Plenty to drink in with Richmond pub makeover

THE Bridge Hotel in Richmond was previously a typical gaming hotel, fairly soulless.
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Refurbished in the ’90s, the two-storey, Victorian-style pub was simply a series of bland spaces with no external areas. However, the owners of the recently transformed hotel wanted to create a drawcard destination, for locals and those travelling from further afield.

”Our clients were probably over- ambitious to start with. The initial scheme was to completely gut the building, leaving only the original Victorian facade,” says architect Justin Northrop, a director of Techne Architects.

When the budget was revisited, it was decided to incorporate as much of the building’s existing fabric as possible.

One of the main requirements was an outdoor garden or courtyard. As a result, the architects chose to remove the roof from the single-storey building in the centre of the development. And rather than create the typical beer garden, Techne Architects created a cobbled lane. Complete with ”shop fronts” and signage, this lane provides an escape from Bridge Road. The hoarding at the end of the lane also acts as a noise barrier. ”We wanted to create a variety of experiences, with intricate and layered spaces,” Northrop says.

Among the recycled facades fronting the lane is an outdoor contemporary fireplace, clad in glazed bricks. ”We didn’t want to create a pastiche-style movie set. But you get a sense of walking down one of Melbourne’s laneways,” Northrop says.

There are several different bar styles. The Havana bar, for example, includes a feature wall of recycled timber shutters and a bar front studded with cast-iron fireplace surrounds. The architects collaborated with Alleycat Creative, with 10 street artists making their mark on interior walls.

”There’s quite a lot going on here. The owners also brought objects and artefacts into the mix,” says Northrop, who says it’s advisable not to be too precious in developing the combination. ”It’s supposed to be eclectic,” he adds.

The diner, in the adjacent bar, has an American flavour. As well as a padded bar, there’s a 1930s pressed-metal ceiling and white wall tiles, like those you would find in a New York subway. ”We wanted to trigger people’s memories. Some of the finishes you would find in a typical inner-city hotel,” Northrop says.

The Loading Bay, at the rear of the hotel, designed for intimate gatherings, sets up another experience. Featuring a painted garage door and late 1960s chandelier, it’s a hybrid between grunge and glamour.

The Bistro, on the western side of the lane, caters for more formal gatherings although it’s far from formal. With taxidermy birds appearing to escape from their wire cage, patrons may find one eye on the menu, the other on the birds.

To create an outdoor feel, Techne Architects also included a Wintergarden, complete with suspended watering cans and plants. ”It’s become one of the most desirable areas in which to sit,” says Northrop, pointing out the northern light and foot traffic.

Themes continue on the first level, with everything from a bar with the ambience of a photo studio, to the Loft. The Loft, featuring a stencil of Keith Richards could equally be seen as the musicians’ digs.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Rescuers frustrated by stormwater risk takers

Facing danger, head on … teenagers brave the heavy surf at Collaroy Beach. The SES says people are putting their lives at risk.IT seems as floodwaters rise, commonsense often recedes, according to rescue authorities.
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Over a 24-hour period on Monday, the NSW State Emergency Service rescued about 34 people. The majority had deliberately entered floodwater by foot, car or boat, despite warnings to stay away from nominated roads and beaches.

The following incidents occurred when people chose to test nature’s force:

An experienced surfer, in his 60s, mistimed his jump off the rocks at Avalon Beach on Tuesday morning and was washed back onto the rocks. Paramedics treated the man for suspected spinal injuries and for lacerations to his head. He was taken to Mona Vale Hospital.

A couple on a boat near Elizabeth Island, near Grafton, ignored advice from the SES on Monday to leave or move their vessel because they were in an unsafe area. Their anchor broke and the couple had to be rescued by an SES flood boat at 4am on Tuesday.

In Lismore, three rescues in a row took place on Monday evening for people who had driven into floodwaters and become stuck. As the SES team finished one rescue and were called straight to another, they didn’t get to go back to base.

