December 10, 2015

A different direction for interest rates?

In a rather unusual move in October, the big banks began announcing increases to their home loan interest rates, even though there has been no change in official cash rates. Why did they do it and what does it mean? Strong banks While Australia has a strong banking system, the regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), has introduced rules to make it even stronger. One outcome is that the ‘big four’ banks (ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac) will need to hold more capital to help shield them from any potential increase in bad loans or other economic upheavals. Previously, […]
November 26, 2015

The interest-ing facts about credit card debt

This article shows the astounding level of credit card debt owed by ordinary Australians. It uses the MoneySmart debt clock to explain the debt and associated interest and what it costs on the average card balance if only the minimum repayments are made. It is an excellent reminder of how expensive credit cards can be if not managed properly. There is a fascinating page on ASIC’s MoneySmart website. A “Credit Card Debt Clock” ( that displays in real time how much Australians owe on their credit cards. When we started writing this article it was up to $31,591,800,000 in outstanding […]
November 26, 2015

Five ways to give your Christmas a makeover

These days Christmas appears to be more of a retail festival than a religious event, and while it can be a season of joy for many, it is a time of stress or loneliness for others. If the ‘Xcesses of Xmas’ have been getting you down, or if you just want to shake up your usual routine, here are some ideas to help you re-write the rules, create a new meaning or start a new tradition for doing Christmas Day your way. Have an “Orphan’s Christmas”. If you have neighbours who live alone or don’t have family nearby, why not […]