Summer Home Finance & Savings Checklist
As the year comes to an end and the lazy afternoons and summer sun are calling, your finances are unlikely to be at the forefront of your mind. However it can be difficult to relax properly if you have financial affairs looming over you.
Use this checklist to reconcile your numbers ready for the New Year and to give yourself some peace of mind these holidays.
1. Consolidate Your Superannuation
If your superannuation is split between more than one account, consider consolidating all of your accounts once and for all. Also enlist the online services of the Australian Taxation Office’s in order to determine whether you have lost any super, being careful not to cancel any insurance in the process.
2. Check Your Insurance Policies
Check that you have the appropriate insurance cover in place and consider whether it’s time to reassess your personal arrangements (including death, disability and income protection), as well as other insurances such as home and contents. This is particularly important if your circumstances have changed recently.
3. Revise Your Will
Consider what significant events have impacted your family this year. If you have welcomed a new child or grandchild, met a new life partner or a family member has been married or divorce, consider the implications on your Will. Whatever the event, make sure that your Will is still reflective of your intentions, as to ensure that your estate ends up with the appropriate beneficiaries.
4. Check Your Superannuation Beneficiaries
As it is not automatically included as part of your estate, it is also important to ensure that the nominated beneficiaries for your superannuation are up to date as well. If offered, consider whether binding nominations could be appropriate for you. If you have an existing binding nomination, consider whether it is time to renew or revise this or if you should seek professional advice.
5. Review Your Powers Of Attorney
Ensure that the person or persons you have appointed as your Power of Attorney are people you are still comfortable with holding this responsibility, and be sure to keep them updated as to your personal intentions and wishes. If you haven’t appointed a Power of Attorney already, and wish to find out more about this then you should talk to your adviser.
6. Check You’ve Lodged Your Tax Return
Check that you have lodged your 2015 tax return and, if necessary, that your BAS statements are up to date. If you’re unsure of whether or not you have lodged these, contact the Australian Taxation Office to check your tax history or speak with your accountant.
7. Track Down Any Outstanding Bills Or Payments
Sift through your mail and email checking that you are up to date with all of your service payments. It can be easy for notices to get lost in all of the clutter of your mail or inbox, so catching even a small outstanding payment could save you greatly on overdue notices, as well as making a positive difference to your credit rating. If you have bank or credit card accounts that you no longer require, consider closing them down entirely.
8. Update Your Contact Details & Organise Your Filing
Ensure that Medicare, Centrelink, the Australian Electoral Commission and the Australian Tax Office all have your current and correct contact details. This will ensure that you can be easily contacted should any obligations or benefits require your attention. Additionally, if you have a Senior Card, ensure that the contact details on this are current and up to date.
This is also a good opportunity for you to file away these details and any other important financial documents, including tax information, that you may need, and that you may be required to keep.
9. Destroy Any Old Credit Or Debit Cards & Documents
Taking the care to properly destroy and dispose of any old cards can help to keep you and your family safe from the risks of credit card fraud and identity theft. This may involve cutting up or shredding old cards before you dispose of them or running a strong magnet over old cards to destroy the data on the strip and to make the extraction of information very difficult.
Destroying a chip in a card can be easily done using a pair of scissors or a hammer. Splitting the broken pieces of your card between a number of different rubbish bags is another useful trick. These same methods can be applied to any documents containing your personal information.
10. Redeem Reward Points
After a year of credit card use it is more than likely that you will have accumulated yourself some reward and frequent flyer points. Have a look at the available benefits of these rewards and whether there is an opportunity for cash back or gift card rewards. These discounts can be particularly helpful to save on your holiday shopping or your summer travelling. And if you don’t have any flights plan for the near future, check to see if your frequent flyer points can be converted into rewards that are more relevant to you.
Tying up your financial loose ends can be a great way to destress and get organised entering the New Year. If you need help to clarify or understand your financial affairs, contact your financial adviser.
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