Stormy weather didn’t deter one man from canyoning in the Blue Mountains on Monday night. After a search-and-rescue mission, the 26-year-old was found on Tuesday morning near Bowens Creek and treated for mild hypothermia and dehydration. He set off a personal locator beacon in the Mt Wilson area just before 7pm on Monday.

An SES spokesman, Philip Campbell, said more than half of the people rescued had entered the waters against advice. The consequences could be ”deadly serious” as floodwater can be deeper or faster flowing than it looks, with potential debris, chemicals and viruses, he said.

“Our volunteers love helping people, they’re not judgmental but there is a degree of disappointment that we have with people who make a decision to deliberately enter into water,” Mr Campbell said.

SES spokeswoman, Samantha Colwell, expressed frustration at people who put lives at risk and didn’t heed advice. “We have had a couple of people that didn’t evacuate, until water went in their door,” she said.

Surf Life Saving NSW spokeswoman, Donna Wishart, advised people to stay out of the water on Tuesday, including experienced surfers who have been heading out despite beaches being closed. They underestimate their abilities or the conditions, she said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


First home buyer grant aimed at boosting construction off to a sluggish start

FEWER than 400 first home buyers have been paid a $15,000 grant introduced by the NSW government last October as a centrepiece of its plans to stimulate the new housing market.
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The Treasurer, Mike Baird, announced in last year’s budget the $7000 grant for first home buyers of new and existing properties would be axed from September 30. It was replaced with the $15,000 benefit for first home buyers who purchase newly built dwellings or off-the plan properties valued at up to $650,000.

At the time, Mr Baird said he expected the new grant, along with other measures, to stimulate the construction of new dwellings in NSW.

But figures supplied by the Office of State Revenue reveal that in October, the first month the new grant was available, only 50 were paid. In November, 156 grants were paid and in December, 172.

This compares with 233 grants paid to first home owners for new homes in October 2011, under the old scheme (although these figures include grants applied for in previous months). In November of that year, 293 grants were paid, while the figure for December was 237.

Mr Baird argued the latest figures were an improvement on the previous year.

”Housing finance and first home owner grants are both up for new dwellings so early evidence suggests our policy of targeting incentives to improve supply is working,” he said.

For the three months to the end of 2011, only 763 of the grants were for new houses, whereas the figure for the same period last year is 1090. However, the 2012 figure includes grants carried over from under the old scheme.

Saul Eslake, the chief economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said the figures showed ”a slow start” for the scheme.

Mr Eslake said that first home owner grants were ”a complete waste of money” as they inflate the price of housing and do very little to increase home ownership.

However, he strongly supported the NSW government’s decision to replace the $7000 grant for existing homes with the $15,000 grant for new properties.

”If you are going to waste money in this way, at least by restricting it to people who buy new houses you are no longer bumping up the price of established dwellings and at least providing some inducement for the purchase of new housing,” Mr Eslake said.

The slow initial take-up of the grant may have to do with the general apprehension of would-be home buyers across Australia, Mr Eslake suggested.

The reasons for this included people being reluctant to take on more debt, a higher level of unemployment among younger people and a belief that house prices have yet to bottom out.

Data released by the Bureau of Statistics two weeks ago showed the number of home loans taken out by first home buyers in NSW fell to a 20-year-low in November. Just 1383 home loans were taken out.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


PM gets tough on deals for well-off

Setting the agenda … Julia Gillard.THE Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, will commit her government to big ”structural” cuts in spending, putting a range of concessions and tax breaks enjoyed by wealthier Australians in doubt.
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In her first big agenda-setting speech for the year, Ms Gillard will use an address to the National Press Club on Wednesday to say the cuts are necessary for the government to fund its signature education and disability reforms, which are likely to be the centrepiece of its campaign.

The spending cuts, according to excerpts from her speech notes released to the media, were ”tough and necessary” in a new ”low-revenue environment”, a reflection of flat company tax receipts after the mining investment boom peaked.

Her speech raises the possibility that years of accumulated concessions for upper middle-class and wealthy voters, handed out by successive governments and continued under Labor, may now be either trimmed or axed.

