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Geek chic: The five habits of financially smart people

An image of savings apps

Unless you’re expecting to win the lottery, ensuring your future financial well-being boils down to being diligent and careful with how you manage your money. In other words, this means having solid financial habits that you practise on a daily basis.

So what are some of the best habits financially smart people practise that you can easily take on as well?


Top Financial apps

Mobile phone apps are a cheap and convenient tool that everyone should make full use of. Here are some of the most useful apps available in Australia you should check out.

MoneySmart – TrackMySpend: Track where you’re spending your money – from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)   They also have a nice finance calculator,

Finance41: If you’re not a fan of Excel spreadsheets, Finance41 provides an alternative. Technically not an app but it’s mobile friendly and available for desktop

Mortgage Australia: Whether you’re taking out a home loan or planning on financing your next car, having a loan calculator in your back pocket is a great way to stay on top of repayments. This Aussie-centric app is one of the best mortgage, loan and stamp duty calculators on the market.

Expensify: Hate managing your work expenses? Then Expensify is worth trying out. This is a really handy tool for small businesses wanting to manage their expenses.

Keep a budget

Having a budget to keep track of your monthly expenses and income is essential to staying on top of your finances. Creating a budget that works for you (and that you’ll actually follow) may take time, but it is invaluable. Draw up budget for both short and long-term goals, as it will help put your financial situation into perspective.

High interest savings accounts

Diligently putting aside a portion of your wages toward a savings account is the most basic method to build your wealth. A high interest savings account (HISA) is a great option for those looking for a sure-fire way to safely accumulate wealth, with interest rates varying across different providers. Interest is usually calculated daily and paid monthly, and many HISAs have zero account-keeping fees and no minimum term for depositing your cash.

Automatic payments

Paying your bills and other regular expenses automatically via direct debit is a great habit to keep. Ensuring your debts and expenses are accounted for and paid in a timely manner is a cornerstone of good budgeting. It will not only save you time, it will ensure that you never forget another bill and never have to pay late fees again.

Keep an eye on the future

The government is set to increase super contributions to 12 per cent in the near future, which is good news. However, it’s still important for individuals to have an understanding of their superannuation.

While you may not have the time to take full control of your super via a self-managed super fund, here are a few things you should keep an eye on.

  • Roll all your super accounts into one to reduce administration fees.
  • Choose the right super fund that suits your circumstances and occupation.
  • Read the fine print. Super funds have a number of investment strategies to choose from and you should consider each carefully.
  • Consider salary sacrifice and making additional contributions to your super. Concessional contributions are taxed quite a bit lower than your marginal tax rate.

Developing good financial habits takes time and commitment. While it will not happen overnight, with perseverance these habits will become second nature and put you on the path to a secure financial future.