Make a plan for your money
What are your money goals for this year? To give yourself the best chance at achieving them, your goals need to be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Setting timely goals means giving yourself a timeframe to achieve them.
With a SMART goal in mind, you now need to set up a plan for how you’ll achieve it. For example, if you want to save $5,000 by the end of the year, work out how much you can allocate to that goal each pay day.
Start with a budget
A budget will help you to map out your finances and work out where your money is going. Start with the essential costs like rent or mortgage, food, bills and transport, then allocate money for any debts you’re paying off. Anything left over can go towards your other money goals.
Home in on your savings
Having savings set aside will help cover you in case of an emergency and will also help you reach your bigger money goals. Set up an automatic recurring payment to regularly transfer money into a high-interest savings account that is easy to deposit into but hard to withdraw from.
We have lots of tips to help you zero in on your savings if you’re:
- Building an emergency savings fund
- Saving for a home
- Saving for your children’s education
If you want to get on top of your debt in 2020, break down what you owe into manageable chunks by prioritising what you can pay first.
Stay on top of your credit health by getting a free copy of your credit report and correcting any details that are wrong.
You could start by making extra repayments on your smallest debt first. Once you have paid that off, move on to the next smallest, and so on. If you start small, by the time you get to your biggest debts you will be well equipped to knock them out.
Another option is to pay off the debt with the highest interest first.
Take charge of your super
Make 2020 the year you get on top of your super. If your super is spread out across multiple funds, you are paying multiple sets of fees that are reducing your balance. Your super is your nest egg for your future, so why not start the year by consolidating your super into one fund so you pay less fees and grow your lump sum faster.
Get to know your super by checking your investment options and what, if any, life insurance your super covers.
You might also think about contributing extra to your super to grow your balance. See our page on super contributions for more on how to do this.
If your debts are under control and you’ve built up some savings, 2020 could be the year to start investing.
Boost your investment knowledge
Never invest in something you don’t fully understand; take the time to read up on the types of investment options you’re interested in. Follow the golden rules and invest smarter.
You might also consider reading money or investing magazines, or following finance and investing experts on social media.
Invest for your time frame
It’s best to choose an investment based on how long you are prepared to have your money tied up. Growth assets like shares and property that usually have better long-term returns, can be more volatile in the short term.
Setting and reaching your money goals will help you achieve financial freedom. By putting a good plan in place and committing to keeping your money on the right course, you’ll hit your target.