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Expert Shares How To Save Money As Australian Inflation Surges

Inflation surges in Australia, climbing by 3.5 percent, meaning you may have to pay an extra $500 every month for your mortgage.

With the cost of petrol and building materials soaring, Westpac, Australia’s second-largest bank, is also forecasting six RBA rate rises within the next two years

Nick Drewe, money-saving expert at Australian discounts platform, WeThrift, shares his top tips on saving money on energy bills, tax, and other daily costs including supermarket shopping and travel and ahead of the upcoming hike.

1. Keep checking your bills regularly: Whilst some energy suppliers have been known to either make changes to tariffs or make mistakes when charging customers, it’s always a good idea to check your regular household bills.

With winter approaching, those who continue to work from home or have flexible conditions may opt to stay at home, therefore bills for water, energy, and mobile data are likely to increase.

2. Research before choosing a supplier: While many billpayers may instinctively choose an energy supplier they are familiar with, this may not always be the most cost-effective option. Really delve into a wide range of energy suppliers available and compare their prices.

Also note, if you are looking to switch energy suppliers, be sure to analyse each company’s exit fees, and opt for one that won’t charge the earth if you want to leave.

3. Understand your energy bill: Whilst there are often a lot of terms and conditions to read, attempting to understand the information related to your energy tariff and household consumption could help you keep the costs of your bills down.

The personal projection on the bill is the amount your household is expected to spend over the next 12 months, and the tariff comparison rate figure helps you understand how much you’re spending per kilowatt-hour of gas and electricity.

Knowing this information will make it easier when comparing energy deals if you are planning to switch to a cheaper one, or help you monitor your current energy consumption.

4. Book travel tickets early: If you’re someone who likes to plan ahead for the coming months, then this could help you make significant savings when it comes to booking your rail travel. Securing your train tickets between one and three months ahead of time could benefit you hugely when it comes to saving pennies.

If possible, always try to book train times that don’t clash with rush hour periods too (06:30 – 09:30 and 15:30 – 18:30).”

5. Look for discounts codes before ordering takeaways: If you’re treating yourself to a well-deserved takeaway, before clicking ‘checkout’ on sites like Deliveroo or Menulog, it’s always worth a search on voucher sites for any discount codes or free delivery incentives that could knock your basket price down.

Also, always check your emails for any promotional vouchers that may have been sent following your last order. Often delivery couriers will offer customers small incentives ahead of their next purchase to retain their loyalty and avoid them being tempted to order elsewhere

Deliveroo customers have the option to ‘Refer a friend, which will secure both of you $10 off your next order.”

6. Find the best exchange rates: With foreign travel allowed once again, many are looking for a last-minute getaway to enjoy some much-needed sand and sunshine.

Despite booking a last-minute trip, when it comes to gathering your currency, it is best not to exchange your money last minute at the airport. This is because the rates are generally much less favourable than online or high-street alternatives, therefore preparation is key.

When booking a last-minute break, try to order your euros for collection in advance of your travel dates to take advantage of the best possible rates.

Getting yourself a money travel card will help you get the best rates and whilst it doesn’t fully replace having currency in hand, once you are there you can use these at no cost for spending or withdrawing from a cash machine.”

7. Time your grocery trips wisely: Try to time your grocery trips for when your local stores are likely to have just added yellow ‘reduced’ stickers to stock that needs to be sold that day. Making the most of these heavily discounted deals will help you to fill your freezer up with discounted meat, fish, and freezer meals for cheaper food options in the coming days and weeks.

Normally workers will start discounting products that are about to pass their sell-by-date later on in the afternoon or early evening, so a food shop after work is the perfect time to grab a  bargain.

Many supermarkets also have clearance sections where products that cannot be sold at their RRP or may have damaged packaging can be found. Just make sure to check you are happy with the item and that the goods aren’t compromised before heading to the checkout.”

8. Cancel any unnecessary direct debits: Now is the perfect time to log on to your online banking and scour your direct debits and standing orders to see if you can cancel anything that’s become an unnecessary spend.

Whether it be a gym membership you aren’t quite getting your money’s worth for, or a streaming service you signed up for during lockdown that you no longer make the most of, cutting these small outgoings will make a difference to your bank balance in the long run.

Also, make sure all of your monthly direct debits look correct, and if there is any questionable outgoings from your account to immediate

Source: https://www.wethrift.com/tag/australia 

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Laura Burns @ JBH

NSW & QLD Voters Say Clean Industries Are The Key To Future Jobs & Prosperity… According To A New Poll

A new poll of over 2000 voters in regional, rural and metropolitan Queensland and New South Wales released recently reveals that 6 in ten believe the states’ future economic prosperity lies in clean industries, such as renewable energy exports (e.g. green hydrogen), critical minerals like lithium and cobalt, and manufacturing renewable products.

