Thursday, November 02, 2017

October 2017 Report

The Australian stock market rose strongly for a change this month and the Australian Dollar fell a little. As a result, our net worth increased strongly and now is quite close to the AUD 2 million mark. Here are our monthly accounts (in AUD):



"Current other income" was $15k. We received almost $2k in childcare subsidy that the government pays us quarterly. Spending (not counting our mortgage or business expenses that should be refunded) was a little higher than last month moderate at $7.0k. After deducting the mortgage payment of $4.0k (which includes implicit interest saving due to our offset account - the actual mortgage payment was about $828 less than this), we saved $1.7k on the current account and added $2.1k in housing equity. But we should get a $2.3k refund of business expenses at some point, which will be credited as saving in a later month. Retirement contributions were $3.1k. Net saving was, therefore, $6.9k across the board.

The Australian Dollar fell slightly from USD 0.7839 to USD 0.7672. The ASX 200 gained 4.01%, the MSCI World Index gained 2.1%, and the S&P 500 2.33%. All these are total returns including dividends. We gained 4.19% in Australian Dollar terms and 1.97% in US Dollar terms. So, we slightly outperformed the Australian market and slightly underperformed international markets. The best performer in dollar terms was the Colonial First State Geared Share Fund, gaining $17.5k. Cadence (CDM.AX) was the worst performer losing $0.5k. Australian small cap stocks were the best performing asset class in percentage terms, gaining 4.68%. Hedge funds gained 4.46% and US stocks 4.42%. Private equity was the worst performing asset class, but still gained 2.21%!

As a result of all this, net worth rose AUD 72k to $1.985 million (new high) or rose USD 23k to USD 1.523 million (also a new high).

Thursday, October 05, 2017

TFS Capital Closes Its Mutual Funds

I was surprised to hear that TFS Capital is closing its three mutual funds. I have about USD 14k invested in the TFS Market Neutral Fund. I think they will send me a check with the proceeds. Following Interactive Brokers transferring my account to their new Australian subsidiary, this will be another step in reducing my financial footprint in the US. I still have a couple of bank accounts and a 403b fund there. I'm not planning on closing the latter and will also try to hang onto the bank accounts.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

September 2017 Report

It was another relatively quiet month financially. Here are our monthly accounts (in AUD):


"Current other income" was $14.7k. I got paid about $2.5k of backpay. Spending (not counting mortgage) was about the same as last month moderate at $6.8k. Rates (property tax) and the body corporate (condo) fee added more than $1k. After deducting the mortgage payment of $4.0k (which includes implicit interest saving due to our offset account - the actual mortgage payment was about $840 less than this), we saved $3.9k on the current account and added $2.1k in housing equity. Retirement contributions were $3.5k. Net saving was, therefore, $9.5k across the board.

The Australian Dollar fell slightly from USD 0.7922 to USD 0.7839. The ASX 200 lost 0.02%, the MSCI World Index gained 1.97%, and the S&P 500 2.08%. All these are total returns including dividends. We gained 0.97% in Australian Dollar terms and lost 0.09% in US Dollar terms. So, we outperformed the Australian market and underperformed international markets. The best performer in dollar terms was the various Platinum Funds, gaining $6.0k. IPE was the worst performer losing $2.0k. That was the result of a tick down of 0.5 cents in the share price to the bid rather than ask side of the spread. Hedge funds were the best performing asset class in percentage terms, gaining 3.55%. Private equity was the worst performing asset class, losing 4.11%. Commodities were also down, 1.58%. All other asset classes gained.

As a result of all this, net worth rose AUD 22k to $1.910 million (new high) or rose USD 2k to USD 1.498 million (also a new high).

Monday, October 02, 2017

Moominmama's Taxes 2016-17 Edition

I've filed Moominmama's tax return for this tax year. The tax year runs from 1st July to 30th June in Australia. The figures ignore employer and employee contributions to superannuation (retirement account) which amount to a lot of extra income. Everything is in Australian Dollars of course.


