Where to invest $10k: Paul Clitheroe


If you're fortunate enough in this swirling economic environment to have been able to put aside some spare cash, it may be an overwhelming proposition deciding just exactly what to do with it.

At a moment in time marked by global COVID outbreaks, war and climate change fuelling a struggling sharemarket, falling house prices and rising energy bills, we don't blame you.

Thankfully, though, there are sage and steady voices amid the noise, eight of which have lent their wisdom to this series: Where to invest $10k

where to invest 10k 2022 paul clitheroe

How do I use my $10k to kickstart my savings plan?

With $10,000 already put aside, you've already done one of the hardest things with money. We are humans and unlike many creatures on our planet we are just not programmed to save. Maybe because over thousands of years, having no savings may have limited our options but is rarely terminal.

I appreciate this is not always the case, but thankfully there has often been family, friends, a community group, a charity or a government who will lend a hand. Many creatures have a pretty simple, instinctive drive to save, in the form of food for the winter ahead, or die.

That is a very gloomy statement, but many of us find it really hard to save. There are plenty of good reasons for this and we have all been there.

Bad things happen to all of us. For us it was around 1988 to 1992. With young children at home, a big mortgage and mortgage rates hitting 18.75%, we sold things such as our car and literally "dis-saved", meaning we spent more than we earned for nearly four years. The good news was that we really learnt a lesson and saved diligently every year after that!

Saving is defined as postponing consumption. We got such a fright that, as interest rates started to fall after the peak of 1990, we retained more frugal habits.

You must have postponed consumption to build $10,000. The great thing is that good habits rarely die, so I am less concerned about where you invest your $10,000 than with you sticking with my Rule Number One of Money: spend less than you earn.

Keep adding to your $10,000 in a safe and simple term deposit, in particular if a home deposit is your goal. If you don't need the money, consider topping up your super, preferably through salary sacrifice. Maybe start an investment into a low-cost, managed fund or exchange traded fund (ETF), with extra monthly contributions.

You will read and hear many smart people with smart money ideas. That is good. But the secret to money success is painfully obvious, though easier to say than do. Spend less than you earn, cut unnecessary expenses and invest on a regular basis.

Earning extra is also great, but you will pay tax on additional income, so your dollar earned may be reduced after tax and the Medicare levy. But however you save, by earning more or spending less, remember a dollar saved gives you a dollar to invest. And that works for you forever.

Where I would invest $10k

Right now this is not a simple question. War, inflation, cost of living pressure, energy prices, global warming ... it is a volatile climate.

No one can predict what happens next, so I'd stick to the proven history of money.

With rising interest rates, adding it to your mortgage is a safe and sensible option. Falling property prices may give you a chance to buy, in which case keep your $10,000 safe and secure in a high-interest account.

Markets have fallen and for all I know they may fall a lot further. Time is your friend here.

Personally, at my age and given my risk profile and very long-term investment horizon, I'd be topping up my super or investing in a low-cost managed share fund or ETF while the prices of good assets are lower.

This may look good or bad in a couple of years, but in a decade or so history tells me quality assets appreciate over the long run.

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Paul Clitheroe AM is founder and editorial adviser of Money magazine. He is one of Australia's leading financial voices, responsible for bringing financial insight to Australians through personal finance books, the Money TV show, and this publication, which he established in 1999. Paul is the chair of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and is chairman of InvestSMART Financial Services. He is the chair of Financial Literacy at Macquarie University where he is also a Professor with the School of Business and Economics. Ask Paul your money question. Unfortunately Paul cannot respond to questions posted in the comments section. View our disclaimer.
Kathryn Lawes
December 11, 2022 6.09pm

Why is income stream Super after death different when it comes to Beneficiaries.I want to set one up not in retirement, but my legal representative will pay more tax if I make an income stream? Please explain

Daryl Saal
December 12, 2022 11.19am

With $10k, I'd suggest that you get a biggish solar system if you have your own roof. In a fixed term it may get you $250 a year taxable interest. However the solar will save you up to $2k a year in electricity with no tax.

Chris Wasiak
December 14, 2022 10.11pm

we are paying 33 cents per kilowatt and getting a refund of 6cents per kilowatt after spending 8K on our solar system - The biggest rip of ever (saving about $200 per year)