Notably, only a quarter of voters in Queensland (26%) and about one-fifth in New South Wales (21%) believe their state’s future prosperity lies in coal and gas.

New South Wales and Queensland dominate Australia’s coal export sectors, with New South Wales being home to the world’s largest coal port, in Newcastle. Three of Australia’s major liquefied gas export facilities are located in Queensland.

Yet two-thirds of voters say clean jobs in renewable energy will be the best source of future employment (63% in QLD and 68% in NSW). Overall, less than a quarter of respondents back fossil fuels as the best source of future jobs (27% in QLD and 19% in NSW).

The survey, commissioned by the Climate Council and conducted by YouGov, also found that:

  • 6 in 10 say the government’s top investment priority should be in renewables (60% QLD; 62% NSW). In QLD, only 20% nominated coal and 15% said gas. In NSW, the figures were 15% for coal and 17% for gas.
  • More than 6 in 10 overall agree that further cuts to carbon emissions will deliver economic benefits to workers (58% in QLD and 64% in NSW) and to businesses (59% QLD and 66% NSW).
  • 6 in 10 agree that regional areas will benefit most from the global transformation to renewables (60% QLD; 61% NSW).
  • Only 2 in 10 believe workers who rely on fossil fuels are getting enough support to prepare for a decarbonised future without coal and gas (19% in QLD; 21% in NSW).

Leading economist and Climate Councillor Nicki Hutley said:

“This polling reveals that people in New South Wales and Queensland understand the era of coal and gas in this country is coming to a close as the world rapidly decarbonises. They strongly support government investment in new, clean industries that will future-proof jobs and secure our economic prosperity.

“There is a huge opportunity for the historical coal and gas heartlands of New South Wales and Queensland to grasp the economic rewards of the global zero emission transformation, and the people see this.

“Significantly, voters recognise that further cuts to carbon emissions – critical if we are to keep global warming in check – will increase jobs and lift economic growth.

“They also think regional areas will benefit the most. However, there is a strong view that there needs to be better support from government for communities that currently rely on fossil fuels in order for them to adjust to the changes.

“All governments should pay attention to this public groundswell of support for clean industries, and commit to credible carbon cuts this decade. The Federal Government can play a huge role in helping Queensland and New South Wales harness their immense natural advantages and put these states on a path to becoming clean industry and renewable superpowers.”

Dr Amanda Cahill, CEO of The Next Economy, a not for profit that works with business, local government and the community to manage the transition from fossil fuels to clean new industries, said:

“There are so many opportunities for regional areas and they’re crying out for support from government to help them diversify their economies.

“This poll reaffirms what I’ve been hearing on the ground. Workers, businesses and investors are ready to take advantage of the opportunities in the new economy, but they need the government to back them in with clear targets, regional development funding and planning support.

“The countries we export to are already on the road to net zero emissions and we have a choice – help them do it or lose out on those new export opportunities.”

Other spokespeople include:

NSW (quotes available here):

Sam Mella, Hunter Engagement Lead, Beyond Zero Emissions

Geoff Bragg, solar installer and trainer Armidale, NSW, who can’t keep up with demand and sees a critical shortage of workers.

QLD (quotes available here):

Dr Heidi Edmonds, Gladstone Engagement Lead, Beyond Zero Emissions

Jason Sharam, CEO of Mackay based renewables company, Linked Group Services

Luciano Giangiordano, CEO of Enertech PV, a renewable energy company designing and developing large-scale solar farms in Queensland, based on Sunshine Coast

The full statewide poll findings from NSW and QLD, the full questions, and a methodology statement are available here.

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Medianet

Forget Get-Rich-Quick. Here’s How to Get Rich Slowly But Surely.

By Michelle Baltazar

Are you stingy or generous? 

I figured for any financial advice to be effective, it has to involve absolutely no sacrifice on my part. Zilch. Nada. I put my hand up for reading finance articles that tell me if I don’t buy that $3.50 cup of takeaway coffee in the morning, I’ll be able to save $875 in a year.

Excellent! But then I’ll be miserable for the entire year, too, so that advice ended in the bin, right next to a discarded coffee cup.

This article will tell you how to save money you don’t see. There are many ways to do that, but I’m keeping it to three based on your age bracket.

If you’re 20 and under

Tip no. 1: Honestly? Don’t even worry about it. Chances are you’re working at a fast-food chain earning about $15 or so an hour. By the time the weekend rolls in, your paycheque will be just enough to buy that t-shirt you’ve been eyeing for ages. What’s the point? Squander $40 on a t-shirt that’ll make you feel good while you’re wearing it? Or put it in the bank and feel miserable? Hey, that make-up kit is on sale… bargain!

