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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Most popular posts

I'm not sure that these are my "best" or most useful/informative posts, but according to blogger they are the most popular posts on this site. Go figure.

The Story of Story and Clark Pianos
Mar 20, 2009, 1 comment

401K Account Balances by Age
Aug 27, 2007

Coin counting machine at CommBank
Sep 26, 2009, 4 comments

Financial Literacy for High School Students
Mar 15, 2008, 4 comments

Why the First Million is the Hardest
May 20, 2007, 3 comments

Property Price Indices
Apr 12, 2012

McDonalds pulls the plug on free access to Maths Online
Dec 21, 2011, 2 comments

Displaying the All Ordinaries Index on Desktop
Dec 31, 2008, 1 comment

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Another rant against the banks

The SMH has an article about banks data mining to work out which of their customers might be "susceptible" to product offers such as investment funds, superannuation, or increased credit limits. While there are certainly cases of people getting into trouble with excessive/inappropriate levels of credit being provided by banks, I can't see that simply sending people information (when they've "opted in" to receiving it from their bank) about products they are likely to actually want to accept is such a bad thing. What does annoy me a bit is when I receive such product information in the mail, read and discard it, only to be phoned up a few days later by some sales rep wanting to confirm that I received the information. All too often I have to say several times that I don't want to product being offered, and eventually have to hang up on the call, as the sales rep keeps trying to "explain" the wonderful features of the product being pushed. Rather than ban product information/offers being sent to customers whose data suggest that are more likely than average to want the product, the more sensible regulation would be to enforce a "no means no" policy for sales staff. So if a sales rep doesn't terminate a sales call the first time a customers says "no thanks", you could make a complaint (and the recorded conversation would be checked by the relevant complaint authority to check the sales rep was following the guidelines).
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Thursday, 12 April 2012

Property Price Indices

Browsing through Moomin's recent posts, I was reminded of the Australian Property Price indices RPdata started publishing recently. Aside from daily index values for each capital city market, they also have a rolling 12-month chart of the indices available here. This chart shows that Sydney property prices have improved a bit since hitting a low point in December 2011. Hopefully this means that my property investment price estimates will also increas in coming months, as my monthly NW calculations rely on monthly sales data for a specific post code area, and have a lag of about three months (ie. my March NW property figure was calculated using the 12-mo to end of Jan price data).

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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Net Worth Update: March 2012

During the Easter long weekend I finally got around to updating my monthly net worth figures for the period Sep 2011 - Mar 2012. Nothing too exciting happened during this period - the Australian stock market dipped in late 2011 due to concerns with the PIGS debt crises in Europe and also a slow-down in the Chinese economy which is bringing global commodity prices off their peaks. But it has recovered most of this dip in recent months. And over the past year the Australian residential property market has been dropping, although the Sydney market had one of the smallest capital city declines - only around 10%. The property market (at least in Sydney) showed signs of levelling off during the first quarter of 2012, and might respond positively if the Reserve Bank cuts interest rates another 0.25% next month.

In September there was a change in the monthly property sales data available for the suburbs where we own residential property, and I took the opportunity the re-jig the formulae used to estimate the current market values of our properties, so the estimates are closer to the actual prices similar properties have sold for recently. This resulted in a one-off drop in the valuation of my property portfolio of about $40,000 as I can't be bothered to spread the $40,000 adjustment over the past 8 years over price estimates.

There's not much point in posting all the monthly figures since September, as they are available from networthiq (see the chart in the RH margin).

In my share portfolio not much has changed - my Fosters shares [FGL] were liquidated via the 'scheme of arrangement', and I used most of the proceeds to reduce my margin loan balance a bit, although I did reinvest about half the money in two ETF that are linked to the ASX200 - the iShares S&p/ASX High Dividend ETF [code IHD], and the Russell High Dividend Australian Shares ETF [code RDV].

Assets___________$ Amount
Stocks_*_________-$34,760 
Retirement_______$385,727 
Properties_______$890,260 

Debts____________$ Amount
Home Mortgage(s)_$359,278 

Net Worth________$881,948
* the Stocks figure is portfolio value - margin loans. As my portfolio value (and margin loan debt) is around $500,000 relatively small movements in the stock market produce huge percentage swings in the net value of my stock portfolio each month.

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