Thursday, December 11, 2008

How bad is the credit crisis Part 2

Warren Buffet has come to my aid (how very fitting)

The conclusion he was at in 2002 was that

"derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction"

I thought the numbers in the last post were big - this just blows them away.The total value of all the derivatives in the market is $500 trillion
500,000 bn

200 times all the tax raised in the US in 2007
38 times US GDP
9 times the Global GDP   (55,000bn)

Scary numbers when you start to read what derivatives are and how they work.

There is a good article on wikipeadia on this

Once you understand how they work in practice it starts to look like  great big pyramid scheme. Its a house of cards what it does is amplify any problem massively. The spark that set fire to the trillion dollar crisis was 200 million bad loans and because of all of these derivatives based on these 200 billions can magnify into trillions of dollars in losses. 

I think I now understand how this whole thing has come about and how bad it will be.

The answer to my origonal question 
"How bad is the credit crisis"
  • Very bad 
  • Very high inflation
  • Not sure on when it will get really bad though
 I am unsure of how to deal with it. I have holdings in cash and shares (although most of mine were bought after the first large dip and are holding quite well). I also ave other investments and am continuing to contribute to my superannuation (which is currently 100% cash). The question is ...

Now I think I can see the future how do I use this information to assist me in my financial planning over the next 5-10 years?

If anyone has some good ideas I would love to hear from you

The World and US GDP

The value of derivatives

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Credit Bail Out - How bad is it

I'm no economist but I thought I should look into how big a problem is the credit crisis. I have done a few basic sums. 

(Total value of all US taxes)  
This represents 18.8% of GDP since 1930 the highest tax rate has been 20.9 in 2000

(Bail out) 850  
(Loans Liability) 2000
(Current US Debt) 10600
(War) 144
TOTAL 13,594 (Thats $48k per person)

US GDP 2007      13,810

So if the US government spends nothing on running the country and everything on paying off the debt they will take about 5 1/2 years to pay off this debt.

This puts the the US at about 1:1 debt to GDP which brings them from the 27th most in debt in 2007 to the 6th in the world now.

Below is a graph of debt to GDP before all this bail out stuff (taken from zfacts )

I've got a few movies here to looking at debt

Below is a movie by the that disputes the official government figures  
(anyone got opinion on this lot - a bit of research seemed to support thier claim that the figures are being modified optimistically.)

This sounds very scary to me.

Could anyone who knows a bit about this give me some explanation behind numbers that will give me some feeling that the US is OK?

Could we have currency devaluation and rampant  inflation? An article here (Argentina Vs US) explains the similarities.

US debt =  All the current debt owed by the US government not to be confused with US deficit which is the yearly shortfall between taxed raised and money spent by the US government each year.

Total Tax raised in the US 

US War expenditure

Total US Government Debt

Friday, November 7, 2008

Personal Share Portfolio

I am still waiting for the superanuation to fully be rolled over to the DIY superfund. In the mean time I have purchased shares in the following companies in my personal portfolio.

  • ASX:Toll Holdings
    Calculation Spreadsheet
  • ASX:Cabcharge
    Calculation Spreadsheet)
  • ASX: Commonwealth Bank of Australia
    I chose these because I thought I should have a bank. (I haven't a clue how to analyse a bank - I'll be honest I just put finger in the air and guessed on this one.)
  • NYSE:CBG CB Richard Ellis
    (I did some research into this one and it looked like a good bet (low debt good return on captial - good earnings and I though I should get into the property sector).

I bought these shares in late September. I bought Toll and cabcharge because they both seemed like good companies in strong market positions have shown consistently high return on capital and the prices were good.

Times are turbulent and the CBE Richard Ellis shares have taken a pounding but the rest are, for the time being, at about what I paid for them. That said my strategy is buy and hold so I am not too concerned what happens to the share price in the next (rocky 12 months).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Free Stock Screeners

I wondered on the internet and found this rather usefull page - I hope you find it helpfull. I will be looking at the screeners over the next few weeks and I'll let you know how I go

Stock Screeners

Those don't really do the job. I need a stock screener to screen aussie stocks and look at last 10 years consisten earnings growth.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Calculating the Intrinsic Value of Toll Holdings

I have just bought shares based on my analysis of Toll holdings (for my own personal portfolio outside my superanuation fund). This is quite exciting for me because this is the first purchase I have made using some of the processes we have been reading about. I am quite sure its a bit crude but would love to hear opinions on my stab at calculation the Intrinsic Value of Toll.

 I also listened to the MD of Toll on the latest asx podcast how gave me an idea of their strategic direction which I was quite Impressed with. They seem like they have had some solid performance with a good idea of where they are going and also a good competitive envioronment - they just recoently bought a msjor competitor in Australia.

I am open to any advice? Things I have missed? Errors I have made? Have I missed the point? What do you think? Anyone? All advice is welcome

Please have a look at my spreadsheet Intrinsic calculations and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How do you roll out of a DIY Super fund

Roy and I met up yesterday to discuss our progress.

He has quite a bit of stuff to look at to help improve my first stab at analysing a company from a warren buffet point of view. We have also made a few baby steps to actually putting our money in to our new superfund. One thing we weren’t sure about was what happens if or when one of us decides to roll out of the fund? We were seriously discussing whether we should match contributions to make things easier. I called esuperfund today and was advised that basically all the auditing that they do is per fund member so thereby meaning that each individual is treated as a separate account (just the same as a usual fund). I suppose this is a standard approach for a DIY super. So it should actually be a pretty straightforward process


I think this is a good time to mention that the guys at esuperfund have been very helpful so far. The documentation we received when setting it up made the whole process much easier and they have been very helpful in answering our questions. It’s refreshing to speak to someone on the phone that actually knows what they are talking about!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Value Investors Club

I have just been looking online and I found the following website.