So the tip is if you decide to live your teens with no financial compass whatsoever, you’re not alone. Besides, you’ll have your 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s to be financially responsible. So make the most of your youth while you still have it!

Tip no. 2: Alright, so you’re one of those who do want to save up. Brilliant! Use the power of compound interest. Put simply, the sooner you start saving, the better off you’re going to be.

For example, if you save about $10,000 by the time you’re 18, then you will have 100 times as much, or around $1 million, by the time you retire (as long as you make 10% per year). The calculations get complicated because you need to factor in many things, but the bottom line is that the sooner you start saving, whether it’s $1,000 or $10,000, all you have to do is let time work for you.

That’s the lazy girl’s guide to saving. Don’t scrimp. Just put money in the bank and promise yourself that you won’t cash it in until you’re in your 50s. Let the power of compound interest make you a millionaire.

Tip no. 3: Study hard. It’s going to be tough to ask you to develop a finance strategy when you’re trying to sort out your relationship strategy or ‘how to move out of home’ strategy. Studying hard means, you’ll be setting yourself up to get a high-paying job straight out of university. Or at least have more options ahead of you.

Studying hard also means you’ll be cooped up at night rifling through reams of notes instead of being out with your friends – and spending money.

If you’re in your 20s and 30s

Tip no. 1: Stop thinking of your tax return day as a shop-till-you-drop day. Put the money aside and consider it your savings for the year. Easy. When your savings hit $5,000, put it in a high-interest savings account and forget about it.

If you happen to be earning so much that you have to give the Australian Tax Office (ATO) more money, don’t worry. It just means you’ll have more money to make through tax-deductible investments or some form of salary package. But that’s the subject of another article.

Tip no. 2:

  1. Buy a property as soon as you can.
  2. Talk to your parents if they can help you.
  3. Shop around for a good home loan deal.
  4. Go on a ‘chicken noodle soup’ diet for six months for the deposit if you have to.

One of the best decisions I made was buying my first property at age 24. I wasn’t ready, but circumstances forced me to sign the dotted line. You don’t have to be 100% sure that you can afford one. Even if you’re only 70% there, the rest will work itself out. The key thing is that property prices, on average, double every seven years, so even when house prices are high, they can only get higher.

Of course, given the housing prices are down right now, you could wait a while until they hit rock bottom. You could save tens of thousands if you got the timing right, but all that waiting might make you change your mind. Mortgage boots today or tomorrow is no less painful. Just bite the bullet and see the fruits of your labour in seven years.

Tip no. 3: Have at least one business failure under your belt. If you look at BRW Rich200, a list of the country’s wealthiest families and individuals, you will notice one trend: most are not rich through inheritance but hard work. One thing most of them have in common? Bankruptcy at some point in their career or at least one business venture that failed before they struck gold.

Your 20s or 30s are the best time to dream big because even if you fail, you still have time to recover and pursue something else. If you leave it any later, you might not be foolish enough to brave the odds. Nine out of 10 businesses fail, but the one business that does might just put you on the Rich200.

If you’re in your 40s and 50s

Tip no. 1: Check your super. In the early 90s, the government introduced a new law that requires all businesses to set aside the equivalent of nine percent of their worker’s salary in a so-called superannuation fund. The rationale at the time was that millions of Australians weren’t saving enough for their retirement, and their future pension might not be enough for their needs. Not enough for a country that rates itself as first-world.

While you may regard super as ‘invisible’ money because you can’t get your hands on it until you retire, it is ‘real’ money. More importantly, the government has introduced new rules last year which give people better tax rates and more money (under a so-called government co-contribution scheme) if they divert their savings out of their savings bank account and into super.

The tip? Find out if you have one or more super funds and merge them into one account. Check the website of your current super fund to find out more. You’ll cut down your fees and have more savings come retirement.

Tip no. 2: Check your super. This is not an error. It’s worth saying twice because statistics have shown 90 percent of people don’t bother. Do two things: find out your superannuation account balance and find out if you have one or more super funds.

Your decision to ignore this advice can make the difference between watching polar bears aboard an Alaskan cruise or watching polar bears at Taronga Zoo.

Tip no. 3: Stay away from ‘get rich quick’ schemes. Statistics show that those in their 40s and 50s are the main targets of con artists simply because many baby boomers have ‘lazy’ assets lying around. This could mean the main home, investment properties, or shares inherited from working in a company. Many would also have tens of thousands in the bank just waiting for an ‘investment’ home by this time.

In the last two years, many Australian investors have been caught out by the collapse of property companies such as Westpoint, which promised much higher interest than its rivals. It turned out the company was using the money from ‘new’ investors to pay off the ‘old’ investors. It didn’t help that some financial planners were getting a lot of commission for recommending the company to their clients.

