The Internet is a vital resource in today’s day and age. Despite this, increased usage of the Internet exposes us to more and more online security risks every day.
It’s essential for members to be aware of these risks and the measures they can take to improve their online security.
National Cyber Security Awareness Week, held from May 20 – 24th this year, is an annual Australian Government initiative to promote the cyber security risks facing Internet users today and help them ‘stay smart online’.
The program is created through the partnership of industry, community and consumer groups and state and territory governments.
Stay Smart Online encourages all Australians to remember ten simple tips to improve their online security:
There are a range of resources and initiatives you can get involved in as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Week 2013, to learn more about protecting your personal information online:
For more information on National Cyber Security Awareness Week or protecting your personal information online visit the Staying Smart Online website or contact us today.
An unexpected move by the Reserve Bank has seen the cash rate slashed to a new record low of 2.75 per cent. Rates have been on hold for the last three months with the last cut in December last year.
The decision is said to be an indication of the RBA’s concerns over the recent performance of the economy - particularly in regard to rising unemployment and declining national income.
Market commentators say housing markets have been a beneficiary of low interest rates with auction clearance rates and housing loans clearly ahead of last year’s results.
The full statement from RBA Governor Glenn Stevens can be viewed below:
At its meeting today, the Board decided to lower the cash rate by 25 basis points to 2.75 per cent, effective 8 May 2013. The global economy is likely to record growth a little below trend this year, before picking up next year.
Among the major regions, the United States continues on a path of moderate expansion and China's growth is running at a more sustainable, but still robust, pace. Japan has announced significant new policy initiatives aimed at strengthening demand and ending deflation. The euro area remains in recession.
Commodity prices have moderated a little in recent months though they remain high by historical standards.
Financial conditions internationally continue to be very accommodative, with risk spreads reduced, funding conditions for most financial institutions improved and borrowing costs for well-rated corporates and sovereigns exceptionally low.
Growth in Australia was close to trend in 2012 overall, but was a bit below trend in the second half of the year, and this appears to have continued into 2013. Employment has continued to grow but more slowly than the labour force, so that the rate of unemployment has increased a little, though it remains relatively low.
With the peak in the level of resources sector investment likely to occur this year, there is scope for other areas of demand to grow more strongly over the next couple of years. There has been a strengthening in consumption and a modest firming in dwelling investment, and prospects are for some increase in business investment outside the resources sector over the next year.
Exports of raw materials are increasing as increased capacity comes on stream. These developments, some of which have been assisted by the reductions in interest rates that began 18 months ago, will all be helpful in sustaining growth.
Recent data on prices confirm that inflation is consistent with the target and, if anything, a little lower than expected. The CPI rose by 2½ per cent over the past year, and measures of underlying inflation gave a broadly similar outcome. These results have been pushed up a little by the impact of the carbon price. Growth of labour costs has moderated slightly over recent quarters while productivity growth appears to be improving. This should help to lessen increases in prices for non-tradables.
The Bank's forecast remains that inflation over the next one to two years will be consistent with the target. Over recent meetings, the Board has noted that interest rates have already been reduced substantially, with borrowing rates approaching previous lows, and that the effects of this on the economy are continuing to emerge.
Savers have been changing their portfolios towards assets with higher expected returns, asset values have risen and some interest-sensitive areas of spending have increased.
The exchange rate, on the other hand, has been little changed at a historically high level over the past 18 months, which is unusual given the decline in export prices and interest rates during that time. Moreover, the demand for credit remains, at this point, relatively subdued. The Board has previously noted that the inflation outlook would afford scope to ease further, should that be necessary to support demand.
At today's meeting the Board decided to use some of that scope. It judged that a further decline in the cash rate was appropriate to encourage sustainable growth in the economy, consistent with achieving the inflation target.
New research shows superfunds are expected to provide the best returns since the GFC this financial year.
Despite returns for median super funds declining in March, reports claim some funds still look likely to report double-digits for the financial year.
On the 4 year anniversary of the GFC low, recorded in February 2009, super funds had increased by 44.2% and are now 8.1% above even their pre-GFC peak.
Median growth funds which make up about 70% of Australian’s $1.5 trillion in super savings rose by about 4.5 per cent in the March quarter putting the average return at about 12.5% for the financial year to date.
The average return for multi-sector growth funds was 5 per cent at the end of the March quarter, with the financial year to date average returns at 14.6 per cent.
Jeff Bresnahan, founder of Australia’s first super research company SuperRatings says, '”four years on from the lowest point of the GFC, it is great to see super funds have rebounded so strongly. Investors shouldn't expect a return to those bull market days of 2004 to 2007, but the 2012-13 financial year remains on track to provide double-digit returns.''
In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald Alex Dunnin, chief researcher at financial services research group Rainmaker says, ''returns are back to near record levels, the funds are innovating, there's a lot of money pouring in.” Dunnin estimates returns of 12 to 14 per cent for the financial year largely due to the share market rally that began late last year.
The overall best super returns were recorded in 2007 and 1997 at about 15 per cent.
Research results were taken from SuperRatings, Morningstar Australasia and Rainmaker Group.
For more information about investing in your financial future contact us today.