4 steps to help you manage your finances

Getting a head start on managing your finances and your super can make a big difference to your savings goals. Here are some easy ways to tidy up your finances now, to help set your future up for success.

There's a lot to think about when managing your money – and just as many opinions on the right things to do. Setting some simple savings goals is the first step to sorting your finances. And the sooner you land on what they are, the quicker you can work to achieve them.

There are a few simple things you can do right now, to try and get on top of your finances. From budgeting to managing your super, here are 4 easy steps you can take to improve your finances.

 

 1. Track your spending

Getting an accurate view of your spending habits means you can start to identify areas of improvement. Managing and saving money works best when you have a clear idea of what’s coming in and going out.

You could start by recording what you earn and what you spend, for every transaction you made over a period of time. Then, after you have a rough idea of your spending habits, you could commit to checking in on your spending every fortnight or month, to keep improving your financial situation.

There are ways to balance your spending with your saving, to ensure you can continue to indulge in purchases here and there. This means watching out for spontaneous spending that is easily done through apps and pay-later services. Also have a think about hidden costs that add up over time, like subscription charges. One easy way to find and record these is to search your bank account. Any free trials that ran over can add up, so cancelling memberships is one easy way to help keep money in your account.

How much could you save? 

An infographic showing simple, daily ways tosave, all adding up to save over $1,000 a year. 
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4. canstarblue.com.au/streaming/average-video-streaming-cost

 

 2. Set a budget

It feels good to be in control of your money and setting a budget can help with that.

When creating a budget, you’ll need to balance your immediate needs with your mid-term and long-term goals. Perhaps you want to be financially independent from your parents by a certain age. Maybe you want to travel, work overseas or save to buy a home.

Putting a budget in place now means you can immediately start putting money aside for these goals. To help you know how to structure your budget, one good place to start is the moneysmart budget planner. You can download and use this tool straight away across all your devices to improve your finances.     

Another budget consideration is to think about how you want to build your savings for later in life. One day, you may want to stop working and will need enough money to live comfortably. Although it might seem like a while away, getting a head start by engaging with your super now will help set you up to reach those long-term goals when the time comes to retire.  

 

 3. Make the most of your money

How you choose to make the most of your savings depends on your short and long-term goals. And knowing your budget can help you work out the best ways to maximise your money.

There are different ways to make sure your savings are working for you. You could keep your money in a bank account where it might earn some interest. To help you with medium to long-term goals, you might consider a term deposit or an investment such as shares, bonds or property. When investing, you put your money towards an asset or item with the aim of generating income or a profit over time. Getting financial advice is a good way to decide what option best suits your goals.

Super is a type of investment and plays an important role in funding your future. When you enter the workforce and if you’re eligible, your employer puts a percentage of your income into a super account – known as the superannuation guarantee (or SG). Investing this money for the long-term provides you with the basis of your income in retirement.

You can choose which super fund you want your money going into. So, it’s a good idea to review and compare your super throughout your working life. When comparing funds, it helps to check 3 things:

  1. Strong, long-term performance
  2. Competitive fees
  3. Net benefit (performance after taking away fees)

You can always see how AustralianSuper compares with other funds by using the ChantWest comparison tool through our website.

Compare super funds

 

 4. Investing with influence

If you decide to invest your money, you could keep in mind the impact that can have beyond just your own finances. Investing gives you the power to vote with your feet by putting your money into businesses that align with your values or have positive social impacts.

Wherever you decide to invest your hard-earned dollars, take the time to understand that business’ investment approach and how it benefits you. That includes checking how they approach environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Would you consider them to be a responsible investor?  

At AustralianSuper, investing responsibly for the future means being active on ESG issues today. We believe investing in companies with good ESG credentials helps us provide better returns for members. And it will also help us reach the goal of net zero carbon emissions in our portfolio by 2050.

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What’s next?

Everyone has different financial needs and usually a mix of both short-term and long-term goals.

Whatever your goals, planning, budgeting and thinking about your money sooner rather than later can help you structure your savings, investments and approach to achieve them.

AustralianSuper has a great range of tools and resources to help you turn your plans into action – like the super projection calculator to work out how much super you might need and how long it could last.  

 

Super Projection Calculator

 

This may include general financial advice which doesn’t take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision consider if the information is right for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, available at australiansuper.com/pds or by calling 1300 300 273. A Target Market Determination (TMD) is a document that outlines the target market a product has been designed for. Find the TMDs at australiansuper.com/TMD.

AustralianSuper Pty Ltd ABN 94 006 457 987, AFSL 233788, Trustee of AustralianSuper ABN 65 714 394 898.


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