2020 has been a challenging year for many Australians. The combined impact of the bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic has left a mark on communities throughout the country.
As we reach the halfway point and the end of the financial year, it’s an opportunity to slow down and take stock.
Whether your circumstances have changed, or you just want to plan ahead, now is the time to look at your finances and set goals.
Here’s how to get started.
The Coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone’s plans, and your goals may be very different to what they were at the start of the year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t respond to the uncertainty. And the best way to get started is to take stock of your finances.
- If you’re thinking about getting your finances in order and trimming unnecessary spending, the new financial year offers a clear line in the sand. If you don’t already track your income and spending now is the time to start. There’s a variety of tools available to help you save money, identify expenses, and set goals. Whether it’s via an app, a digital spreadsheet, or just a notepad, you may be surprised to see where your money is going.
- End of financial year also means tax time, and this is one area where you may have some good news on the horizon. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has issued new guidelines for people who have been working from home due to COVID-19. The simplified deductions mean you can potentially claim “80 cents per work hour for all additional running expenses.” This might mean greater deductions than usual (and possibly a larger rebate). You can learn more via the ATO website.
2. Plan ahead
What do the next 12 months look like? The reality is no-one really knows, and black swan events like COVID-19 are a reminder of that fact. But despite global uncertainty, there are practical things you can do to help you weather future economic uncertainty.
- One of the simplest ways to plan ahead is to review your superannuation. Take a moment to consider your superannuation investment options and decide if they’re right for you. And while you’re at it, check your insurance coverage to make sure it meets your needs. While most superannuation policies cover death and permanent disability, you may also have salary continuance cover. You can review all the above by logging into your account, or checking in with our Service Centre on 1300 655 002. And if you’re looking for more tailored advice, our financial planning team is offering remote appointments over the phone.
- If you’ve been salary sacrificing to your super account (or have set up a separate savings account with your bank), now might also be a good time to review these arrangements.
- If you want a quick snapshot of where your super will be in the years to come don’t forget to try our Retirement calculator. This can be especially useful if you’ve made an early access claim and want to know what the long-term impact on your super balance may be.
- And finally, don’t forget about the end of financial year deadlines for super contributions. If you’re eligible they’re an easy way to boost your savings.
Given the widespread impact of Coronavirus, your financial institutions may be willing to negotiate better deals to help you through this period.
- If you have a mortgage, this is likely to be your biggest monthly expense, so it’s a good idea to check your progress at least once a year. If your mortgage has a redraw facility you may be able to use this to buffer you through uncertain times. Some banks are also offering to freeze repayments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with deferrals of up to six months available.
- Go online and compare interest rates. If your rate is no longer competitive, ring your lender to negotiate a better deal and consider switching loans if they won’t budge. Just beware of any exit fees. Currently, Catholic Super members are eligible for special offers through our 100% owned bank, MyLife MyFinance.
- Your home loan is not the only expense worth haggling over. Your electricity, phone, internet and insurance policies could possibly all be renegotiated or moved to other service providers. If you’re no longer driving to work, that may be grounds to reduce your car insurance payments.
- Consolidating credit cards and other debts can save you substantially. Shop around and you’ll find financial institutions offering interest-free periods for consolidated debts. These offers mean your repayments go directly towards paying down the loan amount (rather than the interest charges).
Reaching your life and financial goals is not just about growing your wealth but protecting it.
- It’s important to review your insurance policies annually, both within super and any external policies you may have. Our members can review their investment options by logging into their online accounts. Health cover is another safety net worth reviewing. If you’re not able to utilise all the benefits of your cover due to COVID-19 you may be able to negotiate a reduced rate.
- A financial planner can help you optimise both your investments and insurance. They can help you better understand your financial options, and ways to build long term wealth. You can learn more about our financial planning services here. If you’re approaching the end of your working life, they can help you transition to retirement and maintain a steady income, but even someone in the middle of their career can benefit from professional advice about their super.
With the 2019-2020 financial year rapidly drawing to a close, now is the time to take stock, adjust your plans, and start planning for the future. For additional help or assistance please call us on 1300 655 002.
Authorised by Togethr Trustees Pty Ltd (ABN 64 006 964 049; AFSL 246383), the trustee of MyLifeMyMoney Superannuation Fund (ABN 50 237 896 957; SPIN CSF0100AU). Catholic Super and MyLife MySuper are divisions of MyLifeMyMoney Superannuation Fund. Financial advice services may be provided to members by the trustee’s related entity.
Togethr Financial Planning Pty Ltd (ABN 84 124 491 078; AFSL 455010). The information contained herein is general information only. It has been prepared without taking into account your personal investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. It is not intended to be, and should not be, construed in any way as investment, legal or financial advice. Please consider your personal position, objectives, and requirements before taking any action.