‘Tis the season to be giving so here are my financial gifts to see you thrive in 2024:
Set your financial goals for 2024 (don’t leave it till January as it will likely be March by the time you get to it and you will have missed the first quarter). Financial goals are your financial priorities for the next 12 months. What do you want to achieve in 2024 – a holiday, increasing your savings, paying down some of your mortgage, investing to create a nest egg? You are in the driver's seat when it comes to your goals.
Review your expenses, look at where costs have increased and call your providers to ask for a discount, you will be surprised how easy it can be. Direct any savings you make to your mortgage payments or emergency account.
Review your interest rate, for those on a low fixed rate, look at what your repayments will increase to and increase now (to get used to it when it happens). If your rate is higher than the market comparison rates we can put you in touch with our trusted brokers.
Create cash “buckets” to understand how your money should flow. You can give them nicknames like bills, savings, treats, kids sports, holidays and everyday. If you see something nice on sale, look in your treats account and if there is not enough in there then you can’t afford it so walk away. A bucket system helps to be more mindful when we spend (as well as realistic!)
Understand compound interest – it really is a gift, your savings earn interest and then this “compounds” as you earn interest on the interest. MoneySmart has a great compound interest calculator to demonstrate and it’s found here.
Get intentional about super, it’s a great long term investment strategy so check how you’re invested? Does your super fund provide clear information on fees and performance? Do you have more than one super fund? Paying attention can make an enormous difference to your balance over time.
Protect your earnings and wealth. If an unexpected health event happened to you or your loved ones, how would you pay for medical expenses or cope without income coming in? Ensure you have a financial protection plan in place. There are ways to make this affordable to all budgets so seek advice.
Invest in growth assets – what are growth assets? Generally shares and property. Over the long term both these asset classes have performed well and provide capital growth and income. If you cant afford to borrow, then consider the share market (see our Day 5 tip on compound interest). Remember investing is always for the long term (7 years +) so you will need patience and discipline to stay the course.
Minimise tax – there are legal ways to reduce the tax you pay and often they involve building your wealth too. Seek advice to optimise your structures from your accountant and financial adviser.
Invest in yourself. Set aside a budget for your health and continued education. To live a great life you need to prioritise your health, this might include spending money with a trainer or assigning time in your diary to walk for 30 minutes a day. Continuous learning enhances our curiosity and is good for brain function so enrol in a class, seminar or download a book.
Align your investments to your values and beliefs. Responsible investing is easier than ever before with investors seeking to prioritise people and planet within their portfolios. It’s not a case of giving up returns or paying higher fees, there are many suitable options that provide strong returns with low fees. Climate and social issues are generally the most popular choices.
Plan for Christmas 24 now. It’s only 12 months away so look at what you have spent in total this year and divide by 52 – there is your weekly plan for Christmas in a savings bucket all ready to go. You will thank yourself next year.