Spring clean your finances
Replenish and revitalize your
Nothing about money is set and forget. Whether your finances
include a budget, savings, loans, insurance, super or more, from
time to time you need to pull these things out, dust them off and
see if they need a freshen up. Here are our tips on how to
rejuvenate your financial affairs this Spring.
Freshen up your
If you make the switch to a cheaper loan you should continue
with your current repayments so you save interest and pay off your loan sooner.
Interest rates have been coming down so you need to check if you
are still getting a competitive rate. A lower interest rate can
mean you'll pay off your loan a few years earlier.
Find out what your current interest rate is and take note of the
loan features you want to keep, such as an offset or redraw facility. Compare your loan to other loans
on the market to see if you can get a better deal.
Approach your current lender and tell them you are thinking of
switching your mortgage. They may offer you a better deal to keep
your business. If not, use our mortgage switching calculator to see
how much better off you could be switching loans.
Put a spring into your
While mortgage rates have been coming down, some banks and
credit unions have increased their savings and term deposit
interest rates. Check the return you are getting on your
savings and see if there are other financial
institutions offering better rates.
Also reconsider the type of savings product you have. For
example, if you have a term deposit that's about to mature and
you find an at-call savings account that is paying higher interest,
ask yourself whether a term deposit is the right account for
Alternatively, if you have money in an ordinary savings
account but term deposits are paying higher interest, see if
you can lock some savings away to get a better return on your
Your choice of investment needs to fit in with your needs and
goals but there's no harm in shopping around to get a better deal
for your cash.
Reassess your home and contents
We all buy items for our homes from time to time, like
appliances, furniture, TVs and electronic equipment. How long since
you estimated the cost of replacing the entire contents of your
home? Is your current contents insurance enough to cover what you
If you are a homeowner, you should also re-evaluate the cost of
rebuilding your home. This is especially important if you have
completed any extensions or renovations since taking out your home
See home and contents
insurance for details on how to go about recording and updating
your home or contents insurance
Whip your personal
insurance into shape
If you couldn't work for a long period of time due to illness or
injury, would you still be able to cover all of your living
expenses? If not, income protection insurance may help.
Check if you already have income protection cover through your
super fund or another insurer and see if it is enough.
We all love to get a pay increase, but is your income protection
insurance keeping up with your pay? Most income protection policies
are based on a fixed income amount. Cover won't automatically
increase when your pay does. If you want your income protection
insurance to reflect your actual pay, contact your insurer to find
out your options.
Blow the cobwebs off your
You might not see super as 'your' money because you can't access
it until you retire, but the reality is that it is very much your
money and it's going to come in pretty handy when you retire.
To get to know your super better, find your latest super
statement (it could be hiding in your email inbox or in your filing
cabinet) and have a good hard look at it. Here are some things to
- Multiple super accounts - If you have
more than one super account consolidating your accounts
will save you fees and make it easier to keep track.
- Investment options - Think about the best
investment option for your stage of life when choosing
your super investments. If you're more than 10 years away from
retirement, a more aggressive investment strategy is likely to
deliver higher returns. If you are closer to retirement think about
more conservative options to protect your capital.
- Contributions - The sooner you start contributing extra to super
the less you have to give up each week to make a difference in the
long-term. Lower income earners may be entitled to a government
co-contribution. Mid to higher income earners may be able to save
- Personal details - If you've moved house or
changed your phone number or email address, your super fund may not
know how to contact you. Keeping your personal details up to date
will make sure your money doesn't end up in lost super.
Rejuvenate your budget
When you've finished giving the rest of your finances a good
spring clean, it's probably a good idea to update your budget. Your
income and expenses change over time so keeping your budget up to
date will allow you track what you're spending and calculate how
much you can save towards your goals. Our budget planner is a good
tool to use to start creating your budget.
We also have apps to help you track your spending and track your
You work hard for your money, so make it work
hard for you. Look for low interest rates on your mortgage and high
interest rates for your savings. Keep on top of your insurances and
know where your money's going so you stay in control.
Last updated: 19 Sep 2016