How I’d fix default super

Productivity Commission Superannuation Report
 
If you’re someone who has selected your own super fund or set up a Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF), it might surprise you to find out that you’re an exception.

The majority of Aussies just take the fund they’re ‘defaulted’ into by their employer when they start work. These default super funds make up about 80% of all super accounts.

Most people in default super take little to no interest in their fund and they tend not to switch regardless of performance.

Because of this, default super funds don’t face the kind of price-based competition they would in other industries where customers demand value-for-money.
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Market predictions for 2019

Market predictions 2019
 
The start of the new year is a popular time to make predictions about the market.

A lineup of experts will confidently tell you which shares to buy, if property is going up or down, whether the RBA will raise or cut rates, where the Aussie dollar is heading and if the stock market will crash.

Expert market forecasts have been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. I’ve never understood why they’re so popular (to give or receive) in light of how terrible forecasters track records are.
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What I learnt at the ASX Investor Day

Chris Brycki ASX event
 

I recently presented at the ASX Investor Day in Sydney, which I was thrilled to be asked to do since the ASX has featured heavily in my life.

First winning the ASX share game as a school student, then as the work experience kid and more recently as the CEO of Stockspot.

The topic the ASX gave me was: ‘Why invest on the ASX? How to pick the best investments’.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to present to 300+ eager investors and hopefully provide some useful tips to help make them better investors.
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Savings accounts are broken. So we decided to fix them

Stockspot Savings
 
Tired of low interest rates on your savings?

So are we! That’s why we have created a better way to save money.

What is Stockspot Savings?

Stockspot Savings is an alternative to a high-interest savings account and ideal for cash savings you don’t want to invest. Rather than deposit money with a bank, Stockspot Savings will place your money into a high interest cash ETF. You get access to the best interest rates from the big banks without having to lock away your savings for months or years.
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Index investing succeeds in down markets too

Index investing in down markets
 
Whenever markets fall, funds who use active stock picking or market timing strategies fire up their sales engines. Their pitch? That if you put your trust in their active strategy you won’t have to withstand the down periods that come with a ‘buy and hold’ strategy.

It’s a tempting story! Why go through the emotional roller-coaster of down markets if that part of investing is optional…
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How to build an awesome investment portfolio

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Clients sometimes ask us how we built the Stockspot portfolios, and why we selected 5 assets to invest in rather than 2, 3 or 10!

It comes down to the purpose of the Stockspot portfolios which is to maximise returns for each level of risk. Five assets allows us to give clients the best possible combination of returns, risk and costs.

To do this we leverage the benefits of diversification. Diversification simply means that by combining investments with different characteristics you can improve the quality of returns in your portfolio.

Quality of returns is measured by how much risk you need to take to earn a certain return. Since all investing involves taking some risk, the aim is to minimise the risk you need to take to earn the return you want. Diversification across assets enables you to take less risk to earn better returns.
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How to pick the best super fund

Best super funds
 
Stockspot’s Fat Cat Funds Report 2018 has once again found that fees make all the difference when it comes to your retirement savings. If your super funds charges you high fees, chances are you could be $250,000 worse off when you retire.

The Fat Cat Funds report looks at the performance of Australia’s largest superannuation funds. It names the funds that take advantage of Australians unwittingly paying away their retirement funds in superannuation fees.
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Bank rip-offs that won’t exist in 2020

bank-rip-offs-banner
 
When you take a step back, you may be surprised at how many bank fees, charges and costs we take for granted.

As a result of their cosy oligopoly, Australian banks have become the most profitable in the world, collecting $31.5 billion in profit this year. That’s after bank CEOs take $30 million a year in salaries and bonuses. But have you ever wondered why some fees exist at all – or what could be done to get rid of them?
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How to make the most of market dips

long-term-game-banner
 
Financial markets can be quite scary at times. Headlines like ‘$50 billion wiped from the ASX’ can make it difficult to stay the course and remain invested when shares are going up and down like a yo-yo.

First-time investors tend to sell when the market falls out of a fear it will continue to go down and never return.

Research shows people feel the pain of losses twice as much than the enjoyment of profits. It’s our fight-or-flight response, the amygdala part of our brain kicking into overdrive to avoid the potential for loss.

People don’t like uncertainty and will avoid risks if possible.
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Top five things to do before you invest

Palm trees
 
Investing is the best way to create long-term wealth and financial independence.

If you’re just starting out no doubt you’ve figured out that it can be confusing at first. There are lots of decisions to make so it’s important to make sure you’re prepared to give yourself the greatest chance of success.

With this in mind, here’s the five things we think everyone should consider before investing.
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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?

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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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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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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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