5 Ways To Make The Same Money As Men

A man is not a plan, but they enjoy higher salaries now and more wealth later. To be precise, 17.5 per cent a year higher and $1 million over a lifetime more (the estimated dollar detriment for women who are in their 30s and 40s today).

RELATED: Helen Mirren: ‘Women Are Still Toddlers In This Modern World’

It certainly doesn’t help that females are still the more likely sex to take career/pay breaks to raise kids.

Bottom line: the system is dreadfully biased against women… so it’s time to man-up your money plan. Here are five easy ways to ensure we hit the same financial heights.

1. DON’T be scared to go for a pay rise – back yourself with your boss (your partner would)

Women are notoriously shy about asking for the salary we deserve, often because we can’t quite accept we deserve the job in the first place. This is the so-called, so-common ‘imposter’ syndrome. I’m betting you do deserve it – your employer clearly thinks so – and if you put a calm and convincing case for extra cash (including evidence of your contribution), it will be granted (even if it takes a while).

2. DON’T trust super – it will fail you unless you pay in more before and after children

Super has only been compulsory since 1992 but already women are retiring with less than half the balances of men because it is earnings-based. Indeed, super is actually sabotaging us: it’s lulled us into the false belief that a comfortable retirement is assured. Far from it, but you should avert disaster if you make even small extra contributions in periods when you are working and any possible when you are not (check out the free money available via the co-contribution scheme and tax incentives for spouse contributions). The early years are crucial for compounding.

3. DON’T trust your partner – to always provide for you, that is. For many reasons, he might not be able to

Not to get too grim, but death, divorce, dire money decisions… they could all leave you broke. Besides, what a responsibility for a man to shoulder your financial future too on the basis of out-dated gender roles. He may be clueless! Get across the basics of your money life: know your accounts (and be sure you can access them), your insurances (ensure they are enough) and your investments (check they are suitable). Come what may you need to be protected.

4. DON’T just think about your family – you owe it to them to also look after your future

‘The woman’s money is the family’s money, the man’s money is his money,” a participant in a recent RMIT University study of females and finance said succinctly… and scarily. And another added: ‘It’s a mother’s job to go without.” No, no, no. This is the attitude at the root of our ultimate income inferiority. If you need further motivation: what if your kids came to you for money as adults and you couldn’t help?

5. DO dare to dream – the situation is serious but also easily fixed if you simply make prosperity a priority

You don’t amass money for money’s sake. You do it to have options, to have opportunities. So decide exactly what it is you want from LIFE. Crystallise these precious aspirations and the process of achieving them – and the small sacrifices it may take along the way – will seem so worth it.

Nicole is the founder of TheMoneyMentorWay.com and developer of the 12-Step Prosperity Plan, an achievable and even enjoyable blueprint to take Aussies from worry to wealthy. Nicole’s writing has earned her top personal finance awards in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Her career credits include founding and editing The Australian Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine, and reporting and editing for the magazine arm of the UK’s Financial Times. Author, qualified financial adviser and Fairfax’s Money Matters columnist for the last decade, Nicole is a regular on television and radio. She talks money without the mumbo jumbo. Follow her on Twitter at @NicolePedMcK.

7 Modern Money Lessons You Need to Teach Your Kids

Teaching kids about money used to be as simple as: “This is the pay envelope with our cash for the week.” These days credit and debit cards, internet banking and – pretty soon – transacting via mobile phone mean money has become almost invisible to children. Add to that technology traps like unexpected in-app purchases and unfathomable mobile plans, and parents face a big challenge raising modern money managers.

These are the seven vital lessons to impart if your children are ever to fend for themselves financially.

1. Even though you seldom see money, it does disappear
Everyone has a finite amount on which to live and play. Key is to make it stretch as far as possible, and have a little leftover for later.

Top teaching tip: Use food as a pay proxy and from a young age. For example, with chocolate and money, you have to carefully decide how much and how quickly you consume, because it’s very sad when it’s gone. Especially when yours is gone before anyone else’s.

2. Plastic is not fantastic – unless it’s pre-loaded with cash
To a child, it can look like a real-life fairy tale to flash a card and magically take home anything you want. But a big credit card bill at the end of the month is positively evil.

Top teaching tip: Remember you are your child’s first experience of debt and spending so always model good credit card behaviour. Buy only what you set out to and explain there is either money saved onto the card or you will repay what you spend before it costs extra in interest (do you like the way I assume that’s the case?).

