Taking charge of your finances and finally examining where your money goes can be a daunting job to put on your to-do list. However, devoting a day to taking a good look at your superannuation, bank accounts, insurance and investments can actually result in more money in your pocket, and less money being sucked up by fees or policies that don’t suit where you’re at in life.
Step #1 Do a health check on your super
The quickest way to drain your retirement savings is to have multiple super accounts, because multiple accounts means multiple fees. Spend some time researching your super accounts and rolling all of them into one account, so you are only paying one set of fees. Rolling one superfund into another is generally pretty easy, and simply involves filling out a form provided by the fund that details where you want your money transferred. Close all unused accounts.
Step #2 Focus on your debt
If you have a car loan, personal loan, credit card debt or other debt (aside from a mortgage or HECS-HELP debt) it’s time to start focusing on paying as much off that debt as quickly as possible. Sit down a work out a budget that focuses on paying down debt. While this might hurt your savings plan or cut your budget tighter in the short term it’ll potentially save you hundreds on accounts fees and interest.
Step #3 Take stock
Take a long hard look at your current memberships and subscription services and cancel everything that you don’t use regularly (such as a gym membership) or things that you can live without. You don’t need Apple Music if you have Spotify, and you don’t necessarily need Stan if you have Netflix, and so on.
Step #4 Do a deep dive on your bank accounts
Spend some time looking through your credit card fees, account fees, interest rates on loans and the interest being paid on your savings accounts. You work hard for your money so you need a bank that will work hard for you. If your bank is charging fees on an everyday account and another doesn’t, it may be time to move to a new bank with lower fees on accounts, higher returns on interest, and perhaps some savings features, such as ING’s ‘round-ups’ feature that rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the difference into a savings account. Eg. a purchase for $7.50 would be rounded up to $8, and the 50c would go into savings. A little can add up to a lot in the long run.
Step #5 Dip your toe into investing
Always been interested in investing but don’t have thousands of dollars to out in the stock market? That’s fine, because you can do it on a smaller scale. Download a app like Acorns and dip your toe into the investment world by rounding up your purchases to the nearest $1, $5 or $10 and putting the difference into stocks. For example, if you spend $3.50 on a coffee every morning, Acorns can take the 50c that rounds it up to the nearest dollar ($4) and invests it into shares.
Step #6 Re-evaluate your insurance policies
Do you have insurance on your home, car, content, health and more? All those policy fees add up, and you may not need to pay for all of them. Ask your insurer if they do discounts for multiple insurance policies, or shop around and get quotes from other insurers and see if anyone will price beat another. It’s ll money in your pocket.
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