Five Minute Financial Health Check for the New Year
1. Interest Rates – Credit Cards and Savings. Do you know what interest rates you are paying on your credit cards and savings? Are you paying 19% on your credit card balance but getting less than 1% on your savings? If so then jump online and do some research and find out what finance providers are offering 0% interest on balance transfers; there are many options out there ranging from zero interest for 3 – 16 months, which then revert to a variable interest rate. For saving accounts, look at iSaver or eSaver accounts which offer introductory bonus interest, delivering an interest rate higher than Term deposits in some cases. Oh and when you do the credit card balance transfer get the post-Christmas balance paid off before the 0% interest expires.
2. Home Loan. When was the last time you checked you home loan to see what interest rate you are currently paying. It’s not uncommon for people to overlook the fact that they may be paying higher than the current lowest rate offered by their loan provider, let alone what is the lowest offer available on the market. Take the time to check your interest rate, then shop around to see what’s available elsewhere. Then ask your current provider to match that rate, and if they won’t, then maybe it’s time to look at getting a new loan on better terms for you. At the same time, if you don’t have an offset account against your home loan, then now is the time to establish one. The balance in your offset account reduces the monthly interest payable on your home loan balance – even small amounts will add up to significant savings over time.
3. Insurance. People really dislike paying insurance premiums, but remember, it’s there to provide for you when unexpected events turn your life upside down. Whether it’s general insurance (House, Contents, Car, Boat) or personal insurance (Life, TPD, Trauma, Income Protection), it’s important to both have cover and know what you are covered for. Shop around online when it comes time to renew your general insurance and check that you are still paying competitive premiums. For personal insurance, if it’s been years since you last reviewed your policies, now is the time to speak with your adviser or broker, and see if those policies are still right for you. Changing circumstances, better medical definitions, and more competition means there might be polices better suited to you than when you first took out your cover. If you don’t have cover then make a point about doing something about it TODAY!
4. Superannuation. When was the last time you had a good hard look at your superannuation? Do you know how it’s performing? Do you even know how it’s invested? What about what fees you are paying? Whether it’s an industry fund, a retail fund, or a self-managed superannuation fund, it’s critical that you know the answers to the above as this (for many) is your primary savings vehicle for retirement. Again, more competition and advances in technology means that there are options available for you to ensure you can be as involved (or uninvolved) as you want to be, in managing your finances and accumulating capital for retirement. Referring back to point 3 above, there are options to incorporate some elements of personal insurance through your superannuation, so it’s worth considering if that’s appropriate to you.
5. Strategy. If you’ve read this far, then you’re obviously committed to making a change for the better to help you reach your financial goals. The above four points are not exhaustive (we haven’t even discussed tax planning), and while each on their own are important, they are actually individual components of an overall financial strategy. Do you have a plan that will help you meet your financial and lifestyle goals for retirement? If you do, is it still current, or have your circumstances changed? If not, then now is the time to speak with a licensed Financial Adviser, and have a no obligation discussion about how developing a tailored financial strategy will assist you to meet your financial goals in 2015 and beyond.
Originally from a farming background in Southern New South Wales, Col served for 21 years as an Officer in the Australian Army in military & international logistics, strategic planning, leadership and management roles. He has served on operational deployments as a strategic planner in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan, and completed an international exchange with the United States Military. The experience gained from these opportunities provides a unique perspective which Col uses to help simplify complex financial issues for clients.
Col is a Financial Adviser with the Carey Group and an Authorised Representative of Securitor Financial Group Limited. The opportunity to interact with clients and help make their dreams a reality is why he chose to pursue a career in financial services. To contact Col and develop a risk strategy tailored around your individual needs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (07) 4772 7200 for a no obligation discussion.
Carey Financial Pty Ltd is an authorised representative of Securitor Financial Group Ltd and provides financial planning services for superannuation, managed investments, personal risk insurance, shares and self-managed superannuation fund investment advice.
This information is of a general nature only and has been provided without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, you should consider whether the information is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation and needs.