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Simple steps to get in control of your finances

Stressed or confused about money? Finance professional Ted Richards shares some quick tips.

Piggy bank on calculator concept for saving, accounting, banking and business account

Look at your spending triggers

Try changing old habits which may be causing financial stress and work on consciously creating new habits over the next year. If the stress is from overspending or a growing debt, try to recognise the trigger or cue that results in the spending or debt. Then work on changing your behaviour and reward yourself in a different way. It may take time, but will make all the difference to how in control you feel of your money and your life.

One of the easiest ways to immediately change your future financial behavior may be to chop up your credit card right now.

Set up automatic savings deposits

One of the simplest things to do is take 5% off the top of your pay check and deposit it automatically into a savings account. Your life won’t change materially without that 5%, and you can always stop if your life unravels (it won’t!).

Consider a ‘saver’ account

Once you have a reasonable lump sum together put your money somewhere that will provide the best opportunity for growth. Think about moving the money into a ‘saver’ account, which often attracts slightly higher interest and you can’t touch day to day (but be aware that many of these saver accounts don’t offer rates that much above inflation right now).

Look into investment options

If you’re likely to hold your money for a few years, consider other investing options to get potentially higher growth, which can have a huge impact on your wealth generation over time. With robo-investing, for example, you can now have an investment portfolio without having to pay huge fees or expensive advisors. Whichever way you go, make sure you choose no/low-cost accounts so your money isn’t whittled away by fees.

Prioritise your debts

Pay off debts with the highest interest first (this is usually credit card debt). Always aim to pay off more than the minimum – the faster you pay down debt, the less you pay in interest.

Pay attention to your superannuation account

Be aware what fees you’re paying and educate yourself on what others charge (not just your performance). Consolidate your super accounts if you have more than one to make sure you’re only paying one set of fees. The earlier you educate yourself about your superannuation the greater the opportunity to increase the quality of your retirement.

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