The best ways to bounce back financially in 2020
FOR many of us our belts will be a bit tighter and our wallets a bit lighter.
You're not alone if you've rolled into the new year with a sizeable credit card debt and you're already anxiously waiting until your next payday.
If you've broken a new year's resolution too it can be disheartening to think you are not going to be slimmer or richer in 2020 - and we're only one week in.
But if you're still putting your feet up on holidays for a little more time yet, I say lock in one morning or a couple of hours to do some serious life admin so you can kickstart the year in better financial stead.
Here's a few simple things to do to help you get back in the black this year.
1. CHECK YOUR MORTGAGE RATE
One in three Australians are saddled with home loan debt.
If you're an owner occupier you should be paying off your principal and avoiding interest- only loans.
And you also should be aiming for a rate close to 3 per cent or lower.
Ring your bank - it's quiet at this time of year.
Go armed with some better deals available, ask to speak to the mortgage retention team and see if they can drop your rate - if it's variable - without you having to sign any paperwork.
Borrowers have all the power right now. Banks don't want to lose existing customers.
2. CREDIT CARDS/BUY NOW, PAY LATER
Stop using credit right now.
This is a habit that you have to kick before it's too late.
Many Australians are "revolvers", that is people who carry a consumer debt balance month after month.
As for buy now, pay later schemes, while they don't have charges if you meet the repayments in time I believe they're setting people up with bad money habits.
If you want something, do it the old-fashioned way.
Save up and then buy it. That's so much more rewarding and less painful financially.
This is where many of us have a significant amount of money tucked away yet we pay no attention to it.
Make sure you only have one super fund to avoid paying multiple fees and do a search online to find out how good the returns from your fund have been.
The banking regulator, the Australian Prudential and Regulation Authority, put out heat maps late last year to show the best and worst funds.
Have a look online at these or ring your fund and ask how much you are paying in fees, what the returns are like on your account and whether they can help you consolidate multiple accounts if you have more than one.
4. PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE
Check your cover before April 1 because prices jump then.
See if you can make any reductions to your policy to reduce the cost and ask your fund how much value you got out of your cover in the last year.
And, most importantly, happy new year!