The lesson? Don’t squander your life savings on investments that sound too good to be true.

Money tips for all ages

Managing money is complicated. Studies show that the Australian tax system could be simplified. Superannuation is too complex to understand. Saving money is difficult when there are many products to choose from, and fraudsters are only too eager to con you.

Against that environment, there are three things you can do to get rich slowly but safely:

  • Let ‘time’ do all the hard work.
  • Buy an asset as early you can and, as unexciting as it sounds.
  • Find out more about your super.

Oh yeah, don’t max out your credit card. But who am I kidding?

Source: The Australian Filipina

The 4 Most Vital Elements To Know About Online Marketing In 2022

Let’s face it, online marketing is always evolving. There will always be changes in the manner that people make transactions through the Internet, which means that online marketing can also change along with it.

In order to go along well with the possible changes in the virtual marketing procedures, you must know the essential elements that are guaranteed to lead you to a successful business endeavor online. The following are the most vital elements to know about online marketing for an efficient business venture online.

Market knowledge

Prior to endeavor online, you should first know your target audience. The moment you have effectively learned who your target market is, it will be easier to start for you at that point. Once you already identified the market that you will deal with, it will improve your chance of learning about the marketing strategy that you will use in your business. Market knowledge is the foundation of any marketing technique whether doing an online or physical transaction.

Responsive website

A responsive website is composed of images, videos, and other important elements of an operational website. Your site should have a series of capturing leads that can help you gain potential customers that you might not be expecting at first. A website can be compared to a virtual brochure wherein you will have a catalog of your products and services. Having your own website will surely help in establishing a good business identity for your business.

Content

Your content means a lot in online marketing. In most cases, a business can easily be identified through its content which is why it is necessary for you to come up with high-quality content. Internet marketing is a broad area in the virtual world wherein you are most likely to encounter a series of competitors in the same niche as yours. A business has a higher possibility of getting known in the market because the content is easier to contribute online.

Quality design

Aside from the fact that you need to have quality content for your site, it is as well essential for it to have a creative design to attract potential customers. A good design for your website is a great investment that will give you higher chances of increasing the number of your audience. You should make it to a point that you invested in quality design to make it more comfortable for your customers to deal effectively with you. Paying attention to great design is a way for you to arrive at the best results for your business.

Learning about these elements of online marketing is the first step towards a successful marketing plan over the Internet. Making money online goes on a careful procedure in order to increase your sales at the end of the day. When you work on each of these elements, you will be able to produce more sales and revenue by the end of the year. In this case, you can call your business truly a success.

Photo by Canva Studio from Pexels

Future-Proofing Australia’s Workplaces And Cities From COVID-19 Requires Fundamental Cultural Change

Managing an ‘open Australia’ will require a re-evaluation of the way we design our cities and workplaces according to an expert panel convened by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) and sponsored by GSK Australia.

The panel discussion, Proofing against future pandemics, focused on how health, smart cities, and resilient workplaces will inform Australia’s success as we learn to live with COVID-19.

David Fitz-Gerald, GSK Australia and New Zealand Head of Human Resources said building resilience into the workplace requires a change in culture.

“GSK is known as an innovator in medicines and vaccines. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted us to take further steps forward as an innovative workplace,’’ said Mr. Fitz-Gerald.

“It prompted us to find new ways to support our people to thrive. We have applied a new philosophy of ‘flex-pathy’, providing our workforce with ‘maximum flexibility’, coupled with clear and consistent communication. This philosophy was embedded while also ensuring a sustained focus on our company goals.”

Mr. Fitz-Gerald also said that companies that apply lessons from the pandemic will reap the benefits when it comes to attracting talent in competitive labour markets.

“Looking to the future, we created a framework, called ‘Performance with Choice,’ which is brought to life in our culture, not in policy.  We encourage our people to have open conversations to identify ways of working that support their performance and their team and to feel safe and secure knowing that this flexibility is available to them.”

Panellist Malcolm Smith, Australasian Cities Leaders, Arup, said that re-evaluating our approach to the way we design our cities for work, education, and leisure will be important in the management of pandemics in the future.

“Cities are not just about physical structures, they are representations of our social and economic aspirations. When we have our cities disrupted, it affects all of those aspects. We need to understand re-integration of those aspects as we come out of disruption and model new scenarios with the lessons we’ve learned,” said Mr. Smith.

“This includes seeing an increase in local trends, provision of services, and changes to the composition and concentration of city centres. This has consistently played out in the pandemic as we saw inequitable access to open space across the world.”

“We now have the digital capacity to monitor the impact of disruption and its social effect on our cities – and we need to use it. We need to model our cities for multiple-use scenarios and have a conversation about making this a requirement for city design, like some countries in Europe.”

