April Economic Update with Bob Cunneen

In this update, Bob Cunneen, Senior Economist talks to Jason Hazell, Head of Investment Communications, about key events driving markets during March.

They discuss:

  • the US Federal Reserve raising interest rates in March

  • how financial markets are keenly awaiting the specific detail of President Trump’s policy agenda

  • the key political risk factors to watch in Europe, and

  • Australian shares delivering a strong monthly performance.

Find out more:

Download the 2 page – April economic & market update



Why more women need MONEY as a value and it’s benefits

By Guest Author Kelly Magowan

Having been a career coach for well over a decade and worked with a diverse range of clients from various industries and professions  (men and women), more often than not it is the men who include money in their list of core values. Occasionally women will, however, only very occasionally.  Why is this?  Below I have offered some thoughts.

Values Defined

Values can be seen as blurry things. If you need a refresher then below is a great descriptor of what values are from MindTools.

“Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.”

Values and Greed!

For women it seems that having money as one of your core values could possibly translate into the view that your greedy. Is this perception or reality?  I suspect a combination of the two.

When I coach men in their 20s – 50’s about their values in detail and what this means to them, and how it is played out in their work and lives, more often than not money translates into them being able to provide for their current or future families. And no, it is not a luxury yacht, expensive cars or endless overseas travel. It mostly is around having food on the table, paying the bills, a comfortable lifestyle and being able to educate their children.  No doubt part of this also relates to status and a sense of self-worth.

So while certainly greed exists, I would suggest for the average person, they are looking to have a personally rewarding career and lifestyle. Is this greedy?  I don’t think so. However men are much more comfortable with acknowledging this personal value, and articulating it publicly. For many women this is not the case. In addition, men generally are better at putting a fair or inflated monetary value on their contribution in the workplace.

Is it that it is not socially acceptable for women to acknowledge (which I believe is a part of it), the other is that women are just as likely to want the same output in terms of what money as a value offers.  However, are less likely to acknowledge it – be it on a conscious or sub-conscious level. As a result this could potentially be contributing to pay inequality, with men four times as likely to initiate the negotiations as women.

My suspicion is that if you don’t talk about or acknowledge the importance of money in your life from a growth and opportunity perspective, you are less likely to find yourself in a positive money situation.


Money is one of my core values and the reasoning is not one of greed.  For me it is twofold, when I work I expect to be paid fairly for the work I do, as this is a part of me defining my self-worth. Secondly, I know that as a child of a migrant, that money provides you with choices.  My husband and I lead a far from lavish lifestyle.  There is no designer car or high end fashion. We travel rarely and when we do it is in our own state. However for me the value of money is there because like most parents we hope to be able to offer our children the best education we can. I would also like to know that when retirement comes we will lead a comfortable lifestyle where I can continue to do voluntary work within the community. Is this greedy? No, it is a case of money offering choices.

Women’s roles and money

In an age where we have more women working and more separations in families, women’s roles have extended greatly, be it the sole, equal or shared income contributor. Yet this is not translating into equal salaries.

There is an element of denial in how important money is to our lives particularly by many women. Not so much when it comes to shopping, saving or the household budget, more around how the money is earned! The spending part is easy for us all to speak about. The how and valuing how hard it is to earn is the challenge. Also, valuing our contributions and asking to be paid more when warranted!

Last week I met with a friend who is a contender for a senior role and has pitched herself in the middle range of what they are offering – even though she is brilliant and should be pitching herself at the top of the pay scale! Sadly it is a common scenario – a women undervaluing her expertise and the value she brings.

Like me, you have no doubt heard the saying ‘If you do what you enjoy and do it well the money will follow’. I am not so sure about that. Perhaps for some, however, for many others this does not translate into their reality.  I can tell you this from countless stories of women who spent their careers being loyal and working hard to deliver value to their employer/s and not being paid fairly for doing so.  So we can carry on with this mantra or we can acknowledge that the world of work and pay is not about what is fair and rewarding those who do a good job.  The onus is on us to value ourselves and to speak up.

