7 simple ways to transform your financial life in 2018

home financial planning for 2018
Jan 16, 2018

If your finances are feeling the worse for wear at this time of year, we have created these seven simple habits that could make all the difference to your financial outlook for this year. 

1) Treat yourself to a financial makeover

You may be a tad too cash-strapped for much of a social life after Christmas and New Year - but while you're cooped up indoors, this could be a great opportunity to take stock of your financial life.

Consider your overall retirement and investments position. Review how much you're paying in, whether that's enough to meet your goals, and how to free up more cash to invest.

Take a look at performance too, so there are no nasty surprises waiting when you finally come to cash-in your investments. 

2) Clear away any financial clutter

Tidying up your finances, along with any discarded Christmas wrapping paper, will make life easier.

If you have built up several investment plans or a handful of individual shares over the years, you may either have a complex filing system or little idea about what you have - or where it is.

Dig out the paperwork on your old schemes, check whether there are any valuable benefits or expensive penalties for switching.

If you're free to switch, consider whether it may be worth moving them into a single, more modern plan, which may be cheaper and have more investment options.

3) Consider giving up what you don't love ahead of what you do

The small luxuries in life, such as morning coffees and after-work takeaways, maybe the obvious candidates for the chop in your new, healthier financial regime - but if they are a great source of joy, losing them will be a constant, ongoing battle - increasing your chances of failure.

Before you give up the things you love, it makes far more sense to give up what you don't love at all - like paying more than you need to for utilities, or buying expensive grocery brands - so see if you could pay less simply by shopping around.

4) Consider dividing up your cash up into smaller portions and building a savings portfolio

Remember, it's wise to keep around three to six months' worth of expenses in easy access accounts as an emergency fund - in case you suddenly need access to cash.

Once you have that in place, for periods of between one and five years, you may want to consider looking at other options - which could potentially offer higher rates in return for tying your money up.

If you're saving for a longer-term goal, consider whether your time horizon and appetite for risk means some of your money could be moved into share-based investments. Your capital will be at risk, but this potentially has more opportunity for growth than cash when you are investing for five to 10 years or more.

5) Get your KiwiSaver into shape

There are different types of KiwiSaver funds to suit different needs, so consider whether your choices suit you and whether it's time to switch.

If you're not in KiwiSaver, join. If you're not contributing, restart repayments. Even the $521 KiwiSaver tax credit over 25 years and the Government contribution of $521.43, in a growth fund after inflation, would amount to over $20,129 by retirement.

6) Build good and regular investment habits

Make this the year that instead of putting off investments, you commit to investing little and often. This is less painful than trying to find a lump sum.

7) Finally, be realistic

Saying, 'I'm going to retire at 50 or 60', may sound great, but if you're being unrealistic you could soon become disillusioned and run out of momentum.

Set realistic, achievable goals, build a budget around them, and save a sensible, affordable sum every month.

As always our doors are open for a chat, so why not come in for a coffee and walk out a little richer, and a little more positive about your financial future this year. Talk soon - Mike.