Panellist Jeff Connolly, CEO at Siemens ANZ, emphasised smart technology as a critical lever to address the global challenges of pandemics.

“We used to be bricks and steel only, but now we’ve got fully intelligent buildings and infrastructure. Pandemics require the real-time response that technology can provide, helping us to address the challenges of future pandemics,” said Mr. Connolly.

“At the start of the COVID-19, we used a lot of preventative measures with some of them proving unnecessary later. This was all because our environments were not designed to contain a virus-like COVID-19. We now have an opportunity to use smart technology so we can design these environments with purpose.”

“Digitalisation is at the heart of the solution. Smart technology is already being used in purpose-built locations like the National Gallery of Victoria. Solutions like increased filtration, UV lighting, and ionization mean we’re able to address the challenges of the disrupted cities we now live in.”

Today’s discussion was facilitated by Dr. Mel Miller, partner of Deloitte Access Economics, and was the second in a series of three sessions that focus on Australia’s post-pandemic future.

The next “Pandemic to Endemic” panel discussion will be held in February 2022.

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Medianet

Photo by CoWomen from Pexels

3 Real Ways To Make More Money In 2022 (In 10 Days)

By Michelle Baltazar 

If one of your new year’s resolutions for 2022 is to sort out your finances, you’re not alone. The Coronavirus pandemic brought on drastic changes in our ability to maintain a secure job, earn extra income and start (or keep) a new business.

But there are ways you can make 2022 a better year by following these two simple steps – in 10 days. The best thing to do is to spread the tasks over several weekends.

Tip #1 Start a weekly savings budget. Time required: Two-three days

Technically, you can prepare this budget in a couple of hours or less, but to avoid the anxiety, allocate a weekend or two. There is also a difference between an expense budget (how much you spend) versus a savings budget (how much you save).

Most people know they have to set aside a certain amount off their wages for bills and other expenses but not many put together a weekly savings budget – and that’s a big difference.

I’m not saying this is going to be easy but it’s absolutely worth the effort. There are many budgeting spreadsheets available on the internet but I recommend this one from the government as it means you’re not giving away your financial info to a third-party service provider (unless you don’t mind this!).

Step one: Go to Budget Planner and work out your expense budget as indicated in their spreadsheet. It’s alright if you can’t fill the spreadsheet completely. If you can at least cover your major expenses, then you’re already a step ahead of most people.

Step two: Once you’ve filled in the spreadsheet, you’ll know how much money you have remaining. From this amount, you can work out your weekly savings budget.

Step three: Hey, if this is all too hard, to begin with, nominate a savings amount and stick with it for the year. Even a small amount, say $50 a week, works out to be at least $2,000 for the year.

Tip #2. Check your superannuation. Time required: One-two days

Again, you don’t need two days to do this, especially if you’ve already downloaded your superannuation app. But if you’re scratching your head and wondering what ‘superannuation’ even means, your future self will thank you if you swap an hour of a Netflix episode with an hour of googling the term.

Here’s a link to a government website to know more: How Super Works

The actual tip here is that by the end of this exercise, you should be able to answer two important questions:

What is the name of your superannuation fund?

What is your superannuation account balance?

If you can answer both of those questions easily, well done! You’d be surprised how many people don’t know these very basic details about their super.

Tip #3 Subscribe to Money Magazine for their twice-a-week free newsletters. Time required: Less than five minutes

Full disclosure: I am the editor-in-chief of this magazine so, of course, I’ll recommend that you subscribe to it but I can’t tell you how many hundreds, even thousands, of dollars I have saved simply from reading tips from the finance experts we feature over the course of the year.

You can also choose to subscribe to any other finance newsletters or websites. It doesn’t matter as long as you do subscribe to at least one finance-related resource in 2022. Financial literacy can do wonders for your wallet.

The main thing though is that you don’t invest nor give your money to finance schemes that sound too good to be true. If they are offering you unrealistic returns, it’s most likely a scam.

There you have it – three tips to kick off your financial journey in 2022. There’s so much more than you can do but I believe in the power of three when it comes to completing tasks, big or small. By ticking these three goals first, you’re more likely to gain confidence in your financial acuity.

Source: The Australian Filipina

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Are Property Investors Ignoring The Real Cost Of Real Estate??

  • Buying and selling fees, ongoing management charges, tax and tenancy uncertainty can erode any potential profits on property investment.

  • Falling gross rental yield rates and rising housing prices can make it harder to find reliable returns.

  • AltX provides access to the attractive property market without some of the risks and expenses that come with direct investment.

Drawn to potential gains in a surging market, Australians continue to invest in real estate. But is there a better way to get in on the boom without costs and fees chipping away at your yield?

