It feels great to spring clean your home and to enjoy the first few days of a fresh new season. The same can be said when you spring clean your finances. It’s a chance to get organized and rediscover your financial priorities to make the next twelve months even better than the last.
Start from the very beginning:
It’s hard to take action or clean up anything when you are unsure where you currently are. It’s important to start at the beginning – your financial goals and priorities can shift over the course of the year. Now is a good time to take a step back and check that you are on the right track to achieve your goals.
Budget: Budgeting can be a helpful way to track your finances and to see if you are living within your means. Sometimes it can be hard to stick to a budget. If you find this hard, look at other options to make budgeting work for you. Remember there isn’t just one way to budget, the best budgeting system is one that you can stick with and it makes sense to you. If you have recently experienced a life change, it’s a good time revisit your budget. This will expose any weak spots that you may have overlooked and identified different saving opportunities.
Goal setting: What is your two/five-year goal? Do you want to buy a house, or take that holiday away or buy your dream car? It’s good to look at your goals again to see if you are on your way to achieving them. If you’ve missed a few goals or are way off the path you need to be on, that’s okay. If necessary, consider resetting your goals. Start with small goals that are easier to achieve. Once you have achieved the small goals, this gives you the motivation to achieve the bigger ones.
Evaluate Your Financial Situation:
A survey of more than 600 Kiwis by Canstar Blue found that 70 percent renewed their Home and Contents Insurance with their same insurer when this fell due. A separate survey of more than 1100 Kiwis with health insurance found that 40 percent were not sure why their premium was increasing, but only 3 percent had switched providers – almost one in five said it was too difficult. It doesn’t need to be difficult! Talk to an insurance adviser to check if you are getting the most out of your insurance policies and to ensure that you aren’t paying too much for your current cover. It’s worth taking the extra time to make sure you are covered for future years and that you are getting the right bang for your buck.
Bills, Bills Bills:
Another great step is to take a look at all of your debt, bills and any other outgoing payments to ensure you get the best value for your money – use comparison sites to find out if you are getting the best deals on your internet, TV, power and phone packages. It’s so easy now to switch to a better provider. Another option is to ring your current provider and ask them to match the cheaper competitor’s price. One top tip is to set up direct debits so all your bills are paid on time – this will avoid any penalties and might help you access prompt payment discounts.
Pay your mortgage off faster:
How much interest are you paying on your house? Are you getting the best rate? Have you looked at increasing your payments on your mortgage? Set up a meeting with a mortgage adviser to look through different refinance options across the market and ask them about the different options there are to speed up mortgage payments. By paying your mortgage off sooner you can save yourself hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Get your retirement organized! Retirement might seem far away but what you choose to do now, can impact your future savings. Check what you’re paying in KiwiSaver fees – these can add up over the lifetime of your savings. Are you in the right KiwiSaver fund? If you aren’t in the right fund you could be shortchanging yourself by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you would like help with your KiwiSaver or want to check your insurance and mortgage options feel free to contact the Haven team here.
To read more and to see where I found my facts go to http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/83930640/spring-clean-your-finances-for-a-brighter-future
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