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dme

Hi,

 

When you move to Australia, is it best to leave your funds in South Africa that are already invested in pension / retirement annuities? Or would it be better to apply for financial emigration and cash them out and put them into a superannuation? If the latter, what are the rules to putting money in one lump sum into a super? Are there any caps, or penalties, or tax when putting it into super? I understand the tax penalties in withdrawing the funds in South Africa. Just not sure what happens on Australian side. Any supers that can be recommended?

 

Alternatively should I be using another investment vehicle aside from super? 

 

Thanks,

Doug

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monsta

Those questions are best answered by a professional. I am sure someone here can give you the details of a professional you can call up.

 

We were advised (by a professional) not to put our SA money into a super. The advantage to a super is you get taxed at a lower rate (v.s. your usual salary) when you put money into it. The downside is you can't get your money out until you retire. 

 

We were advised to take our money and to buy shares. The logic was that managed funds (like what a super invests your money in) often don't our perform the market. So, most people are paying fees to someone to return them less than if they just bought a blue chip stock like BHP or Westpac and waited. The trick here is when you buy the blue chips. For example, BHP was super cheap a year ago... but their share price is going to recover soon. This volatility means that you cant immediately pull your money as the share price may be down. For example commodity prices have been down down for 2-3 years and so is the value of BHP stocks, but BHP recently announced that is back to profitability as commodity prices have recovered. So, its very much "boom or bust" in the mining industry (and thus the banks and other blue chips).

 

The other advantage to not investing it into a super, is you can use the moey for a deposit on a home. In Sydney and Melbourne property prices have sky rocketed. They are rising at over 9% in Sydney. So buying a property thats $60 000 more using your SA money means you could get 9% return on the money when you sell your home. But again, Sydney house prices are the 2nd most unnafordable in the word for the locals. You have to beleive that despite that prices can keep skyrocketing at 9%. So, you would probably want to buy a home, and wait till a developer wants to buy it to build an apartment block or shops.

 

Alternatively you can just put the $60 000 into the home you buy, pay off your home sooner and then you can save like mad for your retirement after your home is paid off 5 years earlier.

 

But remember, I listed all those ideas to make you realise its worth talking to a professional about whether any of those ideas could be right for you. Ideally you need a professional on both sides of the pond. One to discuss whether its worth taking your Rands out of south africa (and how) and one to advise you on what to do with it in Aus. A few hundred dollars in consultations could make you thousands in the long run :)

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RYLC

Just our experience and not actual advice:  We took ours out and kept it in the bank as our backup money until spouse got a job.  It was just a bit more than a year's wage (in Oz money) so it gave us a sense of security while job hunting. We were VERY careful not to dip into it but it was there if the wheels fell off.  After that we used it as a house deposit and it has set us up for life here.  For us: rolling it into super might have FELT good but it wouldn't have done us any good when we needed it most.

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ChrisH

Another thing to consider if you keep your funds in SA, the exchange rate might tank completely leaving you with effectively nothing in AUD terms.

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CharlesH

I have the same question.  I will pay a hefty early termination penalty since I have an old style Sanlam RA policy.  I will also lose out on a large Echo bonus.  Then tax will be added on top of that. 

I think one needs to consider the pros and cons - costs and taxes in SA vs how the money can grow in Aus taking into account the Rand tanking against the AUD, ecomomic growth, house price etc. With RAs only a small percentage of the portfolio can be invested offshore with the greater part invested locally. The SA economy is not very healthy and the future does not look very rosy.  SA could very well be downgraded.  My gut says to move my money to Aus. However, I would definitely speak to a professional as your situation may be different.

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Bob

As a layman, who studied Economics at university for a while, I notice the South African economy has a much higher inflation rate than western countries around the world which are struggling on zero or near - to - zero inflation in their economies.

If inflation in one country is 10%, say, then the goods and services in that country will be 10% more expensive next year.

Inevitably, that will put pressure on the currency to slide 10% in value in relation to other currencies that have virtually next to no inflation at all.

That is why the South African Rand, currently sitting on R10 to Aus$, will slide to 11, then 12 and so on to the Aussie $.

