Source: Australian Unity
Financial stress. We all face varying degrees at some point in our lives. Whether we like it or not, a lot of our life goals revolve around our ability to manage our finances effectively.
With 59% of Australians admitting their current financial situation causes them angst*, dealing with financial stress is as important as looking after your physical and mental health.
So what can you do to prevent financial stress in your own life?
It may seem obvious, but just under half (49%) of us have less than $10,000 in cash savings, including about a quarter of Australians with less than $1,000^. Given 15% of Australia’s homelessness is derived from financial difficulties, it is a real, and quite scary, issue.
However, there are many helpful tools out there to help you manage your day-to-day spending habits and overall budget management – and you don’t even have to open an Excel spreadsheet.
Tracking what you spend
A staggering 86% of the Australian population doesn’t know how much money they are spending each month*. By tracking where you spend your money, you can clearly see where you are spending on unnecessary items. Some helpful apps you can use include: Your own financial institutions app, trackmyspend and Free2Spend.
Easy tips to save money
We all know the usual tips and tricks – bring lunch and don’t buy; walk if you can instead of taking public transport – but it’s also worth taking things a step further:
You will be surprised how much you can save by swapping your favourite brands for lower-cost providers.
Avoid the ‘set and forget’ trap and set a time each year to review your bills (phone, internet, gas/electricity/insurance). You can save more than you think just by putting time aside to compare your options. Plus, there are always discounts and offers you can take advantage of.
Speak to your financial adviser
There’s never been a better time to ensure you are on the right path towards financial wellbeing. Don’t forget to ask about your holistic plans, i.e. insurances (business, income, risk), tax maximisation strategies, and long and short-term investment strategies. Your adviser is your partner to help you prepare for key milestone events such as maternity leave, part-time employment, job loss, transitioning to retirement, full retirement, estate planning, and more.
* https://www.moneymag.com.au/86-australians-dont-know-expenses ^ https://www.canstar.com.au/savings-accounts/average-australian-savings/ ~Source: AIHW Specialist Homelessness, Services data collection (2011–12)