This could include changes to family payments, cuts in concessional tax arrangements for self-funded superannuation contributions, a further tightening of the private health insurance rebate, a decrease in the 50 per cent capital gains tax discount, and a clampdown on loopholes such as the exemption from fringe benefits tax for employees of churches and charities.

The potentially risky strategy is consistent with Ms Gillard’s conviction that Labor’s best hopes for victory lie in reconnecting with its traditional heartland, even if that means alienating some comparatively well-off families. With the government still reeling from its backdown on delivering a budget surplus, Ms Gillard’s language reveals a preference to get the bad news out early.

That would clear the way for it to focus on its national disability insurance scheme and the Gonski education reforms, both premised on a budget that is coming back into balance.

”In the lead-up to, and in the budget, we will announce substantial new structural savings that will maintain the sustainability of the budget and make room for key Labor priorities,” she will say.

While no specific payments or programs have been publicly earmarked, the Prime Minister wants voters to understand the government’s logic for making painful efficiencies.

”Our record of cutting wasteful programs, in line with our Labor values and purpose, is already strong,” she will say, listing previous cuts despite their unpopularity with voters.

”The dependent spouse tax offset, the tax breaks for golden handshakes, tax concessions on super for high-income earners, the millionaires’ dental scheme and fringe benefits loopholes for executives living away from home … all gone,” she will say.

”We will make the tough, necessary decisions to ensure our medium-term fiscal strategy is delivered, and our centrepiece plans for Australian children and Australians with disability are funded,” Ms Gillard will say.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Abbott all for diversity in campaign trail outing sealed with a kiss

The Opposition Leader met Lyombe Lyimo.IF TONY Abbott wanted evidence to support his claim that his party is the face of modern Australia, he found it in abundance over morning tea at the Mulgrave Country Club in Wheelers Hill on day three of his mini-campaign.
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”One of the things that makes me very proud to be a Liberal is the diversity of the candidates we are putting forward for election this time around,” he remarked, introducing two in the room who will contest Labor-held seats in Victoria.

One of them, John Nguyen, was five when he fled Vietnam in a boat with his siblings and grandparents in 1979. He was processed in a camp in Malaysia and accepted as a refugee by Malcolm Fraser. ”We were on the seas three days and three nights,” he recalls. ”We were attacked by pirates seven times.”

Mr Nguyen, who is trying to unseat Anna Burke in the seat of Chisholm, went on to make a career in financial services and was across the street when the World Trade Centre came down in New York in September 2001. Ask him about the Coalition’s hard line on asylum seekers, and he says it is about getting the right balance between border protection and welcoming those in need.

The parents of another, Emanuele Cicchiello, came from the Italian city of Benevento in 1963. He is now the deputy school principal for an independent school in Cranbourne and describes his mission in trying to unseat Labor’s Alan Griffin in the seat of Bruce as helping ”Tony deliver the knockout punch to this inept Labor government”.

About 15 members of the Cicchiello extended family of 200 were present to see Mr Abbott ”kick-start” his campaign.

Then there was Lyombe ”Leo” Lyimo, a 21-year-old of African and Armenian heritage with a striking hairstyle, from Homenetmen Arax, an organisation dedicated to engaging youth through sport and culture. He was there to observe Mr Abbott, and says he was impressed with what he saw.

”This is what modern Australia is all about,” a beaming Mr Abbott told the gathering. ”This is today’s Australia: a country that makes people from the four corners of the earth welcome because they have come here, not to change our way of life, but to join our way of life. They have come here not to detract from our country, but to add to it.”

If it sounds at odds with the ”we-decide-who-comes-to-the-country” rhetoric of the past three years, Mr Abbott would politely suggest that it’s because you haven’t been paying attention.

The same goes for the slogan of this week’s mini-campaign – hope, reward, opportunity – which he insists is utterly consistent with the stop-the-boats, cut-the-waste, repeal-the-taxes mantra of 2010.

Certainly the substance remains, and begins with a commitment to repeal the carbon tax, which Mr Abbott insists ”is going to damage, if not destroy, the affordable energy which was a basis of Victoria’s traditional strengths in manufacturing industry”.

But the emphasis is emphatically on the positive – and the promise of ”a government you can feel good about”.

