Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Financial Planning

Life is very busy recently and so I don't have much time to blog. I haven't even posted much on my professional blog. There hasn't been much new on the financial front to write about. Anyway, today I had an appointment with a financial planner at Commonwealth Bank. It was a bit strange as a financial planning session. She didn't really seriously try to get a picture of mine and Snork Maiden's finances. She was just interested in selling me on a couple of products. One was insurance and the other superannuation. She tried to interest me in "trauma insurance" and "income protection". I'm generally a big skeptic of insurance. I promised to look into whether I already had income protection from my superannuation provider and to think about whether I need it. But I think not. On super, she could put me into a wholesale fund that has lower management fees in exchange for a $1500 up front financial advice fee. It probably will pay off. I'll look into it in more detail and report here.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Going, going, gone

We went to the auction today for this house. This is the first house we actually saw sell at auction - only the second auction we've been to. No-one even bidded at the previous auction. The opening bid today was for $750,000 and that bidder never bidded again. I wonder if they were a friend of the owner just trying to get the bidding started? The price rose to $850k, which was my estimate of what the house would sell for and seemed to stop. One of the three agents at the auction then went inside the house to talk with the owner on the phone. When she came back she said "it's on the market", which apparently means that $850k would be an acceptable offer. I would have thought there simply was a reserve price up front that the owner had given to the agent. But after this the bidder who had bid $850k and a young couple started bidding again, sometimes in increments of $1,000 until eventually $870k was reached and the young couple gave up. There was a round of applause after the auctioneer said "Going, going, gone" and hit a pile of paperwork he was holding with his hammer.

Snork Maiden asked me whether I'd be willing to pay $870k for this house when my estimate was $850k (I know all these numbers will sound crazy to many of you in other parts of the world...). I said the best way to think of it really was thinking how much extra your mortgage payment would be for each $10k. For a 30 year mortgage that is currently $63 a month. So the extra $20k would cost $126 a month. Snork Maiden didn't think that was much. I feel that that is quite a bit.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Actually, the Amount We Can Borrow is Rather Less...

The lender phoned me this morning. We could borrow up to $690k for a house with a price up to $750k. This is because the stamp duty is about $30k and that has to come out of our deposit and then what's left is not that large a deposit... $750k is about in the middle of the price range of places we have been looking at. So maybe that will work for us. Or maybe we should talk to another lender. In the meantime we will keep saving.

Another Meeting with the Lender

Back in February, we met with a mortgage lender at Commonwealth Bank. He told us that we need to have a reasonable sized deposit on deposit for three months in cash in a single account before we could be preapproved for a loan. We've now had the deposit for about 2.5 months and it is growing (now $A92k) so we set up another meeting for yesterday. He seemed a bit surprised by the credit limit on the credit card in Snork Maiden's name $A20k and other details of our finances. I guess there aren't many first time home buyers coming in who are as wealthy as us.

One interesting thing that came out of the meeting was that since Snork Maiden is a lot younger than me we can get a 30 year mortgage probably. That would reduce the payments on a 90% loan for an $A800k house to $A4,500 per month from near $A6,500 for a 15 year loan.* That sounds a lot more affordable - about 25% of pre-tax income - my ideal would really be to not ever pay off the loan so that is getting there :) It's interesting that he didn't run any numbers by us at all though apart from briefly mentioning the maximum he thought they could lend us. Those are my calculations using SOLVER in Excel. He was more interested in selling us car insurance for $10 a month cheaper than our current provider. We did discuss variable versus fixed rate loans. You can get up to a 15 year fixed rate loan here now, but the interest rate is much higher than the current rate on a variable rate loan.

Anyway, he's working on the pre-approval at the moment and we should hear in a day or two.

* The median house in our city is $A550k.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Moominvalley April 2012 Report

As usual, everything is expressed in US Dollars unless indicated. This month exchange rates were relatively stable for a change and investment returns near zero. A quiet month.

Spending this month included a lot of business expenses that will be refunded. Without those we spent $3,837 (core expenditure), which is near our minimum montly expenditure. Investment income in USD terms was slightly positve, but adjusting for the changes in exchange rates we lost $1,513. Net worth increased by $12,668. In Australian Dollar terms $10k to a record $A615k ($US640k).

Investment returns were 0.25% in USD terms compared to -1.08% for the MSCI World Index and -0.63% for the S&P 500. In AUD terms we made -0.17%. Our cash allocation is now 16.91% of net worth. Up from 14.78% in February. The house fund account stands at $A92k.

Really nothing exciting happened apart from cash piling up :) For a few more details you can check me out on NetWorthIQ.