In a decade, with inflation at present levels in both countries, it might take R25 to buy Aus$1

So . . . . . you have to decide if you wish to leave your superannuation money in South Africa, knowing that each year it will most likely slide downwards in value to the Australian cost of living.

I can't see what advantage there would be to leave R1 million, say, in South Africa when it will only be worth 1/2 or 1/3 of its value in Australia in 10 years time.

You might have increased your superannuation take to R2 million or even R3 million over the 10 years, but it would still have only trodden water against the tide when repatriating it all to Australia in the end.

Seriously consider taking an enormous tax hit, send the remainder off to Australia and use it as cash to put down a deposit on a house there.

You'd be saving rent money if you actually owned your own place in Australia, to say the very least, and paying for the roof over your head is not a bad investment, superannuation wise or otherwise.

You can always do what many older Australians do and sell the house in years to come, on retirement and "down-size", putting lots of money in the bank to spend in your retirement.

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JulesR

I have a related question to this.  If I cash in my retirement annuity funds and bring them across to invest in a house (or other investment) rather than a super, I will effectively be starting retirement funding from scratch over here.  Given my age (45), what are the implications for retirement?  I have always been very particular about retirement funding, having made contributions to my RA since my first job, and the thought of starting from scratch is a bit alarming!

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AFreshStart
4 hours ago, JulesR said:

I have a related question to this.  If I cash in my retirement annuity funds and bring them across to invest in a house (or other investment) rather than a super, I will effectively be starting retirement funding from scratch over here.  Given my age (45), what are the implications for retirement?  I have always been very particular about retirement funding, having made contributions to my RA since my first job, and the thought of starting from scratch is a bit alarming!

 

@JulesR,

 

You're not alone, I'd hazard there are thousands of migrants in the same boat.

 

Remember many Australians have been earning a SUPER from their teenage years through part-time work.

 

Even coming here in your late 20's is going to hit you, bare in mind though that there is a generation who have little to NO SUPER, "compulsory" SUPER kicked in 1992 and was directly linked to having to deal with an aging population and setting up citizens for retirement with an income to alleviate the pressure on the Government. 

 

It's estimated that 50% of the population who retire over the next 4 decades will not be able to retire on their SUPER alone.

 

You'll need you need to work out what that means for you and what you can do to maximize your investment, now, and into the future.

 

Cheers

 

Matt

 

 

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Bob
On 19/03/2017 at 0:34 PM, JulesR said:

I have a related question to this.  If I cash in my retirement annuity funds and bring them across to invest in a house (or other investment) rather than a super, I will effectively be starting retirement funding from scratch over here.  Given my age (45), what are the implications for retirement?  I have always been very particular about retirement funding, having made contributions to my RA since my first job, and the thought of starting from scratch is a bit alarming!

 

I don't think you need be overly worried about your income stream in your retirement.

Australia is not South Africa.

Australia does have an old Age Pension, which for a married couple is worth about A$34,000 a year, together with heaps of benefits such as paying only 2/3 for house rates, paying 2/3 for your vehicle registration, free doctor's visits, very cheap drug prescriptions from the chemist ($6), 10% off coffees at lots of restaurants, 2/3 price into cinemas, etc. Tax for senior Australians only begins after getting A$28,950 a year, instead of the general A$18,200 a year for average Australian resident, saving over $10,000 of taxable income at 20% tax rate.

The Australian government 35 years ago foresaw that the current generation of Baby Boomers weren't having kids in great numbers, in fact our birth rate was not replacing ourselves. This would put enormous stress on the tax system and delivery of providing care and pensions for older Australians in future years, so in 1988, a superannuation fund was started for every working Australian to put money from their wages into, so that when they retired at 65, there would be a sizeable "nest egg" for them to help afford a reasonable retirement. 

The Australian government offers the old age pension  of $34,000 for every couple nowadays, but realises that many Australian also will have an amount of money saved up in super. For Australians getting an income stream from their super once they retire, after a small threshold  . . . . $3,500 a year . . . . you lose half off your old age pension.