Her salary is down because she went on maternity leave and the average tax rate also falls as a result. Investment income is up though.

Here are the reports on Snork Maiden's taxes for all previous years:

2015-16
2014-15
2013-14
2012-13
2012-13
2011-12
2010-11
2009-10
2008-9
2007-8

Moominpapa's Taxes 2016-17 Edition



I have now completed my tax return. Looks like I should get a $2,870 refund. This huge increase in refund compared to last year is mainly due to the 16% increase in tax witholding by my employer relative to only an 11% increase in tax owed. My taxable income is up by 8%. But my tax is up 11%. This is because the increase in income is taxed at the maximum marginal rate, which is 49%. Gross cash income is before tax income ignoring franking and other tax credits and adding in net undiscounted capital gains (not deleting losses from previous years). It was up 16%.

I again checked what information the government knows about my tax affairs as revealed by the prefilled information on my tax return. They are still missing as much information as last year.  I filed Moominmama's return online for the second time, using the prefilled numbers plus deductions.

Previous years' reports:

2015-16
2014-15
2013-14
2012-13
2011-12
2010-11
2009-10
2008-9
2007-8

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Interactive Brokers Australia

Interactive Brokers have set up a subsidiary in Australia and are requiring all clients resident in Australia to move their account to the new broker. The only declared difference is that they won't hold cash in currencies apart from AUD and USD. A few years ago they told Australian clients that they couldn't borrow on margin any more. Maybe that was fixed in the meantime. In any case, the website indicates that you can borrow on margin. Formally, it doesn't change the obligation to pay US estate tax on US assets. These start at an estate of only USD60k for non-US citizens. But it would probably make it easier to avoid. I still have a US retirement account, which is a bit over the USD 60k limit and a US mutual fund worth USD 14k. I also have a bank account, but that isn't included in the estate tax liable assets. It seems though that the US-Australia estate tax treaty means that my estate wouldn't be required to pay US estate taxes.*

* This wasn't the case for my mother who lives in a country that doesn't have an estate tax treaty with the US.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Pay Offer

My employer announced the pay deal for the next 5 years. For the average academic it will be a 9.1% increase (less for me), which is less than inflation was over the last 5 years :( For the average non-academic it will be 10.6%, which matches inflation. It's the same deal for both groups but some years will have absolute pay increases and some proportional pay increases, so the more you are paid the less you will get. Also, the after tax gain will be even less, because additional pay is all taxed at your marginal rate of tax. Seems the union has agreed to this. A minority of employees belong to the union. In theory you can appoint your own representative if you don't belong to the union... but that doesn't really happen, I assume. When I went to check the local union branch's Twitter thread to see whether they had anything to say about the deal, it is all about same sex marriage and other political campaigns that they spend union fees on. Nothing on the deal the employer announced. No, I won't be joining the union...

Friday, September 15, 2017

10 Years in Australia

Today is the 10th anniversary of us arriving together in Australia. A lot has happened but in another way not much has happened. We live in the same city, though we moved suburb. Moominmama is still in the same job that we came here for her to start. But now we have a child. When we first came here, I was planning on quitting academia. That didn't work out, and I returned to academia and am now a full professor and also have had some heavy admin roles.

When we came here we had a net worth of about $A1/2 million and a relatively low income - Moominmama's (then Snork Maiden) salary and what I could make from trading. Now we are approaching $A2 million net worth and typically spend twice what she was earning then every month.

