webinar Using Monefly to improve your financial position

On-demand webinar: Using Monefly to elevate your financial health

23 Sep, 2017

Want to learn more about what you can do with your Monefly account? Logan from Monefly hosted this live workshop with Monefly members, this live webinar showcases how you can use Monefly to better understand your financial position and how you can improve it.

Monefly aims to make financial health and wealth easier to understand, manage and continuously improve, in collaboration with professional advisors. The best part is it’s free to use, watch this recording and we will show you how.

 

In this live 45-minute demonstration we will take you through:

  • Automatically tracking your income and expense trends
  • Setting goals around key financial objectives you want to achieve
  • Free property valuations to track your equity in real time
  • Your stock can be updated against ASX data to track performance
  • Access to our Knowledge Centre with hundreds of helpful articles
  • Access your credit score for free

 

Webinar Recording

 

Slide – Deck

Take control of your finances today and join Monefly free: www.monefly.com

 

 

investing in shares

Seven tips for investing in shares

11 Sep, 2017

The share market is undergoing some volatility at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad time to invest in shares. In fact, it could be the perfect time to find cheap stocks.

If you’re new to investing in shares or are lacking the confidence to build your portfolio, here are some tips to start you off.

 

1. Prepare and educate yourself

Very few people wing it in the stock market and come out on top. So before you embark on this journey, it’s worth reading up on what you’re getting into and understanding how the share market works.

Hundreds of books have been writing on the topic of investing in shares, but one of the best is now over 60 years old. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham contains some excellent advice that has stood the test of time. Chapters 8 and 20 are particularly relevant to investing in shares.

 

2. Be sensible

Don’t lose sight of your short- to medium-term financial plans. Only invest in shares if you’re prepared for the money to be tied up for at least five years – preferably ten. If you know you’ll need to access the money before then, forget share investments for now and instead open a high-interest savings account.

A couple more pieces of housekeeping: pay off any credit card debt and save cash equivalent to around six months’ living expenses – just in case.

 

3. Set up a brokerage account online

All your buying and selling can be managed through an online system. Take the time to research fees and find a low-cost broker. They may charge a fixed rate of $10-20 per trade, or a percentage of larger amounts.

You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars when you first start out. Even $500 will be enough to wet your appetite and give you a feel for how trading works, although you may not get a huge return after fees.

Be prepared to hold onto stock for a while since the less you trade, the less you’ll have to pay in fees.

 

4. Seek high-quality companies at a good price

A solid strategy is to buy shares in high-quality businesses which will appreciate over time. But the key is to purchase when they are trading below their real value, so you have a safety margin.

Don’t invest in businesses you don’t understand. Could you explain to a 10-year-old how the business makes money and what it sells? If not, steer clear.

Also avoid getting caught up in media hype about a particular business or industry. This only serves to drive share prices up, increasing the chances you’ll overpay.

 

5. Limit orders and use dollar cost averaging for big buys

When you buy shares, the ‘limit’ option allows you to state the maximum price you will pay per share. This gives you more control than the ‘at market’ option, which tells your broker to buy at the best available price, however high that may be.

You also have the option of ‘dollar cost averaging’, which lets you buy a fixed value of a particular share on a regular basis, building up your holding over time. This is a good option if you’re investing $5,000 or more.

 

6. Maintain a diverse portfolio

One of the golden rules of investment is “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. This means owning shares in a range of industries and even countries. 10-20 diverse stocks should be enough to manage risk, and the majority of these should be with companies you consider safe.

When you start out, of course, it’s impossible to properly diversify unless you invest in an index or mutual fund.

 

7. Don’t rush to buy or sell

You might be keen to get started investing in shares but you should exercise some patience in waiting for the right opportunity. Remember, you’re after a high-quality but undervalued company that you understand and are willing to invest in for at least five years.

Patience is also required when it comes to holding shares. Volatility and stagnation in the market can both be a cause of frustration, but research shows that share holders who trade frequently are likely to make less profit than those who hold onto shares for longer.

Just because your stocks fall in value, it doesn’t mean you should sell in panic. Australian shares have yielded an average annual return of 11.5% over the past 90 years. They have outperformed any other asset class, weathering the storms of recessions, financial crises and global wars.

As a rule of thumb you should sell a stock when:

  • It’s making up too high a percentage of your portfolio;
  • You’re not confident assessing the business’s potential for the future; or
  • An even better option has come along to replace it.

So do your research, start small, take your time, and who knows where the Australian stock market may take you.

 

In summary:

  • Before investing in shares, take the time to educate yourself and research the market.
  • Make sure you’re not putting all your money into shares; save a six-month emergency fund and only invest as much as you can afford to tie up for five to ten years.
  • Aim to trade infrequently to minimise fees. Find an online broker that charges reasonable rates, and make use of the different trading options that suit you.
  • Look for high-quality companies that are undervalued, and only invest in businesses you understand.
  • Keep your share portfolio diverse to avoid risks.
  • Be patient when buying and selling to maximise potential profit.

 

positive cash flow property investment

Enough about negative gearing, how about a positive cash flow property investment?

05 Sep, 2017

You hear a lot about the tax benefits of negative gearing when it comes to property investment, but how about the alternative: positive cash flow?

If you’re planning to purchase a property as an investment, you first need to be clear about your investment strategy. Here we take a look at what’s involved with a positive cash flow investment so you can see whether it’s suitable for you.

 

What exactly is a positive cash flow property investment?

When an investment is negatively geared, the costs associated with it exceed its earnings. On the other hand, when we talk about an investment with positive cash flow, this simply means the income is greater than the cost of owning it.

Say, for example, you own a rental apartment which brings in $33,000 a year. Your expenses for things like loan interest, maintenance, and property fees total $15,000 a year. This means your investment has a positive cash flow of $18,000 a year.

High rents and low interest rates are the conditions usually needed for a property to achieve positive cash flow. The longer you own a property, the lower your loan interest will become and the more likely it is to become positively geared.

Some investors hold a positive cash flow property and use the profits to help offset the losses from any negatively geared properties. However, it also offsets the tax benefits from negative gearing since income tax will apply to any net profit.

Make sure you maximise eligible deductions to minimise the amount of tax due on a positive cash flow property.

 

Your investment strategy

So is a positive cash flow property suitable for you? You need to consider your investment objectives and choose a property which fits with your strategy.

Positive cash flow means you have more cash free for renovations or buying additional properties, but the long-term capital gains are likely to be smaller than with negative cash flow properties.

Also keep in mind that positive cash flow properties are hard to find in certain areas. They typically exist in locations where there is high rental demand but less potential for long-term growth. This could be a housing development near a mine or another specialised industry, for instance.

Here is a summary of the pros and cons of positive cash flow property investments:

 

Pros

  • Often come at lower prices, meaning lower stamp duty and taxes
  • Income can be used to pay off your loan, renovate, or make new investments
  • You may be able to grow your property portfolio faster thanks to the extra income

 

Cons

  • Any profit is subject to tax
  • Typically found in areas which lack economic stability, so may carry higher risk
  • Often less potential for capital gains

 

Once you crunch the numbers, you may well find the choice is between short-term profit and long-term growth in value. A financial adviser can help you decide whether a positive cash flow property would be a good investment for your portfolio. 

 

To summarise:

  • A positive cash flow property means you make more from income than you pay in expenses.
  • This type of investment is generally good for short-term profit but may lack long-term capital growth potential.
  • You must pay tax on any profit but you can minimise this with certain tax deductions.
  • Make sure any investment property purchase is in-line with your investment goals.