Top 5 Stress-free Christmas Money Saving Hacks

Top 5 Stress-free Christmas Money Saving Hacks

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, and for many of us it can also be quite stressful and hard hitting on your back pocket.

Leading up to Christmas can be frantic and chaotic especially trying to battle the crowds to do last minute gift shopping, lining up early at the fish markets to get seafood, the cooking, the decorations, the parties, the get togethers, working out which family  you’ll spend Christmas lunch and dinner with and everything else that goes with Christmas.

Sometimes things can get out of hand quickly and Christmas can become a heavy financial burden. So here are some our favourite ‘stress-free Christmas money saving hacks’ we have hand picked from experts for you to consider.

Our favourite stress-free Christmas money saving hacks

Take a different approach

Don’t stress yourself over the little things that drive you crazy. Consider a change. Why not just drop one annoying task and decide to it differently. Thinking outside the traditional norm could just make a difference to make Christmas fun and a lot less stressful. If posting out Christmas cards are one of those dreads, why not send out an online family Christmas video message? This way, it’s easier to do, it’s fun, it involves the whole family to create a video message and it saves you a few bucks in cards and postage.

Cut back on the expensive stressful Christmas rituals

It’s OK to cut back! If taking the family on a overseas holiday is a tradition, it might be a nice change to making the time spent with the family the main event and less focus on the travel itself.  Going back to basics and dropping expensive rituals for something more simple like spending meaningful moments with the family is just as rewarding and satisfying. Just going to the local beach or on a local driving holiday is just as fun but less expensive and less stressful.

‘Spend more time filling our souls than emptying our pocketbooks’

We love this quote  from Loretta LaRoche, international stress management consultant and columnist of ‘Get a Life’,  who says the need to run out and buy loads of expensive gifts for gift-giving is not necessary, and the joy of giving and receiving comes in different ways. Creating memorable family experiences is ever lasting and rewarding, and the simple acts of baking cakes or making Christmas pancakes for breakfast or just laughing and splashing around at the beach or at your family pool are just as joyous and soul fulfilling and kind to our back pockets.

‘Less is more’

Who is guilty of over-indulgence?  Is your Christmas tree overloaded with gifts, and  do you on Christmas day watch your kids rip through present after present until the unwrapping excitement fades and the joy is over then  the feeling of  stress creeps up on how you’re going to outdo it for next year?

Starting stats from ASIC Money Smart states that  Australians plan to spend on average $955 each over the Christmas holidays with some families (4%) even taking out loans to pay for presents!

All the money spent for a few seconds of joy with most of the gifts ending up in the giveaway bin – it just doesn’t seem to make good financial sense.

As a family activity, giving up some time for others in need, and volunteering for services or donating gifts to charity organisations or leading a ‘charity’ drive is a generous act of kindness and giving.

One thoughtful and meaningful gift is ‘good enough’ and it helps to keep financial pressures and stress to a minimum.

Gift of giving is not just about presents but giving your time to make a difference to others in need is an incredibly generous gift.

Don’t forget to have fun

Enjoy the time, relax and spend the time to create memorable experiences and meaningful moments with the people who matter the most to you.

It is a time to reflect, to be thankful, to appreciate the people around you and to have a few Christmas cheers and celebrations.

Focus on what’s important, and savour the moment of decorating the tree or baking Christmas cookies with the kids. It’s OK to have fun and it’s OK to just let go of the Christmas tasks still left on your list.

Sources:

  1. ASIC Money Smart – 12 Money Tips for Christmas
  2. Get a Life – Loretta LaRoche
  3. www.womasday.com – How to have a stress-free Christmas

 

For help on financial planning, talk to a Dome Financial Adviser in Charlestown, Tamworth and Hunter Valley.

The information contained on this page is for discussion purposes only and is not intended to constitute financial product advice. It does not take into consideration any persons objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider its appropriateness in light of your circumstances and consider seeking professional advice relevant to your individual before making a decision based on any information on this page.

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Preparing for Retirement Must Knows and Dos

Preparing for Retirement Must Knows and Dos

Major life events like nearing retirement triggers a need to get sound financial advice from a trusted financial adviser.

If you’re about to retire or wondering if you can afford to retire, don’t think alone. At this crucial moment in your life, it’s vital to talk about your retirement goals, and to discover all the different retirement planning options available and suitable for your needs.

Too often, people leave this important life milestone decision making process to the end which can actually reduce the ability to take advantage of the different planning strategies and options.

RETIREMENT PLANNING

Retirement is a milestone marking the start of a new phase in your life. If you’re well-prepared, you can look forward to freedom from a set routine and the opportunity to enjoy many things you haven’t had time to do while working.

Your quality of life and financial security after work will depend on you having an adequate retirement income. The decisions you make now about how you will invest your superannuation and any other savings once you retire are of critical importance. Whether you intend to move into full retirement straight away, or scale down to part-time work first, there are many issues to consider before you make any changes.

