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How to Get on Top of Your Money

Money

In today’s fast-paced world, managing finances effectively is more crucial than ever. Whether you’re considering options like “Can I get a loan on top of my mortgage?” or simply looking to streamline your budget, understanding how to get on top of your money is key to financial stability and success.

Smart Budgeting and Saving Techniques

The foundation of financial wellness starts with effective budgeting. Utilizing modern tools and apps can help you track your spending and savings with greater accuracy. It’s also essential to build and maintain an emergency fund, which acts as a financial buffer in unexpected situations. This proactive approach ensures that you’re prepared for life’s unpredictable moments.

Debt Consolidation and Management

Debt can be a significant obstacle in achieving financial freedom. Understanding how to manage and consolidate debt, especially in relation to larger commitments like mortgages, is vital. It’s important to explore options that might allow you to get a loan like, personal loan on top of your mortgage, if necessary, while also considering the long-term impacts on your credit score and overall financial health. Seeking guidance from a mortgage broker can provide valuable insights into managing such financial complexities. 

Insurance and Protection

Regularly reviewing and updating your insurance policies ensures that they align with your current life situation. From health to property insurance, these financial tools are essential in protecting your assets and providing peace of mind. 

Investment and Wealth Building

Investing is a powerful tool for wealth building. Whether it’s through property investment, stocks, or other avenues, understanding the market and making informed decisions is crucial. Additionally, optimizing your superannuation can significantly impact your financial status in the long run.

Technology and Financial Management

Embracing technology can revolutionize the way you manage your finances. From budgeting apps to digital banking, these tools offer convenience and efficiency, helping you stay on top of your money with ease.

The Power of Budgeting Apps

  • Real-Time Expense Tracking: Budgeting apps provide real-time tracking of expenses, allowing users to monitor their spending habits effortlessly. With automated categorization and instant updates, users gain immediate insights into where their money is going, facilitating informed financial decision-making. 
  • Customized Budget Plans: These apps enable the creation of customized budget plans tailored to individual financial goals. Whether saving for a specific milestone or managing daily expenditures, budgeting apps empower users to set realistic targets and track their progress over time. 
  • Expense Analysis and Trends: Advanced budgeting apps offer sophisticated analytics, presenting users with comprehensive expense analyses and trends. Identifying patterns in spending behavior becomes more accessible, enabling users to make proactive adjustments to their financial habits.

Digital Banking Advancements

  • Convenient Account Access: Digital banking provides convenient and instant access to bank accounts. Through secure mobile apps or online platforms, users can check balances, review transaction history, and manage their accounts from anywhere, reducing the reliance on physical branches. 
  • Mobile Deposit Features: Digital banking often includes features like mobile check deposit, eliminating the need to visit a physical bank for routine transactions. Users can conveniently deposit checks using their smartphones, enhancing efficiency and saving valuable time. 
  • Automated Bill Payments: Set up automated bill payments through digital banking platforms. This feature streamlines the payment process, ensuring that bills are paid on time without the need for manual intervention. It minimizes the risk of late fees and simplifies financial management.

Getting on top of your finances requires a combination of smart budgeting, effective debt management, strategic investing, and the use of modern technology. By taking control of your money, you set the stage for a more secure and prosperous financial future. Remember, consulting with financial experts like Zippy Financial can provide tailored advice and services to meet your unique financial needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the first steps to getting on top of my finances?

Start by creating a budget, tracking your expenses, and setting financial goals. This will give you a clear picture of your financial situation and help you make informed decisions.

How can I effectively budget to manage my money better?

Identify your income and expenses, categorize your spending, and prioritize essential expenses. Use budgeting tools or apps to keep track of your spending habits.

What strategies can I use to reduce my debt?

Focus on paying off high-interest debts first, consider consolidating debts for easier management, and avoid taking on new debts unnecessarily.

Is it important to have an emergency fund?

Yes, an emergency fund is crucial for financial security. It helps cover unexpected expenses without derailing your financial plans.