This is a snapshot of our net worth ($A) at the beginning of September 2007 and 2017:
It wasn't smooth upward sailing from 2007 to 2017. The financial crisis arrived soon and our net worth plummeted. It hit a minimum of $A284k in February 2009, though that was one month I didn't post a monthly account on this blog. Over the ten years retirement accounts grew much more than stocks in non-retirement accounts. This has been due to much better returns on retirement accounts, largely because of the huge negative effect of the financial crisis, and partly due to diversion of savings to buying a house and then stacking up money in our offset account. We saved more money in non-retirement accounts than in retirement contributions over the ten years. These are the sources of the change in net worth over the period:

Current profit is on non-retirement accounts and is pre-tax. Net tax is reflected in income and hence current savings. Of course, a big chunk of housing equity was once current savings, which we then contributed as a downpayment and since then we have been making mortgage principle payments. Only $37k is attributed to gain in house value.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Ron Brierley and IPE


Ron Brierly is a famous New Zealand investor, now based in Australia. He is chairman of MVT. This company is Gabriel Radzyminski and is supposedly a listed investment company, but one that has a habit of taking over other small companies. At Sandon Capital he also has an activist approach to investing.

They had a stake in IPE of less than 5%, but two days ago took their stake up to near 20% when they purchased a large block of shares from Wilson Asset Management. I infer that was who sold from the list of major shareholders in the IPE annual report. I did have 150,000 shares in IPE. Yesterday I bought another 250,000. Either MVT is planning a takeover of IPE, or they think that the remaining private equity assets are worth more than their carrying value. Given that the shares are trading at net asset value of 0.105 cents, they must think the latter either way. On the other hand, though Wilson Asset Management must have not seen additional value. Or perhaps a $2 million shareholding is no longer worth their attention when they are managing $2 billion and could find a willing buyer at NAV. The shares have fallen in value as the company has returned capital and dividends in a winding down strategy.

Anyway, I now own 0.3% of the company, which is a bit scary :)

August 2017 Report

It was a relatively quiet month financially. Here are our monthly accounts (in AUD):


"Current other income" was $14k which includes almost $2k of childcare subsidy from the government that we get paid quarterly and salaries (after tax). Spending (not counting mortgage) was a little higher than last month moderate at $6.7k. The electricity, water, and gas bills that totalled about $1,100 (we pay these quarterly here in Australia) partly explains the increase. After deducting the mortgage payment of $4.0k (which includes implicit interest saving due to our offset account - the actual mortgage payment was about $792 less than this), we saved $3.4k on the current account and added $2.0k in added housing equity. Retirement contributions were $2.8k. Net saving was, therefore, $8.3k across the board.

The Australian Dollar fell slightly from USD 0.7981 to USD 0.7922. The ASX 200 gained by 0.71%, the MSCI World Index gained 0.43%, and the S&P 500 0.31%. All these are total returns including dividends. We gained 1.13% in Australian Dollar terms and 0.38% in US Dollar terms. So, we outperformed the Australian market and the S&P500 index. The best performer in dollar terms was the Unisuper superannuation fund, gaining $3.5k. Clime Capital was the worst perfomer but only lost $0.6k. Australian small cap stocks were the best performing asset class in percentage terms. All other asset classes gained.

As a result of all this, net worth rose AUD 25k to $1.889 million (new high) or rose USD 8k to USD 1.496 million (also a new high).

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Property Taxes

Our "rates" or property taxes are up 30% from last year! Presumably this is partly because of the shift in this state from stamp duty on buying a house (we paid $A 27,000 when we bought this house) to land taxes over time. Only the value of the land is taxed here in Australia, not the structure on it. For "townhouses" like ours - our house is actually a separate house - that are part of a body corporate (condo association) the land is valued as a share of the overall value of the land in the development. Our land share is only valued at $A168k, when a similar individual block in this suburb would be about $400k. So, this means our property tax is much lower than if we didn't live in a development like this. It's still $1,970 per year.

