People & Perspectives: Stephanie Bendixsen, Gamer and TV Presenter

Stephanie Bendixsen
 
Stephanie Bendixsen is one of Australia’s most well-known personalities in the video game industry.

She began her career in 2009 when she joined the ABC’s popular gaming show ‘Good Game’ as its first full-time female presenter. She has since gone on to present a long list of gaming shows and documentaries, while also finding the time to author a series of children’s books: Pixel Raiders. She is now in production with National Geographic on a new exploratory show that seeks to unearth fascinating discoveries about Australia’s science and history.

We were lucky to grab some of Steph’s time to dig into her career, discuss female representation in tech and gaming, and importantly: how she moneys!

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Kids invest for free

Piggy bank
 
We’ve made investing for children free!

We all want the best for the little ones in our life. So naturally as investing evangelists we believe children should be able to benefit from investing in the same way adults can.

Which is why clients who invest on behalf of a child will no longer be charged fees for portfolios up to $10,000^.
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How super funds play the ratings game (Part 1)

Ferris wheel
 
It’s that time of the year again when super funds release their annual performance. This blog looks at how the funds twist their performance relative to other funds and indexing. The funds’ PR is parroted by the ratings agencies whose tables and good news story are accepted at face value by the media.

Firstly, we look at how funds manipulate their inclusion into the categories set by the ratings agencies.
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Do you own your investments?

Blue fence and padlock
 
Something you may not put a lot of thought into when you invest is how those investments are held. Sometimes investments aren’t legally owned by you but instead owned by another entity on your behalf. That may sound like a minor difference however there can be significant consequences when it comes to security, tax, costs and the portability of your portfolio.

Broadly investments can be held in 2 ways:

  • Directly by you on your own HIN (Holder Identification Number)

  • Indirectly via a commingled fund or omnibus account structure

Historically stock brokers used a direct ownership model, so each of their clients had their own individual investment account or HIN and all investments were registered on the ASX’s computer system called CHESS (Clearing House Electronic Subregistry System). If the stock broker went bust it didn’t impact the end client because their investments were safely separated.
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Rent or Buy? We do the sums

Property - for sale
 
“Rent money is dead money” or so the saying goes. It’s a popular myth perpetuated by plenty of people working in the real estate industry. However as at June 2018 capital city house prices experienced their first annual fall in 6 years, dropping -1.1%. With house prices cooling, renting is starting to look attractive again.

Like any financial decision, there are costs and benefits associated with buying or renting. Here we discuss some of the important pros and cons to consider when deciding whether to rent or buy and look at which one has really worked out better over the long term in Australia.
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People & perspectives: Matt Levy, Paralympic gold medalist

Matt Levy - Paralympian
 
Some people have unthinkable depths of grit, determination and talent. They achieve amazing feats while the rest of us shake our heads in wonder. Matt Levy is one of these people. Matt is a 6 time Paralympic swimming medallist, his most recent win saw him return home with the gold medal from the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

His days start at 4.30AM, consist of 5km of swim training, then he goes to his day job, or in his words “train, eat, sleep, repeat”.

Stockspot was lucky to talk to Matt about the incredible challenges he faced in early life and how he balances a professional sports career, charity work and managing his finances.
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When is a good time to invest?

when-to-invest-banner

One of the main challenges investors face is ‘when is the right time to invest?’

As an investor your aim is to make money, so naturally it’s tempting to try and time your entry into the market and wait for prices to fall to grab a bargain. The problem is investment markets can move quickly and you’re just as likely to miss out on making good returns by waiting to invest.

The truth is markets can go up, down and sideways over the short-term and it’s almost impossible to pick the top or bottom (even for professionals). However if you’re completely out of the market you have no way to benefit from the gradual increase in prices over time.
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ETFs continue to disrupt the asset management industry

2018 Australian ETF Report
 
ETFs continue to be the biggest disruptor to the asset management industry and at the same time are blurring the lines between different styles of investing.

Over the past 15 years, over US$2 trillion has moved out of active funds and into index funds and ETFs. Globally the ETF market is projected to reach US$10 trillion by 2020 and be larger than the active managed fund market by 2027.
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What are the best industry super funds?

Not all industry funds are equal
 
Not all industry super funds are equal, here’s how to spot a good one.

The Productivity Commission recently released their draft report on superannuation efficiency and competitiveness. What they found mirrors our Fat Cat Funds Research that shows that while Industry super funds outperform Retail funds, there are plenty of areas for improvement.

Our 5th annual Fat Cat Funds Report, analysed over 2,000 super funds and 2,000 managed funds to see how they performed over 5 years.

