Financial wellness essentially means that you are able to fully meet your current and ongoing financial obligations, you feel secure in your financial future, and you are able to make choices that allow you to enjoy life.
So how do you reach this financial ‘nirvana’?
10 steps to financial wellness
1. Set goals. Become really clear about what your financial priorities and aspirations are and write them down and/or create a vision board. It becomes very real when you see the goals in front of you all the time. Goals could range from paying down your home loan, going on a skiing trip, funding your children’s university fees. Assign a cost and a timeframe in which every goal needs to be achieved.
2. Increase your financial literacy. Read blogs or books on financial matters or sign up for an educational seminar or webinar. You will find a lot of free podcasts, videos and books on my own website, tailored to medical professionals.
3. Create a Net Worth Statement. On one sheet of paper, write down everything you own (e.g. your house, shares, super, cash, personal possessions) and subtract from that number everything you owe (e.g. outstanding mortgages, credits, car loans, etc). This gives you a good picture of your net worth. Be sure to do it each year to see if your net worth is going up or down.
4. Track your spending. Even before you can set a budget, you have to have a clear idea about where your money goes each month. Use a spreadsheet or a money tracking app, and record what you spend in both “have to spend” and “nice to spend” categories.
5. Reduce unnecessary spending. If you’re not getting the most value out of the products and services you buy each week, maybe it’s time to cut back on coffee, video streaming services, gym memberships. Set yourself a limit in terms of how much you can spend on entertainment.
6. Increase retirement savings. Consider increasing your super contributions where possible, or set up another type of ongoing savings/investment plan. It’s always a good idea to discuss with a financial adviser to see how boosting your savings applies to your personal situation.
7. Pay off debts. Reduce what you owe by paying off loans, credit cards, and other debts (especially that carry high interest rates).
8. Set up or add to an emergency fund. Set aside at least 3-6 months of living expenses. Keep this emergency money in safe, liquid funds, like a mortgage offset account.
9. Review your investments and asset allocation. At least once a year, sit down with your adviser to determine whether your investments still match your objectives and are performing to expectations.
10. Work with a financial adviser. Achieving financial wellness is a complex undertaking, even more so if you own lots of assets, have various income sources or have a complex tax situation. Having an adviser in your corner can be a big help in these situations. And even if you like to manage most of your financial decisions, having someone to challenge your assumptions and provide a second opinion can be invaluable.
If you would like some assistance with your financial planning, please contact me on 0432 885 295 or Yves@affluenceprivate.com.au