7 tips for getting ahead in the new financial year

7 tips for getting ahead in the new financial year


Take control of your finances now for the new financial year.

If you set yourself money goals at the start of 2017, the upcoming new financial year is a great time to check if you’re on track.

And if you didn’t set any goals – or if you have strayed off track – this is the perfect time to get organised, write a checklist and stick with it!

Kick off now with these practical tips:

  1. Set some goals

Think about what you want to achieve this financial year. Is it to save for something special, to curb your spending or to reduce your debts? Once you know what you’re aiming for you can set and achieve your goals.

  1. Understand where your money goes

If you’re running out of money before payday, or you’d just like to get a better understanding of where your money goes, it’s probably a good idea to start tracking your spending.

There are lots of good tools and apps to do this.

  1. Set a budget

Get serious about managing your budget.

If you don’t already have a budget, now’s a good time to set one. Use our budget calculator to work out your expenditure and find out how much you could put aside each payday.

  1. Get your super sorted

Find out if you have any lost super and how you can consolidate it to avoid paying multiple fees.

Or read about how you can boost your super and possibly lower your tax bill.

  1. Consolidate your debt

Now might be the time to get rid of extra credit cards and opt for a single card with a lower interest rate and less fees. See Canstar for a comparison of credit cards.

If you have a home loan, consider increasing your loan amount and using the extra money to pay off your other debts. A home loan usually has a lower interest rate than debts such as credit cards, so this will help you to avoid paying higher interest rates.

If you don’t have a home loan, consider getting a personal loan at a lower interest rate to help you pay off your debts sooner.

Or learn about how to pay off your debts altogether so you can become debt-free.

  1. See where you can make savings on big ticket items

Take advantage of end of financial year sales to buy big ticket items, such as cars, whitegoods or furniture. And be sure to do your research on products and prices, shop around and don’t be afraid to bargain.

Make sure you get the best rates available on your frequent bills such as insurance and energy. Use comparison websites, such as comparethemarket.com.au to compare product benefits and costs and check Canstar to see how your interest rates and financial products stack up.

  1. Commit to better money habits

Resolve to curb any costly bad habits that can drain your finances, such as paying for things that you can do yourself. Do you really need to outsource house cleaning or washing the car?

And read about how to plug any money leaks in your budget and boost your bank balance.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

    You’ll be mopping up every last bit of this creamy pumpkin soup with crispy ciabatta.


  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1.5kg butternut pumpkin, diced
  • 20g butter
  • 1 medium leek, trimmed, halved, washed, sliced
  • 2 medium cream delight potatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon pure cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • toasted ciabatta slices, to serveMethod

    Step 1

  • Preheat oven to 200°C /180°C fan-forced. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. Place pumpkin and garlic in a bowl. Add oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Arrange pumpkin mixture, in a single layer, on prepared tray. Bake for 40 minutes or until pumpkin is golden and tender.

    Step 2

  • Squeeze garlic cloves from skin. Reserve. Discard skin. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leek. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until leek has softened. Add potato. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.

    Step 3

  • Add stock and 2 cups cold water. Season with pepper. Cover. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir in roasted pumpkin and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until heated through. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

    Step 4

  • Blend pumpkin mixture, in batches, until smooth. Return to pan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through. Ladle into serving bowls. Drizzle with cream and sprinkle with chives. Serve with toasted ciabatta slices.
  • Keep some of the pumpkin seeds, coat them in some paprika and roast them with the garlic. They will add a nice crunchy element to your soup.

How can I safeguard my ability to pay off my home loan?

How can I safeguard my ability to pay off my home loan?

It’s not unusual that life can be smooth sailing one minute and throw you a curveball the next.

You might be hit with an injury or illness, a reduction in income or redundancy, a separation from your partner, or even a death in the family—all of which can be difficult, emotionally as well as financially.

If you happen to owe money on your home loan, having a financial backup plan, should such a situation arise, could go a long way.

What you can do today

Set up an emergency fund

An emergency fund can give you peace of mind by creating a pool of rainy-day savings that can be used to pay unexpected bills in the event of a financial dilemma.

It also reduces the need to rely on high interest borrowing options, such as credit cards or applying for payday loans, which can often be an expensive form of finance and create unwanted debt.

A decent-sized emergency savings pot won’t be built overnight, but the good news is putting aside a little money on an ongoing basis could really come in handy down the track.

Check out our six steps on how to set up an emergency fund.

Maintain your insurance

Depending on what life throws at you, having personal insurance may help you to still meet your financial commitments, which could include making your home loan repayments.

