MONEY MATTERS & BUSINESS OVERVIEW

RBA RETAINS 1.5 PERCENT

The Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has announced the basic cash rate remains at 1.5 percent. Nearly every analyst is tipping this rate will now remain the same for this calendar year as very little looks like it will affect our economy. (It has been at 1.5 percent for 26 months.)

WHERE TO MOVE FOR TOP SALARY 

Tired of low local incomes and looking for a move for better money but not sure where? The latest HSBC's annual Expat Explorer guide insists Singapore topped the ranking as the best place to live and work for a fourth straight year; beating New Zealand, Germany and Canada. Australia ranked 6th overall, down one place from last year. The report insists that moving overseas boosts the average worker's income by $US21,000, with the best-paid staff found in high-cost Switzerland.

Of those who had moved, 45 percent of expats said their existing job paid more internationally and 28 percent changed locations for a promotion. In Switzerland, famous for both sky-high mountains and prices, the annual income boost totalled $US61,000. Expat salaries there averaged $US203,000 a year - twice the global level. (Australia came 4th in the experience category, 7th for economics and 15th for family.)

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MILLENNIALS GET SMALLER PAY RISES

An interesting stat from the Productivity Commission reveals that younger workers are getting smaller wage rises than their older colleagues. This is despite the trends that generally show all age groups tend to benefit from higher income growth when the economy is strong, and all age groups tend to experience lower income growth when the economy is weak.

However, the facts are now showing that millennials have seen little income growth since the GFC. The Commission analysis says the age groups not getting rises are those aged 16 to 34. Recruiters have noticed a trend of people more willing to move jobs more frequently, picking up pay rises greater than they would have, had they stayed at their jobs. Others stay in their jobs because they are able to get better benefits instead of cash. This is especially so for millennials who will stay if the benefits are right and if the role fits their career goals.

NSW BACKS ELECTRIC CARS

The NSW state government is backing the use of electric cars by fast-tracking investment into new charging places. The Department of Planning has pulled the need for planning approvals to install electric vehicle chargers in car parks and depots, which it claims will open the door for the faster spread of the technology.

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OWNER-OCCUPIERS & INVESTORS ON SIDELINES

The Housing Industry Association’s (HIA) latest overview of what is happening to prices has their CEO saying: “The value of lending to investors declined by more than 20 percent over the last 12 months while lending to owner-occupiers was down by 8 percent. Given such a drop, we should expect the market to continue to cool. Clearly many would-be buyers are standing back for a while. However, first home buyer activity has been slightly more resilient with lending to this group easing back by under 7 percent compared with a year ago.”

HUGE NEW NBN INVESTMENT IS 24/7

You may have missed it but right now the Federal Government is tipping billions into the National Broadband Network (NBN) to raise the overall efficiency. This is being done as the next election nears and the Coalition fears the NBN issues could blow up with the electorate. They are funding 7 day, around-the-clock work on both cables and hardware. This is mainly happening into existing cabled areas where the upgrades are hoped to quieten any complaints. The NBN is also speeding up its entry into a handful of critical areas in capital cities.

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KAUFMANN’S ENTRY BECOMING CLEARER

The world’s 4th largest retail group, German-based Kaufmann, has released more details of its entry into this market. The company is known to have acquired half a dozen huge sites in both Melbourne and Sydney which will be stand-alone facilities. They will sell a massive range of everything from groceries to department store merchandise. Critics from existing retailers are screaming unfair about many of the German group’s activities including the way the company goes straight to state governments to push through their business and not the normal local councils.

AND FINALLY, OUR WEALTH NOW LEADS WORLD

One of the less publicised pieces of news out the other day is that Australians have overtaken the Swiss to lead the world in median wealth stakes. According to Credit Suisse's 2018 Global Wealth Report, the typical Australian is now richer than the typical person in any other country in the world in the very relevant "median wealth per adult" category.

Not only are Australians relatively rich by global standards, our wealth is more evenly distributed across the population than many other countries, the report finds. The company defines wealth as the sum of all assets, including residential property, deposits, shares and super, minus all debts – a concept otherwise known as “net worth”. The results show that the average Australian adult has a net worth of about $270,000. That puts us ahead of the previous top-rated Swiss adult's middle net worth. Interestingly, Australia is not short on millionaires either. Far from being a rare occurrence, our property boom and system of compulsory super has helped this category enormously.