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Investment and economic outlook, February 2024

Region-by-region economic outlook and latest forecasts for investment returns.

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U.S. consumers in aggregate remained financially healthy entering 2024. That’s the conclusion of new research, which highlights wealth effects, accumulated savings, and normalising credit usage as sources of strength. Our findings suggest that if consumers don’t stoke continued U.S. economic growth, they will at least mitigate downward pressure in the event of a U.S. recession.

Among the key findings of the research, led by Bob Behal of our Fixed Income Group and Josh Hirt of our Investment Strategy Group: real estate values have driven atypical wealth gains across income distributions since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and distress in lending markets is largely confined to the least creditworthy borrowers who drive the least amount of spending.
 

Sources: calculations using data as of December 31, 2023, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax.

The chart above shows that, as a proportion of both gross domestic product (GDP) and disposable personal income, revolving credit such as credit card debt and home equity loans remains below its pre-pandemic trend and is likely to normalise only in the fourth quarter of 2024. The likely upshot? More room to run for the U.S. consumer.

Vanguard’s outlook for financial markets

Our 10-year annualised nominal return and volatility forecasts are shown below. Equity returns reflect a range of 2 percentage points around the 50th percentile of the distribution of probable outcomes. Fixed income returns reflect a 1-point range around the 50th percentile. More extreme returns are possible.

Australian dollar investors
  • Australian equities: 4.3%–6.3% (21.7% median volatility)
  • Global equities ex-Australia (unhedged): 4.9%–6.9% (19.4%)
  • Australian aggregate bonds: 3.7%–4.7% (5.5%)
  • Global bonds ex-Australia (hedged): 3.9%–4.9% (4.8%)

Notes: These probabilistic return assumptions depend on current market conditions and, as such, may change over time.

Source: Investment Strategy Group as at 14 February 2024.

Region-by-region outlook
Australia

Leading indicators suggest that resilient but subdued economic conditions will prevail early in 2024, with a gradual acceleration in the first half supported by rising real household incomes, a reflating housing market, and firming business investment.

  • We expect both growth and inflation to be weaker than consensus as restrictive monetary policy takes hold. In our base case, the cash rate of the Reserve Bank of Australia is at its peak for the cycle, at 4.35%. We believe the RBA will start to cut interest rates only late in 2024.
  • Forecasts a year-end 2024 cash rate of 3.85% (down from the current 4.35%), and that the rate will eventually settle in the 3%–4% range, in line with our assessment of the neutral rate, the theoretical rate that would neither stimulate nor restrict an economy.
  • We expect real (inflation-adjusted) economic growth of 0.75%–1.25% for all of 2024. Having benefited from elevated commodities export prices, monetary policy less restrictive than that of other developed markets, and supportive fiscal policy, Australia has high odds of avoiding recession this year, even if only narrowly.
  • We expect the unemployment rate, which touched 50-year lows after the pandemic, to rise throughout 2024 to about 4.6% as financial conditions continue to tighten. Unemployment stood at 3.9% in December.
United States

Recent growth and labour market data suggest the U.S. economy remains robust as debate continues over the timing of potential cuts in the Federal Reserve’s target for short-term interest rates. Inflation continues to ebb, but remains alert to risks posed by still-strong wage growth.

  • The U.S. economy created 353,000 jobs in January, nearly double the consensus estimate, and revisions to November and December data lifted the average monthly jobs gain over the past three months to 289,000. Geographic and industry trends suggest an improvement in labor market momentum, raising the odds that the unemployment rate will not rise as high as our year-end forecast of 4.8%.
  • We continue to expect shelter inflation—an amalgamation of, for renters, rents plus utility payments, and the cost if homeowners rented similar houses—to moderate by mid-2024 and further progress toward the Fed’s broader 2% inflation target. Sticky services inflation will remain a headwind.
  • For 2024, we foresee real (inflation-adjusted) economic growth of 0.25%–0.75%. However, the economy appears to be starting the year strong. A real-time  estimate is tracking first-quarter growth at a nearly 3% annualised pace.
China

High-frequency housing and auto sales data as well as data from purchasing managers’ indexes suggest that weak economic growth has carried into the new year. As a structural property downturn drags on the economy, private demand and business confidence remain subdued. The government has responded with broad but incremental stimulus measures, including support for the ailing housing and equity markets.

