With a New Year now upon us, we have the opportunity for a fresh start.  For many of us there’s no better place to start than a re-think of the household finances.  In light of this, our financial planners in Sydney have put together their top list for getting your finances on track in 2012.

1.  Complete a Financial Health Check

Just how healthy is your bottom line?  Find out your financial position by weighing up your assets (how much you have e.g your home, investments and savings) and liabilities (how much you owe – e.g. mortgage, credit card debt, car loan).  Check out our free financial health check calculator to help you put it all together.

If your assets are worth more than your liabilities, this is a great indication that you’re on the right path toward financial security.  But for many people, liabilities are equal or more than the total value of their assets which can be a sign that you really need to get your finances back on track and bring your level of debt under control.

2.  Shop around for a better home loan

If you’re a home owner, your mortgage will probably be your biggest liability.  Even though it’s invested in a property that you can assume will grow in value over the long term, you should still take steps to minimise the costs associated with your home loan.  You can expect to save substantial amounts in repayments by switching to a more competitive home loan.  Our experienced in-house mortgage broker can assist in helping you to find the most competitive loan from over 30 different lenders.  Give us a call on 1300 886 018 to arrange a consultation.

3.  Banish credit card debt

After the festive season, many Australians get a rude shock in the form of a nasty credit card bill in January.  Credit card debt can be a real problem for many Australians, and if you’re not careful this debt can easily get out of hand with large interest rates quickly making even small debts seemingly insurmountable very quickly.  If you have an outstanding credit card debt you need to take steps now to ensure that it does not get worse.  The most important first step is to STOP SPENDING money on your credit card.  Use a debit card so you’re spending money you have instead of money that you don’t yet have.  The next step is to pay down your credit card as quickly as possible.  Whenever you can, put any spare money on to your credit card account.  Committing yourself to paying off even an extra $50 per month will make a difference to how soon you can clear that credit card debt and reduce the nasty interest on your outstanding balance.

4.  Start a Savings Plan

Many people are concerned about increasing costs of living in 2012.  One way to combat this is to start a regular savings plan.  This can allow you to accumulate some savings that you can call on to pay for unexpected expenses or to afford regular bills as they arrive.  One great way to do this is to set up a high interest savings account that is difficult for you to access (one example is the ING Direct Savings Maximiser Account who are currently offering 5.85% for the first 4 months to new customers) and establish a regular automatic transfer from your normal spending account.

5.  See a Financial Planner to learn what you’re missing

Make an appointment to sit down with a financial planner to learn just what you might be missing.  Our Sydney financial planners are based in 2 convenient locations in Sydney – Balmain and the Sydney CBD.  We can help you to identify ways to save you money, save on tax, and invest wisely for a more prosperous financial future.  Best of all we’re independently owned and don’t receive commissions so you can be assured that we’re working in your best interests.  We offer free inital financial planning consultations so call us on 1300 886 018 today to book an appointment.