Now that January has well and truly made its presence known (back to the work routine, bills in the mail, etc. etc.) I am starting to try and get all those “life” things organized. 2015 is going to be the year of sorting out/consolidating my superannuation – stay with me – buying a new car (which I will recap in another post) and financing said car for a credit rating and even starting to think about life insurance options. Yep, all of those big, grown-up tasks that you always delegate your future self to deal with.
But for someone who has never really had to deal with finances (yes, I am one of those girls whose parents come to the rescue and help you with the “scary” things like cars, superfunds and insurance while you hang back and wait for the bill or statement to arrive in the mail) it is actually a bit daunting!
So it was straight to Google to do some homework and I learnt several valuable lessons:
1. Know what your goal is
Prioritise what it is you want to set out to achieve and establish a working order. Tackle one thing at a time! In my case, I knew I needed to look into finance options for a new car, followed by sorting out my super and then finally, arranging an appointment with a financial planner. I also made sure I determined what my current circumstances would allow and established my financial limitations from the outset.
2. Banks aren’t always best
Don’t immediately assume your bank will be the best equipped to help you, as they aren’t always the best option. When it comes to loans their rates could actually be significantly higher in addition to monthly account keeping fees. Do your research and look into alternatives such as a credit union or a finance company. Credit unions, for example, are a great alternative and offer tailored loans (some offer loans specifically for buying a car and they make it super easy to calculate rates and repayments online and then comparing them to the big banks), as well as transaction and investment accounts, insurance and even credit cards. For superannuation I’ve always gone with an industry superfund over a bank because they don’t charge commission fees and are always member-centric in their product delivery and service.
3. A financial planner can be a one stop shop
If there is one thing you take away from this post it should be this. THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO CAN DO ALL OF THIS FOR YOU. As soon as I saw what People’s Choice Credit Union’s financial planning service covered – note: pretty much everything I had on my list – I wrote down their number to make an appointment. (Unfortunately they don’t have branches in Brisbane but that won’t stop me from making an appointment next time I head back to Adelaide!) They take you through your circumstances and look at things like budgeting, investment options, growing your superannuation, life and income insurance and other benefits you could be entitled to. It’s a tailored and personalised financial roadmap – an ideal option for an occasionally directionally and spending challenged individual like myself…
4. Pick up the phone
Researching finance options and submitting quotes online can only get you so far. Set aside time to discuss the details with someone on the phone or make an appointment to go into a branch. I find I always feel more comfortable when I am speaking to a human being and even better when it’s face to face.
5. Be assertive
You’ve established what you want from the outset and done your research, so don’t be afraid to speak up and question what you’re being presented with. This is your money so make it work best for you! List out everything you want to determine and ask – the worst thing you can do is let something slide and regret it later.
Do you have finance goals for 2015?
Personal disclaimer: These are my views and experiences when it comes to sorting out finances. I chose People’s Choice Credit Union because it was best for me but you should always consider your own situation and circumstances before acting on anything. All the best with your goals for 2015!