I would love to see a mindset shift around how women define money as a value for their work and lives.  Once this occurs we may start to see some even greater traction around pay equality.

If you would like to discuss, please call us on |PHONE| or email |STAFFEMAIL|.



This article was originally published by Kelly Magowan from www.kellymagowan.com and is reproduced with the permission of Kelly Magowan.

Kelly Magowan is the author of e-book, A Busy Woman’s Guide to Salary Negotiations.


This provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, we do not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.

Any information provided by the author detailed above is separate and external to our business and our Licensee. Neither our business, nor our Licensee take any responsibility for their action or any service they provide.


Jump-start your retirement savings

Jump-start your retirement savings

Unfortunately, many people would reach their mid-fifties and conclude that their savings are not on track to finance a satisfactory lifestyle in retirement. Fortunately, worthwhile steps can often be taken to boost their nest-eggs in the countdown to retiring.

Perhaps family obligations and/or work circumstances made it difficult to put aside enough money towards retirement. Perhaps, inertia or procrastination played a part.

Ideally, you should begin to save for retirement as early as possible in your working life.

Early savers have the formidable advantage of compounding over the long haul as investment returns are earned on past returns as well as the original capital (including super contributions). And saving early may ease the pressure of a late dash to save as much as possible in the final years before retiring.

Ways to potentially boost lagging retirement savings for those aged 50-plus include:

  • Consider delaying retirement if possible given your circumstances. From a financial aspect, a longer working life provides an opportunity to save more for what will be a shorter retirement. And a shorter retirement is obviously less costly. (Perhaps think about working part-time if possible as an alternative to outright retirement.)

  • Re-evaluate your ability to save after your children leave home. Parents aged in their fifties or so often have the ability to save more once their adult children are finally independent – and once their mortgages are finally paid off.

  • Remind yourself how much you can save each year without overshooting the concessional (pre-tax) and non-concessional (after-tax) contribution caps. Although, for instance, the annual concessional cap – compulsory, salary-sacrificed and personally-deductible contributions – is reduced to an indexed $25,000 from 2017-18, numerous fund members may be able to afford to contribute more than at present and remain with the cap.

  • Look at ways to reduce your investment management costs. High annual fees keep compounding over time to markedly erode the benefits of compounding returns. In other words, compounding costs and compounding returns work in opposite directions.

Maybe the bottom-line is to face reality. Preferably, you should have started to save seriously much earlier. Now It is a matter of saving as much as possible while still in the workforce. 

If you would like to discuss any issue to do with superannuation and SMSF planning please contact us on |PHONE| or |STAFFEMAIL|. 



Written by Robin Bowerman, Head of Market Strategy and Communications at Vanguard.

Reproduced with permission of Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd

Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd (ABN 72 072 881 086 / AFS Licence 227263) is the product issuer. We have not taken yours and your clients’ circumstances into account when preparing this material so it may not be applicable to the particular situation you are considering. You should consider your circumstances and our Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or Prospectus before making any investment decision. You can access our PDS or Prospectus online or by calling us. This material was prepared in good faith and we accept no liability for any errors or omissions. Past performance is not an indication of future performance.

© 2017 Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd. All rights reserved. 


Any information provided by the author detailed above is separate and external to our business and our Licensee. Neither our business, nor our Licensee take any responsibility for their action or any service they provide.


Preparing for your family’s future

No-one wants to think about death in the prime of life. But it’s important to decide what will happen to your assets when you die. Find out how you can give instructions to your family about your legal and medical preferences should you fall ill or lose the capacity to make those decisions yourself.

Estate plans

An estate plan includes your will as well as any other directions on how you want your assets distributed after your death. It includes documents that govern how you will be cared for, medically and financially, if you become unable to make your own decisions in the future.

You must be over 18 and mentally competent when you draw up the legal agreements that form your estate plan. Key documents might include:

  • Will

  • Superannuation death nominations

  • Testamentary trust

  • Powers of attorney

  • Power of guardianship

  • Anticipatory direction

If you have made a binding nomination in your super or insurance policies, the beneficiaries named in those policies will override anyone mentioned in your will. If you have a family trust, the trust continues and its assets will also be distributed according to the trust deed, no matter what is written in your will.