  • China’s economy is increasingly reliant on government support, with the public share of total fixed investment at a 12-year high, but we don’t anticipate large-scale stimulus. With economic growth below potential and continued deflationary pressure, more concrete and decisive policy support may be needed for China to achieve its anticipated growth target of “around 5%.”
  • We continue to expect consumer prices to rise by 1%–1.5% in 2024. Pro-growth measures could help stimulate prices. But we expect any reflation to be modest, below the central bank’s 3% inflation target. Consumer prices fell on a year-over-year basis for a fourth consecutive month in January, while producer prices have fallen 16 months in a row.
  • To mitigate deflationary pressure, we expect the People’s Bank of China to ease its policy rate from 2.5% to 2.2% in 2024, as well as to cut banks’ reserve requirement ratios.
Euro area

We believe the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) will look to first-quarter inflation and wage data, the latter of which will be available only in late spring, to confirm that it can sustainably return inflation to the ECB’s 2% target. That would allow the ECB to initiate a rate-cutting cycle with its June 6 policy announcement, with 25-basis-point cuts potentially at each of its final five policy meetings of the year.

  • Amid moderating inflation and wage gains, we have revised our outlook for ECB policy rates. We foresee the ECB cutting its deposit facility rate by 100 to 150 basis points (1 to 1.5 percentage points) in 2024 to a year-end range of 2.5%–3%. That’s greater than the 75 basis points of rate cuts we foresaw in our economic and market outlook for 2024.
  • We expect headline inflation to reach the ECB’s 2% target by September 2024 and core inflation, which excludes volatile food, energy, alcohol, and tobacco prices, to reach target by December 2024.
  • We forecast real (inflation-adjusted) economic growth of 0.5%–1% in 2024 and continue to expect that any recession will be mild.
  • We don’t believe the euro area will enjoy a “painless disinflation.” We anticipate a softening labor market as economic activity falls below its potential amid restrictive monetary and fiscal policy. We expect the unemployment rate to rise to an above-consensus range of 7%–7.5% in 2024, up from 6.4% in December.
United Kingdom

The U.K. economy may have fallen into a technical recession, marked by two consecutive quarters of declining activity, in the second half of 2023. But high-frequency indicators suggest that a modest return to growth, around 0.1%–0.3%, may be underway in the first quarter.

  • For all of 2024, we foresee below-trend economic growth of 0.5%–1% from the effects of contractionary monetary and fiscal policy. But recent easing in financial conditions, particularly mortgage rates, should relieve pressure on households and pose an upside risk to our forecast.
  • In our base case, we foresee a first policy rate cut by the Bank of England in August, and a total of 100 basis points—or 1 percentage point—of cuts in 2024. The current bank rate is 5.25%.
  • We have trimmed our forecast for year-end 2024 core inflation—which excludes volatile food, energy, alcohol, and tobacco prices—from 2.8% to 2.6%.
  • We foresee the unemployment rate rising to 4.5%–5% over the course of 2024 amid restrictive monetary and fiscal policy. It was 3.8% in the October–December period.
Emerging markets

Emerging-market central banks were ahead of their developed-market counterparts in raising policy interest rates during the latest hiking cycle. Now, with inflation slowing, interest rates becoming more restrictive, and growth concerns rising, emerging-market central banks are leading the cutting cycle. Examples of banks that have lowered their policy rates include Banco Central do Brasil, Banco Central de Chile, and the Czech National Bank.

