Forbes reveals top 50 richest Australians

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The top 50 wealthiest people in Australia, three emotions that could be hampering your moneymaking progress, and is fractional property ownership a viable strategy? Here are five things you may have missed this week.

Australia's top 50 rich list

The nation's top 50 wealthiest people now have $342 billion between them, according to the 2024 Forbes list, up from $328 billion in 2023. Mining magnate Gina Rinehart has held on to the top spot despite her fortunes dipping from $47.2 billion to $46.5 billion over the past year.

gina rinehart forbes top 50 richest australians

She has expanded her Hancock Prospecting's interests in lithium, the metal used in EV batteries. Also in mining, Andrew Forrest and family came in second with $33.1 billion, down from $33.4 billion last year.

In keeping with his green agenda, Forrest has reportedly committed to producing 14 gigawatts of clean energy by 2030.

Property magnate Harry Triguboff has done well out of the housing shortage with residential development firm Meriton. Forbes reports his net worth as $25 billion.

A tech recovery propelled software billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes (No. 4) and Scott Farquhar (No. 5) back into the top five ranks, with shares of their Sydney-based Atlassian rising by almost a third over the past year.

Anthony Pratt of paper and packaging company Visy Industries came in at No. 6 with $16 billion, while a recent markup in success story Canva's valuation boosted its three cofounders' net worth: husband-and-wife Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins and chief product officer Cameron Adams.

The top 10 richest people in Australia are

  1. Gina Rinehart
  2. Andrew Forrest and family
  3. Harry Triguboff
  4. Mike Cannon-Brookes
  5. Scott Farquhar
  6. Anthony Pratt
  7. Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins
  8. Bianca Rinehart and siblings
  9. John, Alan and Bruce Wilson
  10. Frank Lowy.

Three emotions that could be holding you back

Emotions and attitudes towards money could be standing in the way of your wealth creation progress but change is possible, promises The Wealth Designers senior financial advisor Dawn Thomas.

She says apathy, shame and guilt are the top three emotions to stamp out by taking action.

Apathy: "No one can afford to not care or be disengaged with their financial future. Money gives you the option to live well and on your own terms. For women it could literally buy you safety and security. For young people, the world is your oyster as you have a long investment timeframe. You can take small steps now to make a big impact for the future."

Shame: "Some people feel shame at their level of financial knowledge and this prevents them from having a healthy relationship with money. Shed the shame by empowering yourself to take control of your money narrative."

Guilt: "Many people feel guilty about what they spend even when it is reasonable. I see this in women who have been widowed or divorced and who are actually super responsible with their money."

Thomas says we have to let go of the notion that we are 'bad with money' or incapable. Setting up a budget and sticking to it, is a simple strategy that lets you know you're on track. Thomas advises having a set weekly amount set aside in a separate account to spend on having fun.

"If you drain that account on whatever you choose, it is not eating away into your fixed bills, emergency funds or goals around savings or investing."

Paying off 'bad debt' (like credit cards) and getting into a regular saving pattern are goals worth striving for, but she says it's as important to take joy in accomplishments like these rather than focusing just on how far you have to go.

Is fractional ownership a wise way into the property market?

Investing in property is only going to get harder if the trajectory over the past 30 years is anything to go by, but fractional ownership could be an alternative way to break into the market.

Futurist and CEO of property finance/fractional ownership platform MyBrix says prices will continue to rise and perform at or even above historic averages in most states, and that fractional investment may be the answer that buyers are looking for to secure quality properties within their respective budgets.

Thirty years ago, the average house price was $190,000 and the average annual salary was $23,505, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, meaning a house cost about eight times the average salary. Fast forward to 2023 and house prices have risen a whole lot faster than salaries.

If the average salary continues to rise by around 5%, and house prices follow the same 30-year historical average, the gap will widen to 20 times the average annual salary in 2033.

Fractional ownership in residential property provides many of the same investment benefits as direct property ownership, with greater liquidity. BrickX and DomaCom are two platforms offering fractional property investment.

A property is divided into 'bricks' or units, with demand determining what you pay for a unit.

You earn rental income in proportion to how many units you own, and capital returns (or falls) are based on the property price when you sell your units, which you can do at any time.

Co-owning an investment property with family or friends is another option, but holding a property long enough for it to provide a worthwhile return can be difficult as co-owners' circumstances inevitably change.

Savvy grocery shopping cuts costs

Australians are taking matters into their own hands to counter the cost-of-living crisis, and saving on groceries is at the top of their list.

Their grocery bill is a major financial stressor for 42% of Aussie households, according to comparison site Finder, up from 26% two years ago. The vast majority (92%) of households are looking to save at the checkout with strategies such as:

  • Visiting multiple grocery stores to find the best prices
  • Bulk buying kitchen staples
  • Using coupons and discount codes

The average household spends $188 per week on groceries, up $10 a week from two years ago. That's a $520 increase per household over 12 months, or $4.8 billion more nationwide based on Australia's 9.275 million households, Finder reports.

Comparing prices online using supermarket apps is the easiest way to shop around for the best value, and shopping less often is advisable if you want to reduce what you spend on impulse buys.

Meal planning, cooking from scratch instead of ordering takeout, using up leftovers and stocking up on frozen fruits and vegetables in bulk instead of buying fresh can save money without compromising on your health.

Consumer sentiment forecasts brighter days ahead

The Westpac Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index rose 6.2% to 86 in February, from 81 in January. This is the biggest monthly gain since April last year, when the RBA paused its rapid series of interest rate rises, and takes the Index to its highest level since June 2022.

"While sentiment is still firmly pessimistic, there finally looks to be some light at the end of the tunnel for Australian consumers," says Westpac senior economist Matthew Hassan. "Moderating inflation and shifting expectations for interest rates appear to be the main factors behind the lift, with some additional support coming from the prospect of broader income tax cuts later in the year."

All five component sub-indexes recorded gains in February, he says, led by big improvements in buyer sentiment and expectations for the economy over the year ahead.

"The 'time to buy a major household item' sub-index surged 11.3% to 86.8. This sub-index has been the main one to capture the impact of intense cost-of-living pressures over the last two years, with six of the weakest monthly reads on record.

"While the sub-index remains a long way below its historical average of 124.7, the February gain is the most promising sign yet that these pressures are finally starting to ease."

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Joanna Tovia is a senior journalist at Money magazine. She is the former personal finance editor of The Daily Telegraph and author of Eco-Wise & Wealthy, a book about saving money by going green at home. She has worked as a journalist in the US, UK and Australia writing about money, travel, design and wellbeing. Connect with her on LinkedIn.