After all, at least one in five Australians will be unable to work due to an unexpected accident, injury or illness at some point in their life.1

For this reason, checking you have the right type of cover and enough of it, particularly when your circumstances change, is important.

If you don’t have insurance, now might be a good time to learn about the types of cover available, and whether you take it out through super or via an insurance company, broker or adviser.

If things take a turn for the worse

Talk to your lender

If you run into tough times and you don’t have an emergency fund, renegotiating your home loan might allow you to reduce your repayments by switching to a different type of home loan or moving to interest-only payments.

You may also be able to seek assistance from your lender by claiming financial hardship.

All lenders must consider reasonable requests to alter the terms of a home loan in instances where someone suffers genuine financial hardship and feels a change would enable them to meet ongoing repayments.

If you’re not happy with your lender’s response you can also contact the Financial Ombudsman Service or Credit and Investments Ombudsman, both of which are free external dispute resolution schemes.

Sell your home and buy a cheaper property

It may not be ideal, but if you don’t have other options, selling your home might be worth exploring to avoid having your property repossessed and facing what could be an even bigger financial fallout.

It will take time to arrange things, whether selling your home outright or buying a property that’s cheaper to maintain. So, speak to your lender about how you can go about it and consider seeking advice as to whether this is the best path to take before making a decision.

Access your super to make your repayments

In some cases of severe hardship you may be granted early access to your retirement nest egg under strict conditions. However, this should be a last resort.

If you want to know more about how you can access your super in special circumstances check out the early release of superannuation section on the Centrelink website.

Being prepared

Life has its ups and downs so it’s best to be prepared. Remember, if you do run into tough times speak to your lender as soon as possible to see what your options are.

1 www.lifeinsurancefinder.com.au/post/compare-life-insurance-australia/the-impacts-of-underinsurance-in-australia/

Important information

© AMP Life Limited. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances and read the relevant product disclosure statement before deciding what’s right for you. This information hasn’t taken your circumstances into account.

This information is provided by AMP Life Limited. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relation to products and services provided to you. All information on this website is subject to change without notice.

Although the information in this article is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decisions. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.

What financial records do I need to keep?

Ever feel like you’re drowning in a sea of paper? Tame the paperwork today and reap the rewards tomorrow.

Life can be complicated enough without all the administrative paperwork that often accompanies it. This is particularly true when it comes to your personal finances.

If stacks of old bank statements, utility bills, receipts, insurance and superannuation documents mean you can’t see the trees for the paper, de-clutter, simplify your finances and improve your quality of life today.

Why simplify?

There are many good reasons to pare back on your financial record-keeping, including:

  • Living in smaller dwellings means we have less space to store documents
  • Saves time by making it easier to find what you need
  • Helps your loved ones find relevant documents easily should something happen to you
  • In the event of a home emergency, you can quickly find important documents you may want to take
  • Makes your life easier at tax time.

What you need to keep

When it comes to identifying the documents you need to keep, considering your legal obligations is a good place to start.

The first of these is your annual tax return. In order to complete your tax return you’ll need documentary evidence of:

  • all payments you’ve received, such as wages, interest, dividends and rental income
  • any expenses related to income received, such as work-related expenses or rental repairs
  • the sale or purchase of assets, such as property or shares
  • donations, contributions or gifts to charities
  • private health insurance cover
  • medical expenses, both your own and those of any dependents.1

You need to keep these documents for five years after you lodge your tax return in case you’re asked to substantiate your claims2, and it’s also a good idea to keep your notice of tax assessments for five years. However, if you run a small business, the document requirements and timeframes differ3 – find out more at the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

The second category of documents are those related to property such as:

  • property deeds
  • home loan documents
  • renovation approvals
  • warranties relating to work undertaken.

Other documents to keep include4:

  • wills
  • tax file numbers
  • powers of attorney
  • birth certificates
  • death certificates
  • marriage certificates
  • immunisation records
  • passports
  • current insurance policies, such as your life, home and contents, and motor insurance
  • your most recent superannuation statement
  • any personal loan documents
  • vehicle registration
  • vehicle service history
  • business registrations
  • qualifications documents.

What you can throw away

There are some documents you can toss, and as a rule, once a document has been replaced by a newer version, it’s safe to dispose of the older copy.

There’s also no need to hang onto credit card receipts once you’ve reconciled them against your bank statements, unless they’re needed for warranties.

Credit card and bank statements should be retained for a year, while other household paperwork, such as utility bills, can be thrown away once paid, unless you need a copy for rental applications or you want to keep them to compare your usage over time.

The exception to these rules is if the documents are required for tax purposes.


2 https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Income-and-deductions/In-detail/Keeping-your-tax-records/



Important information

© AMP Life Limited. This provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.