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Archives for June 2017

Hazards Of The Holiday Handyman

With the increasing popularity of DIY home improvements and gardening makeovers, there has also been a surge in the number of injuries due to falls from ladders, misuse of equipment and inexperience with power tools.

Long weekends and holiday periods see a rise in accidents as people seize the opportunity to complete that project that has been put aside due to other priorities.  Hospitals and medical clinics experience an increased number of emergency visits and admissions due to serious injuries from incorrect handling of machinery and lack of proper safety precautions.

According to data collected in 2013 by the Monash University Accident Research Centre, falls from ladders whilst doing roof repairs, cleaning gutters and pruning trees, accounted for most around-the-home injuries.  Head, neck, eye and limb damage caused by power tools also represented a large proportion of DIY related injuries.

The statistics show that the most common machinery related injuries were caused by chainsaws, circular saws, lawn mowers, nail guns and grinders.

Contributing factors for the accidents were removing safety measures, disregarding safety instructions, lack of protective equipment and consumption of alcohol.

Due to the popularity of TV shows like House Rules, The Block and Better Homes and Gardens, along with the widespread use of Google and YouTube tutorials, people are often more likely to try to do it themselves, whereas previously we’d get a tradesperson to do the job.

DIY has become more commonplace as people have seen it done on TV, and decide, “I can do that!”  Many will attempt to complete projects around the home to try to save money.  It can often be difficult to find a professional to do the job who is not booked out, on holidays, or can do the job cheaply.

Access to cheap off-the-shelf power tools and other equipment, without proper training, equipment or sufficient information, can also prove hazardous.

Statistics:

Up to 75% – of DIY injuries occur around the home while undertaking maintenance, gardening or vehicle repairs.

Top 3 – DIY activities that result in injury are grinding, lawn mowing and ladder use.

Homegrown – Evidence suggests that home injuries result in more lost days from work than workplace injuries.

5:1 – The ratio of men more likely to be injured undertaking DIY tasks than women. Adults aged 25-34 are in the highest risk group. Women are most often injured in gardening activities. Men are most often injured in non-gardening activities such as grinding, welding and motor vehicle maintenance.

Just remember, sometimes more is lost by inaction, rather than action.  Plan for the future today so you don’t regret your inaction tomorrow. Contact The Investment Collective to learn more about planning for your future.

 

 

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Yes, There Is A Santa Claus … Rally

Human beings, generally speaking, are creatures of habit. We like, and gravitate towards, things that we know (or think we know), and feel comfortable with. No surprise then that we can observe this in all sorts of areas.

Yale Hirsch, an American stock market analyst, observed this in the share market.  In 1968 he published the inaugural ‘Stock Trader’s Almanac & Record’ in which he noted many stock market patterns and cycles, including one that he observed which seemed to take place around Christmas time.

Specifically, he noted that in the days between Christmas and New Year the US share market seemed to rise more often than it fell. In last year’s publication, it was noted that the US share market rose 34 of the last 45 years by an average of 1.4%. Stretching back over 120 years, there was a rise in the market in 77% of years for an average rise of 1.7%. The popular press, always on the lookout for a ‘feel good’ story, has attributed what it dubbed the ‘Santa Claus Rally’, to pretty much any increase in the share market starting from late November.

Why is it so? Well, you could probably take your pick of reasons, including fund managers ‘window dressing’ their investment performance before the end of the year by bidding up shares or simply the reflection of a positive mood leading up to the festive season.

So, do we here at Capricorn Investment Partners and the Pentad Group consider the ‘Santa Claus Rally’ when we review your investment portfolio? No, we do not. We consider a wide range of factors, including the quality of a company’s revenue, the dividends it pays and the competency and transparency of its management. If anything the ‘Santa Claus’ rally, while it exists, only underscores the notion that the market is comprised of human beings, who generally speaking, are creatures of habit.

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Selling Your Home This Spring

There’s a commonly held belief in the real estate industry that spring is the best time of the year for selling a home. Although the season doesn’t officially start until September 1, now would be the time to start planning to make sure your property stands out from the rest.

Every aspect of the season can work in a seller’s favour. With the sun shining, the flowers in bloom, this not only makes your home look its best, but it also encourages buyers to get out and attend open inspections. It is important to remember that other sellers will also benefit from these conditions. Selling your home in spring means you’ll be faced with a higher degree of local competition than you would during the winter months. If you’re thinking of selling your home this spring, a good local real estate agent can help you increase the sale price.

To help make your property stand out from the competition, you’ll need to put in a bit of extra effort. One of the first areas to address is your property’s exterior appearance, because this is the first thing that buyers will see. You will want to put some effort into improving your kerb appeal. Take good care of your lawn by tidying your yard with a lawnmower, fixing dead or bald patches in the grass with a bit of fertiliser. Pull weeds and plant new flowers to add vibrant touches of colour to the garden. Flowers like daffodils and tulips are a good choice, because yellow is associated with feelings of optimism and happiness.

At the same time, be sure that the street view of your home is clear for viewers. Clear away any large bushes or trees that are in the way of a buyer’s line of vision by trimming stray branches. You may want to hire a professional gardener who has experience pruning trees for larger jobs, because this can be dangerous to do on your own.

Maximising the External Appeal

Although it is easy to overlook exterior areas like the outdoor nooks and crannies of the property, buyers will look everywhere. They can trek a great deal of muck throughout the property in winter, so you’ll need to give the full exterior of the home a good spring clean to make the best first impression. If you neglect these areas of the house, buyers may assume that you have neglected others.