On the site it states 
"ONLY 250 MEMBERS WILL QUALIFY for acceptance. Membership is free, however, only a select few will be chosen to join based on their investment ability. Applications will be judged by an investment manager with one of the top long-term investment records........ Each member, once admitted, must post a minimum of 2 investment ideas per year ..."

It looks quite interesting the basic idea is that you submit a couple of good quality company reviews of companies that you like every year and then gain access to everyone elses reviews too. That way multiplying your good work by all the members of the club. Sounds like a good idea to me!

I have just been looking at some samples as I think they could be helpfull for us to get together a template so we can hit the main points when we review a company.

Has anyone had any experience with this club? 
If you have I would love to hear your comments.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Value Investment Podcast Recommendations

After my previous blog where (among other things I mentioned a podcast that I was listening to  ). 

I remembered that I should really also make a note of another podcast that is very good
There are only 8 podcasts in total in the set but I found them all to be really usefull.

As ever if you have anything to add then please do!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Setting up our DIY superannuation fund

When you setup up a self managed super fund you have the ability to invest the money how you see fit (within certain guidelines). However you must employ the services of a company to help set up your fund and to audit the fund every year. Below explains the process we went through. First some general information about super funds and then why we selected the company we did.

Firstily we looked at the fido website

Key points
Setup costs around $1000
Yearly auditing costs around $1000-2000

They recommend you do not do it unless you have at least 200,000 in your super

I found a couple of companies that will do the work for a great deal less than the costs on the FIDO site. This is very import for the success of our fund as the costs could have a huge effect on the compounding return of our fund.

Company 1
I rang up this company and this was the result of the conversation

· $345 establishment fee
· $1095 per annum yearly fee
· same costs for 1 person or 4 in the fund

Company 2
This was a very good deal

$0 establishement fee
$599 p year Auditing fees
There are no costs in leaving or joining the fund - just a rollover form

This seems really good! The reason they are so well priced is that all transactions must be conducted through on online trading account with commsec. This means that there job of auditing is much easier and quicker for them. This does mean there are some limitations with what you can invest in at the moment no derivatives can be purchased (that doesn’t bother us) and purchases are limited to Australian companies only.

We decided to apply to set up our fund with them. We are now waiting the forms to arrive in the post.

Has anyone else used E-superfund or anyone have any advice for us along the lines of our choice of DIY auditors?
 I would love to hear anyone thoughts

Monday, July 7, 2008

Why are we setting up our own DIY super fund

In Australia we have a mandatory contribution scheme for or retirement. The fund is managed by one of number of companies who invest the money on your behalf. For this service they receive fees. I have been paying into one of these funds for a number of years.

I (like many other people) have pretty much ignored my superannuation for too long. A couple of months ago I thought it was high time I examined my fund with a fine tooth comb and what I found was pretty worrying.

I found discrepancies on their web site where they contradicted the return for the fund - after my pursuing this I was informed this was copy paste error. Hmm!

I then went through the accounts of my fund and found that the performance of the individual components of my fund (eg Australian shares 15%, International share 20%, cash 10% etc..)didn't seem to add up with what was the stated performance of those components on the superannuation companies website. I rang up and seemingly I am the first person to have asked for a breakdown of this information. After 6 weeks I got an answer t my question.

This I find very concerning not only was the information hard to come by to seems very few people are asking questions. This lack of transparency I find very worrying and I predict some of the superannualtion funds are going to get into trouble because no-one is asking questions. I decided that if a fund was to get into trouble it wasn't going to happen with my money. I presented my findings to the club (we allready had done work on value investment in the past) and this was what persuaded me and the other guys to go for a DIY super managed by value analysis principles.

Has anyone else tried to get information from there superannuation fund? What were your results?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Setting up the site

In these blogs I intend to hold nothing back and explain our whole process we go through to make our decisions. There are a bunch of spreadsheets and other documents we are using currently that I would like to publish. I would also like to publish a comprehensive list of books / podcasts / websites we have used so far and include new sources as we use them. I hope to put all this up on the blog over the next few weeks.



A few years ago I got to my 30th birthday and I realized at my age I really should be taking my finance a bit more seriously. The problem with finance is that it is so deadly boring. To overcome this inertia I set up a club with some other friends in order to force myself to learn stuff about this wide ranging topic. In the club we have monthly meetings where we present to the group on topics of our choice. Luckily we all enjoy learning new things and it has worked out very well. We have covered a wide veriety of topics such as tax, reducing spending, buying property etc.

More recently investment strategy has become of more interest to us. We are based in Melbourne Australia and in Australia we have a mandatory pension scheme. These schemes are called superannuation funds and involve employee and employer contribution made to a private investment fund. You also have a choice to setup and manage your own fund. In earlier presentations we concluded that we had some deep concerns about managed super funds and have decided to manage our own.

We are currently embarking on setting up a self managed super fund where we are intending manage the investments by applying the principles of value investors such as Warren Buffet and Benjamin Graham.The purpose of this post and (hopefully the supporting podcasts) are to share our journey on this task.

We hope that this may assist other people who are on a similar journey. I also hope that we me benefit from the feedback of others to assist us on our journey.