Forming healthy financial habits takes time and effort. Thinking about improving your financial wellbeing can be daunting. Where to start? What to plan? What to review?
Below we cover 10 good money habits that may help you improve your financial responsibility and to get ahead. Here are some tips you can start with today.
Try tracking everything you spend for a short period of time - for instance, over a one-month period. This can give you insights into how much you are spending right now, and how spending even regular small amounts add up over time.
Tracking where you are spending your money is also a good way to reveal those areas of spending that otherwise go unchecked, such as paying for subscriptions to multiple digital streaming services (which you may not use).
Yes, the dreaded 'b' word. Budgeting isn't very exciting but creating a budget can allow you to take control over your money. The process can help you pinpoint lifestyle changes you need to make to grow your savings and become more financially stable.
After you create a budget, it's important that you stick to it. Regularly check-in with your budgeting goals so you don't spend more than you can afford to repay. The key is to live within your means and calculate how much you could save on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. Not sure where to start? Moneysmart's budget planner is a quick and easy budgeting tool that can help you get set in the right direction.
By setting short-term, mid-term and long-term financial goals, you'll be one step closer to being financially secure. A long-term goal, for example, might be saving for retirement. A mid-term goal could be saving to buy a house. These are all big goals you'll want to plan for financially.
Getting a sense for when you might want to reach each goal can help you make choices about how to use money you've already saved and how to continue saving and growing your money to help meet those goals.
Start by estimating how much money you'll need to meet each of your goals and align these with your budget. One key to achieving these goals is to assign them specific dollar amounts and the date by which you want to achieve it.
Some call it 'saving for a rainy day', but it's essentially planning for the unexpected by having an emergency fund set aside. Ideally, you want to have enough stashed away to cover all your daily expenses for a few months.
Debt can hold you back from doing many things with your money. When it comes to high-interest debt, you can lose a lot of money by making payments that go toward interest, so it's best to pay-off that debt sooner rather than later.
Credit cards are a great way to build your credit when used properly. But they can sometimes lead you to spend more than you earn and get into credit card debt.
Check your credit card statement for the due date and make sure you pay on or before that date. By doing this, you'll avoid paying extra interest or late fees and also help keep your credit score healthy. And if you can make higher repayments each month, you will pay off the debt faster and save money.
Similarly, many popular Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services are often advertised as 'interest free' or '0% interest'. But they charge fees that can add up quickly. They may charge:
A will is important to protect where your wealth goes when you die. If you have dependents, no matter how little or how much you own, make sure your will is up to date. If you are unsure about any legal issues, talk to your lawyer.
It is important to have enough insurance to protect your family and your income in case of death, disability or illness. Your financial adviser can assist with this.
What's your retirement plan? One way to help grow your nest egg is to negotiate with your employer to increase super contributions by salary sacrificing. These contributions are on top of compulsory contributions made by your employer (currently, your employer must contribute 10.5% of your salary into super).
Salary sacrificing into super is an agreement between you and your employer to pay some of your pre-tax salary as contributions into super. Doing this can also be tax effective. Salary sacrificed amounts to super are concessional contributions. The amount you contribute to super is taxed at up to 15% (and up to 30% if your income is over $250,000 per annum) rather than your marginal tax rate, which might be up to 47%.
When it comes to financial investments, if you contribute to your super and already have a regular savings plan, and you still have some spare money, then you might want to consider putting it into other investments to maximise your long-term returns.
When you start looking at investing options, it's easy to become overwhelmed by all the information. Therefore, it helps to get expert advice. A great source of information and expertise is your professional financial adviser. With the right help you can invest to either grow your assets and create long term capital gains or create more cash flow or both.
Busy with work and family, many people find it difficult to keep up to date with investment options and to understand the risks involved. Seeking financial advice is a great way to ensure you keep you on track to reach your financial goals.
If this is something you're looking for, we suggest seeking help from a qualified financial adviser. You can look for a financial adviser on the moneysmart.gov.au website or through an industry association such as the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) or the Financial Planning Association (FPA).
This article is issued by OnePath Custodians Pty Limited (OnePath Custodians) ABN 12 008 508 496, RSE L0000673, AFSL 238346 and OnePath Funds Management Limited (OnePath Funds Management) ABN 21 003 002 800, AFSL 238342. OnePath Custodians and OnePath Funds Management are part of the Insignia Financial Group of companies, consisting of Insignia Financial Limited ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (Insignia Financial Group).
You should read the relevant Financial Services Guide (FSG), Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), Target Market Determination (TMD), Additional Information Guide (AIG), Investment Funds Guide (IFG), and product and other updates (for open and closed products) available at onepath.com.au and consider whether OnePath products are right for you before making a decision to acquire, or to continue to hold any OnePath product. Alternatively, you can request a copy of this information by calling Customer Services on 133 665.
Taxation law is complex, and this information has been prepared as a guide only and does not represent taxation advice. Please see your tax adviser for independent taxation advice.
Before re-directing your super or moving your money into your product, you will need to consider whether there are any adverse consequences for you, including loss of benefits (e.g. insurance cover), investment options and performance, functionality, increase in investment risks and where your future employer contributions will be paid. Any investment is subject to investment risk, including possible repayment delays and loss of income and principal invested. Returns can go up and down. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.
The information provided is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal needs, financial circumstances or objectives. Before acting on this information, you should consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to your needs, financial circumstances or objectives. The case studies used in the articles on this website are hypothetical and are not meant to illustrate the circumstances of any particular individual. Opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors only.