This post is sponsored by QSuper*
Having enough money to live, to pay bills and spoil ourselves is essential to live a comfortable life. As the new financial year starts, my hubby and I set new goals and tidy up all our finances. This is important to ensure that we don’t miss paying bills, that we can save to reach our goals (enough for the kids’ education and holiday), and also secure our financial future. My hubby and I have just hit our 40s, and while we still feel young at heart, we have to put our ‘adult’ shoes on and also have our retirement years in mind as it’s the long-term returns that will matter. With a little bit of organising and planning of budgets, bills, goals and superannuation, this can pay off and leave you time to then focus on the things you enjoy. Before the next season starts, give your finances a spring clean with these 5 tips for successfully organising your finances.
As women, it’s important we stand up for our equal rights domestically, continue to fight hard to reduce the gender pay gap and manage our own personal finances. Not only is it critical for us in terms of living our ‘best’ lives, but it’s also important for our kids to model our strong behaviour. After all, research proves we continue to face greater financial risks compared to men, including having much lower retirement security.
I have only limited this to 5, however there is so much more that also needs to be considered, such as tidying up bank accounts, insurance, credit cards etc. But this is a good start:
1. MAKE SOME FINANCIAL GOALS
As they say, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”. Create some realistic financial goals and write them down; this will give you something to work towards and help you stick to your budget. Use my financial goals printable to help you work out your goals, what your motivation is to achieve it and the steps you need to take to get there. We are currently saving for our Christmas holiday – we are going to Singapore this year! I recommend creating a vision board so that your goal is always front and centre for the whole family to see and help you achieve. Some goals for yourself could be: pay off the credit cards or mortgage, saving for the kids’ education, a family holiday, a new car or new home.
INSTANT DOWNLOAD: My Financial Goals – from my shop here.
2. REVISE YOUR BUDGET MONTHLY
Keep all your receipts so you can track your expenditure. Don’t be one of those people who says “I don’t know where the money goes?” Whether you’re needing money for school fees, wanting to pay out a loan or just curious on how you are spending all your money, it may be time to sit down and work out a family budget. This will help you organise your financial priorities and balance your saving and spending habits. It will also help show you what you are spending your money on, such as a rarely used gym membership, which may prompt you to cancel the subscription and save some money. Keeping track of your spending can be time-consuming at first, but over time you will be pleasantly surprised by the benefits of reducing your spending.
READ MORE: How to create a family budget.
3. UNDERSTAND YOUR SUPERANNUATION
I read an alarming fact recently from QSuper which would relate to so many in our community. Homelessness Australia said:
The lack of adequate super and funding for life after paid work can cause significant problems for many women. The combination of rising home prices, insufficient super funds, and loss of relationships has contributed to a doubling of the number of older women in Australia couch surfing or sleeping in cars.
On average, women live longer than men but have significantly less superannuation.** That’s why it’s so important that we understand our superannuation and how it works, so we can set ourselves up for success.
What is superannuation really all about? Superannuation is a tax-effective way to save for your retirement. It’s similar to a managed fund where your money is pooled with other members’ money and invested on your behalf by professional investment managers. Generally, you will not be able to access this money until you retire. Your employer will make contributions to your super fund and you can top it up with your own money. The government may also make contributions if you are a low income earner. – ASIC
There are lots of ups and downs in life, don’t let your super be one of them. Take the time now while you’re young to learn more about your superannuation and consider the importance of your superannuation fund’s long-term performance so you can live a more comfortable life in retirement. After all you may be able to significantly boost your superannuation and make a big difference to your future lifestyle.
READ MORE: How women can plan to win financially
Here’s the low down on what you should look for when it comes to your super. Your superannuation savings are built up throughout your entire working life, which can be between 40 and 50 years for some people. Therefore, you should also take a longer-term view of your superannuation performance, and look at how your fund has performed over at least the past 10 years. Consistent returns year-on-year over the long-term will help you achieve a comfortable retirement. QSuper’s Balanced Fund is an example of a fund that has delivered consistent returns with less dramatic ups and downs since 2010 compared to traditional funds.***
It is important not to rely on short-term returns as the only measure of fund performance as they can have many ups and downs year on year. Depending on what stage of life you are at will help determine what suits you best, and could be quite different to your next-door neighbour and best friend. Not everyone should be in the same investment option. For example, younger people are generally advised to consider taking more risk than people close to retirement.
Overall, investment returns can vary a lot year-to-year, so you’re better off looking at longer-term investment returns to get a more complete picture of how your super is performing. QSuper explains it really well here.
4. KEEP BILLS ORGANISED
As you know I like to be organised and I keep all my bills in two locations. Digital bills are in a folder labelled ‘bills’ on my computer and paper bills are kept in my bill organiser. When the bills come in I note when it’s due by adding it into my bill calendar. Bills are either set to automatically get paid (most of the digital bills) or we have a set day of the week where we pay all our bills. This ensures that all bills are paid on time and we aren’t accruing any overdue fees.
DOWNLOAD: 2018 Bill Organiser.
5. WRITE A WILL
Speaking of the future and thinking long-term, wills aren’t just for the elderly. Write up a will with careful consideration of how you want to leave your most important assets, and if in the unfortunate circumstance something happens to you and your partner while your children are young, you’ll help secure your wishes for their future.
How many of these tips above have you completed?
This post is run in accordance with my disclosure policy.
* The views of the author are not necessarily the views of the QSuper Board. This information is general information only, and you should get professional advice before relying on this information.
** Sources: Sydney Morning Herald
*** Chant West Pty Limited (ABN 75 077 595 316) 2017. The Chant West data is based on information provided by third parties that is believed accurate at October 2017. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Any financial product advice provided by Chant West is general advice only, has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation and needs and you should consider whether such advice is appropriate having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. You should also read the relevant Product
Disclosure Statement, before making any decisions. Chant West’s Financial Services Guide is available at www.chantwest.com.au.