You know all those niggling anxieties about your finances that often lurk somewhere in the back of your mind?
You know the ones… Do I have enough insurance cover? Is my super organised properly? Am I paying too much on the 32,496,357 bills that seem to keep flooding my inbox every month?
It’s time to clear the mind clutter, and ditch the financial anxiety for good.
Get tough with yourself this financial new year. Resolve to do the following tasks this financial new year, and breathe easier knowing your finances are more in your control.
1) Get a better deal
Chances are your combined IT bill is one of your biggest household expenses. This makes it a great opportunity to create easy savings.
To remedy this, first, you should check out all of your IT plans – mobile, fixed line, Foxtel, and broadband – and check if there’s a better deal. These typically go down each year, so now is a great time to call your provider and enquire.
Secondly, consider shuffling your kids onto your plan to use your spare data. You can then get a sim card-only plan, and give the kids an old phone instead of buying them a new one every year (or recycle their old phones for yourself). This could save you hundreds every year.
Finally, scour your mobile phone bills for any apps you may have accidentally clicked on, or charges that are recurring that you no longer use or need, or which are no longer being delivered. Then delete, delete, delete – and save!
2) Face that dreaded insurance beast
Yes, we know this one is hard. The sheer number of insurance products out there can be overwhelming, but this really is an important one to get right.
Speak to a financial planner about the types of insurances that could suit you and your family. Then, see if there’s a way to consolidate your insurance and get bulk deals for using one insurer for the whole family. Other small steps, such as installing an alarm or putting locks on the windows, can help to cut your premiums. And always shop around for a better deal – comparison sites can be great for this.
3) Consider refinancing
You may potentially be able to get a better rate on your home, investment property, and/or beach house. At the very least, it can’t hurt to find out! Go to the Canstar website and find out about the range of credit unions that could save you thousands.
You could also be sitting on a ton of equity. You can unleash this equity by performing a “top up”, which takes the equity out of your property and deposits it into your offset account as cash. The amount of interest you pay on the loan will remain unchanged, while you will have the cash safely in the bank in case you need it, or in the event that property prices drop. Phew!
4) Consolidate credit card debt
You will likely have heard this one a million times before. But it really is so important.
If you’re not paying your cards in the interest free period – chop them up and pay the debt off, NOW. Comparison sites like Credit Card Compare can also strongly assist you in the search for the cards that could suit your goals (this typically sits somewhere between saving on low-cost cards, and reaping in points and rewards). Again, a financial planner can also help with these decisions.
5) Make a will
This one isn’t very fun to think about, but will be appreciated by your loved ones should the unfortunate occur. If you’re married, it can pay to make a joint will with your spouse so that both of your wishes are super clear in the event of either or both of you checking out early. That way there should be enough set aside to plant you both, and ensure stress around finances isn’t an additional part of an already painful experience.
6) Examine bank statements
This one can be done really quickly – I promise! – but could potentially end up saving you hundreds or even thousands over the long run.
Set aside less than an hour to through your bank statements with a fine-tooth comb. Chances are you may have subscriptions or services that you are still paying for that you no longer need. In some cases, they may not even be delivered anymore! Cancel them and ask for a refund in the case of the latter.
7) Consolidate your super
This one isn’t actually as hard as it sounds, and the ATO can help to look on your behalf if you apply with them here. This is super important, as multiple accounts cost a fortune in fees, and every cent you save now compounds nicely at the other end.
While you’re at it – make sure the fund you put all your cash into has your TFN, so you’re not being socked the top tax rate. Bonus points for nominating your beneficiary on your super (this may require a separate form).
8) Clean up to make a few quick $$
This final resolution can help you declutter your home along with your mind. Put aside an afternoon to go through your garage or junk room – even your whole house! Separate the things you can throw out from the things you can sell, and then set up that Ebay or Gumtree account for the latter.
And now that you’ve cleaned out your garage or junk room – you could even rent it on AirBnB for some extra $$.
So, what are you waiting for??
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Katrina Haskew is Managing Director of Leading Advice