How financially fit are you?
I’m trying out one of those trending Fitbits, those ubiquitous arm bands that you see people wearing at the moment. It tracks, counts and records yours steps taken and calories burned. However, what is really does is keep you accountable and motivated towards reaching your fitness goals because you are investing time and energy in the outcome. Fitbits and other fitness trackers are the accessory du jour. This leads me to ask the question, do you know how financially fit you are?
There’s no excuses these days to make sure you are completely on top of your financial health with the huge variety of free Apps, Budget Tools and Money Trackers that are available to help you sort out your life. These trackers are available as Apps and online. Maybe they aren’t colourful and trendy as the Fitbit, however if you are interested in taking charge of your finances as well as your fitness they are well worth checking out.
ASIC’s MoneySmart website reports on their top tips on how to take charge of your money with access to some great apps and tools.
1. Start with a check-up
If you are managing your household budget from week to week, you may find it hard to find time to plan other aspects of your finances. A good way to start doing this is to do a money health check. Answer simple questions about your money and get an action checklist on which areas of your finances need attention.
2. Track where your money goes
Know where all your money goes each week? If you’re not sure, you might want to take a snapshot of your spending. Record what you spend over a week or fortnight using MoneySmart’s free smartphone app TrackMySpend. This helps you see where your money is going and where you can cut back. You’ll be amazed how much you can save.
3. Don’t dream it, do it
Been putting off your dream car, house, holiday or investment property? Set up a direct debit into a separate high interest savings account every payday and start making your dreams a reality. Read more about savings accounts.
4. Diarise your big bills
If you find it hard to manage paying for big bills like car service, insurance or electricity, make a note in your diary or calendar on the date these bills are usually due. Then put some money aside each pay so you are prepared for them to come. If you want to take it to the next level, create a budget with our budget planner.
5. Get off the credit card roundabout
Does thinking about your credit card bill make you nervous? Make a plan to pay off your credit cards in full. MoneySmart’s credit card calculator shows how making bigger payments can save you heaps. If you can’t resist spending think about a debit card instead.
6. Prepare for change in your life
What if you suddenly split up or your partner passes away or loses their job? It can be a shock to have to deal with everything on your own. To ensure you are protected, make sure you know how your joint finances work and have access to them. This includes your bank accounts, will, super and investments. See relationships and money and wills for more.
7. Bridge the super gap
Sick of hearing reports about the gap between men and women’s super? Take action now. Whatever your age, it pays to consolidate your super into one fund and make extra contributions if you can.
- Earn less than $48,516? – Get the Government’s co-contribution if you make after tax contributions.
- Earn more than $50,000? – Salary sacrifice into super as the tax is a low rate of 15%.
- On maternity leave? – Explore spouse contributions or after tax contributions – even small ones count.
- Five or 10 years from retirement? – Look at putting as much into super as you can before you stop work. See more on how to get ready for retirement.
MoneySmart’s super contributions optimiser works out which type of contribution will give your super the biggest boost.
8. Resist loan pressure from your family
If your partner or children ask you to be a guarantor or co-borrower on a loan, don’t sign up until you know what you are signing and the consequences. You will be liable for the full amount if they default on the loan.
9. Don’t lose sleep about your debts
If your debts are getting out of control or you are struggling to make ends meet, it is important to act quickly. There is help available. A free financial counsellor can help you get a clear picture of your situation, understand your options and work out a budget.
10. Build wealth for your future
Do you need help to check your financial health. Let us know where you are at and we’ll help you create a future plan…