  • Banco de México (Banxico), meanwhile, left its target for the overnight interbank rate unchanged at 11.25% for a seventh consecutive policy meeting this month. Banxico noted that core inflation has decelerated but remains high. It also stated that expectations for headline inflation for year-end 2024 had increased, while expectations for longer-term inflation remained stable but above Banxico’s 3% inflation target.
  • Foreseeing full-year 2024 economic growth of 1.5%–2%, core inflation falling to 3.6%–3.8% by year-end, and the overnight interbank rate being cut to 9%–9.5% by year-end.
Canada

Canada’s economy contracted in the third quarter compared with the second, but it avoided falling into a technical recession because second-quarter economic activity was revised from negative to positive.

  • We foresee Canada falling into a mild recession early in 2024, with recovery later in the year in response to expected monetary policy rate cuts. We expect full-year 2024 economic growth of about 1%.
  • We forecast that core inflation will fall to 2%–2.5% on a year-over-year basis, within the central bank’s target range, by the end of 2024, with house prices moderating in response to declining affordability. The latest reading was 3.4% for December.
  • We expect the unemployment rate to rise to the 6%–6.5% range in 2024 amid weak economic growth. In January, it was 5.7%.
  • We foresee the Bank of Canada leading a developed markets rate-cutting cycle as inflation eases and the economy contracts. We anticipate cuts to the overnight rate of 2 to 2.5 percentage points, to a range of 2.5%–3%, by the end of 2024.

IMPORTANT: The projections and other information generated by the Vanguard Capital Markets Model® regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results. VCMM results will vary with each use and over time.

The VCMM projections are based on a statistical analysis of historical data. Future returns may behave differently from the historical patterns captured in the VCMM. More important, the VCMM may be underestimating extreme negative scenarios unobserved in the historical period on which the model estimation is based.

The Vanguard Capital Markets Model is a proprietary financial simulation tool developed and maintained by Vanguard’s primary investment research and advice teams. The model forecasts distributions of future returns for a wide array of broad asset classes. Those asset classes include U.S. and international equity markets, several maturities of the U.S. Treasury and corporate fixed income markets, international fixed income markets, U.S. money markets, commodities, and certain alternative investment strategies. The theoretical and empirical foundation for the Vanguard Capital Markets Model is that the returns of various asset classes reflect the compensation investors require for bearing different types of systematic risk (beta). At the core of the model are estimates of the dynamic statistical relationship between risk factors and asset returns, obtained from statistical analysis based on available monthly financial and economic data from as early as 1960. Using a system of estimated equations, the model then applies a Monte Carlo simulation method to project the estimated interrelationships among risk factors and asset classes as well as uncertainty and randomness over time. The model generates a large set of simulated outcomes for each asset class over several time horizons. Forecasts are obtained by computing measures of central tendency in these simulations. Results produced by the tool will vary with each use and over time.

This article contains certain 'forward looking' statements. Forward looking statements, opinions and estimates provided in this article are based on assumptions and contingencies which are subject to change without notice, as are statements about market and industry trends, which are based on interpretations of current market conditions. Forward-looking statements including projections, indications or guidance on future earnings or financial position and estimates are provided as a general guide only and should not be relied upon as an indication or guarantee of future performance. There can be no assurance that actual outcomes will not differ materially from these statements. To the full extent permitted by law, Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd (ABN 72 072 881 086 AFSL 227263) and its directors, officers, employees, advisers, agents and intermediaries disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release any updates or revisions to the information to reflect any change in expectations or assumptions.

 

 

 

February 2024
Vanguard
vanguard.com.au

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Retirement Planning

Retiring on your own terms is not always easy to achieve, however it is evident that those who plan for retirement are more likely to do so. Results also show that obtaining professional help during the pre-retirement years further improves the probability of attaining your retirement objectives.

The earlier you start implementing a plan the better the outcomes.

During one’s working life there is always an income to make ends meet when raising children, paying off a mortgage, etc.