PLANNING AHEAD

In the lead-up to your retirement, information and advice are crucial in helping you assess your situation, to identify retirement goals and to develop a practical, achievable plan.

Retiree  FAQs

One of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for retirees, is:

How much retirement income do I need?

By the time you retire, you’d want your ‘nest egg’ to be sufficient enough to allow you to meet your ongoing retirement expenses, and have enough income to afford a lifestyle of your choice or desire.

Working out how much you’ll need to save to fund your retirement raises a lot of different questions you should be able to answer and understand. This is where the planning part comes to play by getting your adviser involved to work out a plan that is personalised and right for you.  

Some important retirement questions to consider:

  • At what age do you plan to retire?
  • Do you want to retire completely?
  • Would you like to continue to work part-time?
  • What are your planned lump-sum retirement expenses?
  • What will your expected ongoing retirement expenses be?
  • What is your life expectancy?
  • How much savings do you have accumulated?
  • How are your current retirement savings invested?
  • Do you understand the different investment options?
  • What type of an investor are you?

All of the questions are designed to help identify your goals, and to flesh out a solid plan that is customised and personalised. When planning for your retirement, you cannot afford to take a ‘blanket’ approach, it needs to be specific to you, and to your situation.

Don’t make the mistake many retirees often make, assuming you have all the time in the world.

Don’t leave it to the last minute. Give yourself the best possible outcome by planning ahead, understand all the options available, and collaborate with your adviser to put in a plan that is realistic, practical and achievable.

For more help on reaching your financial goals. talk to a Dome Financial Adviser.

The information contained on this page is for discussion purposes only and is not intended to constitute financial product advice. It does not take into consideration any persons objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider its appropriateness in light of your circumstances and consider seeking professional advice relevant to your individual before making a decision based on any information on this page.

Getting Divorced? Understand the many financial considerations.

Getting Divorced? Understand the many financial considerations.

Divorce is one of the most difficult things that a person can ever go through and this goes hand in hand with the need for proper financial planning.

How you are going to proceed can have an effect on your financial standing in the near future.

5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Clients Should Know When Going Through a Divorce

  1. What’s my current personal and financial situation?

Going through a divorce process is emotionally and mentally traumatic, and even more challenging for the spouse who wasn’t the main income earner or wasn’t responsible for managing the finances.

When you’re suddenly faced with this daunting situation, most people want to know what their financial situation is, and the question of affordability of ongoing expenses such as mortgage repayments, child care costs, household expenses etc becomes very real and stressful.

To get a handle on financial situations, it is often best, to take some time out, and to start gathering important information that will help to provide a realistic view of one’s current financial position.

Here are some important facts and figures to be aware of:

Bills (household utility, credit cards and store cards)
Investments (Shares, funds, property, ownership)
Property Deeds & mortgage papers
Loan details (home and investments, ownership)
Banking (savings accounts, PIN numbers etc)
Tax details
Insurance policies (home, health and personal)
Superannuation (personal, SMSFs)
Wills & Estate Planning details

It’s important to work with a professional adviser who can help to:

Assess and identify your income and financial commitments
Develop a new budget and plan to achieve your new goals.

  1. What do I do with my divorce settlement?

To face life on your own, and at the same time take on the financial responsibilities of looking after yourself and your children can be challenging and daunting.

Most people need to decide upon the hard facts of how they will use their divorce settlement to best provide for financial security and happiness.

There are lots of decisions to be made, and most importantly new personal and financial goals to be set, and acted upon.

This is a crucial time to work with a professional who can help to:

Review your financial situation after your divorce settlement.
Help you set new financial goals.
Help implement a financial ‘roadmap’ to provide clarity and direction.

  1. Do I need to get my own life insurance?

It’s important to review not only your home and content insurance but your own personal insurance including life, disability, trauma and income protection.

Insurance is an area often looked over in times of emotional and financial anguish but it is one that should be discussed with a professional adviser to sort out what is required, how much is needed and how to structure policies to ensure its cost-effectiveness and appropriateness.

Tip: If you have your ex-partner as the beneficiary of your insurance policy, you’d want to get this changed.

A professional adviser can help you to:

Review, recommend and organise appropriate insurances for you and for your dependents.

  1. What happens to our superannuation?

Superannuation is treated very differently in times of a separation or a divorce. It is managed as property under the Family Law Act 1975. It is different because although it’s considered to be property, it is held in a trust, and under superannuation splitting laws, it can be split after a relationship breakdown.

What a professional financial adviser can help you with is to:

Review your superannuation and retirement savings
Recommend superannuation build up strategies to help accelerate retirement savings.

  1. Do I need to update my Will?

Another important area to consider is updating one’s Will when a relationship breaks down or a divorce is imminent.

If you have made a binding nomination in your super or insurance policies, the beneficiaries named (most likely your ex-partner) in these policies can override anyone mentioned in a Will.

