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Your Financial Checklist

The beginning of each New Year is a time to contemplate aspirations for the future. To turn dreams into reality, though, you must take practical action grounded in facts and figures. Start off on the right foot with this useful financial checklist. It provides a framework for progressing towards your goals. Now, go forth and prosper! See the big picture. Your “net worth” is what you own minus what you owe. Calculating it is a good way to figure out where you will need to improve financially, such as spending, debt or investments. Track spending. Simply put, you need to know where your money is going. Break down expenses into categories — like utilities, insurance, entertainment and clothing — to help identify where you can scale back. Set financial goals. You’re more inclined to make smarter saving and spending decisions if you have specific goals that are clearly measurable and have a defined deadline. Determine what you want to accomplish financially this year, in five years and in 10. Your short-term goals should complement your long-term ones. Do regular checks —perhaps quarterly — on your short-term objectives to make sure you stay on track throughout the year.  Go automatic. Schedule automated online payment of recurring bills to save time and avoid costly late fees. Pay yourself as well - create a regular savings plan by setting up a direct deposit from your pay into a high-interest savings account. This can help save money before you’re tempted to spend it. Get on top of debt. Pay “bad debts”, such as high-interest credit-card bills and non–tax-deductible debt, first. If you have a mortgage, review the home loan and consider refinancing to a better package. Consolidating debts may help control interest. Review plans and subscriptions Look at everything you have on annual or automatic renewal: mobile phone plan, internet package, video and music streaming, print and online publications. Evaluate whether the current packages are right for your needs. Consider if you want to continue those products and services, and then check with customer service regarding options that may save you money. Prepare for tax season Gather and organise receipts for all tax-deductible goods and services, such as work-related expenses and private health cover. No time like the present! Of course, you don’t have to wait in order to review your financial situation. Do it today! You may even find that other New Year resolutions are more easily achievable as a result.