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4 SMART financial resolutions you'll be able to keep in 2019
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4 SMART financial resolutions you'll be able to keep in 2019

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4 SMART financial resolutions you’ll be able to keep in 2019

The festive season is a time filled to the brim with food, fun, presents, family, and for many Australians a hangover or two. For many though, the worst hangover is a financial one. Australians will spend around $10 billion this Christmas and New Year period, and with 40% of people failing to keep track of their budgets during this time, overspending is likely to make up $600 million of this total.1 A Salvation Army study estimates that 6 million Australians feel obligated to spend more than they can afford, with 1.8 million left with worrying debt after the holiday season and 2.4 million worried about how they will pay for this spending.2 Don't let financial stress put a dampener on your start to 2019. It's never too late to plan and set yourself some financial resolutions for 2019 that you'll be able to keep and help plan for the year ahead.

Make a plan for your money and set goals

Making a plan and setting goals is the single most important step to achieving improved financial health. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” isn’t a saying for nothing. To give yourself the best chance of sticking to your financial goals, they must be S.M.A.R.T - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. Once you have your SMART goal in mind, you will be able to create a plan for how you'll achieve it. For example, if you want to pay off your $5000 credit card debt by the end of the year, work out how much you are able to allocate to your goal each day/week or month. By breaking your goals into smaller, more manageable pieces you will find the difficulty factor you have given to them decreases rapidly!

Specific: I will pay off my credit card balance of $5000 before the end of 2019

Measurable: The current balance is $5000; I will make monthly payments of $420 until it is paid off.

Achievable: I have 12 months of 2019 to pay the total, I know that I make X amount per week and I can use any extra from my tax return in July to cover any extra interest or make another payment.

Realistic: I’d love to pay it all off tomorrow, but that isn’t realistic. Based on my budget and discussions with my local financial adviser I am capable of paying $550 per month, but have left a buffer for extra savings or unexpected expenses.

Time bound: I will have it paid off by December 31, 2019.

Smash your debt

Getting out of debt is an important step to taking control of your financial interests. By focusing attention on reducing or getting out of debt completely you can reduce the amount of your salary that is used on accrued interest. Being debt free is also a very liberating feeling; having more freedom to do the things that you want to do and allocate your finances in more productive ways. Becoming totally debt free may be down the road for some people, but taking sacrifices today to make it possible is worth the effort. Make it SMART:
  • Setting yourself a debt repayment schedule or automatic payments will help keep your goal measurable and attainable
  • Go through any old or unused items and see if there is anything you could sell
  • Reduce spending on non-compulsory items
  • Get a temporary second job or utilise sites like Fiverr or Airtasker to supplement your income to make extra re-payments
Boost your savings

Saving is a critical component of financial success. You should be aiming to save at least ten percent of your income each month. You’ll be surprised how quickly that money grows, snowball effect eat your heart out. Establishing healthy and routine savings habits now will prepare you for retirement in more ways than one. If you find it hard to save, your financial adviser can help evaluate your current spending habits and identify areas that could be cut back. Saving is easier when you’re saving for something specific as well, think about your goals and integrate them with your savings. The goal of saving is to make it a habit, make it SMART:
  • Commit to ‘no spend’ days – focus on free local activities
  • Stop eating out or less frequently
  • Reduce your grocery bill – plan your meals in advance and REDUCE WASTE
  • Contact your utilities providers and seek a better deal or look at competitors
Talk to a financial adviser

Life is already complicated; don’t let financial stress and varying financial resources and priorities add to the complication. 28% of Australians surveyed said it affects their health, 23% relationships at home, 22% productivity at work and for 12% of Australians it affects their ability to attend work.3 According to CoreData Principal Economic Researcher, Andrew Inwood “Good advice does of course make you wealthier at retirement, but it also adds value all the way through your life in the choices you can afford to make about schooling, insurance, holidays, housing and personal interests”. Effectively, the value of good financial advice extends far beyond the financial benefits.

Despite this, Anne Fuchs, Head of Advice and Retail Distribution for Sunsuper says nearly nine million Australians have unmet financial advice needs. Engaging a local financial adviser with expert knowledge in Property Investment, Property Management, Superannuation, Accounting and lending will not only improve your financial health, but also your physical and mental health. Core Data surveyed 1000 Australians as part of the research project finding that 80% felt more confident making financial decisions as a result of receiving financial advice. The same percentage believe advice has brought them more peace of mind with 75% stating that financial advice is worth more than it costs. Don’t get stuck on pause, fast forward your financial strategy and take control of your finances in 2019.