Apr 30, 2020
Whether you’re facing a major financial crisis or you’re simply struggling to get ahead, you can be left feeling powerless and defeated with your finances.
However, no matter what situation you’re in, there are always areas you can control with your finances that will put you on the right track and give you confidence.
The key to this is establishing the right mindset and systems, and sticking to them.
First and foremost, your mindset will ultimately dictate your approach to the situation and any financial decisions you have to make. A ‘victimised’ and ‘defeated’ mindset can cause you great stress and hinder you from taking action, while putting your head in the sand will see you miss the opportunity to improve your situation before it further deteriorates.
Instead, embracing a positive and motivated mindset that is realistic about your position but proactive about addressing the challenges will ensure you make progress, even if the initial changes you make are only incremental. With this mindset you will find a way forward, even if it does take time.
Irrespective of your situation, a budget always gives you control. Establishing a budget is key to keeping track of your spending and creating boundaries for yourself. It enables you to consider each area of your spending and identifies any categories where you can cut costs or eliminate unnecessary expenses. A budget also allows you to better work towards your saving goals.
If you don't have a budget, now is the time! For those who already have a budget in place, you have the power to review your budget and make suitable adjustments depending on your situation and cash-flow. Remember, there’s no limit to the amount of times you review and change your budget. It is highly recommended to get advice from an expert adviser to ensure your budget is set up and optimised correctly for your position.
Debt can take a great psychological toll and leave many feeling overwhelmed. But you can control how you manage your debts, this includes dealing with existing debts and your approach to debt in general.
It is especially important in troubling times to prioritise paying off current debts, including credit cards or other loans.
Consider re-evaluating your budget and financial plan to make extra payments when possible. Explore areas of non-essential spending during the week and consider whether you can repurpose that money towards your outstanding debts.
Most importantly, if you haven’t already, find out exactly how much you owe and put a plan in place to erase your debts as soon as possible.
And it sounds obvious, but, put the credit cards away and avoid taking on more debt!
If you're struggling financially you may not think that saving is possible, but you do have control of your savings situation. You have the ability to decide how much you save, when you save and how you save.
Creating a saving habit ensures you are frequently setting aside money and building your wealth. Again, establishing a budget will help you identify a realistic amount you can save per week or month.
Making your savings automated is a great way to put money aside without you having to consciously think about putting away money after each pay day (it’s also helpful with paying debts and investing). You can create automatic savings through establishing recurring transfers into your savings accounts, or alternatively use automated savings apps and services through your bank’s online app. Your savings come out before you have a chance to spend!
A financial crisis can also lead to you drawing from your current savings or emergency fund. However, you still have the ability to adjust your saving routine to replenish these savings.
Negotiating will help you to potentially lower your existing monthly bills. There is always an opportunity to reach out and renegotiate areas of your finances, such as your home loan deal and insurances. If you are unsure of where or how to negotiate, a financial adviser can help you.
Remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Learning and Upskilling
There’s always room to increase your knowledge and improve your financial literacy. The best part is - it can be at no extra cost.
There are many free courses available online, as well as many sources of information including webinars and videos, podcasts, websites, blogs and more. Just make sure your information comes from trusted sources - government websites such as Moneysmart and the ATO are great places to start.
Also make the most of your network and reach out to those who have experience a track record of financial success, ask questions and learn from their journey.
The best way to take control of your finances is to work with an experienced financial adviser, who can guide you through whatever challenge you may be facing.
An adviser will remove your stress by helping you build a plan, set goals and walking with you on the journey.
Written by Kerryn Shaw at Calder Wealth Management.
This is general advice only and does not take into account your financial circumstances, needs and objectives. Before making any decision based on this document, you should assess your own circumstances or seek advice from a financial adviser and seek tax advice from a registered tax agent. Information is current at the date of issue and may change.
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