You should ask a legal professional to check your estate plan. A good estate plan should minimise the tax paid by your heirs, and help avoid any family squabbles.


A will takes effect when you die. It can cover things like how your assets will be shared, who will look after your children if they are still young, what trusts you want established, how much money you’d like donated to charities and even instructions about your funeral.

Your will can be written and updated by private trustees and solicitors, who usually charge a fee. Some Public Trustees will not charge to prepare or update your will, but only if they act as the executor of your will. Other Public Trustees may only exempt you from charges if you are a pensioner or aged over 60. Check with the Public Trustee in your state or territory.

  • ACT – Public Trustee and Guardian for the ACT
  • NSW – NSW Trustee and Guardian

  • Northern Territory – Office of the Public Trustee

  • Queensland – The Public Trustee of Queensland

  • South Australia – Public Trustee South Australia

  • Tasmania – Public Trustee Tasmania

  • Victoria – State Trustees Victoria

  • Western Australia – Public Trustee Western Australia

You can buy will kits online but it’s a good idea to ask a solicitor to review your will to make sure everything is in order. If a will isn’t signed and witnessed properly, it will be invalid.

Keep your will valid and up to date as your legal rights change, specifically if you marry, divorce or separate; have children or grandchildren; if your spouse or beneficiaries die; or if you have a significant change in financial circumstances.

If you die intestate or your will is invalid, an administrator appointed by the court pays your bills and taxes from your assets, then distributes the remainder, based on a pre-determined formula, which may not be how you intended your assets to be distributed.

If you die intestate and don’t have any living relatives, your estate is paid to the state government.

Testamentary trusts

A testamentary trust is a trust set out in a will that only takes effect when the person who has created the will, dies. Testamentary trusts are usually set up to protect assets.

Here are some reasons why you would create a testamentary trust:

  • The beneficiaries are minors (under 18 – 21 years old)

  • The beneficiaries have diminished mental capacity

  • You do not trust the beneficiary to use their inheritance wisely

  • You do not want family assets split as part of a divorce settlement

  • You do not want family assets to become part of bankruptcy proceedings

A trust will be administered by a trustee who is usually appointed in the will. 

A trustee must look after the assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries until the trust expires. 

The expiry date of a trust will be a specific date such as when a minor reaches a certain age or a beneficiary achieves a certain goal or milestone, like getting married or attaining a specific qualification.

Powers of attorney

Appointing someone as your power of attorney gives them the legal authority to look after your affairs on your behalf.

Powers of attorney depend on which state or territory you are in: they can refer to just financial powers, or they might include broader guardianship powers. You will need to check with your local Public Trustee.

Generally speaking, there are different types of power of attorney:

  • A general power of attorney is where you appoint someone to make financial and legal decisions for you, usually for a specified period of time, for example if you’re overseas and unable to manage your legal affairs at home. This person’s appointment becomes invalid if you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself.

  • An enduring power of attorney is where you appoint a person to make financial and legal decisions for you if you lose the capacity to make your own decisions.

  • A medical power of attorney can make only medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself.

You can prepare a few other documents to help your legal appointees and family as you grow older, including:

  • An enduring power of guardianship that gives a person the right to choose where you live and make decisions about your medical care and other lifestyle choices, if you lose the capacity to make your own decisions.

  • An anticipatory direction records your wishes about medical treatment in the future, in case you become unable to express those wishes yourself.

  • An advance healthcare directive (or living will) documents how you would like your body to be dealt with if you lose the capacity to make those decisions yourself.

The documents you choose to draw up will depend on your situation, and the responsibilities you are happy to entrust to others. Get legal advice if you are not sure.

Choosing your powers of attorney

Nominate people that you know are trustworthy, if possible financially astute, and likely to be around when you need them.

Your legal and financial housekeeping

Once your paperwork is in order, it will help your executor and family if you list the legal documents you have and where they are kept.  

