Saturday, January 12, 2019

Annual Report 2018

Investment Returns
In Australian Dollar terms we gained 2.3% for the year while the MSCI gained 0.9% and the ASX200 lost 1.1% (all pre-tax including dividends). In USD terms we lost 7.7%, while the MSCI lost 8.9% and the S&P500 lost 4.4%. So we beat Australian and international markets but not the US market. In the longer term perspective, our returns and market returns were closely aligned this year:

Australian Dollar Returns

Here are returns over various standard periods (not annualized):

We have done well compared to the ASX 200 over the last 5 years. Not as great over 10 years. In USD terms we have done well compared to the MSCI over the last three years and underperformed over longer time periods.

Investment Allocation
The main change in allocation over the year is the large increase in cash and real estate when we received the inheritance:

I also reduced my allocation to Australian large cap stocks around the same time, in early October. Earlier in the year, the allocation to cash falls as we increased trading and invested more in the Winton Global Alpha Fund (commodities) and subscribed to some IPOs. Private equity also increased with investment in Aura and IPE and then decreased with the takeover of IPE.

I stopped reporting monthly accounts this year, but I've still been computing them. Here are our annual accounts in Australian Dollars without including the inheritance:

Annual Accounts

There are lots of quirks in the way I compute the accounts, which have gradually evolved over time. Here is an explanation:

Current account is all non-retirement accounts 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. Current other income is reported after tax, while investment income is reported pre-tax. Net tax on investment income then gets subtracted from current income as our annual tax refund or extra payment gets included there. Retirement investment income gets reported pre-tax too while retirement contributions are after tax. For retirement accounts, "tax credits" is the imputed tax on investment earnings which is used to compute pre-tax earnings from the actual received amounts. For non-retirement accounts, "tax credits" are actual franking credits received on Australian dividends and the tax withheld on foreign investment income. Both of these are included in the pre-tax earning but are not actually received month to month as cash.... Finally, "core expenditure" for housing is the actual mortgage interest we paid. "Expenditure" adds back how much interest we saved by keeping money in our offset account. We include that saved interest in the current account as the earnings of that pile of cash. That virtual earning needs to be spent somewhere to balance the accounts... It is also included in the "transfer to housing". Our actual mortgage payments were less than the number reported by the $6k in saved interest. For current accounts "core expenditure" takes out business expenses that will be refunded by our employers and some one-off expenditures. This year, I think there are none of those one-off expenditures. "Saving" is the difference between "other income" net of transfers to other columns and spending in that column, while "change in net worth" also includes the investment income.

We earned $170k after tax in salary, business related refunds, medical payment refunds, tax refunds etc. We earned (pre-tax including unrealised capital gains) $35k on non-retirement account investments. Both of those numbers were down strongly from last year. I stepped down from an admin role that paid extra salary and earned less in consulting etc. The investment numbers would have been worse without trading and the fall in the Australian Dollar ($31k in "forex" gain). Total current after tax income was $204k. Not including mortgage interest we spent $117k – Total actual spending including mortgage interest was $133k.

$9k of the current pre-tax investment income was tax credits – we don't actually get that money so we need to deduct it. Finally, we transferred $45k in mortgage payments (and virtual saved interest) to the housing account. The change in current net worth, was therefore $34k. Looking at just saving from non-investment income, we saved $8k. Both these numbers are down steeply from last year.

The retirement account is a bit simpler. We made $38k in contributions (after the 15% contribution tax) and the value fell by an estimated $23k in pre tax returns. $4k in "tax credits" is an adjustment needed to get from the number I calculate as a pre-tax return to the after tax number. Taxe on returns 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. Net worth of retirement accounts increased by $19k.

Finally, the housing account. We spent $16k on mortgage interest. We would have paid $24k in mortgage interest if we didn't have an offset account. I estimate our house is worth $24k 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 $46k of which $23k was due to paying off principal on our mortgage.

Total net worth increased by $99k, $69k of which was saving from non-investment sources. Comparing 2018's accounts with 2017's, we saved 49% less and net worth increased by 79% less. Total after tax income was almost $230k, down 60% on last year. This number feels a lot more "reasonable" than last year.

Though our saving is down sharply on last year, we still saved in total 33% of our after tax non-investment income. Of course, this is less than last year's 50%. Including investment income our savings rate was 43%.

Here are the same accounts expressed in US Dollars:

How Does This Compare to My Projection for This Year?
At the beginning of the year, I projected a gain in net worth of $250k based on an 8% return on investments and a 6% increase in spending. As you can see, spending rose 25% and return on investments was only 2%. As a result net worth increased by only $99k.

Looking to 2019, I think we will be lucky if our investment return is 0%, as I am quite bearish about the world economy and stockmarket. If I pencil in a 6% rise in spending, then we would only increase net worth by $60k.

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