Evolution Articles

Top Performing Super Funds in 2014

Information gleaned from 2014 analysis shows the top superannuation funds in terms of offered investment options. Chant West, a superannuation research firm, measured the 12-month period until December 31, 2014 and ranked their top 10 super funds based on the investment options that they provide. The top superannuation fund for 2014 is QSuper, with a 12.7% yearly return, up from 11.3% in 2013. QSuper is Queensland’s largest and oldest super fund and offers lifetime and retirement options. UniSuper Balanced placed at second with 10.0% and AMP Future Directions Balanced followed with 9.8%. Warren Chant, principal of Chant West, says of their list of 2014 performers: “All sectors delivered positive returns for the year, but the funds that performed best were those that had a higher exposure to international assets, especially shares and property," property being the largest investment sector last year. Here is the complete list of top 10 best-performing super funds according to Chant West for the 12-month period until December 31, 2014: Top 10 Performing Growth Funds for 1 year to December 2014 (%) Rank Super Fund and Investment Option 1 year return* 1. QSuper Balanced 12.7% 2. UniSuper Balanced 10.0% 3. AMP Future Directions Balanced 9.8% 4. Statewide MySuper 9.7% 5. Intrust Balanced 9.7% 6. Kinetic Super Growth 9.6% 7. CFS FirstChoice Growth 9.5% 8. VicSuper Growth 9.5% 9. Telstra Super Balanced 9.4% 10. HOSTPLUS Balanced 9.3% Source: Chant West, 20 January 2015 media release (www.chantwest.com.au) *Performance is net of investment fees and taxes. The returns in the table are before any administration fees or adviser commissions are deducted. SuperRatings, on the other hand, compared super funds in terms of investment returns. So which super funds outperformed the rest? In their list, Telstra Super ranked first with 15.8% returns, followed by Intrust Super and UniSuper at second and third, respectively. According to SuperRatings founder and chairman, Jeff Bresnahan, super funds have continued to perform since they were made compulsory in 1992, returning an averaged 7.2% per annum from 1992-2014. In financial year 2013-2014, the median balanced super return – according to SuperRatings -- was 12.7%. Bresnahan also offered that “the two most important factors when choosing your super fund” are investment returns and fees charged by the fund; check if any fees charged are too high or not as planned as you ought to take care of your investment account for the original goal: retirement. It should set you up for a comfortable retirement so do research for a plan that would yield the most for you and commit to it, with a workable amount of risk. Ideally check the super’s previous 5-10 year-performance and carefully weigh its offered options as a good performance this year doesn’t guarantee another great one the next. “From the member’s point of view, I think the message – now more than ever – is to keep an eye on your fund’s performance regularly, and at least every year. Don’t be too concerned if it underperforms in the short term, but if it consistently underperforms over a few years, try to find out why and maybe look at some alternatives,” Chant advised in 2010. Super fund performance should intelligently inform and not overtly influence the investor as investors should consider the super fund’s investment performance in the long run. Contact us today for more information and advice!

5 Websites That Will Help Make You Finance Savvy

Learning more about managing your finances is crucial to your success in wealth creation. Here are five notable business websites for you to follow to become financially savvy: 1. The Street This Wall Street-based website offers seven free e-mail newsletters: The Daily Booyah!, Before the Bell, Midday Bell, After the Bell, Winners & Losers, TheStreet Top 10 Stories, and TheStreet ETF Weekly. The Street focuses more on business in its content, allowing you to browse through the latest developments of your favourite brands; the video-streaming at the upper-left corner lets users in on What to Watch on Wall Street while you can share a business-related quote on social media once you navigate to their site. Another great feature for investors is the Best Services, or offers. This site is perfect for those who are interested in trending business news and creative lists. 2. Forbes This is great for starters in business or young workers looking to manage their finances. One of the more well-known financial websites, Forbes is known for its annual lists. It also features news on business, markets, personal finance, lifestyle and opinions along with website tools. Following them is tied up with active social media posted on Forbes. Another option is following their staff and other companies and organizations. 3. Bloomberg Business Bloomberg Business contains video feature on its website, along with timely, relevant news and financial information such as stock, perfect for the reader who wants well-rounded updates on his interests. Topics range from international market, politics and economics to popular entertainment and shopping. Another perk is the best of Bloomberg Business, a daily-delivered newsletter you sign up for. Following the Bloomberg Business gives you insider information on markets and taxes, making you financially savvy. 4. Yahoo Finance As of April 2015, Yahoo Finance is the most popular business site, as per eBizMBA Rank. On the website are updated data of currency exchange, gold and crude oil along with a long list of top news – market and personal finance – Market Data, interspersed with interesting news about science and technology, sports, financial tips and Rates such as Mortgage, Savings, Credit Cards, Auto and Insurance. This website provides readers with wide-ranging information, especially on money matters. Following them is a great choice. 5. Entrepreneur This website offers an interesting insight on business and a number of informative lists to check out. Follow Entrepreneur’s How To section if you seek valuable advice on starting up and look through the rest of the fresh, attention-grabbing articles to further enhance your business savvy; this is a fulfilling site to follow for its inspiring “We Inspire Each Other” theme. Business websites are a great foundation for learning more about finance management. They are a click away and with many sites to choose from that have their own features, content, and take on business, you can become financially savvy. In them, one finds everything he needs to get inspired and of course, create wealth. Contact us today for more information and advice!