At times of major life event triggers such as a divorce or as your legal rights change, important documents such as a Will need to be updated to reflect your new situation, and consider it as part of your overall Estate Planning needs.

A professional adviser can help you to:

Seek legal advice to ensure your Will is updated or created

Life events often trigger a client’s need for financial planning advice including going through a divorce.

Being financially aware and prepared can save you more heartache and emotional stress.

If you require help with your situation, please speak to a DOME financial adviser.

The information contained on this page is for discussion purposes only and is not intended to constitute financial product advice. It does not take into consideration any persons objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider its appropriateness in light of your circumstances and consider seeking professional advice relevant to your individual before making a decision based on any information on this page.

Do you know when to seek financial advice?

Do you know when to seek financial advice?

Do you know that, when your personal life changes or when you reach important life milestones, your financial life changes with you?

Seeking advice at those crucial life changing moments can have a huge impact on your financial situation, and you want to be able to make smart financial decisions with confidence to enhance your life further, and not hinder it.

When your life changes or when you experience certain life events or milestones, this is when you want to collaborate with a planner.

A financial planner can be your ‘sounding board’ to discuss your changed circumstances or they can be your financial coach. They can explain the different financial choices available to you, and help you make smart financial decisions.

Top 10 Life Events when you might need advice

As you grow up, finish school, get your first job, marry, have a family and then retire, these are the life milestones when financial advice can help you to be prepared financially to celebrate your important moments with confidence.

1. Starting Work

Why do I need advice when I’m young, healthy and carefree?

Getting your first job is an exciting time, and an important milestone. Even when you think you may not need advice at such an early stage of your life, knowing how to protect your income, or how to save and invest your surplus income is all about getting ahead, and planning for a brighter financial future.

2. Getting Married

When do we want to start a family?

It’s a wonderful time in your life, bringing about big changes for you and for your new partner. It’s also a great time to start planning your future together, and working out what your ‘big picture’ future might look like. Talking to a planner may help you to define your goals as a couple, and careful consideration will help you map out your long-term financial success.

3. Buying your first home

How do I save for a deposit?

When thinking about buying your first home, it’s a huge financial decision you will make. A new home equals a major milestone as well as one of the biggest investments you will make. Collaborating with a planner on important financial goals like saving for a deposit, budgeting and knowing how to best manage finances,  can definitely give you financial confidence.

4. Starting a Family

How can I send my kids to private schools?

When sounds of ‘pitter patter’ can be heard, it’s also a timely reminder for you to start planning and thinking about your family needs in the future. Things like how to manage finances and budgeting especially when two incomes can drop to one, and knowing how to start an education fund, and how to protect your family especially with the arrival of your ‘precious bundle’.

5. Protecting your family

How will I look after my family if I lose my income?

When you’re working hard to look after your family, and to build a better future for later, this is an important time to think about how to safeguard your family, and your financial assets like your home. A planner can minimise your financial concerns if and when unexpected events affect your family. Being prepared for unforeseen events means protecting what matters most in your life.

6. Mature Family

Can I afford to retire comfortably?

When your children are ready to leave the ‘nest’, it’s a great time to put the focus back on you, and to think about planning for your retirement. Reviewing your personal and financial situation with a planner at this critical time can help you understand what you need to do to get your retirement plans in place. Planning early can mean being able to secure a lifestyle you want later.

7. Receiving an Inheritance

Do I invest my inheritance or do I pay off my debts?

Inheriting money can be an unexpected surprise, and at the same time it can bring some financial stress. What to do with the money? How do I best invest or utilise the money? These are some of the questions you may face but it doesn’t mean you have to suffer them alone. Seeking advice from a planner who understands your situation and your future goals can help you to make the right financial decisions.

8. Job Loss

How can I be financially prepared if I lose my job?

In today’s ever changing corporate environment, being made redundant or losing your job is a reality you may be faced with. It is at this point, you need to be able to assess your situation and discuss your circumstances with a planner who can help  to put an immediate action plan into place. Being financially organised and knowing how to manage your situation will give you the assurance you need to overcome the difficult life challenge, and focus on your future goals.

9. Getting ready to retire

Can I afford to retire now?

Don’t leave it to the last minute to start thinking about your retirement. The earlier you think about it, the better prepared you will be to give yourself the best chance of actually realising your retirement goals. Talking to a planner at this crucial time in your life can help you to understand the clear steps or actions you need to take now for a better future down the road. Being able to visualise what you need to do now, and what you could actually achieve later will definitely give you the motivation to stick to your retirement plan.

10. Legacy

How can I help secure my children’s future?

You have worked hard all your life so knowing how to pass your assets to your children or family members is an important part of the financial planning process. Talking to a planner who can give you specific advice on the importance of Wills  and other estate planning issues to consider may mean you can help your children and other beneficiaries with clarity and with minimal financial disruption.

As you can see there are countless reasons why advice is an important factor throughout your life. Having a long-term values based relationship with a trusted planner can make a difference in the quality of lifestyle you achieve today and later.