Less than 20% of all Australians are making financial resolutions for the New Year according to our recent research. But for a little effort now, financial resolutions which were also found to be easier to achieve than losing weight or quitting smoking can pay off. The top three goals of those surveyed were paying down debt 49.7% saving more 22.3% and spending less 11.1%: all admirable and achievable.
For 2015, let's look at some of the best resolutions:
Set up an emergency fund first before anything else. We say that saving from three to six month's salary more, is better. An unexpected trip to the emergency room or car repair can easily set you back thousands, and in this era of job insecurity a job loss can be devastating. Sock the money away in an inconvenient place like an online savings account so you won't be tempted to use it for a discretionary purchase.
Have the talk. This is the one most Aussies can find uncomfortable. Worse than the breakup talk, more awkward than the birds and bees but everyone needs to know the reality of debt, spending and saving just like the federal government does at budget time. Families generally are not having the inter-generational talks about finances they really should have. This resolution is also highly recommended for engaged couples and newlyweds to head off trouble down the road.
Paying down debt, even if it is difficult, will pay off for you more and faster the more and faster you pay. Pay down higher interest accounts first--and if you have a lump sum to contribute notify the creditor you wish you apply it to the principal. Pay more than the minimum on credit cards.
Get records organised so you can do things like file your taxes early. Using an app like Mint to keep things organized on the go can also help keep you on financial track with daily spending.
Make a Budget. Go through your statements and see where you can pare things and what has to be prepared for. Workout what it is costing you to live and make plans to control your discretionary spending.
Invest in yourself and take a course to get a better job or merit a raise. No one can take your education away from you, and it may even be tax-deductible. Learn about stocks and bonds so you can be a better investor and saver. Or invest in your own business.
Ramp up your saving if you have an emergency fund in place and your debt is low. If you have capacity for savings there are lots of fantastic options we can talk through with you that can really make a difference to your financial aspirations.
Spend less is a popular resolution but way too vague. Go through those statements and see where you can realistically cut corners. Getting an insurance audit to see if you are overpaying or refinancing a mortgage to a lower rate can potentially make big difference to your situation.
Make it easy on yourself and set up automatic bill pay and automatic withdrawals to help you achieve these lofty financial goals. Use an App like Quicken or Pocket Expense to get a big picture of your finances.
We wish you well in your pursuit of your resolutions in 2015. Remember we are only a phone call away 1300 861 143 for all your financial needs.