1. Understand your assets and liabilities
Do you know how much you’re worth? (We’re talking in a money sense here, not in a self-worth kind of way - you know you’re priceless).
Knowing your net financial worth is a useful starting point when assessing your financial fitness. To do this, you need to work out what your assets are (like your savings, your car, house, KiwiSaver etc) and minus what you owe (credit card debt, student loans, personal loans, home loan etc). If you’d like a hand working it out, try Sorted’s net worth calculator.
2. Know where your money is going
Do instant noodles feature high on your menu in the week before pay day? If you have trouble making your money stretch, or if it slips through your fingers without anything to show for it, it’s time to start tracking your spending.
Try our bills calculator to see what your regular bills and expenses are, and take a look at your internet banking over the past month or so to see what else you've been spending your money on.
Once you know what you’re spending your money on, you can identify if there are things you can cut back on.
3. Set financial goals
You can’t reach goals you haven’t set. If you want to save a deposit for a house, go overseas or buy a new car, you need to plan for it. If you need motivation, take a look at our savings calculator to see how quickly small changes to your spending habits can add up, or our goal tracker to see how long it will take you to reach your goals.
4. Manage your debts
If you’re juggling multiple debts on your credit card, hire purchases or store cards it might be worth considering consolidating them into a personal loan. That way instead of having to manage several payments and different interest rates, you just have to keep track of one payment and one rate.
5. Put your finances on autopilot
Set up your banking so your bills are paid and your savings are put aside automatically. Automatically channelling money into savings takes the temptation out of having the money sitting in an everyday account, and setting up automatic payments for bills means there’s less admin for you to worry about on a monthly basis. It also means you’re more likely to be able to take advantage of prompt payment discounts some companies offer.
6. Live below your means
If you get a pay rise, don’t increase your spending at the same rate. Instead, funnel that extra money into savings, investments, or paying down debt. Even if you’re lucky enough to earn a champagne income, try to maintain a beer lifestyle. Don’t waste time, and money, keeping up with the Joneses.
7. Check your credit report
What appears on your credit report will affect how willing banks or other companies are to lend you money or approve you for a hire purchase.
Your credit report will include information on your payment history for credit cards, mortgages, hire purchases and car finance. It might also include your payment history on things like your phone or power bill.
You can get a copy of your credit report from any one of New Zealand’s three credit reporting agencies: Centrix, illion, and Equifax. It’s free, unless you want it urgently, in which case a fee will apply.
8. Make a will
Having a will is a way of looking after your loved ones if you pass away. It gives you the opportunity to say who you want to inherit your money and assets, and if you have kids, to say who you’d like as guardians.
Even if you don’t have a lot of assets, a will can save your family a lot of hassle during a time of grief. If you die without a will, it’s called dying intestate. In this case, the law decides who gets what.
If you already have a will, but your circumstances have changed since you made it – maybe you’ve got married or divorced, entered into or ended a de facto relationship, bought a house or had a child – then you should take another look at it. The Law Society has a handy guide about how to make a will.
9. Check your insurances
As life changes, so will your insurance needs. It’s a good idea to review your insurances every now and again to make sure you’re covered for all the important things. Try our Life & Living calculator, contents calculator and Cordell's home sum insured calculator to see if you’ve got enough cover.
This is intended as general information only. It does not take into account your financial situation and goals and is not personal advice. For advice about your particular circumstances please see your financial adviser.