 According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data, property represents 51% of household wealth in Australia. And it doesn’t look like that percentage is going to be going down anytime soon. In June, ABS figures revealed quarterly growth in household wealth of 5.8%. And the increase was once again driven by residential property. The asset class grew by 6.7% in the period – the largest quarterly jump on record.

It’s clear Australians have retained their strong appetite for investing in property and are hungry for more opportunities. But is being a landlord all it’s cracked up to be – especially as residential prices continue to rise?

It all adds up

It’s one thing to outbid (or out-negotiate) the competition for your new investment property. It’s another factor in all the other initial and ongoing costs associated with real estate investing, all of which can dent potential returns in both the short- and long term. They include:

  • Buying and selling costs including stamp duty, conveyancing fees, agent fees, and inspections, not to mention the time involved in research, due diligence, finance, and settlement.
  • Ongoing fees such as property management services (which can generally eat up 7-10% of weekly rent income plus GST[1]), maintenance and repairs, strata fees, and landlord insurance (about $1200 a year for a property worth $1million[2]).
  • Capital gains tax on rental income from positively geared investments, as well as on the eventual profit when you sell.

And there’s also the potential unreliability of tenants, which can become an even bigger concern as you grow your investment property portfolio. On the one hand, more dwellings mean a greater number of potential income streams. On the other, each carries its own risk of vacancy and no- or low-rent periods, as we saw during COVID-19 support measures.

As vacancy rates rise and fall, so, too, can your return, bringing an extra element of unpredictability.

Prices up, yield down

Several other factors are making it harder for investors to find yield in the rental market.

In September 2021, the gross rental yield dropped to 3.32% – the lowest ever – with Melbourne (2.8%) and Sydney (2.5%) recording the lowest figures. COVID border closures and migration restrictions most likely played a role in this drop – highlighting one of the risks of traditional property investment.

Months of rising housing prices also make it harder to find consistent yield due to the inverse relationship between the two factors. Combining low yield with the aforementioned costs of real estate investment, and you can see why many potential investors are frustrated.

Taking some of the worries out of real estate

Alternative investing options like AltX give you a chance to get involved in the upward-moving Australian property market – without exposing yourself to as many of the costs and variables that can cause your yield to yo-yo.

By investing in the private real estate debt used to fund Australian real estate projects, property is still a part of your portfolio as the underlying security – without the burden of owning it yourself. Your regular monthly payments come in the form of interest, rather than rent, which means less worry about vacancy rates or unreliable tenants. And with an average deal timeframe of 12 to 18 months and no exit costs, you’ll have more flexibility in where and how you allocate your capital.

It’s an exciting time to get involved in the soaring Australian property market. And the alternative investment options from AltX might be the key to avoiding some of the traditional costs associated with doing so.

About AltX

AltX (www.altx.com.au) is a market-leading alternative investment platform. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Sydney, AltX provides bespoke access to alternative income-generating products which have traditionally been inaccessible to individual investors.  AltX has funded in excess of $2bn of transactions since inception with zero loss of investor capital.

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Medianet

How Investors Are Embracing Alternative Strategies In This Day And Age

Traditionally financial advisers were considered investment specialists who earned fees for advising their ‘non-financial’ clients on where to invest. But with traditional debt and equity investments no longer achieving the desired outcomes, they’ll need to stay ahead of all available investment options – including the ones self-directed investors are already embracing.

Trust in financial advice eroded during the Banking Royal Commission, and only one in ten Australians currently receive financial advice. Oliver Wyman estimates non-advised investments in Australia are worth $3.6 trillion – more than three times assets under advice.[1]

“Financial advisers have been forced to make significant changes – to their fee models, professional education requirements and client duty of care – and in some cases their licensees have exited the industry,” says Nick Raphaely, CEO and Co-founder of AltX, an alternative investment platform focusing on property-backed private debt.

“At the same time, the available universe of investment options has expanded – and many high net worth or sophisticated investors know that. They expect more from their advisers than ever before.”

Direct investors are embracing debt

While it’s still a relatively small component of any portfolio, industry experts believe Australia’s private debt market could double by 2025. According to Preqin, Australia’s private capital assets under management rose steadily in 2020 to a record $77 billion, and the country has one of the most attractive risk/return profiles globally. These assets comprise private equity, venture capital, private debt, real estate, infrastructure, and natural resources.

“Investors no longer question whether the asset class has merits. They come directly to us, and are more interested in whether the deal matches what they’re looking for in terms of risk and return,” says Raphaely.

One AltX investor, who currently has over 100 deals on the platform and also invests in private debt elsewhere, says AltX’s deals play a “conservative role” in his portfolio as a capital preservation play. “I like the quality of the deals, and I like AltX’s flawless default rate of zero. Your money works harder there than with the bank, without taking on any undue risk.”

