According to the Stress and Wellbeing in Australia Survey carried out by the Australian Psychological Society, financial problems are the leading cause of stress throughout the country.
The five matters that trigger most Australians’ money worries and stress include home loans, retirement, bad debt, budgeting and supporting their families, which affects the health of over 70% of the population. Almost 65% of people surveyed stated they believed it also impacted their mental health.
If your money issues are leaving you feeling stressed and constantly worried, read on to find out how you can feel more in control of your finances.
Take the First Step
The first step to feeling less stressed about your finances is to start taking control of them. This will involve going through bank statements and other financial paperwork from the past few months to see if you are spending within your means or not.
If you see that you are in the red each month or that some bills aren’t being paid on time, it is crucial that this is not ignored. Many companies will be willing to work with you to arrange smaller payments over longer periods. When calling companies you owe money to, ask to speak with the hardship department to ensure you make arrangements with the correct department.
Make a Dent in your Debt
To get a better grip on your finances, you will need to keep debt levels as low as possible. If you have property, the fastest way to get on top of consumer debt such as credit cards or car payments, is to consolidate your debt against your home loan by using equity you already have in your mortgage. If you don’t have property or you are only dealing with credit card debt, see if you can transfer your balance to another bank that is offering a 0% interest-free term – these can last as long as 24 months in some cases. Be sure to pay back as much as possible during the interest-free term and don’t accumulate any new debt.
Make Lifestyle Changes
If you aren’t making ends meet each month, you will either need to increase your income or decrease your expenses. If possible, chat with your employer about working additional hours or use other skills you may have to increase your income. You may even be able to rent out a spare bedroom to make some extra cash.
If you aren’t able to increase income at present, you will have to go through your expenses with a fine-tooth comb. Do you eat out regularly or have a gym membership you don’t use? If so, cancel it and eat at home more often – you’d be surprised how much you can save this way.
Start Saving Today
One of the best ways to save money if you are a mortgage holder is to make weekly payments to your mortgage instead of monthly ones. The reason for this is that mortgage interest is compounded daily, meaning that if you make payments more often, the interest being calculated for the loan will be a little lower because it is being calculated for fewer days.
It is also essential that you make your savings automatic – otherwise they will most likely never happen. Regardless of whether you only start saving $10 or $1,000 each month, it is important to get into the habit of doing so. Another popular option for saving money is the 52 week challenge, which involves you starting to save $1 in the first week of the new year, $2 the second week and so on, until you put $52 away in the last week of the year. By the end of the year, you could have as much as $1378 saved just by doing this.
Start Planning for Retirement
Retirement is another part of life that most people put off saving for because they believe that they can ‘do it later.’ However, the longer you wait, the more you will need to put away each month to live comfortable during your golden years. An experienced financial advisor will be able to help you determine how much you will need to start saving for this time of your life.
If you would like to find out more about improving your financial situation, contact our professional team today.
The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author; they are not reflective or indicative of Millennium3 Financial Services Pty Ltd’s position and are not to be attributed to Millennium 3 Financial Services Pty Ltd. They cannot be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the author.
The information (including taxation) is general in nature and may not be relevant to your individual circumstances. You should refrain from doing anything in reliance on this information without first obtaining suitable professional advice. You should obtain and consider a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making any decision to acquire a product.
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