5 ways to take control of your money

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It can seem daunting, but you’ll definitely feel the benefit once you’re ‘the boss’ of your own finances. It’s all about getting better at managing your spending and identifying opportunities to grow your wealth. Add in the goals you’re saving for and it can even be exciting.

Five areas to focus on

1. Write a budget

‘Knowledge is power.’ Having a clear picture of where your money goes each month can help you identify where you can perhaps cut back in order to put more into savings or investments. What’s more, it’s easier than ever thanks to the number of tools and apps available. They can help you track your spending, define your financial goals and develop a budget to help you reach them.

Start by tracking your spending for a month or two. You’ll discover where you’re really spending your money, which is the first step in spotting where you could be saving more. Try the NAB Budget Planner Calculator or download the ASIC Money Smart’s TrackMySPEND app.

2. Set savings goals

Most of us find it difficult to motivate ourselves to save but give yourself a good reason and it can be a different story. Knowing you’re working towards a target – say, a holiday, house deposit or even stopping work early – can help you avoid temptation and make it easier to put funds aside each month. The old saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ can help, too. Think about setting up an automatic direct debit from your wages so you don’t even think about it. If it’s going into a separate bank account, all the better.

3. Take control of your credit cards

The interest on any credit card debt can eat into your money so prioritise paying them off as quickly as possible. Focus on the card with the highest interest rate first, while continuing to make minimum repayments on your others. If your balances are high, you could consolidate them into a personal loan, mortgage or different credit card with a lower interest rate. That way, you can pay the debt off faster. Lastly, try to keep credit cards for last-resort spending rather than everyday purchases.

4. Sort out your super

Your superannuation is potentially one of your biggest assets, so it makes sense to take an interest in how it’s invested.

Choosing an investment mix that’s right for your life stage can help maximise your retirement nest egg. If you expect to be working for a decade or more, this could mean a strategy with the potential for higher returns. If you’re planning to retire soon, a strategy that protects against market fluctuations may be more appropriate.

Making voluntary super contributions can have a big impact on your final figure. Use our Retirement forecaster to see the impact extra contributions could make to your retirement savings.

5. Explore your investment options

It’s also good to spend some time developing a personal investment strategy outside super to help meet more of your personal goals.

With many of Australia’s real estate markets coming off the boil, many of us are exploring other ways to generate income and build wealth. These could include investing in shares or managed funds as well as in traditionally more secure instruments such as bonds and term deposits.

Whatever investment strategy you choose to pursue, it’s wise to consult a financial adviser first. They can help you work through which strategies would be appropriate for you.


Source: MLC Personal/News & Views/Insights


Getting started

Becoming the boss of your wealth takes a little effort but it can be very rewarding – financially and personally. If you need help getting started, a Westlawn Financial Adviser can provide advice tailored to your circumstances and goals. Your first consultation is free.

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All of the material published on this website is for information purposes only and does not constitute advice. This information is of a general nature only and has been provided without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, we recommend you consider, with or without the assistance of a Financial Adviser, whether the information is appropriate in light of your particular needs and circumstances. Westlawn Wealth Management Pty Ltd ABN 32 124 861 409 Corporate Authorised Representative of Affinia Financial Advisers Limited ABN 13 085 335 397 AFSL No. 237857. Please note that Affinia Financial Advisers Limited is not responsible for the advice and services provided by Westlawn Finance Limited, Westlawn Insurance Brokers Pty Ltd, Westlawn Life Insurance Pty Ltd or Westlawn Business Services Pty Ltd.

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