Apps for Small Business

Small businesses should consider using apps – available on smartphone, tablet or desktop computers – whether they’re starting up or want to expand; apps are fun, easy ways to improve overall productivity and can be necessary should you lack time or other resources. Technological advancement – with the average person having 26 apps on their phone – makes apps a beneficial option for businesses, especially in mobile marketing, the “most powerful marketing tool in existence today,” where they are an instant hit with building loyalty through user-app interaction and boosting leads. An app – abbreviated from “application”, a type of program or software designed for a specific use or purpose -- is usually reasonably-priced. Incorporating them into business tasks encourages efficiency in terms of speed and enjoyment, among others. Businesses should consider creating or using an app if it fits their company brand and should factor in cost; if an app will deliver the goals that you see for your small business, then an app would be perfect. Ask yourself what kind of app you are interested in: a news, advertisement, or a task-based one such as a note-taking tool; you can rely on other apps to get you started, too. Apps that complete back-end services like accounting or bookkeeping, such as Xero, are becoming more popular. Small businesses can use or create apps to keep up with competition and stay connected with users, customers and clients. “Apps can increase order frequency and size by making ordering faster and more timely, increase user engagement and build loyalty, and help customers get more out of your products or services by providing relevant information on their devices,” says Tom Droste, president of Logical Engine. Other goals and advantages of a small business app are the following: Apps are 24/7; you can access them at leisure easily. They’re a way to grow your business and increase profits, as consumers sometimes purchase with the help of online apps. Apps can advertise your small business, once they’re out there, people can discover your business with a single click. Apps fuel the “New App Economy” with growing app usage. It’s a means for users to connect to a first-time brand or with a trusted company through updates or the features of the app itself, especially if it’s an informative application. An app is designed with a function; these functions make life easier for the company that uses it or for the user of the app. If you think your own business could benefit from creating an app, discuss your interests with a trusted app developer or solutions provider who can zero in on how a particular app would improve business. They should also consider how the app will represent the business’s brand. Small business apps are a big thing in technology – they change the way we do business. Apps are an easy way to conduct business affairs and small businesses should consider whether they should create or use one or more in their daily functions. Staff can access their work anytime, anywhere on cloud technology; apps make your brand available to app users, some of whom could be new customers, so think about how you to build your app with your business in mind. Contact us today for more information and advice!