Once again we found industry super funds beat retail super funds across 10 of 11 investment categories. Industry funds had a smaller percentage of Fat Cat Funds and more Fit Cat Funds.
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People & perspectives: Lisa Messenger

Lisa Messenger
 
Lisa Messenger is the vibrant CEO of the Messenger Group, as well as Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Collective Hub. She previously worked globally in events, sponsorship, marketing, PR and publishing, has authored and co-authored 24 books and is now an authority in the start-up scene. She encourages an entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, innovation and lives life to the absolute max.

Stockspot spoke to Lisa for our People and Perspective series about career challenges and entrepreneurship.
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Questions to ask yourself before you buy a house

Questions for home buyers
 
Buying your own home has always been considered “the great Australian dream”. It stands to reason that saving for a house deposit is one of the most common goals our clients have.

There is no doubt that it’s getting harder to buy a house with the average deposit needed being well over $200,000 in Sydney and Melbourne. The amount required also very high in most other capital cities.

If you’re going to chase your property dream it’s important to do your homework up-front and be mentally prepared for the road ahead. Here are a few questions I found myself asking when deciding whether to buy.
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Stockspot: 4 years since our launch

Stockspot 4 years
 
This week we’re excited to share that Stockspot turns 4!

Here’s a quick look back at where we’ve come..

Helping Australians reach their potential

Since Stockspot launched in 2014 I’m delighted we’ve been able to help thousands of Australians invest to get closer to the life they want to be living.

We’ve seen clients who have been able to fund all sorts of aspirations, including buying first homes (including one houseboat!), travelling, home renovations, take career breaks, buy a car, pay for school fees and retire.
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People & perspectives: Bruce Djite, International Footballer

Bruce Djite
 
Bruce Djite is one of Australia’s leading international soccer players. He debuted for the Socceroos in 2008 and has played professional football in Turkey, Korea and now Indonesia. Closer to home he still holds the title of Adelaide United’s all-time highest ever goal scorer.

Bruce is a Stockspot client and a keen investor. We had the chance to chat with Bruce about money in professional sport, living around the world and playing for Australia.
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Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? The problem with wealth management in Australia

Royal Commission
 
Five years ago this month I started Australia’s first online investment advice company. One of the reasons I set it up was that I saw too many people getting poor investment advice.

The traditional wealth management industry was positioned in TV advertisements as a way to get peace of mind and secure your future. Behind the scenes it was designed to do exactly the opposite. People were being overcharged, given poor advice and pushed into products that actually harmed their ability to reach their goals.
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Can ETFs make the world a better place?

ETFs making the world a better place
 
ETFs are often considered ‘passive’ investments, but in recent years their issuers have become much more active when it comes to their voting rights.

As ETFs have become more popular, the big 3 issuers – Blackrock (iShares), Vanguard and State Street Global now own significant percentages of many large companies around the globe. These funds find themselves in a unusual position, their success depends on the returns of the companies they invest in, yet unlike active managers, index funds can’t sell to take a stand on particular issues.

ETF issuers are coming under more pressure to take action on corporate matters via their ‘proxy votes’.
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People & perspectives: Improving financial literacy

Brownyn Bruce
 
Bronwyn Bruce is the founder of Miss Money Box, an educational blog to help Australian women expand their general knowledge around personal finance.

Like us here at Stockspot, she’s passionate about improving financial literacy and helping educate more Australians to have a better understanding on how to manage their savings. This started from a childhood passion for shares and being fed-up with how financial services market to women. Miss Money Box is all about taking control of your financial future.

We wanted to get to know the brains behind the money box so we sat down with Bronwyn to find out more about how she got started on her personal finance journey.
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Why tech shares are the worst investment today

Tech shares
 
One of the worrying trends we’ve seen lately is an unhealthy obsession with tech shares. Sure, their performance has been fabulous over the past decade and they’re accomplished and well known businesses, but that does not guarantee their success in the future.

Most people have already heard the reasons tech companies are hot right now. What you probably don’t hear are the arguments for why to avoid them. That in itself should be a red flag.

To play devil’s advocate these are 9 reasons to avoid over-investing in tech.
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Lecturing women about money won’t make them invest

Fearless girl - Wall Street
 
There’s a lot of hand wringing that gets done in marketing departments about how to get women to invest. Women are powerful consumers. Often the decision maker in key household purchases. Quite rightly any marketeer worth their salary wants to go after a valuable market segment.

It seems to me that recently we have started lecturing women about why they need to invest. The common arguments are the gender pay gap, the superannuation gap, savings accounts give you rubbish returns and my personal favourite, financial independence (ie a thinly veiled translation of a man is not a financial plan).

All sound arguments and well intentioned, if not occasionally condescending.
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