F.I.R.E., Life Hacks, politics, Uncategorised

Free speech in Australia.

I was having a conversation with the adonis who I train with recently. He was talking about how we have freedom of the press and freedom of speech in Australia, and how that was great.

I was interested in this because I disagree that we currently have those freedoms.

Change is possible

Yes, I’m aware of the irony of sitting in a comfortable Sydney home, on the internet, writing that we don’t have freedom of speech or freedom of the press in Australia.

But you don’t know what I would be writing about if we did have those freedoms.

This week Australia’s High Court made a decision that means that any company in Australia that has an internet presence, is liable for the comments on their social media accounts or website.  

One of the consequences of this is that ordinary people who do try to speak out about the things going wrong in Australia may well be moderated out of the discourse.

Australia updated secrecy laws in 2018, making it illegal to talk about certain things, either in Australia or overseas (if you’re interested, read part 5.6 of the federal Criminal Code (1995)).

This year Australia appointed a High Court judge Justice Simon Steward who stated that freedom of speech and freedom of political communication are not “settled law”.

This is part of a long term trend in Australia to pass laws that punish or criminalize people for having opinions, exposing government wrongdoing, and speaking out in the public interest.

So? What can you do?

Here’s the problems, what are the solutions?

  • Write to your local member, asking for more political freedoms and asking them to uphold your right to political communication and freedom of speech
  • Write a blog post about your thoughts
  • Write something on social media about freedom of speech in Australia, tag your local member, the Attorney General’s Department and the federal parliament
  • Write to the editor of your favourite newspaper
  • Read and share blog posts like this one
  • Participate in public discourse– bring it up at dinner, bring it up at a public forum, talk about what’s going on
  • Start or sign a petition asking for change like this one asking for the right to protest.
  • Start a T-shirt Campaign
  • Make Art about it
  • Write a story about it
  • Express yourself through poetry
  • Make some rocking music
  • Put your thoughts into photos
  • Meditate on healing the world
  • Send good wishes into the lives of other people
  • Connect with people in your community so that we can lift the cohort
  • Get a qualification or do a short course to keep yourself fresh and keep your brain working
  • Meditate on having love in your heart
  • Learn a language
  • Become F.I.R.E so you’re not a slave to a job any more.

It might not think that these will change things politically, but every time you lift yourself out of fatalistic, nihilistic depression, you remind yourself of the truth:

You have power. You have creativity. You can do something. Change is possible.

Remember: Always be kind.

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This blog is fiction. By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for nerds or artists.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping

More experienced Investors

What on Earth is an index fund, anyway?

How do I choose which stocks I buy?

That’s the big question on my mind when I’m thinking about investment. Warren Buffet recommends index funds. They beat 99% of mutual funds over a 40 year period (I believe that the only mutual fund that has fairly consistently beat the market over a 40+ year period is Berkshire Hathaway—if I’m wrong, tell me in the comments).

An index fund has low costs (less than 0.5% generally) and tracks the market. Overtime, the market goes up and down, but the long term trend is up. This means that the most important thing is the amount of time an investor has in the market. Noel Whittaker, in “Wealth Made Simple” quotes the figure that $20, 000 invested in an Australian Index ETF in 1980, would be worth around $1 150 000 in 2019.

Think about it this way: if I buy individual stocks, and that stock fails, I lose my money. If I buy index funds and a company fails, the index might drop in price but it will naturally come back when a new company takes its place. This means I am highly unlikely to ever lose everything and historically I will almost certainly make gains.

One potential problem with index funds, is if I only invest in one country’s index and that country has a bad run. So for example, if all my money is in Australian Index ETFs, and the Australian economy tanks, my income and assets will significantly drop. If my money is invested across several country’s index funds and bonds, property etc, and Australia’s economy tanks, I’ve got much less chance of losing lots of money through sequence of return risk.

The biggest Australian index fund is Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF, worth $5 748 Million. BetaShares also has an Australian ASX 200 ETF worth $809 Million. VanEck has an equal weight ASX ETF worth $1 167 Million.

Index funds have some of the lowest fees on the market. Vanguard VAS has a MER of 0.10% per annum. BetaShares has a MER OF 0.07% per annum. VankEck is the highest, with a MER of 0.35% per annum.

The buy-sell spread, or slippage, of all of these ETFs is less than 0.05%, except VanEck which sits at 0.10%. VAS is the most liquid, with approx $17 Million of daily transaction value, VanEck MVW  is the least liquid, with approx $2.5 Million of daily transaction value. Over the last five years, VanEck has had the highest return at 8.98%. Next is Vanguard at 7.33%, and BetaShares has only been around for two years, and thus can’t be included in a five year analysis.

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By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for finance nerds.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping

New To Finance

What should I do with my hard-earned cash?

This is a question that everyone has to answer. Are you working full-time? Part-time? Casual? Relying on the bank of Mum and Dad? Whatever your income source, one of the biggest questions you’re going to have to ask yourself, is ‘What am I going to do with my money?’

Conventionally, this is called a budget. Yeah! Pardon? You hate the word budget?

