The Australian economy contracted by the most in eight years but the share market extended early gains as investors wagered the worst was behind it, and there would be a rate cut next year if necessary. Wall Street firmed 0.2 per cent last night, but after opening 0.5 per cent higher and a small dip on the GDP data, the S&P/ASX 200 index climbed to finished up 49.4 points, or 0.91 per cent, at 5478.1 with most sectors gaining.

What this means for you:
Reserve Bank data has come through this week showing that Australia's household debt has skyrocketed compared to its peers. In the rush to enter the real estate market, many people have accepted more debt than they are really comfortable with. Do the numbers on what your repayments would look like if interest rates increased by 1% - 2%, and if those numbers aren't sustainable, you're probably over-exposed.

Do you like to be in control of your investments? If the answer is "yes", you may not be doing yourself any favours. We recently had a meeting with a man who has insisted on managing his own direct share portfolio for the last 2 years, despite our offers of assistance. By comparative calculations, he's under performed the market by around 3% over that time. Ironically, the cost of asking for help would have 0.8%. Sometimes, we may feel as though we're in control when we're actually not, so be careful not to get caught out!

If you would like to use the lead up to Christmas to review your financial situation, your insurances or your investment portfolio, call our office on 5482 2855 to make an appointment.