Cut up your credit cards, start planning and give a little!

2015 is drawing to a close and it’s time once again, to reflect on the year that has been. Whether we like to admit it or not, our financial situation is strongly linked to our sense of achievement and self worth so as 2016 draws nearer, take the time to be honest with your self about your finances and set goals for the new year.

So where do you start?

Assess where you can improve on from the past year

Nobody is perfect, especially when it comes to money so don’t beat yourself up too much but it’s a good idea to at least identify where you went wrong over the past year. We like to encourage our clients to print off their bank statements for the last twelve months and go through and physically highlight the spending items that could have been avoided. This can be a really great visual way to identify areas for improvement. You’ll find that when an opportunity comes up next year to make a similar mistake, the action of highlighting the item will spring to mind and you’ll think twice – it really works!

Book an appointment with a financial advisor

Yes, I know I run a financial services business so you probably think I’m biased but I cannot emphasise this enough! Stop flying blind and book an appointment with a trusted expert. A good financial advisor will help you define your goals and then map out a plan to enable you to get there.

Start saving for something

What big ticket item are you working towards this year? Are you planning a big holiday, saving up for your first property or planning on starting a family? Whatever it is, set a savings target and start regularly contributing to a high interest savings account.

Cut up your credit cards

This one is a no brainer. If you’ve got a credit card debt, commit to paying it off as quickly as possible. Transfer the debt over to a 0% interest card if you can so that you can avoid constantly being beaten by interest.

Write a budget

I say this every year, but setting a weekly budget for you and your family really is the key to financial confidence and control. Write down your weekly income, take away your compulsory expenses and your contribution to savings and that is the amount you have left to play with. Once again, this is something your financial management can assist you with.

Commit to a charity

Most of us can afford to give to charity even if it’s as little as $5 per week so find a cause that you’re passionate and start donating. It’s tax deductible and it will make you appreciate your money more than ever.