If the tone was low-key, with no sign of senior Liberals such as Premier Ted Baillieu, Mr Abbott was accompanied by daughter Frances and in full campaign mode.

Earlier, during a visit to the Royal Children’s Hospital, he offered comfort to a plethora of patients and their parents, planting a kiss on the cheek of six-year-old Shantel, who seemed to understand the bigger picture. ”I’ll see you on TV,” she told Mr Abbott before he departed for Wheelers Hill.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Coen brothers back on song with folk tale

What if a folk singer got beat up outside a Greenwich Village nightclub in 1961?
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Six, seven or, maybe, eight years ago, as Joel Coen remembers it, that seemingly idle question about an unlucky singer in a hypothetical encounter at what used to be a real club called Gerde’s Folk City started bothering Coen, who writes and directs off-centre movies with his brother, Ethan.

Next week, some music industry insiders, and perhaps a few potential buyers, will finally see the resulting film at a private, pre-Grammys screening in Los Angeles.

It is called Inside Llewyn Davis. It promises to be quintessential Coen brothers fare – but different. For starters, as Joel Coen explained, Inside Llewyn Davis has a certain kinship with Les Miserables.

In it almost all the principal actors – Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake – sing. ”There are lots of duets and trios,” Coen said.

While not quite a musical, he added, Inside Llewyn Davis is built around full-length performances of folk songs that were heard in the grubby cafes of the Village in a year when Bob Dylan, who sort of shows up in the movie, had just appeared on the scene.

As for plot, Coen said there isn’t quite as much as is usual for the brothers, who in the past have written and directed elaborate crime stories like Fargo and No Country for Old Men. This time they present the travails, over roughly two weeks, of a struggling folk singer, Llewyn Davis, who is portrayed by Isaac.

For the record, Davis doesn’t really resemble, or sound like, Dave Van Ronk, whose posthumous 2005 memoir, The Mayor of Macdougal Street, written with Elijah Wald, served as source material for the film.

”The character is not at all Dave, but the music is,” said Wald, who spoke after having been given an early look at the film with Van Ronk’s widow, Andrea Vuocolo Van Ronk.

He said he did not know for years that the Coens were behind an option for film rights to the book, which he based on Dave Van Ronk’s reminiscences, compiling them after his death in 2002. Wald had spent years listening to Van Ronk’s stories and got some pages from him before he died but otherwise did the writing.

Wald said he ”thoroughly enjoyed” the movie. But he cautioned that the world of Inside Llewyn Davis, having been devised by the Coens, is ”less innocent” than the one inhabited by Van Ronk, Dylan, Paul Clayton, Reverend Gary Davis, Joni Mitchell, Tom Paxton and the myriad other singers who are invoked in the film.

Its story bounces through actual places like Gerde’s, the Gaslight Cafe and the Gate of Horn in Chicago without explicitly portraying real artists or folk music powers, like the impresario Albert Grossman.

Working with the musician Marcus Mumford, Coen said, T-Bone Burnett produced the music for Inside Llewyn Davis. Mumford sings in the movie.

Burnett had earlier provided the old-time music for O Brother, Where Art Thou? a Coen brothers caper that was based loosely on The Odyssey and released in 2000 after a Cannes debut. ”This hillbilly music’s going to be big,” Burnett told the brothers at the time.

They were sceptical. But the soundtrack was a hit and has sold roughly 8 million copies in the US.

For Inside Llewyn Davis, Burnett has helped recreate the brief flowering of a folk scene that in the early ’60s made Washington Square and its environs an unlikely crossroads for musical influences from Appalachia, the deep south, the far west and New England; in fact almost anywhere but New York’s neighbourhoods, from which some of its best practitioners, and Davis, arrived.

It was that cultural disconnect, Coen said, that lured him and his brother – big fans of folk music – to look for a movie in it.

When we catch up with Davis in 1961, he is frustrated. While Coen did not say how the Gerde’s beating fits in the story, a Web link associated with invitations to the pre-Grammy’s screening shows the singer-hero getting bounced onto a parked car and pounded in a dark alley.

