Saving money is something we all hope to do, and there are many reasons why setting up a savings account is a good idea. Anyone who has been short of ready cash will realise the difficulties that can result, such as a credit card debt spiral, inability to pay fees or fines on time, penalty payments and ongoing money worries. Of course, getting started with a savings plan is the hardest part, but even a little saved weekly or even monthly will shield you from life’s unwanted surprises.
Renovating a home can be one of the most fulfilling achievements for a home owner or investor. However, when things go wrong (as they inevitably do) your renovations can turn into a financial nightmare. Taking out a home renovation loan that is tailored to your needs can be one of the most astute financial decisions you will ever make.
Understanding which home renovation loan best suits your project is the first step toward a successful outcome. The ‘plan’ in financial plan is more than just an idea; it’s an essential factor in making sure you add maximum value to your premises. Unless you have savings set aside for your home renovation, you need to understand what type of loan best suits you.
There is a common conception that bullying is something that only goes on in the school yard. Unfortunately, the tactic of domination by fear, intimidation or physical abuse often carries on into adult years, and is increasingly found in the workplace. Regardless of where the blame rests, bullying in all its ugliness is unacceptable, and perpetrators are accountable for their actions. There are Australian laws in place to deter bullying and compensate victims.
Occupational Health and Safety
In 2011, The Work Health and Safety Act raised awareness of workplace bullying. The aim of the legislation is to avoid the escalation of bullying into a compensation or discrimination claim. Although the intention is noble, the incidence of workplace bullying is still on the rise. The system has failed in many cases to protect workers and their families suffering as a result of illness or injury. Managers and team leaders are accountable, and often struggle to reign in workplace bullies. In fact, evidence shows that in many cases, those in positions of power are themselves the workplace bully.
Modern workplaces can be pressure-filled environments requiring a high level of productivity for amassing a maximum profit. It’s true that not all employees are equal and some may perform better than others, but this should not be an excuse for bullying less efficient workers under the guise of encouragement to meet productivity targets.
When bullying becomes a compensation issue
Psychological and physical trauma as a result of workplace bullying can have a significant and lasting affect. It can manifest in health issues, reduced work productivity, and difficulties amongst family, loved ones and the broader community. As of 2010, the Productivity Commission Report stated that workplace bullying costs the nation up to $36 billion annually.
Compensation claims for mental stress alone have risen by well over 50 percent in the past decade. Psychological claims are most commonly attributed to work pressure, with a quarter of those claims caused by a combination of harassment and bullying. Rehabilitation services are stretched in dealing with mental illness caused by workplace bullying, and the difficulties are compounded by aggression from employers as a result of claims being processed.
A survey of injured workers, including those who had been bullied, highlights a number of obstacles toward recovery. Below are some of the causes of stress in employees seeking compensation.
- 42% dealing with insurers and employers
- 20% dealing with the compensation system
- 16% struggling with the injury or illness
- 13% financial pressure
The stress involved with rehabilitation often leads to an escalation of the problems. Compensation should always be undertaken with the guidance of a highly qualified legal team, such as Firths Compensation Lawyers, who empathise with victims of bullying and provide positive steps on the pathway toward better health.
Compensating bullying in Australia
At present in Australia, there are loosely connected mechanisms that assist in compensating bullying victims. Improved anti discrimination laws would go a long way toward clarifying the situation, but in the meantime, Firths Compensation Lawyers can give the best advice moving forward with your claim. Present avenues include:
Value investing is one of the simplest stock investment strategies, and also one of the most effective. You don’t even need to be a finance whiz or undergo a course in chart analysis. Value investing strategy means locating quality stocks that are presently undervalued. In other words, if you know the value of something and purchase it at a discounted price, you will get a bargain – and then make a profit.
There are just a few easy fundamentals to master in understanding value investing.
A dollar saved is a dollar earned is a common expression every discerning shopper understands. By educating yourself regarding the intrinsic value of goods you can save a lot of money over time. Buying company stocks is no different. According to demand, the value of a product will fluctuate, although the product itself is unchanged. It makes no sense to pay the full price when you know that a product will be on sale sooner or later.
Company stocks are subject to the same variables. Discounts will arise, but not at predictable times as in the retail market. Educating yourself regarding the intrinsic value of a company is the first step in value investing. Then, when the sale price comes, you will be poised to purchase stocks at bargain prices that other investers are unaware of.
Efficient-Market Hypothesis is not all-knowing
A lot of factors are taken into consideration when constructing an efficient-market hypothesis (EMH). However, markets factor in a bewildering host of indicators that often do more to confuse rather than clarify investment strategies. Some investors who think they have mastered the hypothesis, actually believe that stocks cannot be incorrectly valued due to the abundance of company data available.
Progressive companies such as Clime Value Investing think otherwise. Data is mostly gathered from past performance indicators and doesn’t always reflect present circumstancs – nor can it fully predict investor response to emerging trends. For example, an underpriced stock could be the result of an economic downturn caused by unexpected events or national (or global) recession. Alternatively, an overpriced stock may be the result of excited investors jumping onto an unproven technology bandwagon.
