Spring clean your finances
Give your finances a clean sweep to get your money matters in great shape for summer.
Spring is in the air, and while you’re probably focusing on getting your home and garden looking good, don’t overlook the need to give your finances a thorough spring clean too.
We look at five ways to put the spring back in your financial health.
Declutter – live lightly
Chances are you’ve got several bank accounts with next-to-nothing balances. It can all add up to multiple statements, excess fees and charges – and make it easier to lose touch with your money.
Declutter your finances by closing any bank accounts you no longer use. Shop around for a savings account with a consistently strong rate and skip the introductory rates, which only apply for a limited time. While you’re at it, look for a bank with free ATM fees. Yes, they do exist and it could save you a small fortune each year in unwanted ATM charges.
Reclaim lost money
Check if you have any lost cash. An estimated $1.1 billion is sitting in unclaimed money including forgotten shares or life insurance policies, and some of it could be yours. Visit the MoneySmart website for details.
Round up forgotten super accounts
A vast pool of $14 billion in lost and unclaimed super is waiting to be reunited with the rightful owners. Consolidating multiple super balances into a single fund lets you save on fees and unnecessary life insurance premiums.
Finding forgotten super is easy. First, register with the government’s myGov portal, then set up a link to your Tax Office account and go the ‘Super’ tab. Or ask your super fund for help to reclaim lost super.
Shine a spotlight on your home loan
Home loan interest rates may be at record lows, but there’s no room for complacency.
Take a look at your latest home loan statement to check the rate you’re currently paying. In a competitive market it’s likely you could do better, especially if you’ve had your home loan for several years. If your lifestyle or circumstances have changed, be sure you’re only paying for loan features you actually need or use.
Refinancing to a low-rate home loan can be surprisingly easy, and best of all it can put money back in your hip pocket.
Give credit card debt a makeover
This is crazy. While home loan interest rates are near historic lows, you could be paying more than 20% on credit card debt – and be slugged with annual fees. Time to take action.
Shop around for a low-rate card. It’s possible to pay less than 12% with the extra savings of zero annual fees. The lower the rate, the easier it is to clear the card balance, and that could really send your financial wellbeing soaring this spring.
Taking a few simple steps today can leave you better off financially and streamline your money management.
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