New Financial Year Checklist

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The new financial year is a great time to take another look at your finances  and reflect on what you have achieved, where you want to go and what you need to  get there. These times of reflection are critical to our lives whether we run  our own business, are employed or retired.

The below six-step Start of Financial Year Checklist is an excellent tool to  evaluate how you are progressing towards your goals and to also help identify  any specific areas you might need to focus on in the immediate future.

1. Mortgage review If you have a home loan, it’s time to  look at your progress. What has been the change in your loan balance from a year  ago to now? Are you able to increase your payments or frequency of payments to  save interest? With interest rates changing, should you refinance for a better  deal? Make a call to your bank and tell them that you are shopping around for a  better deal. Ask them if they can offer you a better interest rate as in most  cases they would prefer to keep you as a client, than see you take your loan to  another bank.
2. Other debts If you have any personal  loans, outstanding amounts on your credit cards or other debts currently being  paid off, it’s time to consider ways to reduce these. These types of debt are  usually expensive so priority should be given to them. If the total of all loans  exceeds 10 per cent of household income, you need to implement a plan to reduce  them as a matter of priority.
3.  Superannuation Annual superannuation fund statements are due to be  posted to members in the next month. Instead of filing them away, take the time  to read them as this will potentially be one of your biggest assets when you  retire. It is estimated that by the time you reach 65, your savings will need to  be at least 7.5 times your annual salary. Are you on track or do you need to  start putting more away?
4. Personal Savings How much  money did you save in the last year? Are you spending first and saving what’s  left? Or are you saving first and spending what’s left. It might sound the same  but if your savings aren’t as healthy as you would have hoped, it’s time to  remember to pay yourself first and allocate up to 10 per cent of your income to  a regular savings plan. Ask your employer to redirect some your pay to a savings  account that you don’t touch. This is a great way to start saving for your goals  such as travel or investment.
5. Insurance We don’t  plan to get sick or injured but when illness or accidents strike, most people  are caught insufficiently protected. It is important to regularly review your  insurance policies to ensure that you and your family have adequate cover.
6. Your will Making a will itself is not  particularly difficult or even terribly expensive. It is a fact of life that  people get divorced, form new relationships, change old relationships, or  establish new interests. Any of these may result in a will being challenged  which can create long-term animosity, anger, and considerable delay in  finalising the estate. Estate planning matters should be regularly reviewed in  addition to your will.
The new financial year is a great time to review  your financial situation. Do it today and you may find that your other new  financial year resolutions are more easily achievable as a result! Whether  your overall pay increases or stays the same as a consequence of these changes,  contributing more into superannuation will pay off over the long run, which  inevitably should mean a more comfortable retirement.

Olivia  Maragna is the co-founder of Aspire Retire Financial  Services and has been recently named the Australian  Adviser of the Year. Olivia’s advice is general in nature and readers should  seek their own professional advice before making any financial  decisions. 

Send your finance questions to Olivia at scoop@brisbanetimes.com.au.

Olivia Maragna
Olivia Maragna

 

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/blog/good-finance-advice

 

 

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