How to save thousands

The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever to make the right financial decisions this year, and staying loyal to your current providers could be costing you thousands of dollars.

Money magazine named its awards for the best financial products recently and they showed that Australians could save thousands of dollars, if they were prepared to switch providers.

The annual awards named 126 winners across various financial services categories including credit cards, term deposits, banking, loans, superannuation, insurance, investments, phone plans and broadband.

Money editor-at-large Julia Newbould said the awards were conducted in conjunction with Rainmaker Information, InfoChoice, WhistleOut and Carsales to help assess thousands of products from hundreds of providers.

“This year’s winners have been stress-tested by a pandemic and passed,” Ms Newbould said.

“We know that many household budgets are feeling the pinch from the coronavirus crisis, so this issue is more important than ever.

“A few small changes can mean big savings.”

Bankwest took out first place for the best value credit card, while Belong was named best value NBN broadband plan and SpinTel won the award for best mobile plan for the fourth consecutive year.

This year’s awards represented a change in focus, with the best value products receiving recognition, rather than just rewarding the cheapest in the relevant categories.

“Focusing on finding the best value, rather than price, has allowed us to showcase products going that extra mile for consumers,” said Ms Newbould.

Some of the best of the best award winners include:

Best investment manager: Pendal Group
The Pendal Property Securities Fund has returned 4.96 per cent p.a. and 6.39 per cent p.a. over three and five years respectively. It has a minimum investment of $25,000, a management fee of 0.65 per cent and invests in property trusts, developers and infrastructure.

Best ETF manager: Vanguard Australia
With their products appearing in the top five products across multiple exchange changed fund (ETF) categories, Vanguard won the best ETF manager for 2021. The Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (ASX: VAS) placed second in the Australia Share Exchange Traded Product, while the Vanguard Australian Fixed Interest Index ETF (VAF) placed third in the Best-Fixed Interest ETF Category.

Best super fund: Aware Super
Aware Super had an especially busy year – it surpassed $100 billion in funds under management and adopted a new name to reflect its recent mergers between First State Super, VicSuper and WA Super. Of all workplace superannuation providers in Rainmaker Information’s analysis, Aware Super achieved a top-10 ranking for risk-adjusted performance, more than any other fund in the 12 months to 30 June 2020.

Best savings account: Macquarie Bank (bank), CUA (non-bank)
Money explains that the two numbers consumers should be looking out for when researching savings accounts are the base rate and the maximum rate. They range from 0.1 per cent to 1.65 per cent for the six finalists this year, while the maximum rate can be as high as 2 per cent for a bank balance of $5000 or more. Despite the low interest rate environment these providers compete in – there is still great value to be found. None of the top six providers within this category charged monthly fees.

Best value car insurance: Budget Direct
For the third year running, Budget Direct has been awarded Money‘s best value car insurance. Budget Direct focuses on providing value by keeping its business costs low, using online and social media to market itself and by making it easy for customers to interact with the business online. Budget Direct also offers to ability for customers to save by restricting a policy to drivers over a certain age: 21+, 25+, 30+, 40+ and 50+, the biggest age range for any major insurer.

Do you use any of the financial products listed above? Which ones? Are you happy with the service they provide?

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Written by Ben Hocking

Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.

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