I just noticed that taxes on commercial property are outrageously high. The value in excess of $A600k is taxed at almost 5%. So you would pay about $A40k a year on land valued at $1 million.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

July 2017 Report

Here are our monthly accounts (in AUD):
"Current other income" was very high at $26k due to a lot of money coming in from a consulting project. Spending (not counting mortgage), on the other hand was moderate at $5.6k. After deducting the mortgage payment of $3.9k (which includes implicit interest saving due to our offset account - the actual mortgage payment was about $690 less than this), we saved $16.5k on the current account and added $3.5k in added housing equity. Retirement contributions were lower than recently at $2.9k. I have stopped my voluntary retirement contributions due to the reduction in the concessional contribution cap from 1 July. Moominmama's employer also cut their contributions to her account since the beginning of the new financial year. Even though she has been working part time since the beginning of the calendar year they made contributions at the full time rate up till now. Housing equity increased by $2k. Net saving was, therefore, $21.3k across the board.

The Australian Dollar continued to rise from USD 0.7681 to USD 0.7981. The ASX 200 fell by 0.01%, the MSCI World Index gained 2.83%, and the S&P 500 2.06%. We gained 0.34% in Australian Dollar terms and 1.88% in US Dollar terms. So, we outperformed the Australian and  underperformed the international markets. The best performer in dollar terms was Platinum Capital, gaining $4.0k across our various different holdings. The worst performer was the Unisuper superannuation fund, losing $2.9k. Hedge funds was the best performing asset class in percentage terms thanks to Platinum Capital, followed by private equity. All other asset classes gained apart from large cap Australian stocks which lost 0.04%.

As a result of all this, net worth rose AUD 27k to $1.864 million (new high) or rose USD 76k to USD 1.488 million (also a new high).

Sunday, July 02, 2017

June 2017 Report

This month we spent a lot of money. We went on vacation to Singapore - our first trip overseas with little Moomin. Since last year there are now direct flights between our city and there - one of two international destinations now available on direct flights. I think next time we will go to the other country where the weather is much more to my liking, at least in the summer. The trip ended up costing a lot more than expected...

This month's accounts are very preliminary as they include estimates of franking (tax) credits on managed funds ($3.9k) that we won't actually know till the end of July. Here are our monthly accounts (in AUD):

"Current other income", which is mainly salaries, was a bit higher than usual at $14.8k. Spending (not counting mortgage) was very high at $10.9k. After deducting the mortgage payment of $5.5k (which includes implicit interest saving due to our offset account - the actual mortgage payment was about $698 less than this) - there were three mortgage payments this month rather than the usual two - we dissaved $1.5k on the current account and added $3.5k in added housing equity. Retirement contributions were quite high at $5.1k as I got three retirement contributions this month. Net saving was, therefore, $7.1k across the board.

From next month I will stop my voluntary retirement contributions of $100 a week due to the reduction in the concessional contribution cap from $35k a year to $25k a year. My employer contributions will actually exceed the cap. As is usual in the public sector they are much higher than the 9.5% compulsory contributions. The excess will just be taxed at my marginal rate like a non-concessional contribution. I might still add some non-concessional contributions to superannuation in a few years time but don't feel like locking up more money than necessary when there is no immediate tax advantage and the rules on taxation in the retirement phase, could change at any time...

The Australian Dollar rose from USD 0.7437 to USD 0.7681. The ASX 200 rose by 0.17%, the MSCI World Index gained 0.50%, and the S&P 500 0.62%. We gained 0.38% in Australian Dollar terms and 3.68% in US Dollar terms. So, unusually we outperformed both the Australian and  international markets. The best performer in dollar terms was CFS Geared Share Fund up $5.6k. Next best was Platinum Capital, gaining $3.0k across our various different holdings. The worst performer was PSSAP superannuation fund, losing $0.8k. Small cap Australian stocks was the best performing asset class in percentage terms, followed by hedge funds. All other asset classes gained apart from commodities and real estate.

As a result of all this, net worth rose AUD 9k to $1.839 million (new high) or rose USD 51k to USD 1.413 million (also a new high).

30th June is the end of the Australian financial year. Over the last 12 months we had a rate of return of 13.7% in AUD terms (17.5% in USD terms). The ASX200 gained 14.1%, while the MSCI gained 19.4% in USD terms. Net worth increased AUD 262k and we are still on track to get close to the optimistic projection for 2017. Of course, anything could happen in the next 6 months!