Retirement planning is about the lifestyle you will have after you stop work and receiving employment income.  Planning focuses on issues such as how much superannuation is enough, taking a super pension, claiming the Age Pension, making superannuation contributions while receiving a pension from a super fund, estate planning and looking after your family.

Planning properly is becoming even more important now we are expected to live longer.  This greater need means that professional help has never been more important.

At Wybenga Financial we will provide the time and expertise needed to help you implement the best pre-retirement plan possible.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together on: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Building Wealth

Investing your hard earned savings can be a complex task.  There are many issues such as levels of risk, market timing, asset classes, and your own goals, objectives and preferences that need to be considered. It can often seem a daunting task. At Wybenga Financial we have the expertise to assist you in taking control of your finances and making sure you are generating the wealth you need both now and in the future.

The first step is to create a plan. At Wybenga Financial we take great care in getting to know our clients and their future goals and objectives. We combine our knowledge of your personal goals together with an analysis of your current situation, to create a detailed, personalised plan that will help you meet your objectives. This plan will become your road map which outlines how we are going to meet your goals, whilst aligning all investment decisions to your specific risk tolerance.

After we have created your personal plan, we move to implementation. This is where we action the immediate changes set out in your plan, and put in place reminders for anything that is to occur in the future. As your professional advisers, we can action many steps on your behalf making the implementation of changes as painless for our clients as possible. We aim to make the process smooth and seamless, providing a holistic service that can be executed with ease.

The final and most important phase of the relationship with Wybenga Financial is the ongoing management and monitoring of your wealth. This ensures you are sticking to your plan and that your portfolio is aligned to your needs and attitude toward risk. An ongoing relationship ensures that we know when your circumstances change and that these can be recognised and reflected in changes to your investment approach.

While we are monitoring your portfolio from the perspective of your personal goals and situation, we also take into account the wider economic landscape and changes to legislation. We continually review and analyse our preferred investments in a structured and objective way. The benefit to our clients is that we are unemotional. This can be significantly beneficial over the long term.

At Wybenga Financial we can provide the time and expertise that will help you invest intelligently and prudently.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Personal Insurance

Life insurance isn’t just a cost, though it often feels like it.  You buy peace-of-mind that should a serious issue effect you then the consequences won’t unduly affect your family.  Insurance provides you with the ability to manage the financial and emotional impact of some of the more drastic events, whether personally or in your small business.

Insurance can’t replace a loved one but it can help reduce the financial burden by providing the capital to ensure your family has choices.

Many Australians are underinsured and the consequences can be very serious for families should there be a death or serious injury. A yes to any of the following questions means you may have a need for insurance coverage:

  1. Do you have a mortgage?
  2. Do you have school fees?
  3. Do you have any personal loans?
  4. Do you have any credit card debt?
  5. Do you have dependents?
  6. Would your financial position be affected if you were to suffer from an illness or injury?
  7. Do you want to have enough capital to look after your dependents if you were unable to care for them for an extended period of time or perhaps indefinitely?

We understand that it can be difficult determining the type and level of cover you might need, let alone choosing an insurer. We can assist by helping you determine your needs and recommend an insurer that is right for you.

At Wybenga Financial we know how to protect your wealth and will recommend solutions that best suit your needs. Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Superannuation

Superannuation is mandatory but taking an early and active interest in your retirement planning is critical to ensuring your benefits are maximised by the time you retire.  Many will have a superannuation scheme through employment but increasing numbers are starting their own Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF).

For many, simply relying on employer contributions may not be enough to provide the lifestyle you desire at retirement. We can assist in building strategies to ensure your retirement goals are met and your required lifestyle is maintained throughout retirement.

It is always best to start saving and planning for your retirement as early as you can. 

At Wybenga Financial we know our job is to help you meet your retirement needs and we have the skills and experience to do this for you.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Self Managed Super Funds

Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs) offer a good strategy option for many individuals, families and small business owners to build tax effective wealth and to protect assets over time. SMSFs are becoming popular for those who are ready to take control of their own super investments as they give you ultimate control and flexibility to manage your retirement benefits.

