Published on April 8, 2015 10:40 am, by Jen Bakker
Let’s face it, most of us are too busy living life to notice there are parts of our financial life that need a little loving too. And, not the obvious stuff either.
It’s the things we don’t want to think about. And, it’s only when it’s in your face you kind of take notice. You know you should do something but you haven’t. Sound familiar?
Financial advisers see it all the time, we asked them what they wished we’d pay more attention to.
Make it automatic – stop wasting money on late fees and save money instead
Online banking, mobile apps etc. make setting up automatic bill payments a breeze. If you do this already – GREAT! But, if you haven’t it’s time to start.
Keep it simple and get to know where your money goes.
You can use MoneyBrilliant’s Automated Budget to split your money into buckets of spending: Pay (Essential/Fixed costs), Save (Goals), and Spend (Lifestyle/Fun stuff costs). Have money automatically taken out every pay before you see it (trust me – you won’t miss it). Then, automate your bill payments.
You’ll still need to check your bills, but paying some automatically not only streamlines the process, but ensures your payments are on time.
Money Brilliant tip:
To avoid account draining bill surprises stick with automating only recurring payments that are the same every month, like your rent or insurance, strata etc.—not your credit card.
Get back control with your personal finance calendar
Let’s face it, it’s easy to ignore financial tasks right up until the last minute. (Is it tax time already?) That’s why now’s the time to create your personal “financial calendar”.
It’s simple: set reminders throughout the year to do things like review insurance policies, determine if you still want to pay the annual fee on your credit card or review your Super investments.
You can use something like Google calendar or even your work one. Then, add your personal due dates and tasks, like “Increase Super contributions,” or “Make final debt payment (celebrate!).”
Help your family know what to do if something happens to you – create your ICE Folder
If you manage the money in your home, you owe it to the people you love to put together a folder that will help them figure out how to handle your finances in case anything happens to you. This is your “In Case of Emergency,” or ICE, folder.
Include all information someone would need to manage your finances, such as bank accounts numbers, super, insurance, a list of bills you pay each month, investment and retirement details and anything else that would need to be handled. This should be a physical folder rather than a folder on the desktop of your computer or cloud storage, with may be accessed by an unauthorised person.
If your partner or someone else handles your finances, ask that person to create an ICE folder for you too. Morbid? Maybe a little, but this step could make life a lot easier in the event of an emergency.
While we’re being morbid, you may as well review where your money ends up too.
Nearly every person has a super account and that money ends up somewhere if something happens to you. Wouldn’t you want to have a say in that?
Check out your super account and see who you have nominated as a beneficiary (or haven’t!). If life has changed (i.e. you’ve met someone, divorced , or had a kid – make sure it’s up to date).
In fact, any account with a substantial amount of money, be it super, savings or investments, should have a nominated beneficiary. It’s usually as simple as calling your provider and asking for a form to fill out (sometimes you can even do it online).
Jen is an experienced banking professional who loves wine, coffee, finding a bargain and of course her three beautiful children. Since Jen's first budget led her to buy a home at 20, Jen has passionately helped others to make better decisions with their money.