Making margins work for you
A key principle of value investing is to keep a margin of safety. A value investment strategy means your chances of earning a profit on stocks is greater. Also, in the event of a stock not performing to expectations you are less likely to lose money. It’s important to distinguish ‘junk’ or speculative stocks from those with solid foundations where value is expected to rise.
A good rule of thumb for a margin of safety is to buy stocks that are performing at around two-thirds of their actual value, thereby maximising returns while minimising risk on a genuinely deteriorating stock.
Remain patient over the long-term
Value investment isn’t a get rich quick scheme providing instant rewards. Long-term capital gains incur a lower tax than short-term gains, so there is no reason to become impatient. In fact, it could be several years before your stock returns to expected highs. Nor is value investment a guaranteed win on every occasion. Savvy investors understand there will be losses, but it’s the bottom line that counts. Gains that outweigh losses equals profit, and value investment supported by Clime Value Investing professionals is a strategy designed to tip the balance in your favour. Waiting until the time is right to invest is a significant feature of value investing strategy.
Avoiding the herd mentality ensures you don’t jump in and buy overpriced stocks. There is no such thing as a permanently flat line on a stock market chart, and value investors are educated regarding company financials and the expectation of a bounce-back for a company with sound business fundamentals.
Although there are variations in property law for different Australian states, the terms of contract usually transfer insurance risks from seller to buyer as soon as the contract is signed. The time between signing the contract and final settlement is most commonly between four to six weeks, with many people unsure of their need for insurance during this period. A legally binding contract also includes fine print, and every word should be fully understood before entering into what, for most people, is their greatest financial investment.
What is the seller’s responsibility?
The seller has an obligation to take care of the property between the sale and settlement dates, ensuring there is no property deterioration during this time. Even if the property becomes the buyer’s risk prior to settlement, it’s a good idea to remain insured until settlement. The property would otherwise be uninsured if the buyer doesn’t insure for the sale/settlement period.
What steps should the buyer take?
The buyer should take out an insurance cover note as soon as the contract is signed. In some cases the buyer may not immediately be notified at the time the seller counter-signs, meaning the investment could sit uninsured for a period of time. Some insurance companies offer free insurance for the duration between signing the contract and settlement date, so it can pay dividends to investigate various insurance company policies.
Is the insurance policy different for vacant land?
If the land is vacant at the time of purchase, a buyer can use public liability insurance during the construction phase. As soon as building finishes, it’s time to invest in a comprehensive insurance policy covering both the land and building, including improvements such as carpets, fixtures and furniture.
My unit is overseen by a body corporate. What does that mean?
The body corporate insurance responsibility is for common property, including common walls and other building or property assets. The buyer should insure for unit contents and public liability.
In the case where the buyer is uncertain, an insurance premium covering the building and contents will safeguard against any unforeseen events. Once it’s determined that the body corporate has appropriate building insurance, the buyer can cancel any unneccessary building insurance.
What is landlords insurance
Buyers should understand the difference between being an owner-occupier and being a landlord. If your property is going to be rented out following settlement you will require a policy suited to your needs. A standard building and contents insurance policy will not cover every scenario. Risks include:
- damage caused by tenants
- theft of household paraphernalia
- non-payment of rent
- legal expenses incurred in settling a claim against a tenant
In every case, it’s in the buyers best interest to investigate all insurance options, carefully study the insurance policy, and take out appropriate insurance to cover any situation that could affect you as the home or property owner.
Based on the monthly and yearly comparison reports of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), car dealers are having a tough time in Australia, especially in WA. The national year-to-date (YTD) average declines in vehicle sales was -2.5% in August 2014. Western Australia is leading this negative list with -8.3%, followed by Tasmania and Queensland with -7.1% and -5.4%, respectively.
The report doesn’t have state specific statistics about vehicle types, but in overall “passenger” vehicle sales decreased by 5.4% year-to-date, as well as light and heavy commercial vehicle sales. The only growth was reported in the SUV market, +3.7% year-to-date. The FCAI report has more details about the passenger type vehicles. Micro, light, small and medium categories decreased, while large, upper large and people movers increased YTD. The sports category had a 7.8% decrease.
In the SUV market, small SUVs had the best and only positive performance (+15.7%); therefore, the SUV market increased mentioned in the previous paragraph is due to the small ones. In overall, it’s not looking too good and it’s interesting to compare these numbers with the Australian automotive industry’s monthly product volumes. The FCAI website has data about the monthly production volumes and it can be seen that 14% less vehicles were built during the first two quarters of 2014 than the previous year. The product volume has been decreasing since 2013.
The tough market situation might be good if you’re planning to buy a car, because you have a better chance to get a larger than average discount from car dealers. As far as I know, car dealers make profit on service, not car sales, so you should compare prices and fight for a good discount.
Price of the Great Australian Dream – An infographic by the team at vouchercloud