Time to Think About Younger Australians

I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.


Life has taught me to think more and act less.

In 2015, when writing The End of Australia and thinking about what a credit bust would look like, various ‘what if’ scenarios came to mind.

This is from page 35…

With restricted access to cash and reduced credit, individuals start prioritising their outlays — for example, food takes precedence over rent.

This in turn means landlords with negatively geared properties find themselves under pressure to make their mortgage payments.

And even those landlords without encumbrances who rely on rental income to fund their living expenses will then be forced to prioritise expenditures.

The prospect of rents not being paid on a society-wide basis wasn’t something most people thought possible.

As reported recently on Nine News…

In a move that seemed implausible just a few weeks ago, thousands of tenants have either stopped or are planning to stop paying rent during the COVID-19 crisis.

Renters are going on strike and it has struck fear into the hearts and wallets of landlords.

And this is from page 44 of The End of Australia

Here in Australia, with rising unemployment the social mood is likely to become xenophobic…with immigration intakes reduced to appease the crowd. The much hoped for population growth (to maintain economic growth) suddenly disappears.

Again, thinking we could experience a reduction in immigration seemed implausible.

SBS News on 7 October 2020…

Australia’s net overseas migration is set to fall into negative levels for the first time since World War II with a loss of 72,000 people forecast for the 2020-21 financial year.

The unthinkable has, once again, happened.

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So, what am I thinking about these days?

The future for younger Australians is concerning…

The future for our younger generation concerns me deeply.

In a recent issue of The Gowdie Advisory, I wrote about what many young Australians are likely to be facing in the coming months and years…

The latest Roy Morgan Research — based on a more accurate definition of what constitutes unemployment — found that 22.8% of the workforce is un- and underemployed.

Port Phillip Publishing

Source: Roy Morgan Research

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This is what 22.8% means in actual numbers (emphasis added):

“In total a massive 3.27 million Australians (22.8%) were unemployed or under-employed — down 14,000 on a month ago.”

And, according to the Roy Morgan report, the worst is yet to come (emphasis added)…

“At the end of September the JobKeeper wage subsidy is set to be lowered by $300 to $1,200per fortnight for full-time workers and cut in half to $750 per fortnight for those who were working less than 20 hours per week in the pre-pandemic period. The JobSeeker payment for the unemployed is also set to be reduced by $300 at the end of the month.

The reductions in payments will also put pressure on employers, and employees and unemployment and under-employment are likely to increase again, as JobKeeper dependent employers reduce their employee numbers or close altogether, and JobKeeper dependent employees start to look for more work.”

What the data doesn’t show is the disproportionate level of “unemployment and underemployment” between the generations.

A recent CNBC article provided me with some insight into the extent of the millennial jobless problem and its longer-term consequences (emphasis added)…

“…millennials, who are currently between the ages of 24 and 38, may be the group hit hardest by the economic turmoil of the pandemic. According to Pew Research Center, 35% of Americans between ages 18 and 29, and 30% of those between ages 30 and 49 say they, or someone in their household, has lost their job.

“Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also indicates that among those who are unemployed, millennials are facing longer-stretches of joblessness.

…this current economic environment — which we’ve positioned our capital to firstly be protected from and to later profit from — is going to present many families with personal challenges.

According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine (emphasis added)…

Unemployment was associated with an increased mortality risk for those in their early and middle careers, but less for those in their late career…

The long-term unemployed carry a markedly higher burden of disease, particularly mental illness, than employed persons and those who have been unemployed only for a short time. The burden of disease increases with the duration of unemployment.

Long-term unemployed have at least twofold risk of mental illness, particularly depression and anxiety disorders, compared to employed persons. Their mortality is 1.6-fold higher. Unemployment seems to be not only an effect of illness, but also its cause.”

We should avoid the potential for this to happen at all costs.

Much hope is being placed on a safe and effective vaccine being available sometime in 2021.

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However, medical experts are tempering the expectations being built up by politicians.