3. Tablets are not just for Angry Birds
How are your precious progeny to know when you are head down, brow-furrowed, that you’re not gaming but banking?

Top teaching tip: Always talk through what you are doing. And consider paying pocket money into a deposit account from an early age so children can watch both their game scores and bank balance tick up online. It might even encourage them to get competitive about interest rates.

4. Plan to not miss out
It’s crucial to think ahead to what you are going to want and need in any given pay period because, as we’ve established, money is finite.

Top teaching tip: The pocket money challenge. Give your kids the option to have $10 a week pocket money or $40 a month. They’ll presumably choose $40 a month and then spend it in a week, learning quickly – albeit painfully – to make money stretch. The ‘challenge’ for you is not to cave in and give them extra when they can’t go out at the end of the month (that could even pre-dispose them to debt dependency).

5. Children are viewed as ‘fair’ financial game
More than 50 consumer protection agencies around the world have now united in a fight against smartphone and tablet apps that mislead kids. They need to understand that companies prey on children’s psychology and competitiveness – to get to the next level… to advance more quickly… – to keep them spending money.

Top teaching tip: Micro-payments – on/in apps, games or music – can do maximum damage. Set any parental restrictions you can and keep a tally with your child of their spend. If they transact on the internet, also ensure they know sites need to be secure (with a ‘https’ prefix and a padlock in the bottom corner).

6. Waiting works wonders
Today’s money world takes our built-in instant gratification bent – you’ll recognise it in your child’s super-fun ‘I want, I want’ meltdowns – to a whole new level. An important learning is that alternative, delayed pay-offs can be far greater and even more satisfying.

Top teaching tip: Target a family goal like a big trip to California’s Disneyland. Then every time your child spies something shiny or yummy at the checkout, give them the option to buy it for them or save the equivalent for a splurge on Disneyland merchandise. Push actual coins or notes into a piggy bank or preferably deposit them in the bank, and keep an incentive chart of their ‘savings’ on the wall.

7. Stash cash from an early age
This one is really the key to comfort: tiny changes made early enough make a massive difference.

Top teaching tip: Drive home the dollar advantage of putting some money aside to keep your child focused. A dollar a day of pocket money saved from, say, age 10 becomes more than $60,000 by age 50 (at a return of 6 per cent). Better still, only $14,560 of that is from you; the rest is courtesy of the bank or investment. Imagine where you’d be today if someone had told you that…

Nicole is the founder of TheMoneyMentorWay.com and developer of the 12-Step Prosperity Plan, an achievable and even enjoyable blueprint to take Aussies from worry to wealthy. Nicole’s writing has earned her top personal finance awards in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Her career credits include founding and editing The Australian Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine, and reporting and editing for the magazine arm of the UK’s Financial Times. Author, qualified financial adviser and Fairfax’s Money Matters columnists for the last decade, Nicole is a regular on television and radio. She talks money without the mumbo jumbo. Follow her on Twitter at @NicolePedMcK.

How to Set and Cost Your Financial Goals

Get yourself in position to achieve your financial dreams in 2014 with these money saving tips from this extract from money mentor Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon’s new 12-Step Prosperity Plan.

Years ago, I heard a quote from supermodel Kate Moss that really stuck in my mind. When asked how she maintained her fabulous figure, she (more or less) replied: “It’s easy – you just have to want to be slim more than you want that piece of cheesecake, or that chocolate bar etcetera.”

The quote resonated with me because the same technique works for fabulous finances – it is easy to reach your longed-for money goals, you just have to want them more than you want those shoes, or that perfume etcetera.

I have a theory any of us is capable of spending any amount of money. I distinctly remember getting my very first pay cheque from my $24,000 a year job as a cadet journalist – and wondering how I was ever going to spend all that cash! Guess what? I managed it, and have been managing it ever since.

Think about how much, after tax, you currently earn a year (if you don’t know this figure, grab a calculator and multiply your after-tax weekly, fortnightly or monthly pay by 52, 26 or 12 respectively). Now, estimate how much you might have earned in your working life. What do you have to show for all this money?

If the answer is not much, there’s a fair chance you struggle to resist spending your whole pay packet. But here’s the thing – anything you manage to save now, you will get to spend later. In fact, this will ensure there is something left to spend later. It’s not about blanket denial but about deferred spending. And I’d venture you’ll enjoy more what you work for, and look forward to, anyway.

Top Tip Tute: Is micro-spending ruining your future?
Find out in my video.