Saturday, June 03, 2017

May 2017 Report

Another month flies by. Financial markets were mixed, falling in Australia and rising globally. We earned a lot of extra income this month. Here are our monthly accounts (in AUD):

"Current Other income", which is mainly salaries was very high at $29k. The main reason is that I finally got paid some back pay for the additional duties I have taken on. From now on my usual salary will be a little higher, though I really hope to get out of these duties by the end of the year as with the baby and these it is hard to get my core job functions done. We also got the first childcare subsidy payment of $1.3k which covers the months of February and March. We will get this payment quarterly. On top of that this was a three paycheck month - we are paid every two weeks here in Australia.

Spending (not counting mortgage) was moderate at $6.0k. After taking into account the mortgage payment of $3.8k (which includes implicit interest saving due to our offset account - the actual mortgage payment was about $641 less than this) - which shows up as a transfer to the housing account, we saved $19k on the current account. We made $6.9k of retirement contributions, which is very high due to the extra pay, and saved a net $1.9k in added housing equity. Net saving was, therefore, $28k across the board. I increased the carrying value of our house by $2k, following the local auction.

The Australian Dollar fell slightly from USD 0.7475 to USD 0.7437. The ASX 200 fell by 2.75%, the MSCI World Index gained 2.3%, and the S&P 500 1.41%. We gained 0.06% in Australian Dollar terms and lost 0.45% in US Dollar terms. So, we outperformed the Australian market and underperformed the international markets. The best performer in dollar terms was Oceania Capital Partners up $4.4k - this is a thinly traded and volatile stock. Next best was Platinum Capital, gaining $3.4k across our various different holdings. The worst performer was the CFS Geared Share Fund, losing $16k. Private equity was the best performing asset class, followed by hedge funds. All other asset classes gained apart from Australian shares, with large cap Australian shares the worst performer.

As a result of all this, net worth rose AUD 32k to $1.832 million (new high) or rose USD 17k to $US 1.362 million (also a new high).

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Another Very Local Auction

The house 2 doors away from us was auctioned today. It sold for $801,000 (AUD). Initially it passed in at $785,000 after one bid at that level after the auctioneer made a bid at $780k but then there was a negotiation with the highest bidder. The house plan is identical to ours. The main difference is that it is wedged between two other houses - side windows are frosted glass, while our house has open land or the street on all but one side. We have a much better view as a result. Our backyard is a bit less deep and our front yard longer. The presentation of this house is better than the current state of our house. I reckon we might need more than $10k to bring it up to standard. The original selling price was for some reason $10k more than our house. When I add this new sale into my model of the value of our house based on sales in this development since we bought, it only increases the carrying value of our house by $2,000 to $777k. I think this is a good conservative value for our house.

Monday, May 01, 2017

April 2017 Report

Yet another positive month for the markets and us. Here are our monthly accounts (in AUD):

Spending (not counting mortgage) was high at $8.0k (after taking out some business expenses that have been refunded - "Other income" includes the refund as well as salaries). Salaries etc. added up to $13.1k (after tax). After taking into account the mortgage payment of $3.8k (which includes implicit interest saving due to our offset account - the actual mortgage payment was about $642 less than this) - which shows up as a transfer to the housing account, we saved only $19 on the current account. We made $3.6k of retirement contributions, and saved a net $1.9k in added housing equity. Net saving was, therefore, $5.5k across the board. Still not getting the childcare subsidy.... This month we paid the apartment rent for our trip... part of which was the business expense that was refunded...

The Australian Dollar fell from USD 0.7637 to USD 0.7475. The ASX 200 gained 1.03%, the MSCI World Index gained 1.60%, and the S&P 500 1.03%. We gained 1.52% in Australian Dollar terms and lost 0.63% in US Dollar terms. So, we outperformed the Australian market and underperformed the international markets. The best performer in dollar terms was again the CFS Geared Share Fund ($7k) followed by Unisuper ($5.1k). Platinum Capital gained $4.4k after the share placement. The worst performer was Oceania Capital Partners down $3.0k. Private equity was the worst performing asset class, followed by small-cap Australian stocks. All other asset classes gained. Many investments, in particular international shares and large-cap Australian shares are at all time highs.

