Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Have a Check-Up on Your Family's Financial Health

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Have a Check-Up on Your Family's Financial Health

Article excerpt

Byline: Miranda Cashin

Duane Potter's financial health checklist for families

Do you have a budget? It is essential to have a household budget and stick to it. If you spend more than you earn, it can quickly land you on the rollercoaster of debt. Learn to differentiate between needs and wants. Look for ways to reduce spending such as using discount petrol dockets, buying generic brand groceries, taking your own lunch to work and cutting back on take-away.

Strategy for paying off debts: One of the biggest threats to family budgets is credit card debt. Credit cards are fine if they are paid off in full each month before interest is incurred. But if there is a large amount of debt sitting on a card, it could be costing you big time as interest rates can be as high as 20% or more. To pay off this debt as fast as possible, you will need to make more than the minimum repayments each month. If you have several cards maxed-out, consider rolling all the debt into one low-interest card.

Savings plan for education: If you have young children, start saving for their education in the early years, so it's not so much of a financial burden when they start school. People with children already in school can also try to regularly set money aside, so the costs are not as much of a strain at the beginning of each school year.

Have an emergency fund: As a contingency for life's unexpected expenses, it is essential to have an emergency fund or access to cash through a mortgage redraw facility or offset account. A good rule of thumb is to have at least three months salary in the kitty.

IT'S an age-old adage that money can't buy happiness but a new report has revealed a family's financial health could greatly affect a child's development.

The AMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report: Little Australians measured the difference in the development of Australian children aged four and five across three different areas. …

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