Since its 2011 high, the Australian dollar has fallen 34% in value against the US dollar. For some time our view has been that it will fall to $US0.70 by year end with probably an overshoot into the $US0.60s. However, as we all know forecasting precise currency levels is a mug’s game. The key is that the direction remains down and we are likely to see a classic overshoot. This note looks at why and what it means for investors.


It seems western commentators can always find something to worry about regarding China. Last year it was shadow banking and the property market. Lately it’s been the sharp rise and pullback in its share market. The latter has indeed been severe – with a 32% fall over 3 and a half weeks. There have been many headlines regarding the share market volatility and efforts to stabilise the market. This note looks at the key issues.


The prospect of picking up a handy tax refund is a good reason to knuckle down and get your tax return sorted in the next few weeks…

And with an average refund for Australian tax payers of $3,630 up for grabs, it’s worth thinking about how you’ll use the money.

Tax Office figures show almost four out of five workers are likely to receive a tax refund, and surprisingly, a poll by the government’s MoneySmart website shows only 16% of people who received a tax refund last year actually spent the money.

The most popular way we used our 2014 tax refund (31%) was simply to save the cash. One in four (24%) put the tax man’s refund to work paying bills, and 18% paid down personal loans and credit card debts. Just over one in ten (11%) tipped a tax refund into their home loan.

It’s not often we receive a lump sum windfall, so it’s definitely worth thinking about how to get the most bang for your tax refund buck.

Using a tax refund to pay off debt certainly has its pluses. The average credit card debt is, coincidentally, about the same as the average tax refund, and using your refund money to clear a $3,000 card balance could mean saving around $600 in interest charges this financial year alone – especially if your card rate is around the 20% mark.

Tipping a tax refund into your home loan is a smart strategy that could even mean doubling your money. Making a $3,630 lump sum payment on a loan of $300,000 with the average variable rate of 4.7% can slash up to $7,440 off the total interest cost and cut around six months off your loan term.

If you’re among the one in three who prefer to save their tax refund, it pays to shop around for a decent interest rate. Or go a step further and ramp up the possible returns by using the cash to build a portfolio of investments. A balanced managed fund can provide instant access to a variety of asset classes.

Another way to turbo-charge the value of your tax refund is by adding the cash to your super fund. And note, if you’re a low to middle income earner, you could be entitled to a government
co-contribution worth up to $500.

If you’re interested in how to make the most of your superannuation and investments or strategies to pay off your debt faster call us on (03) 9851 0300 to arrange an obligation free meeting with one of our Financial Planners.

Article originally published by AMP Ltd.


I am now getting very wary about going on holidays because invariably markets hit a rough patch whenever I do. That has certainly been the case over the past week with both a sharp pull back in Chinese shares and an intensification of uncertainty regarding Greece.

Two weeks ago it looked like Greece was heading for a deal with its creditors. Then at the last minute Greece’s Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, decided he didn’t like what was on offer from the Eurozone, the IMF and the ECB and called a referendum on it. This has seen Greece miss a June 30 €1.5bn payment to the IMF (which the IMF so far has called being in “arrears” albeit a declaration of “default” is likely by the end of July) and its banks shut with limits on ATM withdrawals (as Greeks have naturally been taking their money out for fear their deposits will be redenominated into a less valuable currency than the Euro) and on the verge of insolvency if something is not resolved soon.

The referendum has now been held and the No vote has won, with roughly a 60% of the vote. This note provides an update on what it means and the key things to focus on regarding Greece.