How often should I review my financial plan?

It’s recommended to review and adjust your financial plan at least annually or whenever there are significant changes in your financial situation.

Can I get a loan on top of my mortgage, and is it advisable?

Yes, you can get a loan on top of your mortgage, but it’s important to assess your ability to manage additional debt and consider the impact on your overall financial health.

Phone: 1300 855 022

Email: clientservices@zippyfinancial.com.au

Zippy Financial is an award-winning mortgage brokerage specialising in home loans, property investment, commercial lending, and vehicle & asset finance. Whether you are looking to buy your first home, refinance or build your property investment portfolio, the team at Zippy Financial can help find and secure the right loan for you and your business. 

About the Author:   

Louisa Sanghera is an award-winning mortgage broker and Director at Zippy Financial. Louisa founded Zippy Financial with the goal of helping clients grow their wealth through smart property and business financing. Louisa utilises her expert financial knowledge, vision for exceptional customer service and passion for property to help her clients achieve their lifestyle and financial goals. Louisa is an experienced speaker, financial commentator, mortgage broker industry representative and small business advocate.   

Connect with Louisa on Linkedin.   

Louisa Sanghera is a Credit Representative (437236) of Mortgage Specialists Pty Ltd (Australian Credit Licence No. 387025).

Disclaimer:This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information. This article is not to be used in place of professional advice, whether business, health or financial. 

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Your Investment Property | Zippy Financial

Welcoming a beautiful baby into your family won’t just make your heart explode with love, and seriously disrupt your sleep. It can also have a significant impact on your investing journey – which is why it’s ideal to plan ahead, to avoid running into home loan issues. Jacqueline So reports…

For many, starting a family is an important milestone in life – a representation of growth as an adult, of having a hand in shaping the future, of leaving a legacy. Having kids comes with its own set of financial responsibilities, but one area that investors often don’t give proper thought to is the impact it can have on their borrowing power if they wish to buy their own home or investment property

“One of the biggest impacts of having children is the simultaneous reduction in household income and the increase in other day-to-day expenses. Becoming a parent is a significant life event – it’s physically, emotionally and financially intense,” explain Molly Benjamin and Betsy Westcott from the Ladies Finance Club.

“When starting a family, it’s more important than ever to make sure your income is secure. Expenses such as extraordinary medical bills for a mother or child, the mother needing to stop working earlier than planned, or realising the car or home isn’t big enough to cater to your new family can be a huge blow to your budget and finances if not planned for.

“Remember, you will be at home more, so expect to see an increase in everyday household bills like electricity, water, petrol, phone, medical care and car maintenance. Whacking these payments on to a credit card can lead to a slippery downhill spiral.”

Unfortunately, many Australians do not adequately prepare their household budgets for the pressures of raising children. Benjamin and Westcott not that “a majority of Aussie families are living pay to pay, and whilst this may be OK for weekly expenses, they often panic when the quarterly electricity bill comes in.”

Working a typical day job, it can be difficult to support a comfortable lifestyle for yourself and your household, particularly if you have little ones, or have one on the way. So, many Aussies are turning to property investment as a means of generating passive income and capital growth over the long term, or making it possible to step away from a nine-to-five job eventually.

But it’s important to consider where your borrowing power sits in all of this. Investing in property as a parent is quite different from investing as a single person or a couple – especially on the financial side.

According to government research, it costs around $17,000 per year on average to raise two children – a significant blow to any household’s bank account. As a result, many parents can find their borrowing capacity hampered by the simple fact that the expenses related to raising a child eat up much of their finances, which in turn affects how a lender will view their lifestyle expenses.

“When you apply for a loan, the lender will assess your living expenses. The exact formula they use will vary from bank to bank, but living expenses are generally assumed to increase with each dependent child you have,” explains Louisa Sanghera, managing director of Zippy Financial Group.

