27th April 2012
Give yourself a financial makeover – five things you can do right now
There are lots of simple steps you can take to improve your financial position. All it takes is a little time and effort and you can makeover your finances for both short-term and long-term benefit.
Linda Fitzhardinge is an entrepreneur who has worked in the finance and recruitment industries and is the founder of Women Building Wealth, a financial community for women. Here are her top five things you can do right now to give yourself a financial makeover.
1. It’s all about super
Linda says the very first thing you can do to gain better control of your finances is to find and consolidate all your super accounts. The ATO’s SuperSeeker tool is a great place to start to find super accounts you may have forgotten about. Once you have gathered information about all your super accounts together you can transfer funds into a single account to save money on fees, which will ultimately increase the amount of money you have in retirement.
2. Review your credit cards
Make sure your credit cards are working for you and not the other way around. A common mistake people make, says Linda, is taking out credit cards mainly to access rewards points. But sometimes the fees attached to the card can outweigh any potential benefit you might receive through rewards, so do the research first.
“Make sure your credit cards are a convenience and not a crutch to financial freedom,” says Linda. This means paying off the card in full each month so you’re not incurring interest and potentially closing your credit cards and transferring the balance to a personal loan to reduce the amount of interest you are paying.
3. Be money aware
Knowing how your money is getting used up is the key to successful money management. Do a budget and get into the detail of your incoming and outgoing. “To get good control of your money, you need to know what’s important to you and spend money on that. You need to be honest about what you’re doing with your money and what you are wasting finances on. This will give you much better control of your money so that if something comes up that you haven’t budgeted for – like a holiday – you can make allowances and change your spending accordingly,” Linda says.
4. Improve your financial knowledge
Knowledge is power. Linda says it’s also a great idea to educate yourself to improve your financial literacy. You can take short courses to understand how to budget, how to manage expenses and how to invest wisely. If you want more financial advice, consider making an appointment with a financial planner for an expert view.
5. Take care of yourself
It might not be immediately obvious, but ill health can cost you a great deal in hard cash, including loss of income. “Make sure you have a level of fitness so you’re not spending money on unnecessary medical bills down the track”, says Linda.