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We explain how can you get the most from your savings, whether it's reducing debt, creating an emergency fund or starting an investment portfolio. Don't forget to revisit your goals first so that whatever you decide to do fits within your overall financial plan. The first step in any financial plan is to set some goals. What are you trying to achieve? How long will it take? The investment you choose should suit your investment timeframe.
If you have already set your goals, your financial decisions should support those goals. Check out our web page on goals and risk tolerance to help you get started. Interest on these types of debt is not tax deductible and is usually quite high, so these debts should be your first priority. Credit card debt usually carries the highest rate of interest, so the sooner you get them paid off the better.
Personal loans are also often high-interest debt and depending on the amount of the loan, the repayments can take up a large chunk of your income. This money could help a lot if say, you are temporarily unemployed, your car needs major repairs, or you have urgent home maintenance to do. How much you need in an emergency fund will be different for each person. We suggest working out how much you would need to cover all household bills and expenses for 3 months and use that as a starting point.
Make sure your emergency savings are in a high interest savings account you can access when you need to, but try not to dip into it unless it is really an emergency. Exchange traded funds ETFs can be a low-cost way to gain exposure to growth assets like shares or property without a large up-front investment, and without having to choose individual assets. This sort of investment has a higher risk than a savings account but will usually provide higher returns over the medium to long-term.
ETFs can be bought and sold like shares on a stock exchange, through your stockbroker or online trading account. ETFs in Australia are passively managed investments, meaning they track an asset or market index, and usually have lower fees than traditional managed funds.
They are available for assets such Australian shares, international shares, property, fixed income products, foreign currencies, precious metals and commodities. Read the PDS carefully before you invest to make sure you understand the investment. Find out more about ETFs. An index fund generates a return, before fees, that is almost the same as the index it is tracking and is an inexpensive way to gain exposure to a large portfolio of assets. Read the PDS carefully before you invest.
If you want to retire with a similar standard of living to what you are used to while you are working, your employers' super contributions are probably not going to be enough. Adding to your super can be tax-effective and because the money is locked away until you retire, you will reap the benefits of compounding returns over time.
If you are planning to add to your super you should also think about reviewing your super investment options and check the super fees you are paying. Consider your current financial position, your goals and what's most important to you, so you can work out the option that suits you best. Credit cards Credit card debt usually carries the highest rate of interest, so the sooner you get them paid off the better.
Work out how you can pay off your card faster and how much you can save. Credit card calculator Personal loans Personal loans are also often high-interest debt and depending on the amount of the loan, the repayments can take up a large chunk of your income. See how much faster you can repay your personal loan. See how much interest and time you can save by making extra repayments. Consider an exchange traded or index fund Exchange traded funds ETFs can be a low-cost way to gain exposure to growth assets like shares or property without a large up-front investment, and without having to choose individual assets.
Boost your super If you want to retire with a similar standard of living to what you are used to while you are working, your employers' super contributions are probably not going to be enough. There are two ways you could contribute your savings to super: Salary sacrifice through your employer - this will reduce tax and you can top up your income from your savings Make an after tax contribution to super - this can be a good option for low income earners as they may also be eigible for a government co-contribution.
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