Feb 2017


Investment loan rates are widening, shows Smart Investor's chart of the moment

24 February 2017 | AFR

As lenders adjust their investment mortgage rates to abide by the regulator's lending rules, investors can expect bigger differences between the rates on offer.

A manifesto for Generation Rent

21 February 2017 | SMH

"Affordability, that's what we've got on offer here today," announces the auctioneer of a two-bedroom flat 12 kilometres from the CBD with a guide price of $650,000.

"For those entering the market, and for investors, it ticks all the boxes," he continues, opening a frenzied bidding session that doesn't stop until $780,000.

Melbourne renting: Rent at record highs, rising faster than incomes and vacant

12 February 2017 | The Age

With a record number of new homes approved, Melburnians might think renting is getting easier.

But here is what the city’s rental picture actually looks like: rents are at record highs and rising faster than incomes, the number of vacant properties is shrinking and properties defined as “affordable” to those on low incomes are disappearing.


If you want to be a millionaire, it's better to be a software engineer than a pro athlete

12 February 2017 | Business Insider

In 2016, Cleveland Basketball great LeBron James made over $US77 million between his pay ($US23 million) and endorsements, Forbes reports. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning made $US45 million, and LA Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw made $US32 million.

There’s no question being an elite pro athlete pays very, very well.


Buyers snap up properties in Sydney and Melbourne weekend auctions

12 February 2017 | AFR

A mildly elevated level of stock in Sydney and Melbourne was not enough to satisfy cashed-up buyers, as the usually quiet months of January and February kicked off with strong clearance rates.

The clearance rate in Sydney hit 84.8 per cent while Melbourne's rate reached 75.4 per cent, according to Corelogic's preliminary tally. Domain's numbers were similar at 84 per cent for Sydney and 79 per cent for Melbourne.

Franchise: be your own boss but know the terms

11 February 2017 | AFR

Franchising is making a big comeback for Australians seeking new careers, returning to the workforce or simply discovering a chance to do something different in jobs ranging from making cheese cakes to managing construction sites.


Company profits surge to record highs as worker wages go backwards

28 February 2017 | The Age

Company profits have surged to record highs at the same time wages suffered their sharpest decline in eight years, new figures show, as the Turnbull government prepares to argue the case on Tuesday for a $50 billion company tax cut.

Many of us don't even know we have life insurance. Often it's worthless

28 February 2017 | SMH

We've all seen the TV ads: "What would happen to your loved ones if you were to suddenly die?"

Playing on people's fear of death or permanent disability seems, on the surface, like one of the lowest things you could do.

Oil sector woes sharpens focus on Shell's Woodside stake

28 February 2017 | AFR

A disproportionate sell-down in oil stocks on Monday had fund managers questioning whether Royal Dutch Shell was gearing up for a $3.6 billion exit from Woodside Petroleum.

Perpetual lifted by rising equity markets

23 February 2017 | AFR

The rise in equity markets has helped Perpetual deliver a 2 per cent increase in first-half net profit but the funds manager has not been able to snap its streak of underperformance against the market.

Ardent Leisure profit more than halves on Dreamworld accident costs

23 February 2017 | AFR

The first-half profit of Dreamworld owner Ardent Leisure more than halved after a fatal accident that killed four people last October and closed the attraction for over a month.


BHP investors weigh Trump factor on US shale gas

23 February 2017 | AFR

BHP Billiton is "likely" to soon increase rig numbers and grow production in its controversial US onshore petroleum division, but big shareholders are keen to better understand how US President Donald Trump's energy policy might affect the business.

Wall Street slides after Fed minutes, ASX futures lower

23 February 2017 | AFR

An interest rate hike in the United States is likely to be "fairly soon" in a bid to avoid an overheating economy, according to the Federal Reserve minutes released early on Thursday morning, ahead of a big earnings day on the ASX. 

RBA's Philip Lowe warns of 'sobering combination' of high debt, weak wages

22 February 2017 | AFR

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe has denied the threat of a long undershoot of his 2-3 per cent inflation target but conceded that record-levels of household debt will complicate the task of normalising official interest rates.