Keeping a record of your personal information and notes on how your legal documents, assets and investments are arranged can also help you.

Here is a list of key documents to keep:

  • Birth certificate

  • Marriage certificate

  • Will

  • Enduring power of attorney

  • Advance healthcare directive (also called a living will)

  • Personal insurance policies

  • House deeds

  • Home and contents insurance

  • Deeds and insurance policies for any other real estate you own

  • Bank account details

  • Superannuation papers

  • Investment documents (securities, share certificates, bonds)

  • Medicare card

  • Medical insurance details

  • Pensioner concession card

  • Any pre-payments of funeral investments

A good will and estate plan can help make sure your wishes are carried out after you die, or if you are no longer able to make your own decisions.

If you would like more information on estate planning please contact us on |PHONE| or |STAFFEMAIL|. 



Reproduced with the permission of ASIC’s MoneySmart Team. This article was originally published at www.moneysmart.gov.au


This provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account.  It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, we do not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.  

Any information provided by the author detailed above is separate and external to our business and our Licensee. Neither our business, nor our Licensee take any responsibility for their action or any service they provide.


April 2017 Statement by Philip Lowe, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 1.50 per cent.

Conditions in the global economy have improved over recent months. Both global trade and industrial production have picked up. Labour markets have tightened in many countries. Above-trend growth is expected in a number of advanced economies, although uncertainties remain. In China, growth is being supported by higher spending on infrastructure and property construction. This composition of growth and the rapid increase in borrowing mean that the medium-term risks to Chinese growth remain. The improvement in the global economy has contributed to higher commodity prices, which are providing a significant boost to Australia’s national income.

Headline inflation rates have moved higher in most countries, partly reflecting the higher commodity prices. Core inflation remains low. Long-term bond yields are higher than last year, although in a historical context they remain low. Interest rates have increased in the United States and there is no longer an expectation of additional monetary easing in other major economies. Financial markets have been functioning effectively.

The Australian economy is continuing its transition following the end of the mining investment boom. Recent data are consistent with ongoing moderate growth. Most measures of business confidence are at, or above, average and non-mining business investment has risen over the past year. At the same time, some indicators of conditions in the labour market have softened recently. In particular, the unemployment rate has moved a little higher and employment growth is modest. The various forward-looking indicators still point to continued growth in employment over the period ahead. Wage growth remains slow.

The outlook continues to be supported by the low level of interest rates. Lenders have recently announced increases in mortgage rates, particularly those paid by investors. Financial institutions remain in a good position to lend. The depreciation of the exchange rate since 2013 has also assisted the economy in its transition following the mining investment boom. An appreciating exchange rate would complicate this adjustment.

Inflation remains quite low. Headline inflation is expected to pick up over the course of 2017 to be above 2 per cent. The rise in underlying inflation is expected to be a bit more gradual with growth in labour costs remaining subdued.

Conditions in the housing market continue to vary considerably around the country. In some markets, conditions are strong and prices are rising briskly. In other markets, prices are declining. In the eastern capital cities, a considerable additional supply of apartments is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years. Growth in rents is the slowest for two decades.

Growth in household borrowing, largely to purchase housing, continues to outpace growth in household income. By reinforcing strong lending standards, the recently announced supervisory measures should help address the risks associated with high and rising levels of indebtedness. Lenders need to ensure that the serviceability metrics that they use are appropriate for current conditions. A reduced reliance on interest-only housing loans in the Australian market would also be a positive development.

Taking account of the available information, the Board judged that holding the stance of monetary policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time.

Source: RBA 4th April 2017


Media and Communications
Secretary’s Department
Reserve Bank of Australia

Phone: +61 2 9551 9720
Fax: +61 2 9551 8033
Email: rbainfo@rba.gov.au


5 cruise destinations you need to add to your bucket list

Papua New Guinea

A nature lover’s paradise, Papua New Guinea may only be a fraction of the size of Australia but it has just as many mammal species and even more types of frogs and birds.

