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Getting out of debt is on the top of many of our New Year’s Resolutions, so as we start thinking of the year ahead, Lynette Murray from Acton Advice offers 5 strategies to help manage your mortgage and money for a finance-friendly 2012.

1. Understand your money personality

Recognise that when it comes to money everyone is different. Your money personality dictates the financial strategy you will be most comfortable with. If security is very important to you, you may find some wealth creation strategies push you beyond your comfort level. On the other hand, if money is a form of self-expression for you, a rigid credit card diet is not going to work. Your first decision is to understand your money personality and work with it, not against it.


2. Know your values

Know your values and live by them every day. If family is the most important thing to you, your financial decisions need to deliver on this value. This may mean staying in a smaller house because you can afford it on a 9-to-5 income.


3. Focus

Make the commitment to reduce your debt and take steps to achieve this. Any good life crisis worth its salt should include a mortgage health check. Your home loan is normally one of the biggest debts you have to service and a regular mortgage health check will ensure your home loan product is best suited to your needs. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been with your current lending provider, home loan products change, fees go up and interest rates fluctuate which means there might be a better option available for you.


4. Make the time

Take the time to manage your finances. This comes back to knowing your money personality. For some people money management comes naturally, but if the idea of doing the finances bores you to tears, then get creative. One couple used to schedule Tuesday nights as their finance night and over a glass of wine, they would companionably do the filing, pay bills and spend quality time talking. If being debt-free is important to you, you cannot allow it to be at the mercy of activities that matter least.


5. Measure

If you think about elite sportspeople, they measure improvements in seconds and inches as they continually strive to run faster, jump higher or score more goals. Everything is measured and it allows them to take corrective action quickly. If you want to reduce your debt, you need to know exactly where you stand financially and set targets to help you meet your goals.

Pay off the credit card debt? Save for a holiday? What are your financial goals for 2012?

For more information contact Lynette Murray from ActonAdvice at www.actonadvice.com.au/.