Say, for instance, that you had a savings in your superannuation fund and got a modest $13,500 a year return, paid monthly into your bank account.

The first $3,500 would not affect your old Age Pension which you get from the Australian government.

However, the remaining $10,000 would count against your old age pension. Half  . . . . . 1/2 of $10,000 = $5,000 . . . . would be deducted from your pension of $34,000, leaving you with an old age pension of $29,000  . . . . . $34,000 - $5,000 . . . .  for the year.

So, your real income would be $13,500 income stream from your superannuation fund and another $29,000 a year from your Australian old age pension, bringing you a total of $42,500 a year to live off, less income tax of everything over $28,950 a year.

That's hardly a tough life that most Australians face, in their retirement .

One factor I have found in the lives of South Africans here is that they are several years financially behind the average Australian.

The saving grace in all of this is the welfare system that Australia has, providing a generous income for all its people in retirement, so that they can at least  afford a reasonable lifestyle.

My own personal situation is one of taking early retirement at 55, travelling overseas for several years afterwards and travelling within Australia pretty extensively for about three or four months each and every year.

Edited by Bob
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ottg

@monsta I moved your reply to this old thread.

So how is the ETFs doing?

What is your take on ETFs in the Australia market?

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LynnS
On 3/10/2017 at 1:43 AM, RYLC said:

Just our experience and not actual advice:  We took ours out and kept it in the bank as our backup money until spouse got a job.  It was just a bit more than a year's wage (in Oz money) so it gave us a sense of security while job hunting. We were VERY careful not to dip into it but it was there if the wheels fell off.  After that we used it as a house deposit and it has set us up for life here.  For us: rolling it into super might have FELT good but it wouldn't have done us any good when we needed it most.

Hi RYLC,

 

We would probably do the same as you, but then that leaves us without a pension for later in life.  Did you start a pension fund from scratch in Oz?

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Duggen

Hi Lynn,

 

I stand to be correct here but your employer will contribute 10% of your salary into a superannuation account in Australia. 

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RYLC
3 hours ago, LynnS said:

Hi RYLC,

 

We would probably do the same as you, but then that leaves us without a pension for later in life.  Did you start a pension fund from scratch in Oz?

 

Yes we started a pension fund (superannuation) from scratch. We have also made our own investments into shares outside super. If we had been older (40's) we would have rolled some of the lump sum into super after jobs etc were in place and not used it all for our first house.

 

3 hours ago, Duggen said:

Hi Lynn,

 

I stand to be correct here but your employer will contribute 10% of your salary into a superannuation account in Australia. 

 

Yes the employer pays 9.5% of salary into a pension fund. It is compulsory for employers to do this. Some jobs pay a higher percentage but 9.5% is mandatory.

 

 

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ChrisH
17 hours ago, LynnS said:

but then that leaves us without a pension for later in life.

 

We're going to be using our cashed out annuities for a house deposit.  It's the only way we'd be able to cover the 20% deposit required to avoid lenders mortgage insurance.

 

14 hours ago, RYLC said:

Yes the employer pays 9.5% of salary into a pension fund.

 

You can also opt into salary sacrificing another 5.5% of your wage into your super, this also reduces your taxable salary.

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Eyebrow

I am petrified of getting older here.

 

We have very little in super and no house.

But at least the kids will be ok.

 

I wish we had done the move earlier so that we could have accumulated more super...

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March2
On 3/10/2017 at 9:02 AM, CharlesH said:

I have the same question.  I will pay a hefty early termination penalty since I have an old style Sanlam RA policy.  I will also lose out on a large Echo bonus.  Then tax will be added on top of that. 

I think one needs to consider the pros and cons - costs and taxes in SA vs how the money can grow in Aus taking into account the Rand tanking against the AUD, ecomomic growth, house price etc. With RAs only a small percentage of the portfolio can be invested offshore with the greater part invested locally. The SA economy is not very healthy and the future does not look very rosy.  SA could very well be downgraded.  My gut says to move my money to Aus. However, I would definitely speak to a professional as your situation may be different.