As a result of all this, net worth rose AUD 27k to $1.798 million (new high) but fell USD 9k to $US 1.344 million.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

March 2017 Report

It was another positive month for the markets and us. Here are our monthly accounts (in AUD):

Spending (not counting mortgage) was high at $9.1k (after taking out some business expense that will be refunded). Salaries etc. added up to $11.8k (after tax). After taking into account the mortgage payment of $3.7k (which includes implicit interest saving due to our offset account - the actual mortgage payment was about $567 less than this) - which shows up as a transfer to the housing account, we dissaved only $1.3k on the current account. We made $3.6k of retirement contributions, and saved a net $2.0k in added housing equity. Net saving was, therefore, $4.3l across the board. We still aren't yet getting the childcare subsidy. One other big expense this month were a ticket for Moominmama and Moomin to come on a trip with me (my employer paid directly for my ticket). It will be Moomin's first foreign trip. It's hard to see anything else exceptional - property taxes, body corporate fee, dental bills... It's scary that the new normal is now $7-8k before the mortgage payment.

The Australian Dollar fell slightly from USD 0.7686 to USD 0.7637. The ASX 200 gained 3.32%, the MSCI World Index gained 1.29%, and the S&P 500 0.12%. We gained 2.05% in Australian Dollar terms and 1.40% in US Dollar terms. So, we underperformed the Australian market and outperformed the international markets again. The best performer in dollar terms was again the CFS Geared Share Fund ($15k) followed by Unisuper ($5k). All asset classes apart from private equity gained with bonds being supposedly the best performing asset class (not a very accurate estimate). The worst performer was Oceania Capital Partners down $1.8k.

As a result of all this, net worth rose AUD 32k to $1.766 million (new high) or rose USD 16k to $US 1.348 million (ditto).

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Asset Allocation Update

As I mentioned in the monthly report we did a big asset reallocation recently.You can see the step down in the allocation to large cap Australian shares to about 35% in the graph above (this is gross assets rather than net worth). We increased the allocation to all other asset classes. Also on the graph you can see various phases in our recent financial history - the financial crisis and the recovery from it; saving up the cash for a house downpayment; buying the house; saving up cash in our offset account to pay off the mortgage. This month our mortgage interest is down to $1,217. In the first month after we moved in it was $2,189.... The plan when we pay off the mortgage is to redraw it for reinvestment making the interest tax deductible.

I didn't include our house in the graph. If I did, it would be about 25% of gross assets.

Friday, March 03, 2017

February 2017 Report

It was another positive month for the markets and us. We did a big restructure of some of our investments, which I'll discuss after this month's numbers. Here are our monthly accounts (in AUD):
Spending (not counting mortgage) was normal at $7.8k. Salaries etc. added up to $11.8k (after tax). After taking into account the mortgage payment of $3.8k (which includes implicit interest saving due to our offset account - the actual mortgage payment was about $650 less than this) - which shows up as a transfer to the housing account, we saved only $250 on the current account. We made $3.6k of retirement contributions, and saved a net $1.8k in added housing equity. Net saving was, therefore, $5.7k across the board. One reason for higher spending is that we are now spending $306 a week (for 3 days) for childcare and so far not getting any government benefit for this. Yes, people on our income can get a big subsidy for childcare here in Australia.

The Australian Dollar rose from USD 0.7580 to USD 0.7686. The ASX 200 gained 2.25%, the MSCI World Index gained 2.85%, and the S&P 500 3.97%. We gained 1.83% in Australian Dollar terms and gained 3.23% in US Dollar terms. So, we underperformed the Australian market and outperformed the international markets. The best performer in dollar terms the CFS Geared Share Fund ($11k) followed by Oceania Capital Partners (OCP.AX), which gained $4k. Every asset class  gained, with private equity the best performing asset class and Australian small cap stocks the worst.The worst performer was the CFS Global Resources Fund down $1.9k.

