Sunday, 18 March 2018

Australian personal investment portfolio profiles reveal a sjgnificant lack of diversification and a fondness for shares

“This is indeed the wealthiest retired generation ever in Australian history…. Self-funded or partly self-funded retirees appear to enjoy a significantly higher standard of living than those who rely on the Aged Pension”  [Australian Centre for Australian Studies, August 2016]

According to the Australian Stock Exchange in 2017 there were over 11 million investors across the country.

Given the many words being written on the subject of share dividend imputation and franking credits here is a broad breakdown of the investment types these people hold.

Sources of income during retirement

In 2016–17, there were 3.6 million persons, aged 45 years and over, who reported that they were retired from the labour force. This group comprised 1.7 million men and 1.9 million women. Just over half of all retired persons were aged 70 years and over (56% of retired men and 52% of retired women).

Approx. 49% of male and 45% of female retirees stated main source of income was 'government pension/allowance'. In total this represents an est. 1.6 million individuals retired from the labour force.

Approx. 33% of male and 17% of female retirees stated their main source of income was 'superannuation/annuity/allocated pension' (37% of females state ‘partners income’ as main source of income). In total this represents an est. 884,000 individuals retired from the labour force.

Est. 30% of all retirees appeared to be eligible to claim a government part-pension.

Australian retirees (60 years and older) investment portfolio profile:

68% hold cash
58% hold shares
26% hold investment property
18% hold other on-exchange investments.
Retirees on average expect an 8 per cent return on investment.

Australian all adult (18 years of age & older) investment portfolio profile:

60% hold investments
Up to est. 42% hold investment property
31% hold shares
Up to 25% hold other on-exchange investments, including derivatives
10% hold family trusts
15% hold self-managed super funds (SMSFs), with the majority held by individuals over 45 years of age
Est. 44% of SMSFs contain shares and over 50% hold cash.
Adult investors on average expect an 8.2 to 9.2 per cent return on investment.

Only est. 5% of investors borrow money in order to invest.

Overall less than half (46%) of all investment portfolios are diversified to lessen financial risk.

Currently, most investors in Australia are self-directed, choosing to conduct their own research.


Excess Franking Credits derived from Share Dividends

The average annual cash refund for unused franking credits is thought to be in the vicinity of $5,000 per shareholder, while the average unused credits cashback payment for people in the top 1% of self-managed super funds is an est. $83,000 a year.

Social media opinion
Tim Lyons at Revielle 

Case studies mentioned in mainstream media

Case Study 1

It has been pointed out that with income from other sources being $130,000, "Jean" would have income producing assets possibly valued at est. $3.2 million. She appears to own her own home.

Case Study 2 - Stjepan has retired with what appears to be a self-managed super fund. As his fund is in the pension phase he pays $0 tax. He and his wife have a combined annual income of $89,000 and own shares valued at $200,000. He states that he will lose "several thousand dollars a year" if he no longer receives cash back for excess franking credits.
Stepan owns his own home plus a holiday unit.
If this couple's combined income is $89,000 then they would possibly have income producing assets valued at around $1.7 million.

Case Study 3 - "Peter" has a self-managed super fund. As his fund is in pension phase he pays $0 tax. Peter has an income of $60,000 a year. Dividends from his share portfolio see him receiving franking credit cashback payments of over est. $8,000 per annum which he lodges in his SMSF account to grow his balance.
His income producing assets are possibly valued at est. $1.2 million.

Case Study 4 - Margaret and her husband have a self-managed super fund. As their fund is in the pension phase they pay $0 tax. The SMSF appears to solely invest is shares - 85% of which are Telstra and big bank shares. 
Currently National Australia Bank shares are worth in the vicinity of $29.51 with an annual dividend yield of 6.71%, Westpac shares are worth in the vicinity of $29.52 with an annual dividend yield of 6.37%, Commonwealth Bank shares are worth in the vicinity of $75.34 with an annual dividend yield of 5.71% and, Telstra shares are worth in the vicinity of $3.35 with an annual dividend yield of 6.8%.
No income is stated but what is asserted is that the abolition of payment for excess franking credits will see their annual income reduced by 30%.
Margaret and her husband own their own waterfront residence in Sydney.

The bottom line is that investors who structured their portfolios to take maximum advantage of excess franking credit cash payments do not appear to have considered the relatively short history of this cash payment scheme or the possibility that a political push might occur to eliminate the 'value' of unused franking credits - given that current owners of these credits who had no tax liability were claiming refunds for tax they had never paid in the first place.

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