Friday, July 29, 2022

How I Made AUD 2,900 Instantly

A couple of days ago, I went on the Domacom platform just to see if anything was new. I found an offer to sell about 10,000 units in a semi-rural property near Sydney for AUD 1.0156 placed on 30th May. But the property was revalued on 18th July by around 30%!. Almost instantly I bought the units. One downside is that I already own about AUD 10k of units in the neighboring property. Of course, I can't realize this profit, so it is just on paper. The market is very illiquid, which is why I managed to get this bargain in the first place. Both properties have a vote next March on whether to sell the properties and wind up the funds or whether to continue to hold. Recently, my first investment at Domacom held a vote and sold for a big profit.


To get the funds, I had to cancel my pledge to a campaign to buy rural property. My money has been tied up in the campaign for a year while they have made almost no progress on raising money. I think that in future I won't make pledges to campaigns and only engage in the secondary market. The additional advantage of that is that I avoid paying big fees for the purchase of the property and the often huge upfront cut (c. 10%) taken by the promoters of the campaign. It would be much better if they were paid by performance fees instead...

Career Update

A year on, the career plan needs updating. I agreed with the School Director to take long service leave in 2022 and delay my leadership position to 2023-24. Instead, another person would take that leadership role for one year. Two months into the year, the director became a head of school at another university. The person temporarily filling the leadership position took over as interim director and a third person filled the leadership role. When I raised the issue recently, the person in the leadership role said they knew nothing of the plan to put me into the position in 2023-24 and it would depend on the new permanent school director who will be starting in January 2023. I don't think that the new director would be enthusiastic about me in that role.

Yesterday, I met with my immediate Department Head. He said that he thinks the leadership position is now off the table and doesn't think there will be pressure for me to take that kind of role now... He also wants me to again teach one of the courses I dropped.* The advantage, of course, is that teaching this course won't require any preparation. This new course has taken more preparation that anything I've taught before, I think. I am still working on that as the course began this week, but the end of prep is near... I'm not happy about teaching more again... Anyway, I told him that I would want to teach both courses in the same semester rather than spreading them out over the year. I find switching between teaching and research to be hard and end up wasting a lot of time doing that.

I also told him that I had thought about going to part-time status instead. Yesterday, I sent an email to HR asking about that. But I think that depending partly on investment income is a bit scary given the current economic and market uncertainty. On the other hand, the question is whether I will ever feel like I have enough money to retire....

I'll probably end up teaching the old course again together with the new one this time next year.

* He is teaching it this year (he also taught it before). Next year, he wants to revive another course that we have both taught before....

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Sam Dogen Interview

Sam Dogen of Financial Samurai has first video interview. Finally, you can get to see him, even if you still don't know his real name 😀

Monday, July 18, 2022

A Tale of Two Bloggers

Enough Wealth has a new post comparing our two NetWorthShare net worth curves titled a Tale of Two Bloggers. He took out the step changes due to inheritance in both our histories. But the two curves are in different currencies - mine in USD and his in AUD despite us both living in Australia. I wanted my track record to be comparable to the majority of other members who are US based. The volatility of my net worth is much lower in AUD than in USD. This is by design. The Australian Dollar tends to fall during "risk-off" periods reducing losses in AUD terms and increasing them in USD terms.

So, I thought I'd post a comparison of my net worth curve in both AUD and USD terms:

These go back way before the record on NetWorthShare. Back to September 1990, the month I started my PhD in the US... In addition to bigger moves during bear markets, the US series has a number of flat periods compared to the AUD series - around 2015, 2018-19 and in 2021. Overall, the AUD curve ascends more smoothly. We can also reminisce about that time after the GFC when the Australian Dollar was worth more than the US Dollar!

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Division 293 Humblebrag

It looks like I will have to pay Division 293 superannuation contributions tax for the first time. This is an extra 15% tax on superannuation contributions that you have to pay if your income including concessional super contributions is above AUD 250k. My preliminary estimate of my taxable income is already above AUD 250k. So, for sure the total including around 30k of super contributions will be even if the final income number is a little lower. This is probably going to mean an extra AUD 4,500 of tax. 

I'm also currently estimating I'll owe more than AUD 13k in extra tax after paying AUD 6k in tax installments. Last year I got a tax refund because of the Virgin Australia debacle. Bond losses can be deducted immediately from your income unlike losses on shares. The tax installments were because the previous year's tax return...

I'm reluctant to stuff more money into super as non-concessional contributions to reduce tax in case we'll need it. For example, to buy a bigger or better located house. If I continue to work, we can't withdraw the money from my account till I'm 65 in 8 years time. And much longer in Moominmama's case. That liquidity costs in taxes. 

In the last couple of years we made large non-concessional contributions. I also have illiquid investments in venture capital and art. Our liquid investments are 46% of gross assets not including our house. I doubt I can get a bigger mortgage given my age and Moominmama's low wage income.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Some Good Financial News


Masterworks sold Lured by Cecily Brown for USD 1 million. The initial offer price was USD 605k. We are supposed to get the money within a month. I think this is the third painting they have sold, two of which were ones I invested in. 

