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.