A finance professional can be a reassuring resource when money matters seem out of control.
Are you saving for a house or holiday? Planning to invest extra cash? Just scraping by while your credit card debt piles up? Whatever your situation, a financial advisor can help you to develop and implement a plan to achieve your financial goals.
Where to start? Summarise your financial situation before you meet, and make the most of your financial advisor’s time and expertise.
What exactly do you want out of life? Articulate your long-term, medium and smaller short-term goals and put them in order of priority. Having a clear idea about where you want to be is the first step towards getting there.
Summarising income is usually quite easy, but do you know where your money goes each month? A basic budget tracker will lay it on the line for you.
Regular expenses like rent, phone bills, car insurance, groceries and loan repayments can add up quickly and we often overlook smaller expenses such as takeaway coffee, gym fees and the odd pub dinner.
Track your outgoings for a month by writing down every dollar you spend. An online budget planner – like this one this one on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s website: https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/calculators-and-apps/budget-planner, will ensure you capture every expense.
Mortgages, car finance, personal loans, HECS, credit card debt – Australians currently have the highest household debt level in the world. Collectively we owe more than $32 billion on credit cards alone – that’s more than $4300 per card holder!
Managing debt is crucial to financial success, especially if you hope to buy a home or begin investing. Lenders will assess your borrowing power based on your income and your ability to manage debt. Missed payments (even by only a couple of days!) and defaults can damage your credit score and could stop you from getting a loan down the track.
Summarise and prioritise your repayments, putting your mortgage first, followed by those with the highest interest rates first on the list.
Don’t overlook your superannuation fund, even if retirement seems eons away. Australian employers must contribute at least 9.5% of ordinary time earnings into superannuation. Though you can’t access it until retirement age, it’s still your money and you want it working for you. Dig out your most recent statement or ask your fund to forward details about how your superannuation money is invested.
Meeting your financial goals will likely involve making a few changes to how you spend your money. Can you cut back on some of those expenses you tracked? How much do you think you can save each month? Pick a realistic, ballpark savings target and write it down.
Preparing all of this in advance will make discussions with your financial professional so much more productive. You’ll have covered the basics and can get stuck right into the fun stuff: How quickly can I get out of debt? How much can I borrow? When can I take that trip to Paris? It’s definitely worth the upfront effort to take control of your finances.
Creating good habits in managing debt and cashflow is the first step to a successful financial future so don’t be shy about asking for help from an expert in the field. The sooner you start, the sooner you will be reaping the rewards!
If you need help with any of the above, or if you’re ready to move to the next step – give us a call on 02 8004 2222 and let us show you HOW!