With 2022 fast approaching, now is a great time to review your current financial situation and put a plan in place for the next 12 months. Sorting out your finances doesn’t have to be complicated, as even small savings can add up over the year.
Here are my 5 tips to help you get started…
1. Write down a list of your lifestyle wants and needs
- If you want to save or invest more money this financial year, you may need to consider whether there is anything that you’re willing to sacrifice to get ahead. Do you really need to update your phone again, or have that weekend away?
- Make a note of where you’d like your finances to be this time next year, and then write down your income and expenses for the last month. Are you left with surplus and are your goals going to be realistic? It’s only by taking a close look at your current financial situation that you can begin to take control of it.
2. Build a budget
- To ensure you’re getting the most from your money, build a budget. However, finding the right balance is key. If you make your budget too restrictive you’ll likely break it. Alternatively, if you make it too light you might miss out on some financial benefits.
- Once you have a budget, it’s important you stick to it. That means tracking your expenses and a great way to do this is to use a digital money tracker such as Pocketbook and TrackMySpend. Buy now, pay later services are very hard to include in your budget, so try stay away from them. It’s very easy over the Christmas period to purchase on credit and worry about the debt hangover in January.
3. Boost your super
- Superannuation is one of the best ways to save for your retirement. Consider boosting your super via a lump sum or regular contribution, and reviewing the performance of your super fund. A financial adviser will be able to recommend the best way to make your contribution to gain the best outcome.
- Before you decide to invest more in super, you need to be aware that restrictions and caps apply. Penalties may apply if you exceed the relevant cap or contribute to super when you were not eligible to contribute. You also need to consider that super generally can’t be accessed until you reach your preservation age and retire or meet another condition of release.
4. Make insurance more cost effective
- It doesn’t matter how good your financial plan is if you don’t have the correct insurance in place to protect your family and your ability to earn an income. It’s a good idea to regularly review your policies to ensure they remain cost effective and relevant to your circumstances. Owning insurance inside super can be cost effective from a cash flow and tax perspective. Changes in recent years have allowed members to choose their own super and own insurer, and quite often these will be different, in order to provide the best of both worlds.
5. Pay off debt
- If you’re paying off multiple debts with a range of interest rates, you should consider the appropriateness of prioritising paying down the debt with the highest interest (while continuing to meet your repayment obligations to other debts). Alternatively, you may be able to combine your debts with a debt consolidation loan. If you can continue to make the same level of repayments, this may reduce the amount of total interest payable and help you pay off your debt sooner.
Speak to a financial adviser
The investment market, legislation and government regulations change frequently, so chances are you’ll need help to navigate them. A financial adviser can help you understand and maximise your eligibility for government entitlements, while supporting you to grow and manage your investment portfolio. The benefits of a tailored financial plan can add up substantially over your lifetime.