Six tips to spring-clean your finances

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 for investment.

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.

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.

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 you and your family have adequate cover.

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.

Spring is a great time to review your financial situation – it doesn’t take a great deal of time but the rewards will generally be worth the effort.   

Olivia Maragna is the co-founder of Aspire Retire Financial Services and is a respected and independent financial expert.  Olivia’s advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions.

You can follow Olivia on Facebook or Twitter at https://twitter.com/oliviamaragna

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

1 × 3 =