Papua New Guinea’s basic tourism infrastructure means the country poses a challenge to even the most intrepid of travellers. As a result, cruises have become a popular way of seeing this destination which is home to a high percentage of the world’s biodiversity, volcanic terrain, a pristine underwater environment teeming with fish, as well as a vibrant culture.

Check out P&O Cruises, Silversea, Princess Cruises, Aurora Expeditions, Northstar Cruises, Coral Princess Cruises, APT, Cunard and Regent Seven Seas Cruises for more information.


The southernmost continent in the world has earned its place on many a bucketlist thanks to its dramatic landscapes and abundant wildlife. Think vast glaciers and ice-capped mountains which are home to adelie and emperor penguins, south polar skuas, snow petrels, southern fulmars and many more species of bird. You’ll also find whales and seals feeding in the waters around the ice edge around this time of year.

Although locked under ice for most of the year, the brief summer months bring with them enough warmth to make the area accessible.

Cruising is really the only way for travellers to access this region, so it’s simply a case of picking the right cruise: Operators, such as Lindblad and Aurora Expeditions, set sail from South American ports such as Ushuaia in Argentina. Some depart ports closer to home such as Hobart and Port of Bluff near Invercargill.

The Kimberley

If Sir David Attenborough describes somewhere as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world”, you know it’s got to be worth a look. So put Horizontal Falls in Talbot Bay in the Kimberley’s Buccaneer Archipelago on your list.

The Kimberley’s other spectacular sights are an added bonus.  At Montgomery Reef, the tidal ebb and flow reveals a semi-submerged world of waterfalls, reef birds and marine animals such as turtles, manta rays and the occasional dugong. Then there are the tiger-striped rock formations of the World Heritage Bungle Bungle mountain range in Purnululu National Park.

Remote and unspoilt, this breathtaking region of waterways and rivers is definitely best explored by cruise ship. APT, Aurora Expeditions, Silversea, Northstar Cruises, Lindblad National Geographic, Kimberley Quest, Princess Cruises all operate itineraries in the area.

The Mekong

This giant of a river flows through no less than six countries, starting its 4,350km journey in South Vietnam and making its way through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China, Myanmar (Burma) to finish up in the Mekong Delta.

While rice paddies are plentiful along the river’s length, it remains one of Asia’s least developed rivers – great news for wildlife.  Monkeys may be the most common sighting on any Mekong river cruise, but the river is home to a whopping 20,000 species of plants, 430 mammals, 1,200 birds, 800 reptiles and 850 fish. In fact, the only river in the world that can boast more biodiversity than this one is the Amazon.

Beyond the nature, there are dreamy Buddhist temples, traces of the region’s bloody history and vibrant cities such as Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City. But perhaps most special are the glimpses of everyday life – fishermen trawl the waters for their daily catch, kids splash in the shallows, women wring their laundry.

With the Mekong one of the hottest river cruise destinations right now, you’ll have no trouble finding an itinerary to suit you. Check out Insider Journeys, APT, Uniworld and Scenic for the latest offerings.


The Ganges

What better way to get to know a country as diverse and confusing as India than by leisurely sailing along its most beloved waterway, the Ganges?

 More than just a river, the Ganges is actually considered to be a Hindu goddess. It has played a vital role in the country’s history and continues to be of utmost importance in the daily rituals of the people that live along its length. Beyond being simply the site for the undertaking of daily chores such as washing, laundry and watering the animals, its sacred properties make it a place of prayer, reflection and farewell.

Most people yearning for an encounter with the holy waters generally head for Varanasi – the spiritual capital of India with more than 2,000 temples and probably as many cows. But despite the city’s chaotic charms, there is far more to the river. Think colonial cities, gangetic dolphins and even tigers.

So the perfect way to see it? Obviously by boat. More and more operators are cottoning onto this, and now you can make the journey in a style not previously available.

Insider Journeys, APT, Uniworld are among those that offer Ganges cruises.


Important information

Information is current as at 31/08/2016 and may change.

Please keep in mind that the above links are provided for information purposes only. You will need to make your own judgement about the reliability of the information contained on these sites. MLC is not affiliated with, nor endorses any content on any other website.