The daffodils are out, lambs are finding their feet, and the days are getting longer – spring has finally arrived.
Spring, like the New Year, signals new beginnings. It’s the traditional time of year for an annual spring clean, but don’t limit that clean out to your winter wardrobe – it’s also the perfect time for a spring-clean of the financial variety!
Start with dusting off your budget. If you don’t have one – draw one up. Print off your bank statements for the past three months, this will give you a snapshot of where your money is currently going and will likely continue to go if you do nothing. If you want a different outcome, start highlighting the spending that isn’t necessary, isn’t conscious,or doesn’t make you any happier.
Open up your last few power bills and check whatsmynumber.org.nz to see whether there’s a more cost-effective power provider. Dig out your latest KiwiSaver statement – when was the last time you checked what you’re paying in fees, what fund you’re in and what it’s returning? Take a look and perhaps try the KiwiSaver Fund Finder to see whether it’s worth changing your settings.
Check the interest rates you’re paying on your mortgage – do you have any fixed portions coming up for review and if so, what better rates could you negotiate? Rates have fallen sharply of late and are likely to fall further, so don’t leave money on floating rates (i.e paying higher rates) unless it’s money you are confident you can attack it with your surplus in the coming year. Now could also be a good time to run some numbers on your retirement, or to start the conversation with your parents about whether their retirement is on track.
While you’re attacking the pile of paperwork that’s built up in a corner, check that your will is up-to-date and whether your life, health, income protection, house and contents insurances are fit for purpose. Consider getting an insurance review to check, for example, that your house isn’t underinsured if you had to rebuild, or you’re not paying for more life insurance than is necessary.
While you’re cleaning out dusty corners, check cupboards, the garage or the basement for things you no longer use that could be on-sold. Dig out the bikes, guitars or snowboards gathering dust, list them for sale and turn them into cash.
If you have credit card debt, now is the time to cut up your card and shop around for a low-interest or zero-interest card so you can transfer the balance and start attacking the debt.
Consider starting a conversation ahead of Christmas – maybe this is finally the year to implement a Secret Santa system to reduce expenses and unwanted gifts.
Then, if you still have the head space, reflect on what went well this year and what more you want to achieve next year. Life’s busy and it’s easy for things to be relegated to the too-hard basket, but a good financial spring clean can get you back on track for a new financial beginning.
If you want to achieve more, we can help – click here to book an initial consultation with one our expert financial coaches.
Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute individual financial advice. If you’re interested in receiving personalised financial advice, you can book in a consultation with an enable.me coach. Costs apply.