So it’s time to start dreaming; I always say you need strong motivation to resist instant gratification. Busting out of debt, if you have any, should be your top money priority. But think too about the fun stuff you want in the short, medium and long term:

The next one to two years: 

For example, an overseas trip. Does a friend have an upcoming wedding in Thailand next year? Maybe you fancy a more expensive, longer sojourn the following year? (NEVER use credit for something for which you’ll have nothing to show afterwards but photos). On the sensible side, other goals during this timeframe might be to pay off a credit card and/or a personal loan.

The next three to five years: 

Is your car going to need replacing within this period? If so, you’ll need to start planning to meet the expense (NEVER borrowing for a depreciating asset, one that will fall in value). Or perhaps you would really like a new kitchen.

Five years and beyond:  

The ultimate goal – for all of us – should be to ensure by the time we retire that we have repaid at least our Very Bloody Bad Debts (my term for nasty personal debt that earns you no income) and that our income will be adequate when we stop work. Remember, the money employers are required to pay into your super fund is unlikely to be enough to sustain you for the whole of your retirement. So in this category you could include repay the mortgage and build a nice little nest egg.

Next, make a list like the following of these most-desired money goals. Write beside each one the date on which you would like to achieve it. Then put an estimate of what the goal will cost and how many pays there are until your target date. For example, if the target date is three years away and you are paid fortnightly, multiply 3 (years) x 26 (the number of fortnights a year). Finally, divide the cost by the number of pays to find the amount you have to put aside each pay.

Short-term goals (1-2 years)

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Medium-term goals (3-5 years)

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Longer-term goals (5 years+)

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Top Tip Tute: How can I stop micro-spending?

Scrimping and saving is not much fun but it can yield fantastic results. The trick is to make your goals specific and terrific: A trip to Fiji… A paid-off house by January 2020… Retirement five years before you can get at your super… Now that’s worth holding some back.

And make like Kate Moss and skip the cheesecake and you’ll find yourself in great shape, in more ways than one, earlier still.

This is an edited extract from Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon’s new 12-Step Prosperity Plan, available exclusively on TheMoneyMentorWay.com. Together with a fully-customisable prosperity tracking tool, it forms a money makeover system that is delivered 100 per cent online and accessible to all. 

Nicole is the founder of TheMoneyMentorWay.com and developer of the 12-Step Prosperity Plan, an achievable and even enjoyable blueprint to take Aussies from worry to wealthy. Nicole’s writing has earned her top personal finance awards in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Her career credits include founding and editing The Australian Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine, and reporting and editing for the magazine arm of the UK’s Financial Times. Author, qualified financial adviser and Fairfax’s Money Matters columnist for the last decade, Nicole is a regular on television and radio. She talks money without the mumbo jumbo. Follow her on Twitter @NicolePedMcK.

Addicted to Debt? Answer These Questions and FInd Out

‘Buy now, pay later’ is practically the mantra of the modern world, but you can give yourself a hangover that lasts a lifetime if you use debt to indulge.

A little like a dodgy eye-liner effort, you may need to apply more and more to mask your previous mistakes. But a debt mess is far more difficult to erase.

Here are the five questions that tell you if you’re getting in too deep.

1. Do you find it difficult to distinguish between needs and wants?
It’s possible you ‘need’ far fewer things than you think. Indeed caveman convention (well we now follow their diet) says survival requires just food, shelter, clothing and water. But even in those core categories, your expectations may belie your limitations. We’ll happily pay $15 for fancy water for goodness sakes!

2. Do you regularly make unplanned, impulse purchases on credit?
One of the best ways to keep your finances under control is to plan and cost your spend in any given pay period. If something is going to be unaffordable with one pay, you should spread the cost – stashing the cash – across however many it takes. If you don’t trust yourself to wait until you have the money, use lay-by so you have to. Yes, many shops still offer it.

3. Do you spend more than you earn each pay period?
This is a big warning sign as it means you go backwards each and every time… and the only way to do that is to use credit. You need to live within your means. In fact, you need to live well within your means – smart budgeting is about having a surplus of money each period that you can save for the future.

4. Are you struggling with – possibly growing – debt?
The larger your debt the larger your repayments, which means the less money you have left to live. And pretty soon you may be forced to reach for the credit card again to pay even for the essentials. Potentially a HUGE warning sign.

5. Do you owe more money than what your assets are worth?
A bigger picture consideration but also a critical one; this means your net worth is negative, and possibly going backwards each and every day – hardly good money management or prosperity planning.

