Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Got a Call from Australian Unity

I blogged recently about the proposed merger between the Australian Unity Diversified Property Fund and a Cromwell office fund. Today, I was called by a representative who told me about the plan and timeline and asked if I had questions and whether I would support the proposal So, I told him that I understood the reasons for seeking a merger and that I thought this merger was better than previous proposal but also that I invested in the fund to get exposure to a diversified portfolio and now it was going to be a office dominated fund, a sector that's not doing too well. So, I wasn't really sure which way to vote. He sounded disappointed and said he understood my thinking...

Thursday, July 13, 2023

New Australian Unity Merger Proposal

Australian Unity Diversified Property Fun has a new merger proposal on the table following the failed merger in 2021-22. This is a merger with the unlisted Cromwell Direct Property Fund. This seems like a fair deal unlike the previous one. It has various advantages. The only downside is that the merged fund will have 70% of its assets in offices. The attraction of AUDPF was that it was truly diversified and not dominated by offices. 

I expect I will stay in the fund (there is only a limited near term opportunity to withdraw) and think about withdrawing in 2025 when a full liquidity event is promised. The main risk is that office properties are downvalued in 2024 and 2025 after the merger happens. I am seeing a decline in value in the TIAA Real Estate Fund even though only a quarter of their assets are in offices. I reduced my holdings near peak value, should have reduced them more. So, maybe I should try to withdraw some of our investment when allowed later this year...

Sunday, July 09, 2023

Spending 2022-23

For the last six 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) into the following categories of spending:

The gross income for this year (bottom line) is just an estimate. It is based on the gross income we expect to report in our tax returns (before investment expenses etc) plus employer superannuation contributions. 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 increased substantially, though we also expect income to hit a high though it's been fairly constant over the last five years. 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 continues to trend upwards. As mentioned above, the income and tax numbers are all estimates. Commentary on each category follows:

Employer superannuation contributions: These include employer contributions (we don't do any salary sacrifice contributions) but not concessional contributions we paid to the SMSF this year.

Superannuation contributions tax: The 15% tax on concessional superannuation contributions. This 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.

Income tax is one category that has fallen since 2017-18!

Life and disability insurance: I have been trying to bring this under control and the amount paid has also fallen since 2017-18 a result.

Health: Includes health insurance and direct spending. Spending peaked with the birth of our second child. It is up this year because I had an operation early this calendar year.

Housing: Includes mortgage interest, maintenance, and body corporate fees (condo association). Rising interest rates have pushed up spending this year.

Transport: About half is spending on our car and half is my spending on Uber, e-scooters, buses etc.

Utilities: This includes water, gas, electricity, telephone, internet, and online storage etc.

Subscriptions: This is a new category this year, split out from utilities. It's been trending up strongly.

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

Restaurants: This was low in 2017-18 because we spent a lot of cash at restaurants. It was low in the last two years because of the pandemic but doubled this year as life got more back to normal and prices are climbing I feel particularly in this area.

Cash spending: This has collapsed to almost zero. I try not to use cash so that I can track spending. 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 and actually came down this year,

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. In 2020-21 it was down to zero due to the pandemic and having a small child. This year we went to Sydney for a week and this is mostly how much the accommodation cost.

Charity: Not sure why this is trending down.

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 and higher mortgage interest. I expect education to fall a little next year as private primary school is cheaper than daycare.