investment strategy. Each asset attracts its own fees and has its own tax arrangements. The overall SMSF is regulated...

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