Live within your means to sur­vive 2017

Life & Style Weekend - - READ -

ABOVE all, live within your means. No, se­ri­ously. Live within your means. Noel Whit­taker re­peats this ad­vice sev­eral times when asked what comes first in a fi­nan­cial over­haul.

The per­sonal fi­nance colum­nist has been writ­ing point­ers for read­ers for the past 25 years and it’s the one tip he stresses for any­one com­mit­ting to bet­ter fi­nan­cial health in 2017.

“You need to un­der­stand that if you live be­yond your means, it’s a down­ward road to dis­as­ter,” he says.

“Can you pay off your credit card ev­ery month?

“I’ve found if peo­ple con­trol the things they can con­trol, then they don’t need to worry about the things they can’t con­trol.”

Get­ting into a good fi­nan­cial po­si­tion in 2017 is a goal worth stick­ing to, Noel says. Su­per­an­nu­a­tion changes go­ing into ef­fect on June 30 will bite at the bud­gets of higher earn­ers, and the govern­ment safety net for low earn­ers is be­ing tight­ened. “It’s a bit of a two-edged sword,” he says.

So where to start? The first step is mo­ti­va­tion, Noel says, sec­onded by know­ing your as­sets, ex­penses and debt.

“The best road map in the world is use­less un­less you know where you are,” he says.

“You get a piece of pa­per and you write down all your yearly pre­dictable costs.

“Then you make an an­nual to­tal.”

He says the next step is to di­vide the pre­dictable costs by the num­ber of pay days.

The other ma­jor mone­tary con­sid­er­a­tion in 2017 will be fixed rates ver­sus vari­able as Aus­tralia faces the po­ten­tial re­al­ity of ris­ing in­ter­est rates.

“You can fix your loans pay­ments for un­der 5% for the next few years,” he says.

Noel’s book Mak­ing Money Made Sim­ple is avail­able on­line.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Fi­nance guru Noel Whit­taker.

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