You don’t need an inner-city address, Caren will help you tackle money matters in the ‘burbs, through a better understanding of all the important issues – investing, superannuation, budgeting, tax, insurance, mortgages, gearing, shares, managed funds, small business, food, home, fashion, travel, and much more.

A fun and entertainingly educational forum, specifically designed for Australian “suburbanites".

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy 2011!

So what were your New Year’s resolutions? Get fit? Give up smoking? Lose weight? Spend more time with the family? Work harder?

Did you make any financial resolutions?

The new year is a great time to take stock and make some decisions about your finances. Let me start you off with a few examples:

Create a Budget (or update the one you have).

This is the most basic step to getting your finances in order. It’s pretty tough to save money if you don’t have an accurate picture of what you’re spending. Creating a budget allows you to prioritise your spending and determine the patterns. Furthermore, you can work out where you don’t actually need to spend money.

It’s important to make your budget realistic so that you can stick to it. I suggest This is a very comprehensive online budget tool. If you don’t already have a budget, it’s a great place to start.

If you do have a budget, then make sure you re-visit it each year in order to ensure it remains up-to-date and appropriate.

Get your credit card under control.

Eliminating debt is one of the most important aspects of any financial plan. Credit cards are probably the most expensive loan you’ll ever have (unless you’re planning a visit to a loan shark a la Sopranos style, in which case nothing I can say will help you).

Credit cards are very convenient, but you shouldn’t be spending more than you earn where you can help it.

Try to pay out your balance once a month – or at least make a decent payment.

Once you have that credit card under control – keep it that way!

Commit to investing:

There are many good reasons for investing, some include:

• provide for retirement;
• retire early;
• children’s education costs;
• sheer pleasure of knowing your money is working for you.

Make this year the year that you stop saying “I need to get around to seeing a financial planner” – do it, we don’t bite.

Perhaps you could make a commitment to save at least $100 per month into a regular investment plan.

Or if you have a lump sum of cash sitting in the bank that you know you don’t need for a few years, explore your longer term options

Invest your tax refund before you spend it! Instead of banking your refund along with the grocery and bills money this year, consider an investment that you can allow to grow over the next few years.

Protect what you have.

If you earn more than $40,000 and don’t have income protection insurance then you need to have enough income producing assets behind you to replace that income in the event you are unable to work due to illness or injury.

If you’re not in such a fortunate position, then you need income protection insurance. Simple as that. If you don’t have it, this could be your most important and valuable resolution.

Review Current investment strategy and portfolio.

The Australian Securities and Investment Committee (ASIC) recommends that all investors review their portfolio at least once a year. In fact, they have made it a legal requirement for all Financial Planners to offer an annual review service to their clients.

Investment is not a “set and forget” exercise. The reason reviews are so important, is because you can factor in changes to the market, economy, and your lifestyle.

Set financial goals and time frame:

It’s always easiest to save money when you have a specific goal – retirement, house deposit, paying off the mortgage, a holiday etc etc. It's important to work out what you want to achieve, and how long you have to achieve it.

A short-term strategy is just as important as a long-term strategy – but they are different. Don’t assume that what you’re doing is the most suitable just because it’s the way you’ve always done it.

Write down your short-term and long-term goals, as well as what needs to happen so that you can achieve those goals.

Learn more about the sharemarket.

Accepting that the value of your investment may go up or down over the short-term could greatly improve the potential for your money to grow over the long-term. Don’t be scared off by the last few years – learn from them.

Get good advice.

Engage professional advice to steer you through the investment maze. Like any professional service, check the financial adviser’s experience, qualifications, fees and services. Knowing your goals is one thing, but finding the best investment strategy to help you reach them can be difficult without guidance.

And yes, I would love it if you chose me and my terrific team to be the ones to help you!

Ok, I hope that gives you some ideas for this year’s financial resolutions. If you have any others, I would love to hear them! Just add a comment below or email me at

Talk soon,


No comments:

Post a Comment