Perhaps you could get away with answering ‘yes’ to one or two of the questions above, but any more than that and your future financial security – and that of your family – is in jeopardy. If you answered ‘yes’ to all of them, you need to contact your creditors to ask about more lenient repayment terms or easier ways to defeat your debt. This is the surest way to ensure your current predicament doesn’t dog you forever. Even if your answers were all ‘no’, it’s almost certain your money (rather than you) could be working harder.

Nicole is the founder of TheMoneyMentorWay.com and developer of the 12-Step Prosperity Plan, an achievable and even enjoyable blueprint to take Aussies from worry to wealthy. Nicole’s writing has earned her top personal finance awards in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Her career credits include founding and editing The Australian Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine, and reporting and editing for the magazine arm of the UK’s Financial Times. Author, qualified financial adviser and Fairfax’s Money Matters columnist for the last decade, Nicole is a regular on television and radio. She talks money without the mumbo jumbo. Follow her on Twitter at @NicolePedMcK.

7 High-Flying Women Share Their Secrets to Success

Are you despairing of ever smashing through that metaphorical glass ceiling and rising to the top of your chosen profession?  SheSaid has persuaded real-life women who are scaling the heights of seven very different fields to share their stories – and what they credit with their success.

The Retail Afficionado: Jennifer Jones, 38 (above)
Former Diesel Clothing managing director and founder/CEO of homewares company Have you met Miss Jones, a lifestyle-publication favourite

Tell us your potted career history: I witnessed first-hand the passion and love my parents had for their homewares business in the Philippines and I made it my personal goal to start my own business by the time I was 30. So just shy of my birthday I resigned from Diesel Clothing. First I tried my hand at selling almost anything and then, on my Dad’s suggestion, I went back to the Philippines to source a homewares collection.

Have you had to make personal sacrifices? The most confronting aspect of moving from a corporate career to your own business is the sheer amount of work you need to do yourself. I didn’t want to take out loans or get investors so I started with my savings and a fierce determination to succeed. While you do make sacrifices, especially financial, you know every aspect of your business and how to do things, and you have more time to do the things you love as you’re calling the shots.

What do you credit with your career success? I was told that when you start your own business everything you’ve done in the past, no matter how insignificant, plays a part in your success. This couldn’t be more true and all the roles I’ve had in the past have given me instinctive knowledge about starting my own company. We now release two full ranges a year of over 300 items and supply over 800 stores across Australia. Find something you truly love doing, then make it your job!

The Banker: Melanie Evans, 36
Head of home ownership for Australia’s second-largest lender, Westpac Group

Tell us your potted career history: I started in banking at 17 years old while studying my undergraduate degree. Having held senior product, marketing and P&L roles in banking, super and investments, it’s fair say I’ve grown up in a male-dominated environment!

Have you had to make personal sacrifices? I believe that those who achieve career success – as defined only by them – tend to be highly successful in life beyond their career too. So I’m very conscious of leading a happy and healthy life. I’ve never thought of anything as a sacrifice. I make explicit decisions on a daily basis about how I spend my time and I own those decisions. I’ve had very good role models in that regard. I make time to go for a run in the morning or at lunchtime, I prioritise family commitments, I make sure I eat well. I don’t hide the fact that I am spending time on myself because I think I am better person for it.

What do you credit with your career success? Understanding your business and most importantly your customers; hard work and tenacity; building solid relationships based on trust and respect; challenging convention and encouraging others to challenge your own thinking; always learning by seeking out people and experiences that will give you new perspectives; caring about people and developing those around you; enjoying yourself and being happy.

The Engineer: Sally Glen, 40
Australian director at Independent Project Analysis (IPA), the industry leader in the quantitative analysis of project management systems

Tell us your potted career history: I don’t recall really choosing engineering but growing up in the outback and being good at maths seemed good perquisites… and I happily went off to remote Tom Price for my first job. I’ve had three out of four good bosses, only two employers and interesting work. From starting in construction and project management, my work now involves governance and project economics, plus evaluating over 200 projects in the last decade (flying and airports are overrated!). Lots of public speaking, including teaching project professionals, is not where I thought engineering would take me.

Have you had to make personal sacrifices? We decided early on to have one of us home and it was an economic decision that I work. I have worried about how much I’ve been away from the girls (now five and seven) during their very young years. I think that has probably been harder on me than them and maybe it is giving them good role modelling for what is possible. The single income has postponed some plans but it has been of enormous comfort to me from many overseas locations that the kids had a parent at home.

