Year of the dragon – Happy New Year!

Wow it is February 2012 already and 6 weeks have now passed since the start of the New Year.  If you’re like most people, this is about the time where the strength of those New Year resolutions, made so enthusiastically a few weeks earlier, is tested.

2012 is the Chinese year of the dragon.  It is said to be a year full of promise and change!  A great time for business and moneymaking!

With this in mind, here are a few tips to help you get ahead this year.

Set Your Goals

One of the most common (and commonly broken) New Year’s resolutions is to save more money.  But nobody saves money for the love of saving money.  To make this resolution stick you need to first know what you’re saving for and how it is tied to your values in life!  Money on it’s own is just a means to an end, not the end itself.

Set some measurable and meaningful goals with deadlines and remind yourself regularly of what you’re really working towards.

Your Cash Flow Matters

Often people who earn good money complain that they don’t know where all their money goes.  In order to have money, you need to know what you’re spending.

Determine how much income is coming in, how much is being spent, where it goes and how frequently. Then work out how much you need to achieve your goals.  The key is to ensure your cash flow plan is both realistic and sustainable. Give yourself a little room to still enjoy life and remember to reward yourself when your goals have been achieved (without breaking the bank of course!)

Get the Best Deal

One of the simplest ways to make more money is to always get the best deal.

Review your mortgage and check the interest rate you’re paying. The Reserve Bank has been decreasing rates lately to help reduce any negative effects of the European debt crisis.

Are you getting the best deal? Compare interest rates and the mortgage features that are important to you, and don’t forget about the exit fees. While you’re at it, shop around for the best deal on your electricity, gas, mobile, internet and insurance.  Check out www.privatehealth.gov.au for a free comparator to your health insurances!

Are you protected? Do you have a back up plan?

Speaking of insurance – do you have enough?

Life inevitably changes and your level of insurance may no longer be adequate for your circumstances. Income protection is often the most overlooked type of insurance but it covers you if you’re sick or injured and temporarily unable to work. It can ensure your living expenses such as rent, mortgage, household and medical bills can still be met and what’s more, it’s completely tax deductible. Review your insurance today and get the right level of cover.

Check your Super

If you have multiple super accounts, you’re probably paying multiple fees. Consolidate your super and check that you haven’t exceeded the $25,000 cap on super contributions for people under 50. You don’t want to be slapped additional tax after all that super saving!  From 1 July 2012 the contribution limits will change for those over 50 so watch this space to ensure you are within the limits.

Get Empowered

Make 2012 a year for more education and greater understanding around your money.  Whether it’s reading some finance blogs, subscribing to one of the consumer finance magazines (www.moneysmart.gov.au), doing a short course to increase your financial IQ or coming to see us regularly – the more informed you are, the better your decisions will be.

For more information and specific advice for your needs please contact us.