”He’s trying to get some traction in his career and in his life,” Coen said. ”How good you are doesn’t always matter. That’s what the movie is about.”

The New York Times

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Hot stock: Rio Tinto

What’s new Rio Tinto recently unveiled another solid quarterly production update, with its flagship iron ore business producing a record 199 million tonnes in 2012. Production records were also set in bauxite and alumina. Thermal coal production was up 5 per cent (albeit off a low base), while the copper division was disappointing, recording its third straight year of production decline.
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But Rio Tinto’s strong production numbers were overshadowed by the abrupt departure of it chief executive, Tom Albanese, and fresh write-downs worth $US14 billion ($13.3 billion).

These write-downs related mostly to Rio’s aluminium business, where production fell about 10 per cent in 2012.

The aluminium business has been a thorn in Rio’s side since its $US38 billion purchase of Canadian aluminium producer Alcan in 2007 – a purchase that was fuelled by debt and has been largely written off.

But we view the elevation of the iron ore division chief, Sam Walsh, to the chief executive role favourably.

During his stewardship since 2004, Rio Tinto’s iron ore production has exploded from 104 million tonnes to 199 million tonnes in 2012, with impeccable capital planning and execution. China’s insatiable demand for the commodity has, of course, helped in driving the growth.

Outlook The iron ore division is the growth engine of Rio Tinto, accounting for about three-quarters of group earnings. Encouragingly, the outlook for this business is positive.

We are confident the stimulatory monetary and fiscal actions by Chinese authorities will continue to ensure solid economic growth in the country, underpinning demand for iron ore.

Equally important is Rio Tinto’s capacity to meet this demand. The company is on track to deliver 360 million tonnes of iron ore in 2015 from the Pilbara, which is a phenomenal expansion from the already impressive 199 million tonnes dug up in 2012.

While the underperforming aluminium division continues to cast a pall over the company, we believe a sale of the business might occur under Walsh.

Price While Rio Tinto’s stock price has been flat during the past year, it has risen about 30 per cent in the past six months as concerns ease over China’s economy and risk appetite returns to the market.

Worth buying? The outlook for Rio Tinto’s key iron ore business is positive, with a strong production outlook and a solid longer-term

macro-economic picture helping underpin demand. The company boasts a strong balance sheet, even with the non-cash write-down of its aluminium assets.

Trading about 12 times consensus forward estimates, we remain positive on Rio Tinto and believe its shares at present levels are worth buying.

Greg Smith is head of research at Fat Prophets sharemarket research.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Insight: super investment

The average balanced super fund delivered an 11.7 per cent return in the 2012 calendar year.
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This was the first double-digit return in a calendar year since 2009 and was largely driven by a resurgence in global equity markets, particularly in the second half of last year.

This is because the typical balanced fund, in which most Australians have retirement savings, has half its money invested in local and overseas-listed shares.

As SuperRatings founder Jeff Bresnahan points out, it goes to show how reliant the average super fund is on the sharemarket.

“When one considers that funds were sitting on a return of only 3.7 per cent at the end of May, the 8 per cent return over the following seven months shows the benefits to members of rallying equity markets,” Bresnahan says.

According to figures from rating company SuperRatings, the global rally last year helped increase the average amount of money held in local balanced funds to $183,527.

The pre-financial crisis peak for funds was $177,529.

This means the typical fund now has close to $6000 more than the average amount held before the GFC, an increase of 3.4 per cent.

Looking at it from a different angle, funds have rebounded by 37.9 per cent since the bottom of the market cycle in February 2009.

According to Bresnahan, the standout performers over five and seven years have been conservative options such as capital stable, fixed interest and cash, driven by a global surge for fixed-interest investments.

The fixed-interest boom has pushed yields to record lows, and Bresnahan wonders how long conservative options will remain attractive.

“Members should be wary … that at such low interest rates, it is becoming increasingly difficult for retirees and other conservative investors to generate a reasonable rate of income,” he says.

It will be interesting to see how investors respond to last week’s announcement of the Bank of Japan’s huge open-ended monetary easing policy, designed to end two decades of deflation.

