The beginning of each year is the perfect time to recalibrate and find your financial feet. Whether it’s an all-encompassing dream of living by the beach, a resolution to save 5 percent of your salary, or the ability to fund a winter escape to Fiji – Emily Hollingum from Super Rewards has tips to set you up for success and find your true north on your financial journey.
Dare to dream:
Write down your goals for the next three months, six months, 12 months, three years and five years. It’s important to think about where you want to be in five years, for example, starting a family or buying your first property, so you know what you need to do now to get there. Don’t be afraid to think big!
Calculate your household’s yearly income and think about how you feel after all the monthly outgoings – barely scraping by, living pay cheque to pay cheque, comfortable but if I tried to I could save a lot more, earning well above my means and therefore can significantly save etc.
List all the big-ticket items you want to purchase within the next five years, including a new house, car or overseas holiday and write down the estimated cost for each.
Imagine your dream retirement. It is never too early to start thinking about retirement. Where will you be living? Do you want to travel? What kind of lifestyle do you want?
Plan to dream:
Research high-earning savings accounts and open the most suitable one for you. Set up a direct deposit of your budgeted savings amount into this account as soon as you get paid.
Look into the yearly sales cycles for cars, flights and even the medium to small-ticket items. These dates generally stay the same year to year. See if you can plan your savings so that you have enough before these sales hit.
Review all the reward memberships available and choose those that fit in with your lifestyle. For instance, Super Rewards offers cashback directly into your super account, just by shopping online via the portal. Earning $3 each week from your Woolworths shop today will turn into over $13,000 by the time you retire.
Create a monthly budget where you list all your outgoings. List savings as a non-negotiable outgoing at an amount that’s achievable. That way you’re still left with an allowance to buy a dress or a birthday present for a friend.
Get serious about the non-negotiables. Can you push those fortnightly appointments out to monthly? Do you have to participate in the Friday office lunch, or can you change your attendance from weekly to monthly? Do you need Stan, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon all at the same time? Why not have one running at a time and pause the other three until the next season of your favourite show airs again?
Focus on your super – spending a few hours today looking at your superannuation can be worth thousands of dollars in the future. Consider the fees and performance of your fund compared to others in the industry, also look at your insurance and investment option to make sure they are right for you.
Live the dream:
Don’t underestimate yourself; living the dream isn’t exclusively reserved for retirees. If you’re willing to put the work in and get transparent about your spending and focus on saving for the things that bring you joy, you may just be surprised at what you can achieve.
Live for yourself today and tomorrow. Make sure to follow through with your goals, but don’t be afraid to shift them. If you’ve saved up for an overseas holiday, but realise you’ve almost got enough for a deposit for your first modest home, you may decide to postpone that trip. Having savings gives you the financial freedom to choose what matters most to you.
Emily Hollingum, Qualified Financial Planner, Chartered Financial Analyst and COO of Super Rewards