Four simple ways to get on top of your financial housekeeping
The beginning of a new financial year can be a great time to do some financial housekeeping. Money looks at a few ways you can make a fresh start in 2016-2017.
The new financial year is also a good opportunity to look at your major expenses and work out if you are still getting the best possible deals whether that's on your electricity, insurance, mobile phone or broadband.
Your circumstances change and so you may not need certain features or services while you may now need different ones.
For example your broadband plan might not have enough data now that you are using Netflix.
Make the most of comparison sites like GoSwitch, WhistleOut, and Finder to check whether there are better value options.
You can then haggle with your existing provider to see if they will match the best deal.
If you have a mortgage this is definitely worth paying special attention to. Again find out how your home loan stacks up against the competition using sites like Canstar, finder and RateCity.
Make sure you factor in any costs involved in switching such as any exit fees or upfront fees for the new loan. It's a good idea to calculate your break costs before making a move.
To do this you add up the costs to refinance and divide by your monthly savings.
For example if it costs $1000 to switch but you'd save $50 a month in repayments it would take 20 months to "break even".
Given that by 2035 you'll have to be 70 to be eligible for the age pension it's vital to make your superannuation a priority.
Firstly, do you know where your super is? There is almost $17 billion in lost super accounts, so find out if you're entitled to a slice of that.
Visit the ATO's 'check your super' page for tips. You will need a MyGov account to help you find lost super.
Another option is finding out if you're eligible for the government's co-contribution. If you earn less than $ $36,021 in the 2016/2017 financial year and make an after-tax contribution of $1000 into your super fund the government may top up your super by a further $500.
You may be entitled to a partial co-contribution if you earn more than $36,021 but less than $51,021.
You might also consider salary sacrificing - which means giving up some of your pay and putting it in super instead.
For example if you're 40, with a super balance of $60,000 earning $80,000 a year and make no extra contributions you'll have $385,802 in super when you're 65. Salary sacrifice 3% of your salary and you'll have $70,000 extra.
The new financial year is also a good time to review your investments and decide whether they're worth holding onto or if it's time to sell.
If a share has been growing but you believe its future prospects are slowing or the future returns may not be as good as the potential of another share this might indicate it is time to sell.
Make sure you research the market sector as well as that particular company.
If you have any cash parked in savings you should make sure you're getting the best possible return.
With rates at record lows it is much harder to get a decent return on your savings - you might even be going backwards after inflation and tax.
Many institutions offer promotional rates for a limited period so you could switch every few months to take advantage of these offers. This strategy is usually only worthwhile for larger balances.