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Managing uncertainty

by Greg Carroll www.attitudefinance.com


The events of the last few weeks in the financial markets have made for interesting viewing. The most interesting aspect is how quickly people's sentiment can change. One day we are seeing the share market hit record highs and talking about shares breaking the mythical $100 barrier and next investors are picking over bargains at the end of last weeks share market nose dive.


It goes to show that the two biggest motivators "Fear" and "Greed" are not only alive and well but also operate in close proximity to each other.


The crunch in the US credit market has also highlighted how much we are a part of the global economy and that events in one part of the world are likely to have implications locally. Unfortunately the impact of the credit crunch still has a way to play out, so the end result for the Australian economy is still unknown.


The possibility has been aired that the net result could be an increase in the cost of funds globally which may see interest rates increase even if the RBA doesn't increase official cash rates. Although a number of lenders have stated that they do not believe they will need to do any repricing. In fact some may see it as an opportunity to gain market share but pricing below market.


It has now also been flagged that the US Federal Reserve is likely to decrease official rates when it next meets which may be the start of a number of reductions. The RBA at this stage seems unfazed by all of this and is maintaining that its trigger for a rate rise will be inflation. Yet a number of analysts are now stating they believe a rise is less likely this year at all in light of world events.


And of course we have a federal election this year. So what does this all mean? It means that we have hit one of those patches where there is a little bit of uncertainty, which is completely normal. It happened in 2001 with September 11, it happened at the end of 2003 with the end of the property boom, and it's happening now with a correction in the stock market.


If you reflect on each of those periods it is clear to see that there were opportunities to be had. Those who purchased shares in 2001 are most likely sitting on pretty solid gains despite the market bouncing around. For example in September 2001 BHP was sitting at around $8. At the time of writing it was sitting around $35.


For most of 2004 the property market in Brisbane was flat, we started to experience a modest increased in 2005, by the end of 2006 annual growth was sitting between 7-8% and the latest figures put annual growth at between 10-12%. And rents are starting to increase significantly.


The bottom line is as we move through this patch there will be winners and losers. You just have to decide which side you want to be on.


The key to be being on the winning side is "Time". Time means you can seize on opportunities when they present themselves, hold your assets through the bumpy patches that will ultimately occur and fully realize on your assets potential gains.


Many people set up their financial structure based on the high tide mark. They have a good job with a good income and set their plans and expenditure accordingly. But when an unforeseen event occurs they have little room to move and may find themselves struggling, becoming increasingly reliant on high cost credit or worse being forced to sell assets at a time that is not of their choosing.


Putting in place insurances is obviously a prudent measure in managing some of life's potential risks but it is also essential to have a finance structure that provides you with maximum flexibility and importantly "Time".


An appropriate structure will be one that allows you to growth your wealth without placing a strain on your cashflow but also provides ready access to funds for emergencies or unexpected cash flow shortfalls.



This information is provided in good faith but is not intended to be comprehensive and does not constitute advice. The above information is an example only and does not take into account market fluctuations or individuals specific circumstances. The ability to access the rates or repayments shown is dependent on individual circumstances and specific lenders policies. Attitude Finance accepts no responsibility or liability for anyone relying on this information.