5 Financial Experts Share Their Advice for a Successful Year
Do you have a financial goal for 2016? Whether you do (great!) or you don’t as yet, we all know it’s crucial to stay on top of our finances day in and day out, year-after-year—and setting achievable goals along the way is an effective way to do so.
To get you started, we've spoken to five financial experts who reveal their best advice to ensure you to have the most successful year possible. Whether it’s improving your savings technique, considering making an investment, or getting on top of your credit card habits—you’ll be inspired to take the reins on your finances in a flash. Read on for the ultimate motivation to make this year your most prosperous one yet.
“There is a Chinese proverb which says: 'The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.' When it comes to our finances, there can be lots of distractions and we can often look back and wish we had taken action earlier—like buying a house before it got really expensive or taking a job with a start-up company which turns into the next Facebook or Google.
At the beginning of a New Year, take the advice of this wise proverb, and recognise that right now is the time to create the financial life you want. Maximise your chances of success by writing down your goals and asking someone to keep you accountable to them. Take a risk and do something that makes you feel uncomfortable—like arranging a meeting with your boss, demonstrating the value that you deliver and asking for a pay rise. Commit to yourself in advance how much of this you will direct to extra home loan repayments, super contributions, or savings.
Imagine how great you will feel by year’s end if you not only tackle something you have been putting off for ages, but you also have a big pot of savings as a result.”
Catherine Robson, Principle, Affinity Private
"If you have been contemplating investing (i.e. property or shares) for some time, or if you have decided that 2016 might be the year you start tightening the reigns in order to invest in future, seek out professionals in these industries to educate you and explain how the process works first.
Property Investment (as an example) is in many cases easier and far more affordable than most people think. We often have our clients comment that they wish they had better educated themselves or sought advice years earlier as they could have been a lot further along in their journey.
You don't have to be ready to make a decision or part with your money right now, however having a better understanding of what the requirements are to get started will give you clear direction and a goal to work towards. The first steps to success are taking action (in this case seeking advice) and implementing a plan. Most reputable companies are more than happy provide an initial consultation to explains the "ins and outs" at no cost to you."
Renee Kiley, Director, Property Way
“If you must keep a credit card please use it sparingly—never spend more than you make and always pay the full balance off every month. If you can’t manage to do that, then I’m sorry but you need to cut up your credit card and use a debit card instead. It will give you the same flexibility but will mean you can't spend more than you earn. If you can’t manage to spend less than you earn you will never get ahead and you will always feel anxious and stressed about money. That is not the way a super woman is supposed to feel.
Personal loans are used to pay for a depreciating asset such as a car, furniture, or a holiday. If you need to buy a car, do yourself a favour and buy a second hand car and get the shortest loan term and lowest interest rate possible. The higher the interest rate and the longer the term of the loan, the more your car will cost you to own. If you want to go on holidays, save up for it. Don’t ever get a personal loan for consumer goods you don’t need. Save first and buy later. Learn the difference between a need and a want.”
Nicole Heales, Financial Adviser and Mortgage Broker, Nicole Heales Financial
“My best advice to women this year is to make 2016 the year of asking questions. I think we can be afraid to speak up sometimes, or perhaps we're simply too busy to ask—but you can learn and save a lot by asking questions. It can be as simple as asking your bank whether they are giving you the cheapest home loan rate possible–there's currently a more than two percent difference between the highest and lowest variable home loan rate on the market. A one percent difference on your home loan interest rate could save you thousands each year.
Similarly ask if there is a better credit cards deal (the lowest credit card interest rate on Canstar’s database is 7.99% and the highest is 23.50%). Do the same with your insurances and savings accounts and you might find that asking the questions saves you thousands of dollars in 2016.
Also ask questions of your superannuation fund, and question what you read in the finance section of the newspapers. Improve your financial knowledge this year. Finally, speak up at work. Put your hand up for special projects, make active suggestions for workflow improvements, and overall, make yourself heard!”
Justine Davies, Finance Editor and Commentator, CANSTAR
“My advice is what I have done this year and what I encourage my clients that I work with to do. To work out what success looks like for me (not what they think it should look like) and then what activities I need to do to ensure I’m successful .This might mean starting a financial detox (thirty days of no spending), taking your credit cards out of your wallets, tracking your spending using a free app, working out a one page business plan, signing up for a course, deciding to understand the numbers of your business, organising investment for a new stage in your business, having a conversation about finances with your partner, starting coaching, finding a mentor, making three sales calls per week or whatever you need to do to ensure you’re going to reach your goals. And then in the words of a modern day philosopher, just do it.
It’s important to remember that it’s easy to blame everything else for your year, but in the end it’s up to you. There are no unicorns, fairy godmothers, handsome princes, or ruby red slippers coming to save you. Instead it’s up to each of us to write and live our own financial fairy tale. So pick up the pen and start writing!”
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