@CharlesH am in the exact position as you.  Have an RA with Sanlam, with the Echo bonus.  Had my broker take a look and boy or boy, for all the time that we had been paying into that RA, I was shocked at what the cash amount payable would be, since we were going to cash it out before retirement age, plus the tax implications, etc.  The amount would be less than a years salary in AUS$.  Not to mention that this money will only be payable if we financially emigrated, which apparently can take between 8-24 months.  As it stands, we are thinking of just leaving it, going over as planned in December, and see how things go.  If we have to get that funds out, we will do the financial emigration then.  What have you decided on?  Would be good to hear other versions.  Sometimes one doesn't know whether brokers would want the money still in RSA for their cut in commission, and advise accordingly.  This is all too much sometimes.

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BaldFinanceGuy

Hi,

I may be able to help. I am a professional financial adviser, practicing in Perth. I have been here for almost 7 years now, so have a bit of time under my belt in the Australian system.

 

The short answer is that it varies for each of us. Some of the things that will impact on the decision is how old you are, how much you have in Pension/RA in RSA still, what your financial circumstances are, are you staying in Oz for good etc. So ideally, you should sit down with someone who can give you personal advice.

 

Generally, cancelling your RSA policy early (that is before reaching age 55 or policy maturity age if set for later) will result in you incurring penalties. The longer the remaining time to maturity still, the proportionately higher the penalty will be. Some older style policies (such as the Sanlam ones referred to) may also have "hidden" bonuses that will be forfeited if surrendered early. Unfortunately there isn't a way to simply have your RSA pension/RA transferred to your Super in Oz.

Secondly, you will also have to pay tax on the surrender value.

Finally, in order to actually get it done, you will need an adviser in RSA to help you, which is going to attract fees.

 

So as you can see, it can be an expensive thing to do and should not be done on a whim.

Having said that, the point that was made about the risk with exchange rate is valid. In fact, it is a real concern and one has to give it due consideration. Note though that the Rand hasn't actually deteriorated that much in the past 5 years surprising as that may sound - it was just over R9 to the AUD in July 2013 and is under R10 today. Whether it will continue to hold its own is the question. If one supports the view that it will not, then the potential loss in value in the future may justify the cost implications up front. In case anyone wants to ask - No, I cannot tell you with any degree of certainty what the exchange rate will be in 1,2,5 or 10 years' time or if it will in fact decline at all. I don't pay too much attention to the RSA economy anymore and many of the factors that should have caused a steep decline in the value if the Rand have already been there in the past 5 years. So the fact that the decline hasn't happened is testament that it is difficult to predict. To put it in Aus vocab, it is a punt that you take.

 

If you decide to cash it all in and bring it over to Oz, you are not required to put it into super if you don't want to. You can apply this money to whatever objective you want, such as buying property, covering costs until you get employment, invest it in any way you like. Again, it's a matter of personal circumstances and objectives.

 

The benefit of super is that it is tax friendly, but it isn't the only way to save for retirement. You should look at super as a jar that you can put money into. Within the jar, you can invest in any number of ways, including shares and property. In fact, if you really want to, your super money can be invested in antiques, art, collectables, coins, pretty much anything that you want. But, once you put money into super, you cannot get it out until retirement (after age 60 generally) or in a handful of other extraordinary circumstances. Much like the case of the pension/RA if you were still in RSA. So as a rule of thumb, super is where you invest money that you will not need to get to in case of emergency or for anything else before you retire. But start building your super as much as you can, as soon as you can because the more you can get in there, the more you will ultimately have in a tax free nest egg.

 

I will write a short article on retirement in Australia and how much is enough and post it to the forum. Keep an eye out for that.

 

Hope this helps a bit, but feel free to ask more questions if anyone wants.

Cheers

Baldie

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rubie

This is fantastic advise. Thank you

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dme
On 7/11/2018 at 10:26 AM, ChrisH said:

You can also opt into salary sacrificing another 5.5% of your wage into your super, this also reduces your taxable salary.

 

Why just 5.5%, wondering if I missed something but I thought you could salary sacrifice much more than that if you chose too... as long as your total concessional contributions were not above $25k cap a year?

