WE are only one week into the new year but there’s a good chance your new year resolutions are already looking shaky.
It may be quitting a bad habit, improving health, food or fitness, and often includes being a better money manager.
Even if you have failed in just seven days, pick yourself back up and give these four financial steps a crack to try and leave yourself better off in 2019.
1. HOME LOANS
One in three Australians have a mortgage and it’s likely to be the biggest debt you’ll ever carry.
Check your interest rate and if it doesn’t have start with the number three, phone your bank, says financial comparison website comparethemarket.com.au’s Rod Attrill.
“Talk to a broker and find out what you can or can’t do and see what options are available,” he said.
Compare rates online and contact your bank’s mortgage retention team — tell them you can get a better deal elsewhere.
Mr Attrill said he expected more out-of-cycle interest rates rises in 2019 regardless of what the Reserve Bank of Australia board did.
Millions of Australians have multiple super accounts and are paying unnecessary fees and insurance multiple times over.
AustralianSuper’s group executive of product brand and reputation, Paul Schroder, said the best thing you could do is consolidate all your accounts into one.
“People on average have nearly three accounts each and it’s costing them in fees, not to mention some of these funds might be underperforming,” he said.
“It’s never been easier to find and switch funds through sites such as ato.gov.au and my.gov.au.”
3. REVIEW CREDIT CARDS
Rolling into 2019 with credit card debt is familiar to many consumers.
Mr Attrill urged cardholders to take immediate action to wipe out this very expensive form of debt.
“Use zero balance-transfers that are available for periods of up to 24 months,” he said.
“If you lob into January with a big card debt look to transfer it on to a balance-transfer card with a zero per cent interest rate.”
A balance-transfer card is when you transfer one card debt to another and enjoy a honeymoon interest-free period. However, when you get your new BT card, chop up the old card to avoid any chance of falling into more debt.
4. SAVINGS BUFFER
Having a savings buffer is critical, particularly if something goes wrong unexpectedly.
The amount you need tucked away with vary depending on your situation but often experts say people should have three to six months of easily-accessible savings.
Redundancies are becoming far more commonplace so it’s critical you are prepared for the worst if you find yourself out of work.
Many savvy home loan customers won’t always have big amounts of savings stashed. Instead they will have significant buffers tucked away in their mortgage’s redraw facility, which they can access in an emergency.