Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Real Salary


I was wondering whether we were getting worse off over time at my employer and so plotted my real and nominal pre-tax salary for the time I have been in my current position. Halfway along there was a blip where I was department head and got paid more. In real terms I am now about $2000 below where I started in 2011. The union is asking for a 15% increase in the latest bargaining round. After tax that is a about an 11% increase (because of progressive tax rates).

Saturday, October 22, 2022

More Factoids from the 2019-2020 Australian Income and Wealth Survey

3.2% of households are in both the top income and top net worth deciles. That means their net worth is above $2.258 million and their annual income is above $235k.

Friday, October 21, 2022

2019-20 Australian Income and Wealth Distribution


I didn't notice when the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the 2019-20 data on Australian household income and wealth distribution. I previously reported on the 2015-16 and 2017-18 data.

Mean gross household income was $121k per year in 2019-20 (all $ are Australian Dollars). The median was $93k. These are not adjusted for household size. ABS provides data adjusted for household size in terms of the income a single person would need to achieve the economic well-being of the average household. To adjust these to the required income of a household with 2 adults and 2 children requires multiplying by 2.1. I seriously doubt that adding a child only increases costs by 0.3 of the first adult! 

Mean gross household income in the ACT was $150k and the median $124k.

To be in the top 10% of households requires a gross income of at least $235k. To get information on the breakdown inside the top 10% you have to use their data on the number of households within each of different bands of weekly income. 4.7% of households have an annual income above $312k and another 3% between $260k and $312k. Our gross income was $264k (taxable income), so we just fall within this group and, therefore, in the top 7.7%.

Mean household net worth was $1.04 million and the median was $579k. To be in the top 10% you needed a net worth of $2.26 million. We were at $4.44 million at the end of June 2020. To be in the top 3.9% you needed a net worth of $4 million. So I estimate we were at the edge of the top 3.3%. I guess it makes sense given my age that we higher in the wealth distribution than in the income distribution.

1.2% of households had a net worth above $7 million and 0.6% above $10 million.

There is a lot more data on breakdown of assets etc. which I might report on another time.

To be in the US top 1% by net worth required USD 11 million ($17.75 million) in the same period. A top 1% US household income is around USD 600k and above.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Regal Investment Fund Implements Resource Royalties Strategy


Regal Investment Fund (RF1.AX) is continuing to diversify their portfolio. Recently, they added a water strategy through Kilter Rural. Now they are adding a resource royalties strategy through the Gresham Resource Royalties Fund. While the water strategy is only 2% of the fund, the resource royalties strategy will be 17% of the fund initially. I am categorizing both of these in the real assets class. From the announcement:

"A resource royalty is a right to receive payment usuallyreflecting the value of a percentage of revenue derived from the production from a mining, oil and gas or renewable project. A commodity stream is an agreement conferring a right to purchase all or a portion of the production produced from a mining, oil and gas or renewable project at a pre-set price. Royalties and commodity streams are often used interchangeably. Royalties and commodity streams are typically acquired for an upfront payment. They can provide investors with the upside potential of increased commodity prices, increased production and extended mineral reserves (and sometimes new discoveries) with no or limited exposure to variable operating costs and future capital calls to fund exploration or other capital costs."

Friday, October 14, 2022

Performance of Average Investors

 Latest version of the famous J.P. Morgan graph:

They estimate the returns for "average investors" from mutual fund flows. My return for this period was 6.12% (USD return). It's good that I am way ahead of the average investor but not good that I am behind a 60/40 portfolio (with no fees).

For a while now, I have been tracking these 20 year returns. Here is a graph with rolling 20 year USD returns for my portfolio and some key indices:

Each datapoint is the return for the 20 years up to that month. I started investing in 1996 and so the first observation is for September 2016. While I used to be worse than the median hedge fund, in the last couple of years my 20 year track record is a little bit better than the hedge fund index. I like to think it is more important to perform well the more money you have to invest :) In other words, dollar-weighted returns are more important than time-weighted returns.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Gargantua by George Condo Sold

Masterworks sold the third painting that I invested in, Gargantua by George Condo. The original offer price to investors was $1.65 million and they sold it for $2.55 million. After performance fees, sales costs etc. the proceeds are probably within 5% of the most recent estimate they provided.