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RYLC

Just wanted to clarify about salary sacrifice into super: TOTAL contributions into super per financial year cannot be more than $25K under a salary sacrifice arrangement specifically. So the employer portion plus your salary sacrifice portion can't be more than $25K altogether. It used to be higher but was lowered about a year ago.

Edited by RYLC
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BaldFinanceGuy

You can actually contribute quite a bit more than $25k per year to super. The $25k limit relates to the concessionally taxed (tax friendly) contributions.

You can also contribute a further $100k per year as non-concessional (after tax) contributions.

 

Concessional Contributions:

As mentioned, these are typically employer contributions and salary sacrifice contributions. You can also choose to contribute to super by other means and claim it as a tax deduction in your tax return, provided you notify your super fund that you intend to claim the tax deduction at the time you make the contribution. This is called a Personal Deductible Contribution (PDC) and was previously the mechanism for self-employed people. However, in 2017, it became an option for anyone, regardless of employment status.

 

There are a few things to take note of:

  • The sum of your employer contributions (known as Super Guarantee or SG and will be at least 9.5% of salary), your salary sacrifice and/or PDC should ideally not exceed $25k per year.  
  • These contributions are not taxed in your hands, but are taxed in your super fund at 15%. By making a salary sacrifice or PDC, you effectively reduce your taxable income and therefore pay less tax yourself.
  • If you for some reason exceed the $25k limit, don’t worry, it happens. Sometimes, there is no option, for instance when your income is such that the SG alone is greater than $25k.
  • Where SG/SS/PDC exceeds the limit, you will be required to pay the tax you would have paid had the money been paid out to you instead of making its way to super. But, you will be up for an interest charge on top of that as the ATO will deem the tax as overdue, even though the notification will only be issued once you submit your tax return. You can elect to have the tax paid from your super fund.

 

With effect from 1 July 2019, you will also be able to make “catch-up” concessional contributions if you have not used the full $25k limit in previous years. The rules here are:

  • Your total super balance (across all accounts if you have more than one), must not be more than $500k;

  • You can catch up as many as 5 years’ shortfall contributions, but not any preceding the 2018/19 financial year.

 

Non-concessional contributions:

 

These contributions are made as “after-tax” contributions, meaning you have already paid tax (or at least were assessed and tax rates applied) on the money. These contributions have the following rules attached:

  • They are not taxed in your super fund (it becomes the tax free component of your fund)

  • The annual limit is $100k, but you can bring forward up to 2 years of contributions limits to the current financial year, provided you haven’t triggered this mechanism in the last 3 years already. In simple terms, you can drop up to $300k into super in any one financial year, as long as you have not exceeded the $100k limit in the last 3 years. When you do trigger the bring-forward rule in this way, you will not be able to make any further non-concessional contributions for the following 2 years.

  • Going over the $25k concessional contribution (the first one above) will be recorded against your non-concessional limit, so watch out that you don’t now also exceed the $300k in 3 years limit as that will cost you a whopping 49% in tax on the excess amount.

  • When you reach 65, you must meet the work test to make these contributions still and the bring-forward rule will no longer be available.

  • If your total super balance is $1.6m or more, you will not be allowed to make these contributions either.

 

 

You can actually contribute quite a bit more than $25k per year to super. The $25k limit relates to the concessionally taxed (tax friendly) contributions.

You can also contribute a further $100k per year as non-concessional (after tax) contributions.

 

Concessional Contributions:

As mentioned, these are typically employer contributions and salary sacrifice contributions. You can also choose to contribute to super by other means and claim it as a tax deduction in your tax return, provided you notify your super fund that you intend to claim the tax deduction at the time you make the contribution. This is called a Personal Deductible Contribution (PDC) and was previously the mechanism for self-employed people. However, in 2017, it became an option for anyone, regardless of employment status.