What do you credit with your career success? I manage everything in large part because of my husband’s role as stay-at-home parent. I have an aptitude for process improvement and the puzzle solving that goes with operations management, and I have a scenario planning mindset to seeing off problems. Being more senior is isolating and I have to work on those likability issues that tend to be felt more by women. I credit my children for teaching me to be “present” and I have a small, core group of family and friends who help with my sanity from time to time. I also run.

The Journalist: Kate Mills, 40 
Former editor of BRW magazine and founder of www.professionalmums.net, a platform for flexible work opportunities for women in law, accounting, engineering and management consulting

Tell us your potted career history: Nearly a lawyer, but then accidentally fell into journalism and instantly loved it. Started in legal journalism but spread into becoming a general business commentator and spent the last three years as first female editor of BRW.

Have you had to make personal sacrifices? As editor my life came down to my family (husband and two girls) and work so I have been through periods where you just don’t see friends and you have to keep an eye on your physical and mental health so you don’t burn out. Any sacrifices have been worth it though – I love what I do.

What do you credit with your career success? Hard work and some luck. Early in my career I met an editor at a party who gave me my first big break – she overheard me making a group of lawyers laugh and thought I would be good value! I am like a lot of women who are the quiet hardworking ones that get things: we need to make more noise though about our achievements – that is one reason more men get ahead. My new motto: hear me roar!

The Lawyer: Anna Elliot, 38
Senior associate and leader of the Sydney labour and employment team at global top-20 law firm, Squire Sanders

Tell us your potted career history: I trained as a lawyer at Hammonds (now Squire Sanders) in the UK. After five years, I moved to Sydney with the intention of staying for six-12 months and returning to my role in London. After a brief career change honing some invaluable business development skills at KPMG, I met my husband and realised I was staying. So I re-qualified and continued my career in employment law in commercial firms here. Seven years later, I received a fantastic opportunity to re-join Squire Sanders to set up the labour and employment team in Sydney, when its newest Australian office opened in November 2012.

Have you had to make personal sacrifices? Yes. Although moving to Sydney was the right decision for my personal life, it set my career back about five years and I am still catching up with my former UK peers.  I also took less time off for maternity leave, and had less time at home once I returned to work, than I would have liked. I absolutely love being a mother and I am also passionate about my career – I have been very fortunate to have a husband and employers who are supportive of both.

What do you credit with your career success? Being hard working, committed and driven. Also maintaining relationships and never burning my bridges, which was a key factor in being approached for my current role.

The Property Manager: Kate Brown, 36
Group director, sustainability for global property company Grosvenor, run for the Duke of Westminster 

Tell us your potted career history: Completed a Masters degree in Art History and found my first job in property as a graduate asset manager in London, moving into development soon after. Once professionally qualified, I was posted to Sydney as a development manager, taking on the new (international – across our 19 offices) role of group director, sustainability five years ago.

Have you had to make personal sacrifices? The first three years of full-time working while undertaking a post-grad course – four nights a week, four hours a night just for the lectures and coursework on top – was very tough. I kissed goodbye to ANY social life! Now with a young family and an international role, the sacrifice is different: time away from home.

What do you credit with your career success? Never being afraid to ask the question; for a new challenge. People only know what you want if you tell them. So many people are dissatisfied… don’t die wondering! There was a need for my role but it didn’t exist. I asked the question and after some discussion it was created. Also being prepared to feel scarily out of my depth. Being a group director aged 30 was a little daunting – I made plenty of mistakes, but had to learn quickly.

The Television Careerist: Sarah Stinson, 33
Executive producer, Channel 7’s The Morning Show and Daily Edition

Tell us your potted career history: I started in the newsroom at Channel 9 in 1998. I was meant to do a week-long internship; I ended up staying for 8 months, simply by creating new jobs for myself. From there I went to the Today Show as production assistant and after two years, to my dream job at A Current Affair, starting as a researcher before moving up to senior producer. I then went to Today Tonight (Channel 7) as a producer and was promoted to chief of staff, where I really cut my teeth in management. This paved the way three years ago for my progression to executive producer of The Morning Show, and more recently the Daily Edition.

Have you had to make personal sacrifices? On the face of it, yes – I’ve been called back from holidays for every form of natural disaster. In my early 20s I spent more time in a dark edit suite than a dark nightclub (in retrospect, this may have been a good thing). I’ve spent pretty much every Sunday morning for the past 15 years chasing stories when I should be sleeping in. But this is a lifestyle, not a job, so I wouldn’t necessarily call them sacrifices, but rather a relatively small price to pay for long-term gain.