ABC News on 7 October 2020 (emphasis added)…

Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid told the ABC the “optimistic” conclusion of getting a safe and effective vaccine by the middle of next year was at the heart of the Budget.

“And that’s very unlikely,” Dr Khorshid said.

The most likely outcome is that the vaccine is partially effective, limited in the number of people who develop a response or it’s only effective for a short duration,” he said.

This was backed up by vaccine expert and Westmead Institute founding director Tony Cunningham who said all countries currently attempting to develop a COVID-19 vaccine were aiming for 50 per cent effectiveness.

All the vaccine trials I’ve been involved in over my career have taken at least four years. And all of us are concerned if you overcook the egg, and you have to retract a vaccine, you’ll damage the process.”

And I’m not sure if the politicians are conveying this well enough.

Will the employment situation get worse?

The expression ‘hope for the best, but prepare for the worst’, is really an exercise in lateral thinking. Canvassing various possibilities and formulating considered responses.

One of the possibilities we must seriously consider is the employment situation getting worse not better.

Everyone talks about a ‘second wave’ of outbreaks, as if that’s where it ends. But what’s to stop there being a third, fourth or even fifth wave?

If society continues to face bouts of economic disruptions, then finding inner resilience to cope with a much tougher world is going to be essential.

In thinking about how to be part of the solution, I reached out to an inspirational young lady.

This is a screen shot of her many achievements…

Port Phillip Publishing

Source: annabellew.com

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Annabelle (Annie) Williams is one of the most inspiring people I know. Annie has packed a lot into her 32 years.

At the London Paralympics in 2012, Annie was part of the gold medal winning relay team. If you have 10 minutes to spare, you can watch the race here. The nail-biting finish will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

Since then, Annie has gone on to post many more career and personal milestones.

You can read a little bit about her accomplishments here.

Annie’s international motivational speaking career was going from strength to strength in 2019.

Her 2020 calendar was filled with engagements for some very high-profile companies. Then COVID-19 hit and everything was cancelled. Her best-laid plans were thrown into complete disarray.

Annie has had to draw on her inner strength and the help of others to find the way forward in this new and challenging environment.

Having three daughters, who are millennials, makes me acutely aware of the need to be proactive in equipping them with the right mindset to cope with any setbacks that life presents them with.

Annie’s story is one of inspiration and motivation, and contains some useful tips on how to find light in the darkness.

My hope in sharing this with you today is that you find a little something that’s of value to you and your loved ones. Something that helps build the positive mental approach needed to turn life’s lemons into lemonade.

Here’s the link to ‘From little things big things grow’…I think you’ll enjoy it.


Vern Gowdie Signature

Vern Gowdie,
Editor, The Rum Rebellion

Vern has been involved in financial planning since 1986.

In 1999, Personal Investor magazine ranked Vern as one of Australia’s Top 50 financial planners.

His previous firm, Gowdie Financial Planning, was recognised in 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007, by Independent Financial Adviser magazine as one of the top five financial planning firms in Australia.

In 2005, Vern commenced his writing career with the ‘Big Picture’ column for regional newspapers and was a commentator on financial matters for Prime Radio talkback.

In 2008, he sold his financial planning firm due to concerns about an impending economic downturn and the impact this would have on the investment industry.

In 2013, he joined Fat Tail Investment Research as editor of Gowdie Family Wealth. In 2015, his book The End of Australia sold over 20,000 copies and launched his second premium newsletter, The Gowdie Letter.

Vern has since published two other books, A Parents Gift of Knowledge, all about the passing of investing intelligence from father to daughter, and How Much Bull can Investors Bear, an expose on the investment industry’s smoke and mirrors.

His contrarian views often place him at odds with the financial planning profession today, but Vern’s sole motivation is to help investors like you to protect their own and their family’s wealth.

Vern is Founder and Chairman of The Gowdie Advisory and The Gowdie Letter advisory service.

The Rum Rebellion