Investing According to Your Age

“By thinking strategically about your investments during each stage of your life, you can help prepare yourself for all of life’s major milestones.” Investing requires careful consideration of how, how much, why and when you should allocate your assets – stock, bond, cash, real estate or a combination in varying proportion -- in order to realise ultimate life goals, no matter what your age is. Age is a factor in investment as different age groups have evolving resources, needs and goals to consider. Remember that millennials will have funds allocated for many firsts in their lives and can risk more while the elderly prioritise on preparing for retirement. All demographics should consider the following when investing by age: Investment objective: Do I have a child to support or a first house down payment? Am I already planning for retirement or am I targeting early retirement? Time horizon Risk tolerance can be high, moderate or low depending on your age. A high risk tolerance young person will have more time to correct any losses he might incur and eventually settle his finances but a retiree will depend more on his previous investment choices and have low risk tolerance; by this time, the latter can no longer be making rash decisions due to the circumstances of his stage of life. At this time, he can prioritise savings and adjust the asset allocation of his investments, such as cutting back on riskier stock. Create a diversified portfolio consisting of varying assets for lesser risk; the proportions will change as you do. Whenever you get a raise – traditionally, income increases with age -- try to invest the amount. Here are trends among investor age groups and more helpful advice: 20- 35: Young Adult You’re beginning: recruit a licensed financial adviser who can offer plans suitable to your specific resources, needs and goals. You can afford risk-taking and should invest on mutual or index funds. 35- 55: Middle Age Focus on fixed income. Ideally plan for retirement by now – this could also be accomplished sooner or later with proper management. Increase your investment on assets for wealth preservation. 55- Retirement: Retiring Age Determine how much you need each month to live comfortably. Take advantage of available investment programs. Australians have Superannuation – a government-backed, employment-based retirement fund -- of which the Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) is the most popular, comprising 31% of all supers in 2014. The Age Pension exists for the elderly who are at least 65 years old and eligible for financial assistance. According to the life-cycle theory of investing, investing by age displays predictable income and investment behaviour corresponding to an investor’s life stage or investment period. There are always exceptions among the population and a savvy investor can utilise strategies not conventionally used by their age group. Investing according to your age is an important consideration for investors from all age backgrounds about the management of investment. Contact us today for more information and advice!

Traditional vs. Digital Marketing

Marketing is an important aspect of creating brand awareness and there are distinct strategies a company can choose to undertake when marketing their products or services. These are Traditional and Digital marketing. Both strategies possess distinct features as traditional marketing relies on hard copies such as print media, TV, radio, billboards and mail, while digital marketing is “word-of-mouth” promotion via digital or electronic devices and media. Also, digital is typically more of an “inbound” focused strategy as the audience will need to browse a website or search for more information should they want it. Recently, traditional marketing strategies have fallen nearly 160% in use while in the same time frame expenses for digital marketing increased over 14%. In a major move, magazine Newsweek completely digitized its publishing and made noticeable advancements in their digital marketing wins as a result. This is prompting businesses to consider switching to digital from traditional marketing. Here are some differences between traditional and digital marketing: Traditional and Digital Marketing: A Comparison Traditional marketing is more expensive as it is a “person-to-person” effort to reach the audience through classic means of advertising such as printing and commercials. Digital marketing, meanwhile, is free (to an extent) but relies heavily on people engaging with companies online by seeking them organically. Buyers usually acquaint “marketing” with traditional marketing. In fact, it is what first comes to mind when asked “What is marketing?” What with the advent of the 21st Century technology, more and more people are going digital and are exposed to digital marketing output. Traditional marketing returns are difficult to measure as measuring primarily involves statistics and market research (with traditional media for example, it is difficult to gather information about how many are reading a brochure). Digital marketing results are easily quantifiable by checking on Statistics or Social Media “Likes” or “Views” to check on traffic. It is then quite simple to conceptualize and work on how to improve on your promotion strategy. The largest difference between traditional and digital Marketing would be the scope. Traditional marketing covers printed media while digital marketing reaches an Internet-active market. There is a large room for adjustment for digital marketing; aside from its affordability and relevance to today’s digital culture, virtually anyone with an internet connection can discover and promote your business. However, it is also highly demanding time-wise to deal with maintaining a website or responding to queries, suggestions and comments. Increasingly, more activities are done online or on digital devices such as e-readers. This means marketing done the digital way is a lucrative opportunity in today and tomorrow’s market while traditional marketing still has a place for locally targeted campaigns. According to Jessie Gould from LaneTerralever TM, digital marketing may be surpassing other marketing strategies but traditional marketing will be here to stay for as long as we still use “tangible” media: read newspapers, browse a magazine or have televisions. He further adds: “One isn’t better or more effective than the other; each has a role to play. Your goal as marketer is to determine what roles those are and how to use them effectively.” Digital marketing is a powerful strategy that can be used to broadcast your company while traditional marketing remains the more familiar strategy. As the world is becoming more and more digitized; traditional marketing may fall to the wayside but both still have roles to play – with their differences and scope – in the world of marketing. For more information, contact us today!