ASIC is encouraging people to make a positive start to 2017 by taking steps to set and achieve their financial goals.
Here are ASIC’s MoneySmart New Year financial tips for 2017:
1. Review your finances
Work out your short, medium and long term financial goals and priorities and put a plan in place to achieve them in 2017. ASIC’s MoneySmart money health check will ask you some easy questions about your personal finances and give you some tips to improve your financial situation if needed’, said Mr Larbey.
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. You can also use ASIC’s MoneySmart TrackMySPEND app to manage your money on the go.
As part of reviewing your finances, you might want to check your credit history. As lenders will review your credit report when you apply for credit or a loan it is important to check your credit history details are correct.
You are entitled to obtain one free copy of your credit report each year from a credit reporting agency’ Mr Larbey added. ‘ASIC’s MoneySmart has guidance on the best way to do this.
2. Take control of your debts
Get your finances on track this year by taking control of your debts, including any credit cards which may have been over-used during the festive season’ said Mr Larbey.
A credit card debt of $2,000 could take you over 12 years to pay off and cost about $2,150 in interest, if you only pay the minimum repayment.
If you are one of the 20% of visitors to ASIC’s MoneySmart website who said they used their credit card for Christmas spending, use our credit card calculator to see how much time and money you can save by making higher repayments.
3. Create a savings buffer
Having a savings buffer or emergency fund 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,’ shared Mr Larbey.
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 via your bank or from your pay.
4. Maximise your super
Get to know your super and join the three quarters 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’, added Mr Larbey.
Combining multiple super accounts to save fees, making extra contributions and reviewing your investment options can make a big difference to your retirement funds. Use ASIC’s MoneySmart retirement planner to find out if your super savings are on track.
5. Seeking financial advice
If you think you might need personal financial advice in 2017, for example if you are planning to retire, use ASIC’s MoneySmart financial advice toolkit. It will help you navigate the financial advice process step by step, choose a financial adviser and know the questions to ask’, Mr Larbey concluded.