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TICKER VIEWS – Should your boss pay you to work from home?

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The pandemic has completely reshaped the way many of us work. In March 2020, the whole world turned upside down, as the realisation swept across parliaments and businesses that we were in for an unprecedented journey.

Almost overnight, and for some, definitely overnight, they were suddenly working from home, if they were working at all.

Let’s be honest, it felt like the beginning of a great holiday. Zoom calls in your PJs – more time with the dog.

But as time went on, a bit like two weeks in hotel quarantine, we started to notice a few key issues. Firstly, humans like to change up their surroundings. It’s why we go on holidays to different places, have dinner at different restaurants.

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We also miss seeing our colleagues. Just the general office banter of “how’s your weekend?” or “Did you see MAFS?” was suddenly missing from our lives. Don’t get me started on Zoom fatigue. That was day three right?

But the thing most people noticed… was their utility bills went through the roof. Suddenly, many of us were home… all the time. In the cooler states, that meant we were blasting the heater while powering our devices.

Essentially what happened, without anyone really thinking about it, as companies were able to shift their costs of doing business… to the employees.

And it’s big business.

Google pocketed $268 million in related savings during the last quarter, which equates to $1 billion on an annual basis. Essentially all those Google workers got on their little colourful bikes and rode home, never coming back.

A billion dollars in savings!

But some people have been fighting back. I’m aware of a law firm where the staff began invoicing their bosses. First it was for thing like laptops and iPads. Makes sense right? And why shouldn’t they pay.

Then it turned to splitting the electricity and water bill – making sure employees were fairly paid for the extra power they were consuming at home.

Some even went a step further. I’m aware of one company whose employees started invoicing them for toilet paper! It was a law firm, so I’d love to know how that one ended up.

It’s not all bad

But while we tally up the total cost to employees, there are also some amazing savings we’ve seen too. For example, the savings in tolls and commuting fees like public transport tickets. In London, March 2020 saw a 95% drop off in user trips. That’s incredible. And anyone who has used the London Underground would know… it’s not cheap.

Then there’s the coffee budget. I’m a strong skinny latte man myself. Usually about $4.50. That becomes pretty expensive when you have it every day, and then reach for a second on around 11am right. So many of us have turned to Nescafe or the dreaded International Roast to get by! While others have seen a walk to the nearby suburban coffee shop as a good way to get out of the house between Zooms.

But now it’s time to return

I’m a big believer in the saying “no man is an island”. A home should not be a prison, and as people we really do need to connect. I’ve spoken to other employers who really struggle with keeping the team together, and being able to make sure tasks are being completed. We have all just emerged from a shockingly real human experiment. For some introverts, WFH has been the best thing ever (I call them cat people) – but for others, it’s been a year of anxiety and uncertainty. And usually the best antidote for that is human connection, and a good laugh. And for that, I’d happily pay a train fare.

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The Dogefather rides popularity wave – but not with everyone | TICKER VIEWS

Adrian Franklin

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(He’s actually not super popular with Tesla investors but more on that shortly).

Elon Musk has 54 million followers on Twitter and after sending this into the Twitterverse: 

Nearly 4 million people voted one way or another, around 100,000 retweeted, and over 70% answered ‘yes’ to the provocative question. Dogecoin’s price shot skyward immediately.

Musk is riding a tsunami of popularity after co-hosting Saturday Night Live, he took us further inside his remarkable mind during a wide ranging chat with the Wall Street Journal.

The 49-year old didn’t hold back in describing what’s wrong with business in the US.

“I think there might be too many MBA’s (Master of Business Administration) running companies. There should be focus on the product and service itself.” 

He has no interest in companies purely focusing on profit, board meetings and spreadsheets. 

“Why even have companies? A company has no value in and of itself. It only has value, to degree that is, being an effective allocator of resources to create goods and services that are of greater value than the costs of the inputs.”

Musk is adamant we can all develop a ‘product mindset’ like his. 

There are a number of steps involved with one constant “step number one would be try. Have you tried? Have you tried hard? And if you haven’t tried hard, try harder. I think it is learnable. It’s not some mysterious thing.”

Elon Musk/Getty Images

Now back to those angry investors. Tesla has had a bad recent run of PR in China and sales have been hit.

Last month Tesla was the target of protestors at China’s biggest auto show in Shanghai after owners vented their fury following problems with their cars.

These aren’t insignificant challenges but you get the feeing it won’t keep the new Texas resident up at night.

His focus is very clear “the two biggest things that I’ve got going on right now are the starship development in South Texas” and Tesla’s Gigafactory site near Berlin that’s just been approved.

Following Musk’s every move and motive is tricky, but you can guarantee one thing, wherever he directs his energy he is going to try very, very hard.

