Tips to sort out your New Year finances

THE New Year is often a time when people resolve to change or improve something in their life.

AMP financial planner Les McGuire said there were a few things people could do, regardless of their income, to improve their financial position in 2013.

Do a new budget - Your income and expenses may have changed during 2012. The www.moneysmart.gov.au website has a great online budget calculator.

Pay off Christmas credit debt - Pay off credit cards first as they usually have the highest interest rates. If you have several maxed-out credit cards, consider rolling all of the debt into one low interest card.

Review your mortgage - Save interest on your home loan by making extra repayments each month. Attack your loan faster by paying fortnightly instead of monthly and making lump sum repayments whenever you can.

Get super smart - On average Australians have three super accounts each. Websites such as the ATO's www.superseeker.gov.au can help you track missing super. Once found, consider consolidating it all into a single account to keep fees to a minimum.

Protect your family - How would your family cope financially if you or your partner were injured, became too sick to work, or passed away.

If cash flow is tight, you can get affordable life insurance and income protection through your superannuation.

Have an emergency fund - It's important to have some money set aside for a rainy day. A good rule of thumb is to have at least three months salary in the kitty.

Set goals - Make sure you set some medium-term goals like reducing your home loan. Also plan for long-term milestones like education and retirement funding and review your progress each year.

This editorial is general advice only.



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