The Hollywood celebrities cashing in on AI


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Hollywood stars bank on AI, Aussies skip hospital queues with cut-and-run cover, financial abuse impacts one in four seniors. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

Cashed up celebrities cash in on AI

What do movie stars do with their money? Invest of course, and a growing number of celebs are banking on the growth of artificial intelligence (AI),

ashton kutcher and leonardo dicaprio invest in ai

Ashton Kutcher is pivoting away from the silver screen and into venture capital, with his firm Sound Ventures focusing on the tech sector.

Sound Ventures already holds stakes in AI pioneers - OpenAI (developer of ChatGPT), Anthropic and

Leonardo DiCaprio, star of Titanic, is a strategic adviser for Regeneration VC, another venture capital firm  whose portfolio of investments include Greyparrot - an AI-powered material recovery platform.

Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and the fifth wealthiest person on the planet, says the development of AI is "as fundamental as the creation of the microprocessor, the personal computer, the Internet, and the mobile phone".

It's a big call. But Australians aren't so sure.

A University of Queensland study found cybersecurity risks, job loss due to automation, and loss of privacy are among the key concerns we have with AI.

For those of us yet to make the rich list, there are simple ways to add AI to a portfolio.

The local sharemarket offers two exchange traded funds (ETFs) with exposure to AI technology - the Betashares Global Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF and the Global X ROBO Global Robotics and Automation ETF.

Aussies queue jump with cut-and-run health cover

Australians have flocked to private health insurance since the pandemic, and that may not be a bad thing.

The latest Public Hospital Report Card from the Australian Medical Association shows surgery wait times continue to blow out.

One in three patients are waiting longer than the clinically indicated time for essential surgeries, often in what the AMA describes as "terrible pain" and unable to work.

Frustration with public hospital wait times is driving a new trend.

A Finder study shows over 1 million people have signed up for private health insurance only to make a claim, go under the scalpel, then cancel cover altogether.

While private hospital cover involves wait times of 12 months for pre-existing conditions, Finder's Tim Bennett says, "Many public patients wait months and even years for an outpatient appointment, only to be put on another waiting list to receive surgery.

"For some - serving the private health insurance waiting period is a quicker fix."

It may not be a cheaper fix though.

Premiums for hospital cover can range from around $78 to $191 per month depending on the level of cover, your age and where you live.

Bennett is urging consumers to take out private health insurance as a preventative measure, not just in a time of crisis.

"Don't wait until your health is a burden to make it a priority," he says.

According to Finder, HBF has some of the best value policies on the market.

A quarter of Aussie seniors have experienced financial abuse

Older Australians are being encouraged to stay alert for the warning signs of financial abuse.

A CommBank survey confirms more than one in four over-65s have experienced financial abuse or know someone who has.

The most common types of elder financial abuse include:

  • Abusing power of attorney
  • Pressure threats and intimidation
  • Abusing informal family agreements
  • Improper use of funds
  • Theft
  • Inheritance impatience

Angela MacMillan, Group Customer Advocate at CommBank, says, "As people age, they can be at higher risk of being taken advantage of financially."

In response, CommBank has put together a Safe & Savvy guide for older Australians. It explains the tools for seniors to protect themselves from financial abuse and highlights the support available.  Head to the CommBank website to download a copy.

How do your savings rank?

Home loan rate hikes are making headlines. But for the two-in-three Australians who don't have a mortgage, higher interest rates are encouraging a push to grow savings.

Figures from bank regulator APRA show Australians managed to grow their collective cash stash by $100 billion over the year to April, taking household savings to a record $1.37 trillion.

Question is, how do your savings stack up?

According to Compare the Market (CTM),  Australians have an average of $19,998 in rainy day savings. But this varies across generations.

As a guide, personal savings average:

  • Gen Z - $1019
  • Millennials - $20,746
  • Gen X - $23,405
  • Baby Boomers - $23,504

CTM's Natasha Innes, says the lower savings of Gen Z (18-25) makes sense as "Many Zoomers are fresh out of school, studying full-time or juggling work and education commitments."

Zoomers can take heart knowing they are eligible for one of the market's leading rates - 5.30%, with Bank of Queensland's Future Saver, only available to 14-35 year olds.

Tax Office expands data matching

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has issued a stern warning that its newly expanded data-matching capabilities will identify more people who understate income or overstate deductions this tax time.

New data is rolling into the ATO from property managers, landlord insurance providers, lenders providing loans for investment properties and sharing economy providers.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh says, "This isn't a game of Guess Who, as our sophisticated data-matching programs provide us with all the clues we need to track down taxpayers with incorrect information in their tax return."

Loh confirms two new data-matching protocols start this year for rental investors, including investment loan data and landlord insurance policy information.

Both will help identify claims made by landlords that relate to personal rather than rental property costs.

Side hustlers beware, the Sharing Economy Reporting Regime (SERR) also kicks in on 1 July.

It requires more electronic distribution platforms that provide taxi services, ride-sourcing, and short-term accommodation to report payment details to the ATO.

This information will be matched against what is reported in tax returns or activity statements.

"These new rules will give the ATO clear visibility of people who are earning income using these platforms," says Loh.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.
Maurice O'REILLY
June 17, 2023 9.45pm

The ATO if it has to show any signs of competency can easily nab tax avoidance/minimisation by matching income to assets/