Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Nischa: Great Personal Finance Videos

I just found these great personal finance videos. I know most of this stuff, but lots (most?) of people could learn a lot from this!

Saturday, August 26, 2023


Closed my Paypal account. Only time it ever comes up is when someone is trying to scam me. Just had someone try to charge USD 599 to me.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Lifetime Health Cover Loading

In Australia, if you don't get private health care when you are younger, if you finally do get it you have to pay an extra "loading". I had to pay 36% more and Moominmama 14%. But apparently that is only for ten years. The ten years is up and our premium has been reduced!

Saturday, August 12, 2023

June 2023 Report

We finally have all the investment statements and reports for the 2022-23 financial year, which means I can put together a report on our investment performance in June. In June, The MSCI World Index (USD gross) rose 5.85%, the S&P 500 rose 6.61%, and the HFRI hedge fund index gained 2.20% in USD terms. The ASX 200 rose 1.74% and the target portfolio 1.09% in AUD terms. All these are total returns including dividends. The Australian Dollar rose from USD 0.6479 to USD 0.6657. We lost 0.27% in Australian Dollar terms or gained 2.40% in US Dollar terms. So, we under-performed all benchmarks apart from the HFRI. Our hedge fund and private equity investments underperformed their benchmarks, dragging down performance relative to the target benchmark, which has a 38% weighting on these two asset classes.

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 then add in the contributions of leverage and other costs and the Australian Dollar to the AUD net worth return. Gold was the biggest detractor, while futures contributed the most.

Things that worked well this month:

  • Pershing Square Holdings and Australian Dollar Futures did well.

What really didn't work: 

  • Gold and Tribeca Global Resources did badly.

The investment performance statistics for the last five years are not looking good and I don't feel like reporting them. 😕

We are now very close to 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. It was another quiet month. The only additional investment moves I made were:

  • I bought 500 PMGOLD.AX and 1778 CDO.AX (Cadence Opportunities Fund) shares.

Sunday, August 06, 2023

Superannuation Returns in the Long-Run

Following up from my post on how our SMSF is performing compared to our managed superannuation funds, here is how our superannuation in general has done over time:

Note that the y-axis is a log scale! Our superannuation has outperformed the MSCI index in AUD terms in the long-run. The big win was in the couple of years after 2002 when I rolled over my Unisuper fund to Colonial First State and invested in geared funds. Then I got too conservative leading up to the GFC - the flat top you can see on the red line. Superannuation returns crashed in the GFC because I got aggressive again too early. After that, we have followed the market more closely until after 2018 when we have gone into a bit more of a capital preservation mode again. This reduced the volatility in 2022 but returns in 2023 are a bit disappointing so far.

On the other hand, our non-superannuation assets had catastrophic performance up to 2009. After that, I got my act together, which eventually gave me the confidence to set up an SMSF. But you can see the value of handing control to an external manager early on.

Superannuation returns are pre-tax but after fees. My method of imputing tax paid for public superannuation funds probably exaggerates their performance a bit. These time based returns are quite different from dollar based returns. All the early volatility wasn't that important because total assets were small. Performing well now is much more important.

Enough Wealth followed up on my original post by comparing his SMSF over a longer period to a basket of industry funds.

Saturday, August 05, 2023

Superannuation Performance Update July 2023

Inspired by this article in the AFR, here is an update on how well our SMSF is doing compared to Unisuper and PSS(AP). after underperforming for a few months, it outperformed in June and July:

Looking at the longer term, it is still ahead of the two super funds:

It rode out the 2022 downturn with less "volatility". PSS(AP) actually has a slightly lower standard deviation of monthly returns but also a lower mean. As a result, the SMSF has an information ratio (Sharpe ratio with a zero return hurdle) of 1.1, while Unisuper is at 0.61 and PSS(AP) at 0.73. Relative to Unisuper, the SMSF has an annual alpha of 5.36% and a beta of 0.44 (Relative to PSS(AP): 4.61% and 0.61).

I compute all these returns pre-tax. This probably overestimates the taxes paid by Unisuper and PSS(AP), giving them a bit of an advantage. OTOH, I don't charge for my time in managing the investments.