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5 top tips to be financially savvy from an expert

Pictured: Couple look at their finances while sitting in living room, hand full of multiple Australian $1 coins.
Here are the five things you need to do to get a handle on your finances. (Images: Getty).

After the events of the last 18 months, Australians are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And while the last couple of years has been tough for many, it also forced many families to do a financial health check, CEO of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) Dante De Gori told Yahoo Finance.

The majority of Australians maintained a DIY approach to their financial health, with 88 per cent describing themselves as only trusting themselves and their partner with their finances, FPA research found.

However, there are several instances where it’s worth hearing from an expert, the FPA CEO said.

“Coming out on the other side of the pandemic, there are a lot of key learnings for Australians on how to better manage their financial situations,” De Gori said.

WATCH: How much should you have in an emergency fund?

“Like how you would seek legal advice from a lawyer, get regular health checks from a doctor, we recommend seeking professional advice on your financial situation from a qualified financial planner.”

Ahead of Financial Planning Week, De Gori said now is the time to readdress your finances and do a financial health check.

“Financial Planning Week is all about inspiring Australians from all walks of life and ages to consider their personal finances and find out how having a financial plan will give you greater peace of mind and security,” he said.

Here are the top five tips to stay financially savvy from De Gori.

1. Seek out financial support that is available to you

Look up what government support you are eligible for and look at ways to manage the bills you have, De Gori said.

“Talk to your bank about freezing mortgage repayments, or your landlord for a freeze or rent reduction while you’re in lockdown,” he said.

2. Save what you can

Save any money you have left over once you’ve covered your essential expenses.

“If you don’t already have one, consider contributing your excess funds to an emergency fund – with so many unknowns, you never know whether you’ll need to tap into it sooner rather than later,” De Gori said.

“Look after yourself and guard your mental health – being tired, worried or stressed can lead to poor decision-making when it comes to dealing with your finances.”

3. Budgeting is key

Revisit your budget regularly, paying close attention to where you’ve struggled.

“Tackle those areas with a calm attitude and seek advice from a certified financial planner or other FPA member financial professional if you need help.”

4. Cancel what you don’t need

De Gori said it’s time to stop all unwanted or forgotten direct debits and monthly subscriptions.

“Review the direct debits you have set up on your accounts to ensure you’re not paying for anything redundant or unnecessary,” he said.

5. Stay on top of your payments

To avoid getting caught out when the bills arrive, De Gori said it’s important to plan ahead and stay on top of your payments.

“Continue making your regular payments as long as you can afford to – you’ll be better off at the end the longer you stay on track,” he said.

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