Will they remain conservative over the next 12 months, or will they choose to go for a little more growth?

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Wealthy solutions

Do the sums … Jess Hill runs an online maths-tuition business.Life has a lot of trial and error to it so it’s good to know that building wealth comes with instructions.
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The rules are fixed, except those that have anything to do with super.

More frustrating is that the earlier you invest or protect yourself financially, the better – but that’s when cash is at its tightest.

The good news is that debt isn’t always bad, a mortgage can be your best friend if treated the right way, and super isn’t the be-all and end-all for a comfortable retirement.

So what should you be doing when?

TWENTIES

Turns out not that much.

There’s no rush even to pay off that HECS debt, you’ll be pleased to hear.

Advisers say it’s a cheap form of credit from the government – you won’t get that again – so it’s better to use any spare cash on other things, preferably an investment or savings.

Besides, the discount for paying off amounts of $500 or more has been halved to 10 per cent.

”Paying HECS off faster only means you’re going to have to wait longer to build up a deposit for a home,” says the managing director of BFG Financial Services, Suzanne Haddan.

Still, you’re not going to get off that lightly.

This is the age to get life, income protection and health insurance because you’ll pay a lot more later when you might really need it.

”You’re at your healthiest now and they can’t take the umbrella away when it’s raining once [insurance] is in place,” Haddan says.

She says a neat trick is to do your insurance through your super fund, so your employer’s contribution is paying for it, leaving more cash for you. But salary sacrificing into super is for the oldies, although there is a generous scheme if you earn less than $31,920 a year, whereby the government pays up to $500 into your fund if you contribute $1000 in a year.

But if you do have spare cash, remember the golden rule of compound interest: the earlier you invest, the longer your money is working for you and the better it’ll do.

And you should aim to buy a property – if not to live in, then at least as an investment.

The best way to save for a home is a first-home saver account, whereby the government puts in 17 per cent (capped at $1020 a year) and earnings are taxed at a flat 15 per cent.

Both partners can have their own accounts, doubling the amount the government is handing over. The only catch is they come with strict rules, such as not being able to touch the money for a few years, and aren’t offered by all the big banks.

You can find a list of the relevant providers at apra.gov.au.

THIRTIES

These are the start of what will become the ”debt years”.

Again, there’s no need to put more into super but you need to find out which investment option of your fund you’re in.

This is no time to be too conservative. If you haven’t ticked an option you’ll be bundled into the balanced fund, which is designed for 60-year-olds.

Go for growth – that is, mostly shares – rather than cash or bonds. The market rises over time so there are plenty of years to recover from any mishaps. Every five years it tends to do it tough.

You’ll probably have a mortgage and have started a family.

”The biggest issue is budgeting. That’s absolutely critical,” Haddan says.

”You can’t make money out of thin air, so sit down and do a budget.”

Then see if you can pay off the mortgage faster.

Using the offset account of your mortgage is a tax-free way of saving for the kids’ school fees, too.

Make fortnightly repayments (which add up to one extra payment a year) and lump sums to get it down and when the school fees are due, draw down the mortgage again.

Education funds are another option, although they tend to be inflexible and come with fees.

FORTIES

The 40s are when you need to give thought to your retirement nest egg.

By all means build up your super by salary sacrificing – you’re only allowed $25,000 a year, including your employer’s 9 per cent compulsory contribution – ”but it shouldn’t be your only strategy because the rules change,” Haddan says. The compulsory contribution will increase to 9.25 per cent after July 1.

Negative gearing – into property, shares or both – is an alternative worth considering.

Debt that’s tax deductible and invested in a growing, income-earning asset can help build a nest egg.

FIFTIES AND OVER

The 50s are when you’re at the peak of your earnings and need to start planning your retirement.

Salary sacrifice to the max and pay off any non-deductible debts.

Also review your insurance – apart from health cover, you might not need it any more.

”To hit retirement with no debt is a badge of honour,” says Mike Ingham of Obelisk Advisors.

”And it gives psychological relief. But depending on your circumstances, some tax-deductible debt can be fine.”