Saturday, October 08, 2022

September 2022 Report

In September the stock markets again fell sharply and the US Dollar rose. The MSCI World Index (USD gross) lost 9.53%, the S&P 500 9.21% in USD terms, and the ASX 200 6.14% in AUD terms. All these are total returns including dividends. The Australian Dollar fell from USD 0.6855 to USD 0.6399 and even fell against the Pound. We lost 1.74% in Australian Dollar terms or 8.28% in US Dollar terms. The target portfolio lost 1.28% in Australian Dollar terms and the HFRI hedge fund index lost 2.27% in US Dollar terms. So, we out-performed the stock market indices but not these alternative benchmarks.

Here is a report on the performance of investments by asset class: 

The asset class returns are in currency neutral returns as the rate of return on gross assets. I have added in the contributions of leverage and other costs and the Australian Dollar to the AUD net worth return.

Only gold had a positive return and that was only because of the fall in the Australian Dollar - we hold our gold mostly in the ASX listed PMGOLD ETF. The Australian Dollar was the biggest  positive contributor to performance measured in Australian Dollars and hedge funds were the biggest detractor, though Rest of World Stocks had the worst rate of return.

Things that worked well this month:

  • After gold (AUD 13k), Regal Funds (RF1.AX) gained 10k, Winton Global Alpha 9k, and Aura VF2 8k.

What really didn't work:

  • Tribeca Global Resources lost AUD 28k, followed by Australian Dollar Futures lost 21k, and Unisuper at-17k.

The investment performance statistics for the last five years are: 

The first three rows are our unadjusted performance numbers in US and Australian dollar terms. The following four lines compare performance against each of the three indices over the last 60 months. The final three rows report the performance of the three indices themselves. We show the desired asymmetric capture and positive alpha against the ASX200 but not against the hedge fund index nor the MSCI. Compared to the ASX200, our rate of return has been almost the same, but our volatility has been almost 5% lower. We are performing almost 4% per annum worse than the average hedge fund levered 1.76 times. Hedge funds have been doing well in recent years.

We moved towards our target allocation. Our actual allocation currently looks like this:


About 70% of our portfolio is in what are often considered to be alternative assets: real estate, art, hedge funds, private equity, gold, and futures. A lot of these are listed investments or investments with daily, monthly, or quarterly liquidity, so our portfolio is not as illiquid as you might think.

We receive employer contributions to superannuation every two weeks. We are now contributing USD 10k each quarter to Unpopular Ventures Rolling Fund and less frequently there will be capital calls from Aura Venture Fund II. In addition we made the following investment moves this month:

  • I sold my holding of 10k Pendal shares (PDL.AX). Perpetual, which is taking over Pendal seems to continue to sink in price since the merger was announced.
  • I participated in the Regal Investment Partners (RPL.AX) rights issue.
  • I did some trading of Regal Funds (RF1.AX). It is tending to fluctuate around the NAV.
  • I shifted another AUD 25k from Aspect Diversified Futures Wholesale to First Sentier Developing Companies on the Colonial First State platform and then sold and withdrew the rest of our holding to reduce debt.
  • I sold 20k Cadence (CDM.AX) shares to increase cash in our SMSF brokerage account.
  • I did a quick Australian Dollar Futures trade, which didn't work out well.

Monday, October 03, 2022

Moominmama Actually Had Negative Tax for 2021-22

Not sure why the calculation I posted here showed positive tax, but both the ATO and my own calculation show that Moominmama's tax assessment was -$127 for 2021-22. That's kind of like the holy grail or something :)

Heading for a Fall in Net Worth

 This is why I have been concerned about saving money recently:

I'm currently forecasting that this year comprehensive after-tax income (including superannuation and unrealized capital gains/losses) will be less than spending. This would be the first decline in end of year net worth (not counting our house) since the financial crisis.