It’s that time of the year! Spring is here and the weather is finally starting to get warmer and the sun is shining for longer (even if it doesn’t feel like it at times).
The one part of spring many of us dread is being forced to crawl out from under our cosy blankets, wake from winter hibernation, and get spring cleaning! As much as we dread it however, we know it’s time we cleaned out our financial clutter and get a better idea of where we stand.
Here are some of our quick and simple tips for taking control of your finances:
Update Your Budget (or Start One!): Budgets are an effective way to ensure that you haven’t been accidentally living outside your means and ensuring that your savings stay on track. If your current budget doesn’t take into account any recent life changes like loans or promotions at work, your budget is no longer effective and you may not be saving as much as you should.
Clean up your paperwork and shred everything you don’t need: It’s only too easy to let all those paper statements pile up in a corner of your home. Instead of letting that pile get too high, and then not be able to find those all important documents like home loans or insurance policies when you really need them, why not take the time to put all those documents you really don’t need through the shredder now and let yourself live with a bit less clutter.
Pay off your Credit Cards: Credit card interest can be cripplingly high. It’s a good idea to make paying your cards off a high priority before accidentally getting yourself into too much trouble. Even if you can’t pay them off in full, it’s a good idea to pay off as much of your credit card debt as possible and reduce those interest payments.
Reassess your Insurance: Over time your needs for Life & TPD insurance may diminish. Your loan may be paid off or reduced, your children may have moved out, or you’re nearing retirement. Rather than continue to pay for insurance you may not need it may be appropriate to reduce or cancel your cover.
Brush up on your Super: Though it may not always seem like it when it’s locked away, Super is money and could come in very handy one day. It’s a good idea to make sure it’s working for you the best way possible. You might want to take a look at your latest statement and check for a few things like:
- How many accounts you have – If you have more than one account, it might be a good idea to consolidate them to reduce your fees.
- Your investment options – Do your investments still match your needs? Are they too aggressive or defensive for you?
- Your contributions – The sooner you start contributing to your super, the sooner you can retire, or alternatively you can live a better retirement. You might even be entitled to government co-contributions.
- Do you have nominated beneficiaries? Super is not covered by your Will so it’s important to ensure you have a nominated beneficiary in case the unexpected occurs.
- Your personal details – Make sure that your details are current. You don’t want your super fund to be sending information to the wrong address!
Review your Estate Documents: What we want and need for our legacies can change over time, so now is the perfect time to take a look at any estate plans you might have and ensure that your plans are up to date on both beneficiaries and executors.
Consolidate your Bank Accounts: If you have a number of bank accounts and don’t use them all, then it might be a good idea to close down the ones you don’t need. By only having accounts you need and use, it will help you maintain a better idea of your situation.