30 December 2021

Financial check-up offers you a happier new year, Op-ed published in The Australian

Many of us set goals at the new year, aiming to better ourselves. A few more gym sessions, cutting back on wine with dinner, learning a new language. Sometimes they are big, positive changes – but not many have positive consequences that last for decades.

This year I urge you to set a financial fitness resolution. It sounds too good be true but, in just a couple of days of life administration this new year, you could transform your financial future. Just like a Buzzfeed article, let me break it down for you in an easy-to-tackle “to-do” list.

1. Go to the YourSuper Comparison Tool (www.ato.gov.au/yoursuper) and look for a better super product.

The fees you pay today can mean tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars difference in retirement.

As Einstein observed, compound interest is one of the most powerful forces in the universe – a small change in your super today can have very lucrative payoffs many years down the line.

The federal government introduced this trusted, ATO-backed tool last year and so far over 1 million Aussies have checked it out. Aim to be one of the next million.

2. Check for a better deal on your mortgage.

There are some incredible opportunities out there, and refinancing can save you thousands every year.

The government is making this easier with the Consumer Data Right – which enables Australians to authorise the banks to share your data between them, reducing the forms you need to fill in and speeding up the process.

Big banks like the Commonwealth are already on board – and more are adopting it every day.

3. Check your household budget.

And if you don’t have one, make one. Knowing the money you’ve got coming in, and going out, is one of the most powerful things you can do to stay on top of your financial future. Just like updating your gym routine as time goes on, our budgets need a check-up and an adjustment from time to time too.

4. Check your insurances.

I know, I know, you’re reading this for tips not sleeping aides, but it’s important.

Thousands of Australians are underinsured. Just think, if you lost everything in a fire tomorrow, what would it cost to replace all your clothes, your shoes, your furniture, every bit of crockery? It adds up quickly.

The same can be said of life insurance, including within super. Make sure your cover is suitable for your life stage, your debt levels and your family circumstances and, as ever, don’t be stuck with a loyalty tax – do look around for a better deal.

This is especially true in north Queensland, where the federal government has established an insurance pool for Queenslanders to cover their assets in tropical areas.

5. Dip your toe in the market.

With Aussie fintechs booming, and decentralised finance gaining steam, there have never been so many low-cost options for regular Australians to enter the investment market.

A low-cost exchange traded fund could be a way to supercharge your savings return.

6. Get a financial adviser.

The industry has been on a journey of professionalisation and every Australian can be confident now that when they see a financial adviser they are a professional, ethical, qualified person. I couldn’t imagine my financial life without the wise counsel of my adviser, and the peace of mind provided is a bonus, too.

So there you have it. It’s not a prescription for push-ups or chicken and broccoli, but if you follow the above tips your finances will be feeling the fittest they’ve ever been – new year, new financial you.