 

There are a few things to take note of:

  • The sum of your employer contributions (known as Super Guarantee or SG and will be at least 9.5% of salary), your salary sacrifice and/or PDC should ideally not exceed $25k per year.  
  • These contributions are not taxed in your hands, but are taxed in your super fund at 15%. By making a salary sacrifice or PDC, you effectively reduce your taxable income and therefore pay less tax yourself.
  • If you for some reason exceed the $25k limit, don’t worry, it happens. Sometimes, there is no option, for instance when your income is such that the SG alone is greater than $25k.
  • Where SG/SS/PDC exceeds the limit, you will be required to pay the tax you would have paid had the money been paid out to you instead of making its way to super. But, you will be up for an interest charge on top of that as the ATO will deem the tax as overdue, even though the notification will only be issued once you submit your tax return. You can elect to have the tax paid from your super fund.

 

With effect from 1 July 2019, you will also be able to make “catch-up” concessional contributions if you have not used the full $25k limit in previous years. The rules here are:

  • Your total super balance (across all accounts if you have more than one), must not be more than $500k;

  • You can catch up as many as 5 years’ shortfall contributions, but not any preceding the 2018/19 financial year.

 

Non-concessional contributions:

 

These contributions are made as “after-tax” contributions, meaning you have already paid tax (or at least were assessed and tax rates applied) on the money. These contributions have the following rules attached:

  • They are not taxed in your super fund (it becomes the tax free component of your fund)

  • The annual limit is $100k, but you can bring forward up to 2 years of contributions limits to the current financial year, provided you haven’t triggered this mechanism in the last 3 years already. In simple terms, you can drop up to $300k into super in any one financial year, as long as you have not exceeded the $100k limit in the last 3 years. When you do trigger the bring-forward rule in this way, you will not be able to make any further non-concessional contributions for the following 2 years.

  • Going over the $25k concessional contribution (the first one above) will be recorded against your non-concessional limit, so watch out that you don’t now also exceed the $300k in 3 years limit as that will cost you a whopping 49% in tax on the excess amount.

  • When you reach 65, you must meet the work test to make these contributions still and the bring-forward rule will no longer be available.

  • If your total super balance is $1.6m or more, you will not be allowed to make these contributions either.

So, in summary, you can contribute up to $125k per year in normal circumstances, but with options to increase that substantially by using the variants available.

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Riekie

Hi Baldie, 

 

Thanks for your very informative posts - maybe a good idea to post your credentials in your signature so our members can see that your advice is legit and current.  Much appreciated! 

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ottg

So what happened to @BaldFinanceGuy previous post, offering advice about the sharemarket volatility and longterm planning with the Vanguard Index 2018 chart.

For those who missed that, here is the link to the chart: https://cuffelinks.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Fig2-Vanguard-2018-Index-Chart.png

Like most analysis, the devil is in the detail.

 

Indexes & stocks tend to follow their long-term mean. When you draw the 15-20 year longterm mean of the index (or any stock) you get a good indication if the market (stock) is overpriced (overheated) or underpriced. When the trend line moves above the mean then it's overpriced or overheated and vice versa. The problem is you don't know when there will be a market correction. Therefore you need additional indicators. You need to follow the smart money (those in the know). That you get by looking if there is an increase in buying volumes and the velocity at which buy occurs (fast or slow). This is not an exact science but tends more to take the guessing out of stock selections.

 

Any index or stock trend line is a signal. Any signal can be broken down into its fundamental components by the mathematical process using Fourier analysis. (all engineers know this). The fundamental signals represent ALL the investors' behavior; short-term signals represent the traders and the longterm signals represent the long-term investor (smart money). Strong market corrections are currently happening.

Using RCIS graphs below and focusing on the most recent market position, showing the longterm trend line with the Fourier trend line superimposed and projected into the future. Note this is not a prediction but an indicator. It shows that it may be better to be in US stocked or FTEs rather than in the ASX market. This you can do by either directly invest in foreign FTEs or switch across into managed funds with underlying US/FTE stocks.

 

1284975398_ASXSP500Oct2018.JPG.a6cea1aad659acf6dbd0b367d7b49622.JPG

 

Note: I'm not a financial adviser just a private investor who took the time and effort to understand the ASX market - which is vastly different to the JSE.

 

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