Brought to you by IMB Bank’s Practice Manager – Financial Planning, Rob Weston
1. Get your finances in order– If your finances are not in order, make sure you gather up everything you need to show your accountant before the end of the financial year. By being well prepared, you can lodge your tax return early and avoid processing delays.
2. Book an appointment with your accountant– Discuss your financial position with your accountant and ask if there are any other deductions you could claim. Be savvy, do your research and ask questions; you never know what you might be missing out on.
3. Reflect on the past year– Look at your spending habits and consider where you hard earned savings have gone. Review utilities bills and consider cheaper alternatives; look at personal insurances – are there other options to give you the cover you need without the fees; consider if you really need to buy your lunch every day? Be brutal and honest with yourself.
4. Are you paying too much?– Home loan interest rates are at an all-time low. Are you paying too much? While a change of lender is daunting for some, a home loan with a lower interest rate could save you hundreds of dollars a month, thousands of dollars a year. It is well worth the time and effort to look at what is available in a very competitive market.
5. Credit card interest charges are a budget breaker– If you have unpaid credit card charges that you are struggling to get one top of, think about taking a personal loan, which has a much lower interest rate. And then, vow to only use credit cards if you pay them off when they are due.
6. Superannuation– Make sure you are aware of the recent changes to superannuation announced in the Budget. Consider what your contribution has been in this financial year. Would it benefit you to top it up prior to June 2016?
7. Financial planning– Consider talking to a qualified financial planner even if you are only in your 20s. Long-term planning may make the difference between a comfortable retirement and living a life when you are no longer working that is below your expectations. Areas such as superannuation are very complex and a financial planner could help you establish a plan so there are no disappointments.
9. Apply for a savings account with bonus interest– If you don’t have a regular savings habit, make it a priority in the next financial year. Look at options for savings accounts – go for ones that offer bonus interest if you don’t withdraw cash – and put a certain amount of your wages into the account each week. You might be surprised how quickly it adds up.
10. Create a will– If you have assets, make sure you have a will and keep it updated. Read through it every year – circumstances change and considerations in a will are often forgotten.
Rob Weston has more than 10 years of experience in financial planning, including his time as Practice Manager of IMB Financial Planning. Rob provides ongoing support to the IMB Financial Planning team to ensure service offered to members is always of the highest-quality. Rob also works directly with IMB members, providing financial advice across a range of situations.