As a result of all this, net worth rose AUD 36k to $1.745 million (new high) or rose USD 45k to $US 1.341 million (ditto).

We shifted most of our Colonial First State managed funds and superannuation from the old now closed to new investors retail platforms to the newer wholesale platforms. I have no idea why these new platforms are called wholesale as you don't need to invest very much. The fees are lower on the newer platform. I did a little reallocation especially for my superannuation fund. This reduced our overall exposure to large cap Australian shares by 8% points of total assets. Total leverage (gearing) went down by a similar amount. All other asset classes increased their shares, especially small cap Australian shares. But generally we are now a bit more diversified and a bit less levered and cloe to what I think is an optimal allocation for us.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

January 2017 Report

This month was fairly quiet though there was a strong rise in the Australian Dollar, which boosted our US Dollar returns. Here are our monthly accounts (in AUD):


Spending (not counting mortgage) was normal at $5.7k. Salaries etc. added up to $13.1k (after tax). This will likely be lower going forward as Moominmama is back at work but on a part-time basis and so her pay will be lower than in the last couple of months. After taking into account the mortgage payment of $3.8k (which includes implicit interest saving due to our offset account - the actual mortgage payment was more than $600 less than this) - which shows up as a transfer to the housing account, we saved $3.7k on the current account. We made $3.6k of retirement contributions, and saved a net $1.8k in added housing equity. Net saving was, therefore, $9k across the board, which hopefully will be typical in the future.

The Australian Dollar rose from USD 0.7229 to USD 0.7580. The ASX 200 lost 0.79%, the MSCI World Index gained 2.76%, and the S&P 500 1.90%. We lost 0.81% in Australian Dollar terms and gained 4.03% in US Dollar terms. So, we about matched the Australian market and outperformed the international markets. The best performer in dollar terms Oceania Capital Partners (OCP.AX), which gained $3k. Not surprisingly the CFS Geared Share Fund was the biggest loser (-$8.6k). Private equity was the best performing asset class. Despite a down month, many of our investments are at all time highs in terms of cumulative profit: Unisuper, PSSAP, Platinum Capital, Clime Capital, Oceania Capital Partners, TIAA Real Estate, CREF Global Equities, Generation Global Fund, Boulder Income Fund, 3i, and Woolworths.

As a result of all this, net worth fell AUD 2.5k to $1.713 million or rose USD 59k to $US 1.299 million - a new all time high.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

2016 Annual Accounts: Graphs

So here is how the last year looks on a graph in the context of everything since 1996:

The blue line is the sum of the other three lines. After flatlining last year, things took off again this year. Medium term balance is liquid assets, the green line is retirement accounts. Both of these and housing equity increased. Markets performed well this year and we saved more.



This graph provides a slightly different view, breaking things down according to savings and profits. I don't break down housing equity into the two components as it's not worth it yet...

Though we are making savings outside of retirement accounts and housing equity - the blue line is rising - the slope is much shallower than before we bought a house and had a baby. So, a lot of this year's increase came from profits. In the long run we have done much better with retirement than with current accounts in terms of profits.

The next graph shows actual monthly non-retirement savings since 1996 and a 12 month moving average:


I have truncated the axis at -$15k but we dissaved $53k in January and $118k in February 2015 as we bought the house. After the big transfer of savings to but the house, savings recovered, but to a much lower level than recent years. They are at about the level around when we moved from the US to Australia. Savings have been high in the last couple of months. How well they will behave this year depends on some potential major expenditure on the house that I will discuss soon on the blog.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

2016 Annual Accounts


This is our annual account - the sum of each of the monthly accounts I've posted - in Australian Dollars. First a reminder about how these accounts are laid out: Current account is all non-retirement account and housing account income and spending. Then the other two are fairly self-explanatory. But housing spending only includes mortgage interest. Property taxes etc. are included in the current account. There is not a lot of logic to this except the "transfer to housing" is measured using the transfer from our checking account to our mortgage account...

