Letters of the Week

Finding balance in Europe’s crisis. Buying bonds. Energy rebates.

Welcome, Adam Carr
Congratulations to Adam Carr on his 'maiden’ writing effort (Europe’s untold riches). Thank you for injecting a note of pragmatism into a hysteria-driven European story. I agree entirely that concentration on debt is irrelevant unless this is coupled with an appreciation of "capacity to service" that debt. Your analysis of the financial assets available in Europe to pay down debt provides a more balanced overview of the real picture in Europe and its likely economic trajectory in the medium future. Just one word of caution, however – war chests of financial assets do not necessarily equate to free-moving cash flows and this is what is really needed to revive growth in these economies, as well as pay down debt.

– Name withheld

Buying bonds

Hi, I read with interest Elizabeth Moran’s April 30 article, A rates reality check, about fixed-rate bank bonds. I have had difficulty finding out how to purchase these. Could you please advise what I have to do to purchase a portfolio of these bonds and who is dealing in these bonds?

– Name withheld

Editor’s response: Thanks for your enquiry. While some bonds are available on the ASX, including some of those Elizabeth talks about, it is necessary to go through a broker for many of these products. Most full-service brokers offer fixed-interest products, or you can choose a specialist broker such as FIIG.

Energy rebates

Surely Clean Energy Fund payments to self-funded retirees will be means tested? I can't find any useful advice on the Centrelink website to confirm all self-funded retirees are eligible.

– D Magee

Editor’s response: The one-off payments are for assisting self-funded retiree seniors, which means that a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is required for eligibility. It appears the payments are not means tested, but the full details of requirements and numbers of eligible recipients can be found here. Ongoing household assistance for self-funded retirees offsetting energy costs is also scheduled to commence in June 2013, so depending on your age you may soon be eligible for some payments there as well.

To read this week's letters, click here.