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4 points to help get your finances in shape

If one of the items on your New Year's resolutions is to get your finances in shape, here are 4 points to consider

1) Review your home loan

This does not necessarily mean to refinance to a different bank. Rather, it is just comparing you home loan with what is on offer in the broader market and asking your current bank to match this. Working with a broker such as myself is a simple way to do this, and a 5-minute conversation on the phone could save you thousands in interest. We do the leg work of comparing like for like options and requesting your current bank match the offer.

Of course, sometimes lenders may not be prepared to match competitors offers and then it is time to do a bit more analysis on the cost of refinancing versus the cost of loyalty to your current bank. But your current bank is the best place to start and more often than not we are successful in getting a better deal than you are currently on with your current lender.

2) Make sure you are using the banks products to your advantage…. Not theirs

Most banks actually have some pretty cool products when it comes to saving you money… its just not in their interest to show you how to use them correctly. Things like, offset accounts, multiple offset accounts , interest free days on credit cards, professional packages, mortgage redraw can all save you loads in fees and interest, its all just a matter of how and when you use these products. Part of a review is to look at your products and not just the rate, simple addition of substituting a savings account for an offset account can make all the difference.

3) Know your numbers

Knowing your weekly budget and having a simple process of transferring the right amount from one product to another (using the right products per above) is a very effective way of not only saving money on interest, but it is also paying off debt faster.

Budgets don’t necessarily need to be complicated or record every expense, but just the simple step of having an amount to live with week to week can make all the difference.

The best first step is to understand where your money goes and then simplify this into broader categories later until you have single amounts to be moved to different offset accounts to cover you budget expenses, such as,

· Variable costs such as Food, household & transport.

· Fixed costs; such as bills, rates and repayments.

· Finally, savings for annual costs such as, birthdays, Christmas, holidays.

· Anything left over becomes extra mortgage repayment, investment or “play” money

4) Are you covered?

For most people having home or car insurance is a no-brainer, it would be silly not to have your largest assets protected. But what about the one asset that actually pays for these things, your income?

Most people we meet when reviewing are either covered, or simply don’t even know how much cover they have for Death, Income Protection, Total and Permanent Disability or Trauma Insurance. Most people will have a default cover in their Super, but is it enough to see you through a serious injury and recovery time, or the death of a spouse?

Yes, I fully appreciate this is the side of life that no one really likes to think about, but again a short review can establish if your cover is appropriate and not too much (i.e. costing too much money) or not enough (not giving the level of cover you need). We have the ability to refer you to our Insurance specialists for a free review, it may be the missing piece of the financial puzzle you haven’t yet addressed that will give you piece of mind.

In summary getting in shape financially doesn’t have to be hard and the best place to start is a simple review, it can be done over the phone or in person, but all it takes is updating a few details and we can get to work with the rest.

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