Companies must now earn the ATO's trust

22 February 2017 | AFR

Directors will come under fresh scrutiny by the Australian Tax Office as the revenue authority seeks to build "justified trust" with the nation's top 1000 companies.

The move will change how the ATO approaches its tax review obligations with the level of enforcement determined by where a company sits in terms of its tax and risk control systems.

Fair Work Commission ready to hand down decision on weekend penalty rates

22 February 2017 | AFR

The Fair Work Commission's long-awaited decision on whether to cut weekend penalty rates in retail, hospitality and fast-food industries will be handed down on Thursday morning.


Coalition rule change allowed Australia Post to keep massive CEO salary secret

21 February 2017 | SMH

Government entities such as Australia Post - which the Turnbull government is now demanding be more transparent - were explicitly told they could keep senior executive salaries secret under watered-down rules issued by the Coalition two years ago.

Don Meij tribute paid for by Domino's franchisees

21 February 2017 | AFR

It was way back in May last year, long before accusations of widespread wage fraud had been levelled at market juggernaut Domino's Pizza, when we marvelled at the adulatory website the company was maintaining in tribute to its chief executive Don Meij. Red flag right there!

Domino's scandal: franchisee selling visas

13 February 2017 | The Age

"I will say straight that we want to sell this sponsorship," a Domino's Pizza franchisee blurts down the line in Mandarin.

"But you need to pay some money," he says before stating the price.

CBA unit BankWest set to axe negative gearing tax breaks

13 February 2017 | AFR

Bankwest is set to rock the $1 trillion mortgage market and more than 1.5 million property investors by axing negative gearing benefits that drive lucrative residential property investment, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney.

Reuniting owners with $2.7b lost funds

12 February 2017 | ABC


A peak superannuation body is calling on the Federal Government to take more responsibility in helping reunite Australians with billions of dollars in unclaimed super.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) estimates the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is currently holding an estimated $2.7 billion from more than 4 million unclaimed super accounts.


NAB launches campaign to poach disaffected Commonwealth Bank property borrowers

11 February 2017 | AFR


National Australia Bank has implicitly accused Commonwealth Bank of Australia and BankWest of losing their lending appetite and launched a campaign to poach property borrowers disaffected by their indefinite suspension of some lending.

Wall Street hits all-time highs on Trump optimism

11 February 2017 | AFR

WallStreetTrump Wall Street's main stock indexes rose to fresh all-time closing highs on Friday as a spike in oil prices supported energy shares and investors renewed their optimism about President Donald Trump's economic agenda.

Domino's needs to face up to itself

11 February 2017 | The Age

Since 1987 when he started delivering pizzas, his success has been the stuff of dreams, from a pizza delivery driver in 1987 to the top executive at the biggest pizza chain in the country. Along the way he has made a lot of people – including himself – a lot of money.

Wage fraud: Pizza Hut hit with fines

08 February 2017 | The Age

Pizza HutIf there was any doubt that wage underpayment is thriving in the $170 billion franchise sector take a look at Pizza Hut, where delivery drivers have been forced into sham contracts and paid as little as $5.70 a delivery.

NAB and Bankwest forced to repay customers: ASIC

08 February 2017 | SMH

NAB Troubles

National Australia Bank's wealth arm has been forced to pay $36.5 million to its customers, after wrongly charging fees to superannuation fund members and wrongly denying insurance claims.


Financial stress: We're worrying ourselves sick over money

12 February 2017 | ABC


It was a break-up with her partner four years ago that plunged Shari Rainbow into sudden financial dire straits.

"Within a month, I went from owning my own home and having a pretty successful small business to losing the lot and being left in debt," says Ms Rainbow, who lives on the Gold Coast with her three children.

IMF warns on house prices and negative gearing

11 February 2017 | AFR

Negative Gearing

The International Monetary Fund has urged Australia's regulators to double down on their efforts to ensure the nation's banks are resilient enough to "withstand a significant housing market correction" while raising concerns that negative gearing is pushing property prices to extremes.


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