It must be noted though, that you will have increased responsibilities as a trustee of the fund. As a SMSF Trustee you need to keep up to date with all required regulations and keep up with the fast paced financial markets.

Wybenga Financial can work with you to understand your personal financial situation and decide whether a SMSF structure is appropriate for you. We will also make sure your assets are invested in the most effective way to maximise your retirement benefits.

Should you wish to consider establishing a SMSF then we can help with all aspects of the process from establishment to managing your compliance obligations.

Wybenga Financial would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help maximise your opportunities to grow your wealth through a Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF).  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Estate Planning

Your estate is made up of everything you own. This includes your home, property, furniture, car, personal possessions, business, investments, superannuation and bank accounts.

Having an estate plan is extremely important.  Having a will is just the first step in your estate plan. It is critical to consider what outcomes you would like for your estate and to ensure a plan is in place to achieve those outcomes, both including and beyond the terms of your will.

Wybenga Financial would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help ensure your estate is organised to ensure your plans are implemented as you wish.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Finance

Loans and loan management are central to overall financial management.  Obtaining the best loans for your needs is crucial and Wybenga Financial can help you with solutions that meet your short and long term needs.

At Wybenga Financial we work with experienced mortgage brokers that can assist you in obtaining the best loan for your needs and objectives. Whilst this is an external service, we work closely with the brokers to ensure the process is as easy and smooth as possible.

Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Property

We have partnerships with many respected property agents and research firms. This enables us to source suitable properties for individuals, couples and families looking to make an investment into property.

At Wybenga Financial we will provide the time and expertise needed to help you implement the best property investment plan possible.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is determining how an investor is going to meet their goals and objectives. It is about helping clients define their goals, gathering information and analysing data to make a plan, then implementing the plan and monitoring the results. It is also monitoring and updating goals and objectives as clients move through different phases of life.

At Wybenga Financial, this is the most critical service we provide. For more information please visit our Building Wealth through Strategic Planning page or contact us to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Financial Videos

 

Secure File Transfer

Secure File Transfer is a facility that allows the safe and secure exchange of confidential files or documents between you and us.

Email is very convenient in our business world, there is no doubting that. However email messages and attachments can be intercepted by third parties, putting your privacy and identity at risk if used to send confidential files or documents. Secure File Transfer eliminates this risk.

Login to Secure File Transfer, or contact us if you require a username and password.

Tess Uncle

B.Sc, M.Com, CA, DipFP

Tess has over 22-years experience in Chartered Accounting Firms and in this time has had a broad range of experience in superannuation, taxation, business services, and financial strategy.

Over the last seven-years, Tess has turned her attention to Financial Planning, earning a Diploma of Financial Planning in 2015 and leading the newly established financial division of the Wybenga Group as a director of Wybenga Financial.

Tess’s mission is to bring the ethics and integrity of her Chartered Accounting background to the area of wealth management.

As a woman in a male dominated field, Tess is active in promoting gender equality in the industry through various programs and mentoring opportunities.

Using her depth of knowledge and experience in tax and accounting Tess is able to demonstrate a level of competence that is unique in the Financial Planning sector.

  • 2001 – Commenced employment with Wybenga & Partners and part-time accountancy studies
  • 2004 – Graduated Masters of Commerce from the University of New South Wales
  • 2005 – Admitted as an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
  • 2007 – Promoted to Manager at Wybenga & Partners
  • 2012 – Appointed as Associate Director
  • 2015 – Awarded a Diploma of Financial Planning
  • 2016 – Appointed as Partner of Wybenga Group and Director of Wybenga Financial

Schedule a Meeting with Tess


Adam Roberts

B.Bus, B.Sc, CA, DipFP

Adam has over 18-years experience in Chartered Accounting Firms and in this time has had a broad range of experience in superannuation, taxation, business services, and financial strategy.