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Why it matters that Elon Musk acknowledges Aspergers | TICKER VIEWS

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Elon Musk on SNL

It was the key moment of his SNL performance that we remember the most. Elon Musk, one of the world’s richest people, acknowledging he has Aspergers. And he’s proud of it.

Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger’s, is a neurodevelopmental disorder, characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication.

Elon Musk on SNL

It often comes with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests.

“I’m actually making history tonight as the first person with Asperger’s [syndrome] to host. Or at least the first to admit it,” Musk told the audience during his opening monologue. 

NOT THE FIRST

Turns out he wasn’t actually right.

Viewers quickly argued Musk’s assumption, pointing out that comedian and former “SNL” cast member Dan Aykroyd was the first on the show with the diagnosis.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE – Did Musk just hint that Tesla could soon accept Dogecoin as payment?

Aykroyd told the Daily Mail that his Asperger’s was manageable, although it “wasn’t diagnosed until the early Eighties”. 

Elon Musk’s announcement on Saturday about Aspergers followed days of controversy surrounding the show’s choice to make him a host, which featured a few cast members taking jabs at the one of the richest people on earth. 

Elon Musk on Weekend Update

But cast members Michael Che and Pete Davidson voiced their support for Musk on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”

Che lauded the slate of upcoming hosts, saying Musk is “the richest man in the world, how could you not be excited for that?”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE – History’s 30 most inspiring people on the autism spectrum

Davidson said he didn’t “know why people are freaking out.” – adding he might ask Musk for a free Tesla.

“They’re like, ‘Oh, I can’t believe that Elon Musk is hosting!’” Davidson said. “And I’m like, the guy that makes the Earth better kinda and makes cool things and sends people to Mars?’”

VIEWER REACTION

https://twitter.com/PPathole/status/1391253342307774465?s=20

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The good times are roaring back for the Australian economy | TICKER VIEWS

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Bourke St Mall

Anyone else remember the good old days when it was exciting to wait expectantly for the Federal Budget to be released wondering what surprises good and bad there would be?

Well, 2021/2 was pretty much leaked/announced in the days prior and again last night was as boring as bat (even for us Chartered Tax Advisors!) to tune in to…

Big spending, big debts and no surprises which was pretty much a certain in an election year and a continuing pandemic recovery.

Melbourne's Bourke St Mall

Tax cuts were left in place, as was superannuation guarantees and the ATO has been held back in pursuing struggling businesses. Steady as she goes, keep the businesses running, employing and the people spending. 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE – “We are better placed to meet the economic challenge”: Australia’s Federal Budget

“Net debt will increase to $617.5 billion or 30.0 per cent of GDP this year and peak at $980.6 billion or 40.9 per cent of GDP in June 2025

This is low by international standards. As a share of the economy, net debt is around half of that in the U.K. and U.S. and less than a third of that in Japan. 

Consumer sentiment is at its highest in 11 years. Business conditions reached record highs and more Australians are in work than ever before”

One thing they didn’t harp on about (and what saved us last time during the Howard years) is it appears, we are on the cusp of an extended resources / mining boom as the global economy fires back up on inflated incentives of all kinds.

Australia's iron ore helping the budget

We Australians really have won the lottery of life

Macro, there seems to be a growing diversion in economic realities. We either go bust on debt, or we go super boom and hopefully deflate debt.

It is getting harder to see a middle ground between the two polar opposites unless of course its decades (doldrums) of low inflation/interest rates and there’s no will or policy for that!

Housing nearly always gets some love with first home owners and single parent guarantees to help people get on board.

Superannuation with further good news

  • The super contribution works test for those aged 67 to 74 is to be abolished from 1/7/22
  • Downsizer super contributions restrictions from 1/7/22 get even easier also with an age restriction reducing to above 60 the take up of this will be far more attractive.
  • The $450 minimum per month super contribution is being removed from 1/7/22 a good thing for casual workers a pain for micro employers (administration).

The question has to be asked, why wait to 1/7/22 for these measures? 

Biggest news once again is in supporting business

Mr Frydenberg announced the government would be extending temporary full expensing and temporary loss carry-back (to the year 2019) for an additional year until 30 June 2023.

Sydney's CBD is attracting people back

Further, Mr Frydenberg said the government will deliver more than $16 billion in tax cuts to small and medium businesses by 2023-24 with around $1.5 billion flowing in 2019‑20.

This, he said, “includes reducing the tax rate for small and medium companies, from 30 per cent in 2014‑15 to 25 per cent from 1 July 2021″.

Well, that’s the 2021/2 highlights and there are plenty of other lesser budgetary gems that can all be found here: https://budget.gov.au/index.htm or contact the team at CIA tax.

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