By Wayne Davy, Chief executive officer,
AS we enter the depths of winter in Tasmania, the short daylight hours and chilly nights provide the perfect encouragement to spend more time at home, and as a result of hibernation, potentially save some discretionary spending money.
But instead of just having a weather-dictated savings plan, why not also make the most of this extra time indoors to review your finances and start the new financial year equipped with the strategies to reach your financial goals in 2019/20?
Here are five handy tips to help you on your way:
- Cuppa and a recap
Before leaping headlong into the new financial year, it’s worth taking five to review how you travelled last year.
Did you begin by being disciplined, only to let things unravel?
Was it a blur of bills?
Were there unexpected curveballs that were hard to recover from?
Try to remember your headspace at key moments to pre-empt how you’ll handle the same situations next time.
Once you have recapped your 2018/19 efforts, use this information to start preparing a budget for the new financial year.
It’s the keystone of a financial plan, but the challenge is starting.
If past budgets have been annoying, and you’ve resorted to winging it, an interactive tool such as ASIC’s MoneySmart Budget Planner could bring it back on track.
- Stay on track
Tracking progress is a key part of sticking to any resolution.
To manage your personal finances, you need to know where your money is going.
ASIC’s MoneySmart TrackMySPEND and TrackMyGOALS apps are terrific free tools that help you do just that.
- Control debt
Getting your debts under control, like the smouldering credit card, is a good place to start.
Punching in numbers to a credit card calculator will help you see what a difference extra payments can make.
Making extra mortgage repayments can also save thousands.
For example, a couple with a standard $400,000 mortgage could save around $50,000 and pay off their debt almost four years earlier by contributing $200 extra monthly.
Use an online tool such as ASIC’s MoneySmart Mortgage Calculator to work out how you could pay off your mortgage sooner.
- Get super sharp
A few simple adjustments can make a big difference to the amount of money you’ll end up with in retirement.
For example, consider combining multiple super accounts to save fees, review your investment options, start automatic salary sacrifice contributions or make extra contributions to boost your nest egg.
- Say it out loud
Lastly, research shows those who keep their resolutions to themselves are more likely to fail.
So, share you goals with family and friends and feel that accountability rush.
Stay warm and happy goal kicking.