Over the last seven-years, Adam has turned his attention to Financial Planning, earning a Diploma of Financial Planning in 2015 and leading the newly established financial division of the Wybenga Group as a director of Wybenga Financial.

Adam’s mission is to bring the ethics and integrity of his Chartered Accounting background to the area of wealth management.

Combining traditional accounting and financial services has been a welcome move for Adam, allowing him to operate and advise in the financial sector that has been a long time personal passion.

Using his depth of knowledge and experience in tax and accounting Adam is able to demonstrate a level of competence that is unique in the Financial Planning sector.

  • 2005 – Graduated Bachelor of Science from the University of Western Sydney
  • 2005 – Commenced employment with Wybenga & Partners and part-time accountancy studies
  • 2007 – Graduated Bachelor of Business from the University of Western Sydney
  • 2010 – Admitted as an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
  • 2010 – Promoted to Manager at Wybenga & Partners
  • 2012 – Appointed as Associate Director
  • 2015 – Awarded a Diploma of Financial Planning
  • 2016 – Appointed as Partner of Wybenga Group and Director of Wybenga Financial

Schedule a Meeting with Adam


Advisory Cadetships

What is an Advisory Cadetship?
An Advisory Cadetship enables you to commence your career whilst attaining the necessary university qualifications by studying part-time.

How does it work?
Generally, our cadets complete a relevant business or accounting degree at the University of New South Wales, the University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University, or the University of Western Sydney.

The Firm provides 3-hours paid study leave per week to attend university. This can either be taken at the one time or broken between days depending on the individual’s requirements. In addition, the Firm provides paid study leave for both mid-semester and end-of-year exams.

We take the work life balance very seriously at Wybenga Financial and our cadets are encouraged to have a fulfilling life outside the office. A typical day will have you arriving at the office at around 8.30am with most days concluding at 5.30pm.

What are the benefits of an Advisory Cadetship with Wybenga Financial?
Our cadets benefit from the following:

  • Career path – on completion of their degree our cadets have significant practical experience which will assist them in advancing their careers
  • Work helps your studies – by working full-time our cadets are able to apply their practical knowledge in the university subjects
  • Camaraderie with other cadets – the Firm has a number of cadets at various stages of their career
  • Mentoring – cadets are paired with a senior staff member who oversees their progress and training both at work and with their studies
  • Communication and feedback – the Firm has an open door policy which enables all cadets to interact with all members of staff including Directors
  • Culture – the Firm promotes a friendly social culture with a number of functions throughout the year
  • Modern environment – including ‘socialising’ areas such as pool table and break out area
  • Training – ongoing support and technical training. We also provide internal and external training on a monthly basis
  • Remuneration – working full-time provides a market salary and independence with salaries being reviewed every 6-months

What happens when I complete my degree?
The completion of your degree is the first step of what we hope to be a long and successful career with us. The next step is the commencement of a Diploma of Financial Planning followed by completing the requirements to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).

There are always progression opportunities for the right cadets and we are dedicated to the long term development of our staff.

Who should apply?
Current Year 12 students or first/second year University Students who:

  • want to commence their career in financial advisory;
  • are due to commence or are currently completing a part-time business or commerce degree at university with an advisory major;
  • want to gain valuable hands-on experience while completing their qualifications;
  • are looking for a friendly working environment;
  • are team players who display initiative;
  • have a commitment to self-development;
  • possess excellent personal presentation and communication skills; and
  • are motivated and mature minded.

How do I apply for an Advisory Cadetship?
To apply for a Cadetship position at Wybenga Financial send us your details. Please also include in your covering letter why you wish to do a cadetship, include relevant qualities you possess, main interests / achievements, and any previous employment.

Interested candidates should initially forward a resume/covering letter of no more than 3-pages. Please provide full details of contact information (telephone or e-mail).

What if I have more questions?
For further information about our Cadetship program, please send your enquiry to .