As a wholesale investor, he also invests directly in property, funds and equities – without a financial planner.

“I find they don’t really understand what you’re trying to do, or they have a bias towards a particular path,” he says. “I wish accountants could still provide that kind of advice, because they see everyone’s books and understand what does and doesn’t work.”

Most investors don’t have the time or expertise to stay on top of a truly diversified portfolio – let alone any tax advantages. Yet 19% of Australians say the biggest barrier to accessing financial advice is lack of trust – and 29% say it’s a desire to manage their own finances.

AltX’s Flagship First Mortgage Debt Fund has recently received a ‘Recommended’ rating from independent research house IIR, and AltX can also create bespoke funds for advisers. This makes first mortgage private debt more accessible for both advisers and their clients.

However, they first need to understand the role of alternative assets like private debt in the current market.

Liquidity, yield and capital preservation

For investors approaching or in retirement, generating reliable income is the number one concern right now. But defensive positions are currently difficult: investing in cash currently does not beat inflation, and other fixed-income like 5-year Australian government bonds are only returning around 0.5% yield.

“Alternatives are not designed to keep pace with ‘raging bull’ equity markets – they provide non-correlated diversification to protect investment portfolios,” explains Raphaely. “But they can provide a balance of income, diversification and liquidity if you know what you are looking for.”

For example, AltX provides returns of around 4%-8% on first mortgage-backed property loans, over a fixed period – say 12 months. Construction loans may yield higher returns, but they assume an extra level of risk in the execution of actually building a project.

That’s why private debt investors need to do a fair amount of due diligence before committing to any specific deal. And their advisers should be across those details too.

“I understand property,” the AltX investor told us. “I don’t look at any LVR (Loan to Value Ratio) over 65% unless it’s a cracker of a position. I look at the valuation and whether I agree with that value. I look at the property, where it is and what the alternative uses are – how easy it would be to resell. And I tend not to go past 12 months.”

He prefers to invest directly, to have full visibility over the underlying asset. “I like that AltX has been doing this for quite a while. What I really love is that the exit strategy for the borrower is clearly laid out for every transaction. This gives me a lot of clarity on how I’m going to get my money back.”

Not just for those in the know

Raphaely co-founded AltX 10 years ago because he believed the ‘exclusive club’ mentality of investing in private debt was ripe for disruption. “It shouldn’t have to be a case of who you know,” he says. “We want to democratise access to this asset class.”

Many AltX investors do hear about the platform through friends and colleagues. These investors are far less likely to come through their financial adviser – although Raphaely hopes that will change as more planners understand the valuable role private debt can play in a portfolio.

“Instead of targeting a balanced portfolio mix with 60% equities and 40% bonds, think about it in terms of time,” he suggests. “Especially for retirees, who don’t have the time horizon to recover from a capital loss or ride out low bond yields.” For example, carving liquidity needs up into time, you could allocate cash funds to a 12-month private debt deal – and enjoy strong returns with a similar sense of security. “As a first mortgage holder, you rank in priority to other creditors,” notes Raphaely.

Other assets, like private equity, also have a strong showing as alternatives to equities – but (like equities) they play a growth role, rather than yield. And private equity positions are far less liquid than shares.

“There are assets that can provide income, but they aren’t the ‘usual’ types of products many financial planners are used to,” says Raphaely. “If we look at the US, there is certainly growing acceptance of alternatives as part of the mix. Yieldstreet, for example, enables investments in art or marine finance as well as real estate.”

As financial advisers seek to stay relevant in ever-changing markets – where new tech platforms may be just as trusted by the next generation of investors as a human adviser – it’s important to be aware of all the possible options available to meet investor goals and risk appetite.

About AltX

AltX (www.altx.com.au) is a market-leading alternative investment platform. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Sydney, AltX provides bespoke access to alternative income-generating products which have traditionally been inaccessible to individual investors.  AltX has funded in excess of $2bn of transactions since inception with zero loss of investor capital.

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Medianet

Private Debt Market Expected To Double By 2025, According To Industry Experts

From a ‘fringe’ asset class to nimble backbone of Australia’s booming non-bank and construction sector, the growth of Australia’s private debt market has been nothing short of phenomenal over the last decade. And it’s not gone unnoticed globally, with US fund management giant Apollo Global Management taking a 50% stake in a local non-bank lender Max Cap this month.

“It’s certainly a sign the sector is coming of age,” says AltX Co-CEO Nick Raphaely, who founded his alternative investment platform in the aftermath of the GFC. “Investors no longer question whether the asset class has merits – they are more interested in whether the deal matches what they’re looking for in terms of risk and return.”