Hmmm… let’s say God waves her magic wand today and delivers you a job that pays a cool million dollars per year—what would you do with the cash?  Buy a great apartment ($700 000)? Brand new car ($100 000)? Spend the rest on the pokies at the local RSL? Congratulations, you just made a budget.  Budgeting just means you plan where to put your dough.

One of the most important rules of budgeting, is to decide how much you want to put into savings/investments, and then live within your means. Living month to month, or spending up big on credit cards, is the easiest thing in the world, but it will not help you to become financially independent in the long term. So decide how much you want to spend, and  stick to that limit no matter what.

Here’s a real example: An engineer client of mine earns a $100 000 package.

$9500 of this goes straight to super (Yeah! Long-term retirement savings!).

Around $20 000 goes to tax (this changes slightly year to year according to legislation, charitable donations, other deductions, etc).

He then has around $70 000 to live on.

He pays around $12 500 per year for strata, rates, and bills.

He pays around $5 000 per year for his car expenses all up (he drives a new-ish reliable hybrid–engineer, right!?).

He pays around $17 500 for all of him and his partner’s food.

He pays $2 000 per year for private health insurance.

He puts around $24 000 per year into savings and investments.

Leaving him $9 000 for fun, education, charity, hobbies, gifts, magazines, and holidays.

This is a basic example of a budget. “I can’t save $2 000 per month!”  you shout in distress. Well, I hear you. There are plenty of people in Australia, who work more than full time hours and will never earn more than around $40 000 per year. But what if you could be one of the people who invests $24 000 per year? Or more? Are you earning $100 000? It’s not actually that much by Australian standards. How much are you really spending on alcohol and nights out with friends?

“But I’ve got a mortgage!”  Yep. Hear that, too. If you’ve got debt, use your savings money to pay it off as fast as possible. Once you own your property or you’ve paid off your personal loans or credit cards, use that money to invest. Don’t put any charges on your credit cards that you can’t pay off by the end of the month. $500 shoes are a want, not a need (not that I’m judging, if you can afford it out of your ‘fun money’– go for it).

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By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for finance nerds.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping

New To Finance

How on Earth do I learn how to invest, anyway?

What do I need to begin investing in stocks and ETFs?

The first thing you need to do is to educate yourself about the financial markets.

ASX has free courses available here:

https://www2.asx.com.au/investors/investment-tools-and-resources/online-courses

This will give you a basic understanding of financial markets and how to invest.

You could also read: Millennial Revolution

https://www.millennial-revolution.com/

Which is a kick-arse blog by millionaires Kirsty Shen and Bryce Leung and has a beginner investing workshop for free (my favourite price).

You could also read: Afford Anything

Which is another excellent blog and podcast by Paula Pant, who writes about the tension between dividing scarce resources such as your time, your money, and your life.

The second thing you need is a brokerage account.

Stocks and ETFs are bought and sold from within brokerage accounts. These are generally free accounts that charge a fee to buy or sell shares (generally between $10-$30 per transaction).

How do you decide what brokerage account to buy?

I suggest contacting your everyday bank. ANZ, Commbank, Bendigo Bank etc all have the option to create brokerage accounts that let you buy and sell shares. If you already use netbanking, you will generally  be able to login to your brokerage account from your banks netbanking platform.

That’s it!

You’re ready to buy and sell shares.

You know what you want to buy (based on your education) and you know how to do it (with an online brokerage account).

NOTE: I am not a financial advisor. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. I’m not a CPA. I’m basically just a gal who has access to google. You should treat this blog with the seriousness you would treat ANYONE who has access to google. This blog was written in response to a question from Neko Loui. If you have financial question, I’m happy to try to answer it.

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By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for finance nerds.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping

More experienced Investors

Review: ResiFund

ResiFund is an Australian residential real estate investment fund. On their website, they quote a return of 10.8%. However, if you read the fine print, they are actually quoting a 10.8% return for Open Corp, the company’s sister company. Open Corp provides financial education, and finds investment properties for investors. So it’s unclear where the 10.8% return is for investors who have bought and sold their investment properties through OpenCorp or if OpenCorp are keeping tabs on the properties they sell to other people.

ResiFund states that a significant proportion of their returns will come from quarterly distributions. However, they do not quantify what a “significant proportion” is. They also do not quote historically, what the yield is. This means that it is unclear what the anticipated capital growth is vs the anticipated rental returns are.

Resifund’s gearing policy is 50% of the current value of the assets. This means that should the fund be wound up, investors will not get anything. Of course, the intention is not for the fund to be wound up, and Resifund do anticipate a good return.

However, doesn’t everyone who starts a fund anticipate good returns? And wouldn’t everyone who starts a fund state that on their website (except Warren Buffett who famously stated to the public that Berkshire Hathaway was overpriced)?

ResiFund also sells by getting people to come to seminars on real estate investing. In my head I worry when I hear this. I feel that anything that can’t be sold on math alone, shouldn’t be sold.

Resifund is an Australian residential real estate investment fund. As with all investments; you need to do your homework, and make decisions as to what is best for your own interests.

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By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for finance nerds.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping