Delayed impact of the GFC

I didn’t really experience the GFC. I was in Bangkok while the worst of it was happening and my friends and I just spoke about it like you might speak about a war in Africa: “It sounds awful” and “I hope it doesn’t get any worse”. Apart from worrying that government funding to the UN would dry up, it wasn’t a problem that personally affected me. I was concerned for Iceland, but I was fine.

I didn’t have any money invested in anything, and the cost of living in Thailand was so low that I wasn’t noticing a huge leap in expenses like my friends in Australia were (was that even linked to the GFC? I don’t know, but the rising cost of groceries always seemed to feature in GFC conversation).

But I was just over Benjamin’s and picked up some old mail. All superannuation statements as usual. I actually bothered to open one while I was standing there, and was shocked and pleased to see that as of June 2009 I had $7000 in superannuation! No, it’s not enough to retire on just yet, but because I haven’t spent a lot of time in full-time employment in Australia I was pleased to have accumulated so much.

It was only later on when I was home and opening the mail so I could throw out the envelopes that another figure caught my eye. At June 2008 I had $20,000 in superannuation. It dawned on me,  I lost $13,000 to the GFC…that hurts!

To add insult to injury, I also noticed that one of my other superannuation accounts is being drained by annual fees. On one statement 30% of the total balance was wiped out by fees. Definitely time to go through the ridiculously cumbersome process of rolling everything into one account so only one company can steal my life savings.

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2 thoughts on “Delayed impact of the GFC

  1. Greg

    Superannuation statements are not meant to be opened – this is what happens when you start paying attention.

  2. DavidA

    “There are scams, there are scams, and then there are retirement programs.”

    One funny thing is that the credit derivatives market has recently been opened up again:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a15wCmPuRLPk

    The article is from April 1st, but it’s not a joke. Warren Buffet warned people about derivatives in 2003:

    The derivatives genie is now well out of the bottle, and these instruments will almost certainly multiply in variety and number until some event makes their toxicity clear. Central banks and governments have so far found no effective way to control, or even monitor, the risks posed by these contracts. In my view, derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal.

    http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2002pdf.pdf

    The next train-wreck appears to have been nicely set in motion. Thank-you, Citigroup. The media have been going on about the “biggest stock market rally since the 1930s”. I wish they’d stop saying that, since the ’30s didn’t end too well. Switzerland is looking better every day.

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