And what they’re looking for right now is yield.

“When we think about our mandate, our first job is to protect capital for worth clients, and in a low-interest environment they are happy to dedicate a significant proportion to private debt because it has a reasonable return,” says Nick.

Investors in this asset class can earn up to three or four times what retail investors might get on conservative fixed-income positions. For wholesale clients who can manage semi-liquidity, private debt deals, and fund structures are very attractive.

As Director of KPMG’s Debt Advisory Services, Matt McKenna has seen what he calls a “significant” emergence in private debt over the past 5 years, and non-bank lending. “Increasingly, we are seeing alternative pools of capital fund our clients’ transactions, as they seek greater levels of flexibility than more traditional financing arrangements can provide,” he says.

“From an investor perspective, there’s also limited cash returns in the current interest rate environment. So we’re seeing investors seeking out the yield they’re missing in aspects of their portfolio through other asset classes, which includes private debt funds.”

Rapid growth post-GFC

Globally, private debt is projected to increase 11.4% annually to $1.46 trillion by the end of 2025. According to Preqin, Australia’s private capital market offers one of the most attractive risk/return profiles globally, and assets under management rose steadily in 2020 to a record $77 billion.

“We estimate the commercial lending market is around $300 billion, and non-bank lending is about 10% of that,” says Domenic Lo Surdo, Joint Managing Director Stamford Capital. “I think it could easily double in the next five years.”

As one of Australia’s leading commercial brokers, Stamford Capital has seen a steady shift in borrower appetite to work with non-bank lenders. “It’s all about speed of execution and flexibility, as well as capacity to deliver on terms outside where banks are able to trade,” Domenic says.

The private debt market was effectively decimated by the GFC when government-guaranteed bank deposits ended the traditional debenture model and foreign banks exited the market. So how has the new non-bank sector grown so quickly?

“Australia has a limited number of large banks, and they can never cover the entire commercial lending landscape – they would simply be over-concentrated in one asset class,” explains Nick. “But without debt funding, the bricks and mortar of Australia simply wouldn’t exist.”

Domenic says there were no non-bank lenders operating in construction funding immediately after the GFC. “With policy and regulatory constraints on the banking sector, the private debt market has evolved to include new entrants, different products, and a growing appetite for risk. And as it matures, the price gap between the bank and non-bank capital continues to compress.”

Stamford Capital’s 2021 Debt Capital Markets Survey highlighted the intensifying competition for deals amongst non-bank lenders, with two-thirds of respondents expecting non-banks to increase construction lending activity.

Domenic says Stamford gets calls every week from new private lenders and is very careful to only work with those who will keep delivering certainty through a project. “There are opportunistic players, very short-term in their thinking. We only want to work with those who will still be around in 10 years’ time.”

Matt agrees, saying “it almost feels like every week someone is calling me from a new credit fund… while we expect the borrower demand for private debt to continue to expand, at the same time I expect to see a level of consolidation on the supply side given there are so many alternative capital providers chasing similar opportunities.”

The hunt for yield

While demand for capital has remained constant, it’s clear the supply side of the equation has taken off. “There’s a huge amount of liquidity in the market at the moment, looking to find a home,” says Matt. “Even private equity houses, which have traditionally focused on acquisitions and equity investments, are establishing credit funds to deploy excess capital into other asset classes on behalf of investors.”

“Money goes where it’s treated best, and money is getting a lot of love in private real estate debt these days,” notes Nick. He’s seeing investors funding single deals through platforms like AltX, or through funds. SMSFs and super funds are turning more and more to this asset class. Listed vehicles are also raising debt capital on the ASX.

“This will only lead to further growth and market participation,” he says.

A recent survey of AltX investors indicated that 56% intend to increase their allocation to this asset class over the next 12 months.

“Investors we speak to want to feel comfortable if they end up owning the asset,” says Nick. “And real estate is very easy to understand and clarify risk around. People tend to be a lot more patient with this asset class because there is a certain outcome.”

Matt agrees the structural protection of real estate debt is a plus for investors. “There’s a lot of familiarity with the underlying asset class, and whether it’s residential or commercial real estate investors have a better understanding of the mortgage security.”

Nick says institutional interest in private debt is an indication this asset class is at a tipping point.

“It’s like any cycle: first to engage are the early adopters, then investors with bigger cheques who want to wait and see, and eventually the institutional money arrives when it’s fully proven. We’re now fast approaching the third wave.”

About AltX

AltX (www.altx.com.au) is a market-leading alternative investment platform. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Sydney, AltX provides bespoke access to alternative income-generating products which have traditionally been inaccessible to individual investors.  AltX has funded in excess of $2bn of transactions since inception with zero loss of investor capital.

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Medianet

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels