Financially Speaking March 2008

“You know, philosophers talk about accepting the ‘what is’ in your life and that this acceptance is the first step to succeeding and to peace……… And so it’s this ability to accept the reality of life and live within those certain rules.” – Eric Weihenmeyer. (The first blind man to summit Mt Everest)

Dear Client,

So, all us homeowners have had to consider the issue around our ‘new’ property values set by our esteemed municipalities who paid good sums of money when out-sourcing this task to well (?) qualified people who attempted to gain access to your property. The consequence of all this has actually nothing really to do with re-sale values of course. I was actually wondering if our good municipality would give me a refund of some of my rates if I sold my house one day for LESS than they had me listed at! Rhetorical question of course.

There is a little calculation (which I have) for working out what your rates will be, once you have got your value from the valuation role. We all get a rebate and then there is a ‘rate randage’ figure that is applied. Currently for my town it is 0.90% of the valuation figure once the rebate has been taken off. Many of you might realize that you might be in for a 100% or more increase in rates. However, there is a strong and fairly qualified opinion that they will not increase the rates they charge us by the same percentage that they increase the valuation of our properties. This would just be too inflationary. So then what they do, is simply reduce the ‘rate randage’ figure they use on the calculation. So this means that they might reduce it to, say, 0.60%. We all just wait and see.

Investment issues:

Always nice to see that one of the funds I have chosen does well; supports the reasons we chose it in the first place. Sarasin, one of the offshore fund managers we use, won awards for both their Global Balanced Fund and Global Equity Fund earlier this year at the annual Raging Bull unit trust awards. The means best performing fund over a particular time line. Sarasin themselves are also very happy with their Global Balanced Fund as it turned 20 years old at the beginning of this year and has produced an average dollar return of 9.6% per annum over this time. This has been better than the average of global equities (8.4% pa USD), lending support to our emerging opinion that over long time periods, balanced funds seem to return better, while being safer, than most equity funds. The fund has also always been in the top quartile of all international unit trust funds.

This is one of the three balanced funds we use for clients with foreign money to invest.


(From someone who has worked in the industry for 31 years).

  1. Fill up early in the morning when petrol is cold. The petrol in then denser. When it gets warmer it expands and your litre is not exactly a litre. Service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.
  2. Do not let the petrol get pumped in too fast. (if you have control over this) This minimizes the vapours created while pumping and thus the loss of petrol.
  3. Try keeping your tank at least half full all the time, so fill up when your tank is at half. The more space in your tank the more air, the more air the more your petrol evaporates. Petrol storage tanks have internal floating roofs to compensate for this.

I suppose we all panic a bit every time there is a dramatic rise in fuel costs and then we get used to it and life carries on as before. The same probably happened when (if) petrol went from 50c to 60c. A 20% increase!! (Would have been somewhere around 1983 I think)

Until next time

Please note that all the views expressed in this publication are based on my opinion and no action or advice is implied or intended.