Prepare for retirement by winding down growth investments such as shares and your super option. This should not be held off until your last working year or, worse, the day after you retire.

”Make adjustments to your super and investments at least five years before retirement,” Haddan says.

”That way if there’s a major market crash it doesn’t matter because you’re going to hold more cash anyway.”

Calculated approach

Jess Hill enjoyed maths in high school, started a liberal-arts degree, and now owns an online maths-tutoring business.

”Stuffing around is quite typical of my generation,” Jess says. ”Somebody said to me ‘do what you’re good at’, but I had no idea maths would be useful.”

In fact, she had been tutoring maths to pay her way through university.

“I was getting good feedback from parents, and people were saying, why not do teaching? It’s terrible to say, but I thought the pay’s so bad and you quickly burn out.”

But as she kept going over past exam papers, she noticed students “were getting stuck on the same parts of the question”.

It made more sense to record the answers and put them online, so she started hsctutorials杭州夜网m.au. A year on, it is breaking even.

The 26-year-old says she ”kind of enjoyed the idea of working for myself”, another characteristic of many people about her age.

Although the business has no debt because her father, a software engineer, was able to program her website, Jess has a $25,000 HECS debt.

Renting with a flatmate, she’d like to buy a property and rent some or all of it out.

But even with low rates, Jess says she won’t be buying a property soon.

”I’d want to pay the HECS off first. And property is so expensive and you only need a couple of months where things don’t go according to plan and you’re in trouble.”

She has started saving, and at the beginning of each month calculates her food and transport bills, and moves that amount over to her transaction account.

“Two weeks later, after those bills have come out and it’s getting close, I’ll just pull back and stay at home at the weekend or not buy that extra thing,” she says. ”You have to be good at a budget when you run your own company.”

But forget super.

“I know it’s important and I’m putting it off, but that stuff is for the 30s.”

Building solid foundations for the future

Your 30s are when many of the big financial decisions loom: mortgage, family and even first thoughts about retirement planning.

At 38, Matt Richardson has chosen to invest in himself – along with three investment properties.

“I’m interested in creating my own wealth. Working nine to five for somebody isn’t a way to get rich quick,” Matt says.

He runs his own IT project-management business, Partnered Business Solutions, and since he began investing in his late 20s, has three investment properties, all of which he’s renovated.

He’s also just bought a home in Melbourne’s Blackburn that he’s renting out. In the future, he plans to knock it down and rebuild. That gives him several income-producing mortgages on the go, with another one planned next year.

Matt uses an adviser from mortgage broker Smartline. ”That way I don’t have to deal with the banks, which isn’t pleasant – you can drown in their paperwork,” he says.

A trust has been set up for his eight-year-old son, which has already grown to $35,000.

Matt is also savvy about super.

“I think about retirement every day I drive into work. But my definition of retirement is to be working three days a week at 60.”

In the meantime, he contributes to an industry super fund. This is tax deductible because he’s self-employed, although he can’t put in more than $25,000 a year to get the concession.

He expects his super to reach $100,000 this year and will look at setting up his own fund.

Mature investments for comfortable retirement

Long before super was made compulsory or, in some cases, women were even offered membership in a super fund, Karen Volpato was making contributions.

Call it an occupational hazard because, at 53, she’s just retired after working for super funds for the past 30 years.

That probably also explains why the constant rule changes haven’t fazed her.

Unlike most women her age, Volpato was making extra voluntary contributions, and built Australia’s first website devoted to women and super, womenandsuper杭州夜网m.au.

At just 23, she was the corporate lawyer of a small bank when the chief executive asked her to set up the house fund. The chief executive gave her a form to sign, pointing out she needed to join the fund to run it.

Today Volpato says: “I’m very glad that I did join, even though I’m not old enough yet to access my super. It’s fab to know it’s there.”

But having officially retired, “a more hedonistic life doesn’t seem to be happening yet”. ”Even one hedonistic week would be good, but I’ve been approached to do projects,” says Volpato, who also won one of 10 government scholarships granted to women to undertake training for super fund directorships.

