The household finances can look like a bit of a train wreck at this time of year. Even if they don’t need urgent resuscitation it is an ideal opportunity to take a little time out to plan a better year in 2019 financially.
If life saving action is required the first step is to face the problem – list all amounts owing on credit cards, store cards, personal loans and Afterpay type schemes. Write down the required payments and the interest rates on each.
If it isn’t possible to make all payments when due and get on top of the problem that way, look for an option to consolidate the debts into one loan at a lower interest rate over a longer term with lower payments.
If you own your home it may be possible to add the debts to the home loan, though this will see you paying for today’s spending for the next twenty years. A better option is to apply for a secondary home loan over a shorter term, but still at home loan rates.
If you don’t own a home or don’t have enough equity in it to increase the loan it will still help to apply for a personal loan which, though more costly than a home loan, will be at a much lower rate than credit cards and will extend the repayment term. If debt consolidation isn’t possible negotiate with creditors. Tell them your problem and ask for extra time to pay, without interest being charged.
Some will agree as they would rather be paid over an extended term than not at all.
Even if personal finances are not in need of emergency assistance consolidating debt into a lower cost loan is still very appropriate.
Any interest we don’t have to pay is money we can keep. It also follows that when repaying loans it is best to pay off the highest interest cost ones first.
This is usually credit cards, then personal loans, then car loans. Home loans are the lowest cost. If you can afford to pay extra, don’t pay it off the home loan, pay it off the highest cost debt.
If consumer debt is not a problem and you have spare cashflow 2019 is a great time to start a managed fund saving plan. These can begin with as little as $1000 initial investment plus $100 each month.
Funds invest in property, shares or overseas investments, or a mix of all areas.
Sacrificing an amount of salary each payday into super is a very effective way to reduce income tax and save more for retirement. It is also well worth checking with an adviser if your super fund is competitively priced and performing well.
If you can find a way to economise and spend less than you earn, put something aside for later, time and compound interest will greatly improve your financial future.