Looking Forward: Financial Thoughts

By bengy | Idle Musings | 6 Jan 2023

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Being a household of two freelancer musicians, it can be difficult to keep a long term outlook on our finances. We don't have the obligatory superannuation on individually invoiced jobs when they are for students or for smaller ensembles.... however, the larger ensembles and institutions employ us as casuals, so there is a required employer superannuation contribution from those jobs. This is much better than when we lived in the Netherlands, where employer contributions from freelance work was pretty much non-existent.

Anyway, the family job of looking decades ahead from a financial point of view falls mostly to me. I've been making regular monthly contributions to both of our super funds... so, it isn't a huge amount in there, but there is something there for our eventual retirement. Meanwhile, our expenses are very low... which is an incredible blessing! So, we are able to save money to bolster for slower months and to park away other amounts for the longer term. Still, I do feel quite a burden of responsibility for managing the longer term finances, and I do try to keep a good balance between our four legs of superannuation, owned assets, stocks, and cryptocurrency. I'm pretty conservative when it comes down to it... after all, the game isn't to win the numbers, but it is more to preserve value and grow slowly to enable some sort of draw-down in the future with some leftover to assist the next generation.

So... looking ahead to this year, I guess the kindest way to put things... is that we appear to be looking down the barrel of an "interesting" decade! It seems to be the sort of situation where we will just stick our heads in even a bit more than we have done in the past.

Will house prices go up or down... honestly, don't care, we aren't looking at that anymore... we have a house, and we are living in it. Past that, the game is of no interest to us. We do want to make changes and renovations, but all of that can just happen in time... there is no haste or rush (other than my iwfe getting sick of having the pianos in the living room!).

We do have relatives who are looking to get into the housing market... they are hopeful that the interest rate rises will drop the house prices a bit to make it possible... but they are also hoping that interest rates will also fall to make the mortgage repayments lower.. But to be honest, I doubt that there will ever a really good time. There might be a sweet spot... but more likely, you are also just as likely to be waiting too long and miss it all. Personally, I'm a bit pessimistic about continuing the interest rate rises... I think that sovereign default and other behind the scenes economic problems will start to become too difficult to manage with the increasing rates. So, the era of experimentation with near zero and low interest rates will leave a difficult lesson for those who didn't gain much from it... Oops, say the rich who got richer.

On the superannuation front, I will just continue doing the same as before... dripping in a lump sum payment every month. Weirdly enough, the super has been the WORST performing leg in the last year! But still... prudent to not always chase after the winning leg at the expense of a well-balanced future plan.

On the stocks front, I have already taken some profits from a lucky bet on a Lithium venture project and put that against some blue chip boring dividend stocks, as well as a couple of longer shots on Hydrogen startups. I will also have to open up the ability to invest in stocks in the US stock exchange... there are forms that I have to fill out there, and I have been putting that off for quite some time. Mixed blessing as the American stock exchange has largely cratered.. but it is on my list of things to do in eh coming month or two... or year. The things that I'm looking at are sustainable energy and space exploration. So,a handful of crazily long bets in things that I find important for humanity.

Meanwhile, in the last category of cryptocurrencies... well, I have drawn in quite a bit, but am quite optimistic about Ethereum, and hedging with (but losing faith with...) Bitcoin. I've been quite happy with the Merge and the roll-out of all the Optimistic rollups... and with the zk-EVMs coming down the pipeline, it could well be that we have all the ingredients for scaling confidential and decentralised transactions on a global scale. It is quite refreshing to see all the hype crash away, leaving relatively solid (or at least, not short-term profit driven...) projects with development and communities still in the field. Still, cryptcurrencies are still very much a niche thing... most people still associate it all with gambling ponzis and fraudsters/scammers... or with get-rich-quick gambling bets at best. That will have to change...but I think that will come when all the infrastructure is abstracted away from the regular user.

So... financial goals for the year. Nothing much changes from year to year... grow slowly, minimise expenses and debt exposure, be prudent, don't chase after quick wins, protect and nurture the future egg. Boring but sustainable (hopefully...)!


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I am a Musician (Violinist/Violist) specialising in Early Music living in The Netherlands. I have a background in Mathematics and Physics due to an earlier tertiary level study... and so, I'm still quite interested in Science and Technology related stuff!

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