What do you credit with your career success? I have always been resourceful and incredibly determined. If someone tells me something can’t be done I see it as a challenge – an invitation to make it happen. I love recognising talent in other people and helping them to play to their strengths. More than most industries television is a team sport – it’s a constant relay. We all rely on each other to get the best product to air each day. And the two vital ingredients for any successful career: gusto and gumption.

Which women inspire you? We’d love to know your female role models and who you look up to!

Nicole is the founder of TheMoneyMentorWay.com and developer of the 12-Step Prosperity Plan, an achievable and even enjoyable blueprint to take Aussies from worry to wealthy. Nicole’s writing has earned her top personal finance awards in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Her career credits include founding and editing The Australian Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine, and reporting and editing for the magazine arm of the UK’s Financial Times. Author, qualified financial adviser and Fairfax’s Money Matters columnist for the last decade, Nicole is a regular on television and radio. She talks money without the mumbo jumbo. Follow her on Twitter at @NicolePedMcK.

How to Save $6386 a Year by Getting Smart With Your Bills

My guess is you spend more time dwelling on your Facebook status than your financial one… planning your Pinterest board than your interest hoard…linking in than stopping money leaking out.

But it is. And the irony is that technology is making the flow faster.

A growing phenomenon I’ve dubbed Digitally Induced Laziness sees us blithely ignore all the automatic payments that come out of our accounts each month – allowing oh-so-convenient to become oh-so-conned.

Providers of everything from utilities to financial services rely on their bill-DIL existing customers to fund big discounts to entice new ones. You may even find your deal gets slowly worse.

Here is where you’re likely to be losing the most money.

Your mortgage

The big banks are exploiting your electronic inertia big time. The difference between the standard variable rate offered by the Big 4 and the most competitive mortgage on the market has swelled to a shocking 1.42 percentage points. Historically they’ve only skimmed 1 point or so off the top. Today you’ll pay 5.91 per cent versus just 4.49 per cent, which means you could save on the average $300,000 mortgage a massive $75,000 in interest.

Possible saving: $250 a month; $3000 a year. BUT it’s possible to take this total interest saving from $75,000 to $122,644 without paying an additional cent… you simply need to maintain your repayments at their existing level. This means you’ll also clear your debt more than five years early, after which your money is your own. And your big-bank lender may even agree to match this if you threaten to leave.

Your electricity

For all the talk about big increases in the price of electricity, and some areas have seen hikes of four times the rate of inflation in the past five years, you can actually make huge savings. A family can save a big chunk by moving to a better offer; you just need to be wary of contracts that commit you for a period of time as you may end up stuck on an increasingly uncompetitive deal.

Possible saving: $386 a year, says Market researcher Energy Watch.

Your insurances

You could probably be paying 15 per cent less on every single general insurance policy – think car, home and contents. The potential savings could be even higher with risk insurers like life or income protection providers, but because of age or health history it can be trickier to change. You could also save a truckload on your health insurance – and bear in mind that laws designed to keep health insurance competitive dictate that you do not have to re-serve waiting period for hospital cover.

Possible savings: More than $2000 a year.

Your telecommunications

New players are massively shaking things up when it comes to your mobile phone and your data plans. Look into signing up with a new provider as soon as you get off a phone contract; you’ll be stunned by the savings now on offer. Consider also bundling your internet into the deal to save a bucketload more.

Possible saving: Maybe $1000 a year (and that’s assuming you’ve already been tech savvy enough to get on to Voice-over Internet Protocol like Skype  for overseas calls).

Screen time of a different kind could yield big results if you’ve inadvertently become a bill DIL. In fact, swap Instagram for an hour a month for probably an instant grand.

Fess up – how much time do you spend each month dealing with your finances?

Nicole is the founder of TheMoneyMentorWay.com and developer of the 12-Step Prosperity Plan, an achievable and even enjoyable blueprint to take Aussies from worry to wealthy. Nicole’s writing has earned her top personal finance awards in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Her career credits include founding and editing The Australian Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine, and reporting and editing for the magazine arm of the UK’s Financial Times. Author, qualified financial adviser and Fairfax’s Money Matters columnist for the last decade, Nicole is a regular on television and radio. She talks money without the mumbo jumbo. Follow her on Twitter at @NicolePedMcK.

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