We earned $158k after tax in salary, business related refunds, medical payment refunds, tax refunds etc. We earned (pre-tax including unrealised capital gains) $58k on non-retirement account investments. Total current after tax income was $216k. We spent $77k, $71k of that was "core spending". (I always regard business expenses that are refunded as non-core, but also some one-off things).

$9k of the investment income was tax credits. These increased our after tax "other income" but are also counted as part of the pre-tax investment income. So, they have to deducted to get things to add up to the change in net worth. Finally, we transferred $45k in mortgage payments to the housing account.* The change in current net worth, was therefore $85k. Looking at just saving from non-investment income, we saved $36k.

The retirement account is a bit simpler. We made $45k in after tax contributions and the value rose by an estimated additional $54k in pre tax returns. $6k was the estimated tax on that and so the increase in net worth was $93k. Taxes are just estimated because all we get to see is the after tax returns. I do this exercise to make retirement and non-retirement returns comparable.

Finally, the housing account. We spent $20k on mortgage interest. We would have paid $25k in mortgage interest if we didn't have an offset account. I estimate our house is worth $21k more than I did last year based on recent sales in our neighbourhood. After counting the transfer of $45k into the housing account housing equity increased $40k of which $19k was due to paying off principal on our mortgage.

In total net worth increased by $217k, $100k of which was saving from non-investment sources.

Comparing 2016's accounts with the very exceptional 2015 accounts, we saved 56% more and net worth increased by 34% more. Salary and other current income was down as we would expect in a year that Moominmama didn't work (she went back to work yesterday). Of course, she got a lot of maternity and other payments and so current income was only down by 15%. Invesment income was up 18%. Expenditure was down 41% and even core expenditure was down by 18%.

* $5k of this is actually interest we saved by having money in our offset account. I count this as investment earnings and so to balance the books I need to count this as spending on the housing account and need to record a transfer between the current and housing accounts.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

December 2016 Report

This month saw a big jump in net worth as stock markets were strong, our spending relatively low, and non-investment earnings high. Here are our monthly accounts (in AUD):

Spending (not counting mortgage) was moderate at $4.8k. Salaries, tax refunds etc. added up to $16.1k (after tax). I received some payments from a consultancy firm I did some work for. More is coming. After taking into account the mortgage payment of $3.7k (which includes implicit interest saving due to our offset account - the actual mortgage payment was almost $600 less than this) - which shows up as a transfer to the housing account, we saved $7.5k on the current account. We made $5.5k of retirement contributions, as last month there were three paychecks and there is a delay in getting the superannuation contributions, and saved a net $1.8k in added housing equity. Net saving was, therefore, $14.9k across the board, which is roughly the same as last month but very high by recent standards.

The Australian Dollar fell from USD 0.7386 to USD 0.7229. The ASX 200 gained 4.38%, the MSCI World Index gained 2.20%, and the S&P 500 1.98%. We gained 3.96% in Australian Dollar terms and 1.75% in US Dollar terms. So, we again underperformed both the Australian market and  the international markets. The best performer in dollar terms was again the CFS Geared Share Fund, which gained $22.5k followed by Clime Capital (CAM.AX), which gained $4.9k. The only investments to lose money were the China Fund and the CFS Developing Companies Fund, which was down $0.8k. Every asset class gained. Many of our investments are at all time highs in terms of cumulative profit: CFS Geared Share Fund, Unisuper, PSSAP, Platinum Capital, CFS Diversified Fund, Clime, TIAA Real Estate, Generation Global Fund, Boulder Income Fund, 3i, and Woolworths.

As a result of all this, net worth rose AUD 70k to $1.715 million (a new high) or USD 24k to $US 1.239 million.