First, the good news: according to most commentators, Australia’s economy is looking rather good.

Ore and coal prices are rising, The dollar is staying stable, and the stock market is roaring its way to an almost two-year high.

The Australian and The Financial Review both agree – so things must be really taking off!

Now the bad: According to The Austalian, millions are bracing for further mortgage rate hikes this year after banks recently repriced more than $500 billion worth of loans, compounding financial pressure on heavily leveraged households bearing higher power, health and education costs.

Canstar reveals they are facing hundreds of dollars of extra costs in the wake of major lenders’ increases to a range of mortgages last month, independent of any official move.

Landlords with National Australia Bank are paying $31.31 more a month on a $350,000 mortgage, or $376 a year.  Investors with Bank of Queensland have been slugged the biggest dollar increase of the 10 major lenders, an extra $32.10 a month.

Still on the property market – hold the Kleenex, here! – those living in our most swanky neighbourhoods are most likely to default on their mortgages, according to the Fin.

“The young affluent in plush inner city suburbs living the high life are more likely to be financially derailed”. Those in Melbourne’s Toorak, where median house prices are $3.5 million (yep – that’s what it says), are five times more likely to default.”

Bondi and Sydney’s North Shore are in the same boat. Sad, isn’t it.

Meanwhile, those Boomer fat cats have been at it again, thumbing their noses at austerity and enjoying fabulous tax breaks at our expense.

In November and December 2016, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s wealth arm Colonial First State saw an increase of more than 35 per cent in voluntary contributions to super, compared to the prior two months (September and October).

Clearly, they are rushing to pad out their superannuation accounts ahead of the June cut-off.

The beleaguered life insurance industry, on the other hand – weighed down by critical reports about payout restrictions and huge commissions – is in shock.

More and more of us are buying insurance online – thus saving the companies those massive commissions of up to 120 per cent they pay to sales teams.

According to a new survey from NobleOak, more and more of Australians’ life insurance advice is coming through the internet, with a third of consumers choosing to get advice through the web and 20 per cent relying on family member’s recommendations.

Just 25 per cent use a financial adviser.

The survey, conducted by independent firm Pureprofile, found more than half were unwilling to pay anything for life insurance advice.

NobleOak warns: “Unfortunately some life insurance products available directly to the customer contain broad pre-existing condition clauses. Many don’t require much information about your medical history upfront. This means that people’s life cover can exclude important medical conditions. If they then pass away as a result of these conditions , they will not be covered.”

If you’re beginning to feel a little depressed, here’s more sobering news courtesy of Jessica Irvine in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Most of us anticipate as we approach a happy retirement after a fulfilled life, we’ll be happier.  Sadly, we are wrong.

New research from Mark Wooden and Ning Li from the Melbourne Institute, who conducted Australia’s longest running longitudinal survey, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia, which has followed the same sample of individuals for 15 years, life satisfaction peaks at 8.5 at aged 15 – the youngest age of respondents in the survey.

It declines sharply during the early to mid 20s to a score of about 7.9 – where it remains until they reach the end of their working lives.

At age 65, there is a slight blip in happiness in anticipation of retirement , but this declines sharply again to a score of about 6.4 by a person’s early 90s.

Of course, the media are now full of resolutions for 2017. We like The Australian’s advice Plan for failure

“Many resolutions fail because people can’t bring themselves to do something they dislike for an extended period. Visualising success, whether it’s retirement on a sunny beach or travelling abroad to do service work, can help you refocus”.

We hope it works for you.  Have a prosperous week ahead.

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