“Leaving full-time work also really highlights how important your friendships and networks are – to bounce ideas around, to have fun, and to feel an even more integrated part of your local community.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Secrets of the high net worth

Spread of investments … to Bob Waldie, asset protection is most important.Clearing the mortgage, paying school fees and amassing enough super to retire are common aims for the average Aussie. Some plug away under their own steam, while others look to financial advisers to chart the course and provide occasional health checks.
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But what of those at the top of the tree – self-made millionaires who have surpassed these goals many times over? How do they organise their money, and whose help do they enlist to ensure their stash works its hardest?

Michael Sherlock likes to keep things simple. The corporate consultant made his dough from Brumby’s, the hot-bread chain he founded in 1975 and sold to Retail Food Group (RFG) for $46 million in 2007.

These days he’s kept busy managing eight residential properties and four Brumby’s franchises. The rest of his wealth is invested via a self-managed super fund in Sentinel Property Group, an unlisted commercial property trust.

Established in 2009, Sentinel has 166 investors and owns 11 properties via syndicates. Investors kick in a minimum $100,000 for a share in a site and receive rental returns of 11.5 per cent, paid monthly.

The vehicle provides higher returns, lower entry and exit fees, and less hassle than the residential market, Sherlock says. As a long-time commercial tenant it’s a milieu in which he feels comfortable, unlike the sharemarket or the technology sector.

”Whatever you invest in, you need to understand … I don’t want to be subject to the unforeseen events that seem to be happening more frequently [in the sharemarket],” Sherlock says.

He has little time for financial ”jockeys under management” – investment advisers and private bankers.

”They want to charge a big clip for making the decisions for you.”

Sherlock describes himself as rich – but not rich enough to hand over his stash and hope it’s husbanded wisely.

He does take advice from entrepreneurs he rubs shoulders with socially, and his accountant. The accountant helps him deal with the complexities of self-managed super fund (SMSF) regulations, capital gains and the governance requirements of multiple investment structures.

Australian adults have a median wealth of about $190,000, according to last year’s Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report.

People with more than $1 million in assets, in addition to their homes, are deemed high net worth, while those the next rung up – the ultra-high net worths – have $20 million or more to play with.

The founder of asset manager Blue Sky, Mark Sowerby, says Sherlock’s attitude is typical of this bracket.

”These people perceive they can do a better job of things themselves than handing the money over,” Sowerby says.

”[They] make their own decisions about what to invest in, [and] then they get their accountant or financial planner to execute it.”

The principal of Mercer financial advice, George Mileski, agrees. ”They want a long-term partnership with someone with a good understanding of their situation, who they can bounce ideas off, and who can give them relevant options to make their own decisions,” he says.

”They’re high net worth for a reason – typically they’re driven, engaged with their finances, confident.”

”Family offices” can provide a fee-for-service clearing house to wealthy individuals seeking to delegate some of the activities – investment advice, governance, philanthropy and ensuring the racehorses are fed – associated with managing a fortune.

Once the remit of the uber-wealthy – those with $300 million and up – the sector has expanded downwards, with the rise of multi-family offices servicing several clans, each with $10 million or more.

Family office clients value independent advice, control and confidentiality, and have long-term relationships with professionals who deliver this mix, says the founder and managing director of Entrepreneurial Wealth Management (now EWM Group), Brad Scott.

The chairman of Opengear and serial IT entrepreneur, Bob Waldie, has his own family office – his wife, Mary, who devotes a day a week to managing their affairs.

”I’m great at making money and love spending … she’s great at governance and does all the administration,” Waldie says.

The Waldies spread their funds across property, the sharemarket, managed funds, and term deposits in Australia and the US.

They use advisers for a diminishing piece of the pie, Waldie says. He describes himself as a fat and happy investor; one who’s less interested in big returns than asset protection, steady revenue streams and having fun.

The latter includes putting 15 per cent of his funds into technology firms and start-ups. These are investments of $20,000 to $50,000 at a time, via venture-capital funds, trusts with other investors and direct personal investment.

”It’s a hobby, and also the high-risk part of the portfolio,” Waldie says.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.