Set your financial goals for 2018

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is encouraging Australians to start the New Year by setting financial goals.

“Every January, one of the most popular New Year resolutions people make is to take control of their money,” said ASIC’s Laura Higgins.

“Yet according to research conducted for ASIC, about 44 per cent of Australians say they have a short term financial plan in place, while only 23 per cent say they have a long-term plan.

“Having a financial plan in place is key to getting on top of your finances,” Ms Higgins said.

“Start by identifying your financial goals and what you want to achieve. Next, you can consider the steps you’ll need to follow to make them happen, including how long it will take.”

Here are ASIC’s MoneySmart New Year financial resolutions to make your money work for you in 2018.

1. Make a plan for your money
According to ASIC’s research, nine out of 10 Australians are keeping track of their finances and eight in 10 had a budget. Having a plan in place to manage your money will help you track your spending and understand your money habits. A budget is the cornerstone of a financial plan. Use ASIC’s MoneySmart interactive budget planner to help you work out where your money is going and where you might be able to save. ASIC’s MoneySmart TrackMySPEND app can help to manage your personal expenses on the go.

2. Take charge of your debt
Get your finances on track in 2018 by taking control of your debts, including any credit cards that may work harder during the festive season. You can start by making extra repayments on your smallest debt and when you have paid it off move on to any other debts. A credit card debt of $2000 could take you over 12 years to pay off and cost about $2150 in interest, if you only pay the minimum repayment. If you are one of the 36 per cent of Australians who say they use their credit card for Christmas spending, ASIC’s credit card calculator will help you see how much time and money you can save by making higher repayments.

3. Create a savings balance
Having a healthy savings balance gives you breathing space to deal with life’s ups and downs, and means you won’t have to borrow money if something unexpected happens. If you are looking to save for something specific in 2018, such as a holiday, having a savings plan in place is critical to achieving your money goals. Use ASIC’s MoneySmart savings goal calculator to work out how long it will take to reach your savings goals. A good tip for building up a savings buffer is to ‘set and forget’, by opening a separate savings account and making regular payments automatically.

4. Take stock of your insurance
Having the right insurance in place is a critical part of a financial plan, but it pays to shop around. It is important to review your existing policies to ensure they cover everything you want included and if they don’t, you can find a policy that does. Make a resolution to compare the policies offered by other insurers when your home or car insurance comes up for renewal to ensure you get the best deal.

5. Maximise your super
Get to know your super and join the 77 per cent of Australians who know exactly or roughly their superannuation balance. You can do this by going to your super website or reviewing your super statement. If your super is spread across multiple funds you should consider combining multiple accounts to save fees. Making extra contributions and reviewing your investment options can make a big difference to your retirement funds. 

Are you planning to get your finances in order as a New Year’s resolution next year? How are you planning to start?

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Written by Ben

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