Maximising the Interior Appeal

With the outdoor area of your home looking fresh and well-maintained, you can turn your attention to the interior of the home. Make the most of the spring sunlight by ensuring that it bounces off of clean, polished surfaces. By polishing your chrome fittings, floors, mirrors, glass, and door knobs, the light will really make these surfaces dazzle as it streams in through the windows during inspections. This will make the house look immaculate and create a great impression on buyers. Otherwise, the light will illuminate problem areas like dusty corners instead.

It’s a good idea to capitalize on the sunlight by pulling back all of your drapes and curtains, let the light in and bathe your home in a warm glow. You can also open up the windows to let the fresh air in and get rid of any residual stuffiness from winter. Air fresheners can bother buyers with allergies, so fresh air is preferable. To further benefit from spring’s effect, position vases of freshly-cut flowers throughout the home. This will help appeal to a buyer’s senses with the combination of bright colours and delicate fragrance.

Increase Buyer Interest with Colour

In line with appealing to the senses, use colour when selling your house. Colour can be an effective tool to influence a buyer’s mood. Bright, light, cheerful colours can create an uplifting atmosphere. Replace old bath mats, linens, throws, and pillows and replace them in complementary colours that fit the spring theme. A fresh coat of light, pale paint can also bring out the best in your home by making spaces seem larger. The overall effect could lead to a quicker offer from buyers.

No matter when you choose to sell your home, it’s important to be willing to adapt to the season and circumstances. Spring provides an abundance of advantages to sellers, helping you appeal to a buyer’s wish to make a fresh start as well.

These tips may be for selling your home, but our mortgage broking team can also help you with the purchase of a new home. Whether it be refinancing or getting a mortgage. If you would like more information, please contact our friendly staff today.

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Straw Hats in Winter

It’s winter, the mornings are cold and day looks grim. Dark clouds are brewing and now it’s raining. Everyone around you has an umbrella and scarf and you are wearing a straw hat that makes everyone look as they walk past.

Is standing out from the crowd such a bad thing?

To be a successful investor, you cannot constantly be swayed by changing the opinions of outsiders. Our Investment Committee is not distracted by short-term trends in the financial markets or the constant headlines and negative press we are exposed to in mainstream media commentary. Being able to maintain a long-term focus and not overreact to optimism or pessimism is critical for investing success.

Warren Buffett once said,

“The most important quality for an investor is temperament, not intellect. You need a temperament that neither derives great pleasure from being with the crowd or against the crowd.”

At The Investment Collective, we choose Australian companies that exhibit some form of “economic moat” to help protect the business against competitors.  This may include:

  • Strong branding
  • Efficiencies of scale
  • High barriers to entry
  • Switching costs

Our Investment Committee seeks out opportunistic investments where we view market pricing as not being representative of future predicted returns.

Markets will continue to rise and fall. Working alongside you to manage your investments, we help you make more informed decisions and seek to minimise your emotional burden.

If you would like to know more about how The Investment Collective can help you with your investment strategy, contact us to make an appointment today.

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Sell in May & Go Away

“Sell in May and go away” is a well-known saying in relation to share markets.  Does it have any validity?  Well, the first question that needs to be answered is “go away for how long?”  The phrase is likely a take on an old English saying “sell in May and go away, come back on St Leger’s Day”.

Horse racing buffs may know that the St Leger Stakes is run in September each year.  So, the rationale would be to sell shares in May and buy them back in September expecting the (buy) price in September to be less than the (sell) price in May.  Easy enough.  Let’s see how successful this would have been.  We’ll keep it simple and not include buying and selling costs or tax implications.
We’ll use the ASX top 200 index (the XJO) to back test the strategy.  We’ll compare the value of the XJO at the beginning of May to the value at the end of August for the last 20 years.  Here’s the table of results:

Year May August Change Percentage Successful?
1997 2421 2526 +105 +4.3% No
1998 2745 2430 -315 -11.5% YES
1999 3001 2875 -126 -4.2% YES
2000 3115 3297 +182 +5.8% No
2001 3329 3275 -54 -1.6% YES
2002 3348 3120 -228 -6.8% YES
2003 3008 3200 +192 +6.4% No
2004 3400 3552 +152 +4.5% No
2005 3991 4446 +455 +11.4% No
2006 5273 5115 -158 -3.0% YES
2007 6166 6247 +81 +1.3% No
208 5654 5135 -519 -9.2% YES
2009 3780 4479 +699 +18.5% No
2010 4807 4404 -403 -8.4% YES
2011 4823 4296 -527 -10.9% YES
2012 4396 4316 -80 -1.8% YES
2013 5191 5135 -56 -1.1% YES
2014 5489 5625 +136 +2.5% No
2015 5790 5207 -583 -10.1% YES
2016 5252 5433 +181 +3.4% No

 

Summarising these back tested results for 1997 to 2016:

  • The “sell in May and go away” strategy would have produced a beneficial outcome in 11 out of 20 years. The average beneficial percentage is 6.2%.
  • The “sell in May and go away” strategy would have produced a detrimental outcome in 9 out of 20 years. The average detrimental percentage is 6.5%.

“Sell in May and go away” would have produced only a marginal benefit if applied as noted here over the last 20 years.  An interesting saying, but not a viable strategy.

Please note, this article is for general advice purposes only. It is not taking into account your particular circumstances or your personal finances. As mentioned above, this is a simplified analysis, and does not take into account certain financial implications (such as buying and selling costs and tax implications). If you wish to discuss the matter in further detail or wish to book an appointment to discuss your personal financial situation and future financial goals, please contact us to book an appointment with one of our advisers.

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