With summer almost over and the holidays behind us for another year, now is the perfect time to sort out your finances.

Take our financial health check and see if there are changes you could make now to improve your financial fitness. Even a few small changes could add up considerably over time, potentially saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Let’s get started…

Build a budget

To get the most out of your finances, you need a clear picture of your income and expenses. Budgeting may not sound exciting, but the benefits of a good budget certainly can be. Don’t worry if you can’t use a spreadsheet, there are a range of websites and apps available that make budgeting super easy. Of course, if you really want to maximise the benefits of organising your finances, it’s best to see a financial planner to build a personal financial plan.

Budgeting tools

Try ASIC’s Money Smart Budget planner or ASIC’s Money Smart TrackMyGOALS app which is available in the App Store and on Google Play.

Deal with debt

If you have credit card, personal loan or mortgage debt, it’s important to look around and compare offers to make sure you’re getting the best deal. There are a range of comparison sites online that make it easy to compare features, interest rates and fees. If you find a better rate but would prefer to not change your provider, contact them to see if you can negotiate the same or a better deal.

For credit and loan comparisons, we prefer to use canstar.com.au as it is Australia’s biggest financial comparison site.

Streamline your super

Do you know where your super is? Do you have multiple super accounts? Are you getting the best return for your money?

Last year, Australians had a total of just under $14 billion1 in lost super. That’s a lot of money sitting with the Australian Tax Office that could be invested and earning interest. Below are some steps to help you make the most of your super.                                                                             

Step 1 – Find your lost super

If you have a myGov account, you can search for your lost super online by linking to the ATO. Alternatively, you can download and complete a Searching for Lost Super Form and return it to the ATO.

Step 2 – Bring your super together

If you have more than one super account, consider combining your super into your EISS Super account. You could avoid paying multiple fees and reduce the amount of paperwork you receive.

Before combining your accounts, consider if you will be charged any exit fees and what effect combining your super will have on any insurance cover you hold. Finding the right balance here can be tricky, so if you’re unsure it’s best to seek help from a financial planner.

Combining your super is easy! Start by logging in to your online account (you’ll find your member number at the top of the email), click ‘Consolidate Super’ and then follow the prompts.

Step 3 – Set-up or increase regular contributions

With average superannuation balances at retirement of $270,710 for men and $157,050 for women2, it’s likely you’ll need to make additional contributions above the 9.5% superannuation guarantee paid by your employer if you want to retire comfortably.

If you haven’t already done so, speak to your employer about setting up a salary sacrifice arrangement to add a little of your pre-tax pay to super.

If you’re already making additional contributions, now is a great time to review your strategy and ensure you’re on track to achieve your retirement goals.

Try our super calculators to work out the best way to add to your super and how much you may have and need for retirement.

Organise your insurance

Our lives are constantly changing. We change jobs, move home, marry and have children.

The start of the year is an ideal time to review your insurance cover and ensure it is still relevant to your needs.

Try our insurance cover calculator or speak to a financial planner to work out how much cover you need.

An EISS Financial Planner can help improve your financial health. To make an appointment call 02 9046 1920 or email [email protected]

1 Australian Tax Office, Super accounts data overview ato.gov.au

2 ASFA, Ross Clare, Superannuation account balances by age and gender, October 2017 superannuation.asn.au