Domacom reported to the ASX that their private placement was over-subscribed! They hope to be reintstated in the ASX soon.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Portfolio Planning

I won't post June accounts for quite a while. There doesn't seem much point until we have all valuations for private assets for the end of the financial year and that won't happen till some time in August probably.

I did a bit of a portfolio planning exercise again with some moves planned. I tweaked the portfolio allocation a little as a result to meet the various constraints. Target allocation to Australian large cap is down from 8% to 7%, hedge fund allocation down from 25% to 24% and bonds and futures both up from 5% to 6%. Other allocations remain unchanged (real assets 15%, private equity 15%, international shares 11%, gold 10%, and cash 1%). Back in 2017, our Australian large cap allocation was 35-36%!

In theory, the new allocation does increase the historical portfolio Sharpe ratio. 

So here is the current allocation where I break down by asset class and type of holding:

You are going to need to click on this to see any detail. The names at the bottom are most of the relevant investments in that category. Employer super includes my US retirement account as well. I originally developed this spreadsheet when we were planning the SMSF. Then the future allocation tries to move more towards the long run allocation while taking into account the amount of money in each pot and what the employer super is invested in etc.

It also reflects that we are probably going to get the cash back from our investment in PSTH, which is then reinvested in the SMSF. I want to move my holding of Aspect Diversified Futures into the SMSF  I will sell and buy again rather than actually move it as I plan to buy a class with lower fees. With the proceeds from selling Aspect we invest in Australian small cap and international shares. We then use the proceeds from PSTH to buy Aspect in the super fund. Plus a $20k concessional contribution for Moominmama I just made. Otherwise, the allocation says we need to increase holdings of real assets outside of super a lot. I don't know what those investments would be...

Saturday, July 02, 2022

Spending 2021-22

For the last five years I've been putting together reports on our spending over the Australian financial year, which runs from 1 July to 30 June. This makes it easy to do a break down of gross income including taxes that's comparable to many you'll see online, though all our numbers are in Australian Dollars. At the top level we can break down total income (as reported in our tax returns plus superannuation contributions):

The gross income for this year (bottom line) is just an estimate. It looks like falling quite significantly. Tax includes local property tax as well as income tax and tax on superannuation contributions. Investing costs include margin interest. Mortgage interest is included in spending, while mortgage principal payments are considered as saving. Spending also includes the insurance premia paid through our superannuation. Current saving is then what is left over. This is much bigger than saving out of salaries because gross income includes investment returns reported in our tax returns. The latter number depends on capital gains reported for tax purposes, so is fairly arbitrary. Spending also recommenced its increase this year. Graphically, it looks like this:

We break down spending into quite detailed categories. Some of these are then aggregated up into broader categories:

Our biggest spending category, if we don't count tax, is now childcare and education, which has again risen steeply. As mentioned above, the income and tax numbers are all estimates. Commentary on each category follows:

Employer superannuation contributions: These include employer contributions and salary sacrificed contributions but not concessional contributions we paid to the SMSF this year.

Superannuation contributions tax: The 15% tax on concessional superannuation contributions. This year it includes tax on our concessional contributions to the SMSF.

Franking credits: Income reported on our tax returns includes franking credits (tax paid by companies we invest in). We need to deduct this money which we don't receive as cash but is included in gross income. Foreign tax paid is the same story.

Life and disability insurance: I have been trying to bring this under control and the amount paid has fallen as a result.

Health: Includes health insurance and direct spending. Spending peaked with the birth of our second child and continues to decline.

Housing: Includes mortgage interest, maintenance, and body corporate fees (condo association). We haven't spent much on maintenance this year, so spending is down.

Transport: About 2/3 is spending on our car and 1/3 my spending on Uber, e-scooters, buses etc.

Utilities: This includes spending on online subscriptions etc as well as more conventional utilities. I need to cut back on spending on video games as this category continued to climb strongly.

Supermarkets: Includes convenience stores, liquor stores etc as well as supermarkets. Seems crazy that it has almost doubled in five years and become our second biggest spending category.

Restaurants: This was low in 2017-18 because we spent a lot of cash at restaurants. It was low last year because of the pandemic and this year because of a seeming permanent behavior change.

Cash spending: This has collapsed to zero. I mainly use cash to pay Moomin pocket money and he pays me back if we buy stuff online for him. That's how it ended up negative for the year. Moominmama also gets some cash out at supermarkets that is included in that category.

Department stores: All other stores selling goods that aren't supermarkets. No real trend here.

Mail order: This seems to have leveled out in the last three years/

Childcare and education: We are paying for private school for one child, full time daycare for the other, plus music classes, swimming classes...

Travel: This includes flights, hotels etc. It was very high in 2017-18 when we went to Europe and Japan. Last year it was down to zero due to the pandemic and having a small child. This year we went to the nearby coast for a week and this is mostly how much the accommodation, booked at the last minute, cost.

Charity: Not sure why it's down this year.

Other: This is mostly other services. It includes everything from haircuts to professional photography.

This year's increased spending was mainly driven by increased childcare and education costs. I expect these to be about the same next year and then fall for a while in subsequent years - private primary school is cheaper than daycare with the low level of subsidy we get - before beginning to rise again.