Lenders have been especially careful when it comes to assessing potential borrowers following the royal commission. Sanghera points out that “a $5,000 debt or expense can reduce your borrowing power by around $25,000.”

Getting a loan can therefore be quite trying for those who have heavier household expenditure that includes childcare and tuition.

“When it comes to kids and your mortgage application, there are a range of factors that banks take into consideration, but as a general guide, each child you have can reduce your borrowing power by anywhere from $30,000 to $70,000,” Sanghera says.

“Imagine you have three children, each of them going to childcare or private school at a cost of $10,000 each or $30,000 in total per year. This could then reduce your borrowing power by $150,000 – and the bank hasn’t even taken into consideration other costs, like nappies and food.”

Having life insurance, total permanent disability and trauma policies is crucial at this stage, which means additional expenditure.

“If the working parent cannot work through injury or illness and they do not have income protection, the family could end up losing out big time. Most people also do not realise that their insurance provider will not pay for them to take time off to sit by their child’s bedside if they are critically ill,” say Benjamin and Westcott.

Set Your Priorities Straight

The key to being able to balance your finances favourably across supporting children and investing in property is to have a plan.

Benjamin and Westcott advise parents to “review your goals in context of what is your biggest priority – we suggest listing your short- (one to three years), medium- (four to six years) and long-term goals, and then labelling what are needs versus wants. Then prioritise them from most to least important. Starting a family will mean that your priorities change.”

This means that parents need to view monetary inflow and outflow realistically and capitalise on any benefits they may be entitled to.

“Get clear on how much the family unit will earn in income. Find out what government support you may be entitled to, like family tax benefits, parental leave pay, dad and partner pay,” suggest Benjamin and Westcott.

“Work out what the family expenses are expected to be, including the upfront costs of having a baby plus the ongoing expenses. Separate fixed expenses, such as the mortgage or rent, insurance, medical, childcare, car, utilities, memberships and transport, from the flexible expenses like food, clothing, entertainment, gifts and holidays.”

They also recommend addressing debt as early as you can: “consider what large purchases you might need to make, adjust your spending patterns to ensure your family’s needs are met, pay down debts and potentially get ahead of mortgage repayments so you can take a repayment holiday when the baby arrives.”

You can also save on childcare by getting help wherever you can find it.

“The average cost of childcare before subsidies in Australia is $109 a day but can reach as high as $180 a day in capital cities,” Benjamin and Westcott point out.

Thus, if you can get your own parents, family members or friends on board to aid you, it will go a long way!

Sanghera also notes that parents need to watch out for the little things that cut into their finances almost without them realising it.

“Look for ‘money leaks’ – things like credit card interest, subscriptions and memberships you don’t really use – and any other ways you can reduce your spending and increase your appeal in the eyes of the banks,” she recommends.

“Maternity leave is one of those areas that investors should plan carefully around. If you’re planning to have children, then it might be worth borrowing as much as possible before you go on maternity leave – once you drop to a single income, even temporarily, your borrowing power will be impacted again.”

By preparing to save early, parents can set aside a strong budget for long-term investments.

“One financially savvy couple we spoke to started practising what it would be like to live on their income minus childcare fees six months before the baby was due. That way, when it came to paying for childcare there was no massive shock or surprise, and they had also built up a nice little emergency fund as well,” Benjamin and Westcott point out.

“The best way to build your financial future during this time is to put small amounts often into your mortgage, and salary-sacrifice into your super to make compounding interest work for you. The parents we spoke to who were feeling financially happy and enjoying their time with their new bub were the ones who had planned for and were ready for all financial situations!”

BUDGETING TIPS FOR PARENTS

Molly Benjamin and Betsy Westcott of Ladies Finance Club offer the following tips:

Source: Your Investment Property Magazine, April 2020

Comparison Rate calculated on a secured loan amount of $150,000 for a term of 25 years. WARNING: This Comparison Rate is true only for the example given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees and other loan amounts might result in a different Comparison Rate. Fees and Charges Apply. Terms and Conditions are available on request.