Covid-19 – Business as Usual?
What an interesting few weeks we have had. From seeing market theory in direct action (through the panic buying of toilet paper at inflated prices) to major public events being shut down and now sports being played to empty crowds. COVID-19 has escalated however remaining calm, making rational decisions and keeping on washing our hands during this time is important.
This week the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic. This is the official recognition of the severity and risk the disease poses to the global population. Health officials are trying to protect ‘at risk’ populations from the general population and to try and manage the impact on hospitals and our health system which we are now seeing play out.
Business As Usual At Money Mechanics
Our team is continuing to work normal business hours. Our aim is to maintain normal business operations, and we have the resources and tools needed to our work from any location.
We’re carefully monitoring and considering advice from government and health officials and we will continue to support our clients with normal business operations as we navigate COVID-19 and this flu season.
We have the Technology. If you have an appointment and are in self isolation or do not want to be attending our office’s physically we have video conference technology and we would be happy to update your meeting to an online meeting over a face to face meeting.
If you are feeling unwell please follow usual health hygiene and contact the office as we can change your appointment to an online or phone meeting if needed.
If our advice team becomes unwell or is in self isolation we will revert to holding meetings via video conference (if able) during that time period and will provide an update any impacted clients if this unfolds.
Stimulus For The Economy
The Federal Government announced a stimulus to support those on Centrelink Pension Benefits and Small Businesses (turnover under $50 Million) through this crazy situation we’re currently in:
All income support recipients and health card holders will receive a $750 payment without having to make an additional claim. This should be paid by 17th of April 2020.
If you are a small business (under $50M turnover) with employees you are eligible for a 50% reduction on the PAYG you have withheld in the March and June 2020 quarters, up to the value of $25,000. So instead of paying the full PAYG amount in your next 2 BAS’s you will only be obligated to pay half and you can keep the rest. The minimum you will get back is $2k, so even if you haven’t withheld that much, your BAS’s will be credited that amount or you will be given a refund. Chat to your Accountants / Bookkeeper when doing your March and June BAS’s but you won’t need to do anything.
The ATO may provide discretionary relief on a case by case basis to businesses affected by Coronavirus, eg. payment extensions. They have also implemented changes to encourage spending, increasing the instant write off limit from $30,000 to $150,000, along with changes to depreciation time frames – but as always you need to have the cash to spend in these situations.
Markets and Volatility
As part of our investment philosophy it is important to remember during these times of volatility to stay the course. If you have the right strategy in place, good quality assets and a diversified asset allocation between growth and defensive assets things will balance out over time.
I found myself caught up in market pressures this week when I went into Woolworths and saw everyone with two packets of toilet paper under their arms. I didn’t need toilet paper (I still have 18 rolls from a 36 pack I purchased in January – if anyone needs some let me know!) but I felt the pull to buy some because everyone else was. This is the same herd mentality which exists in share markets and it is important to remember your game plan and outcomes and not get caught up into what others are doing if it isn’t going to serve you.
The dividends or income return from the shares we hold are still greater than the cash rate and the capital return downside we are seeing at the moment will return over time.
In our asset allocation approach you will have investments into direct and listed property, fixed income and cash which all behave differently with the aim to provide a buffer during times of volatility and uncertainty.
As history has shown markets will return to growth and we can use these market fluctuations to our advantage.
Finally, we hope that you and your family and friends manage to avoid any serious health impacts from COVID-19 and that our community and markets can return to normal as soon as possible.
If you have any concerns with regards to your current situation or setup please do not hesitate in contacting our office.
Scott Malcolm has been awarded the internationally recognised Certified Financial Planner designation from the Financial Planning Association of Australia and is Director of Money Mechanics. Money Mechanics is a fee for service financial advice firm who partner with clients in Melbourne, Canberra, Newcastle and Sydney to achieve their life and wealth outcomes. Money Mechanics Pty Ltd (ABN 64 136 066 272) is a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 336429) of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 47 097 797 049) AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523
The information provided on this article is of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information you should consider its appropriateness having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.