Today marks the beginning of MoneySmart Week (1 - 7 September) which is a not-for-profit initiative encouraging all Australians to take the next step in their finances. As part of this initiative there are plenty of free events on to help you get a grip on budgets, saving, investing, superannuation planning and all that other stuff you’ve been putting off for months. So what are you waiting for?
If you don’t know where to start, take this quick, fun quiz to see what your next steps should be.
- Do you have a budget?
A.Kind of, but it never quite works.
C. I have a pretty good idea what my income and expenses are.
D. No, I wouldn’t know where to start.
E. Yes. It helps me manage cash flow and savings.
- Your car unexpectedly needs $2,000 worth of repairs. Do you:
A.Put it on credit. I don’t have the money but can’t afford to be without the car.
B.Put it on credit or borrow the money from friends or family.
C. Pay for the repairs and try and forget about it.
D. Ignore it and keep driving. I’ll deal with it if the car stops running.
E. Curtail my spending for the next few pay packets to cover it.
- Which most closely resembles your attitude to spending $300 on a pair of shoes?
A.If I had the money, I would rather buy several pairs of shoes for that money.
B.Sounds like fun – what are credit cards for!
C. If I like a pair of shoes that cost $300, I will buy them.
D. Who can spend $300 on a pair of shoes?!
E. If buying new shoes is a priority then I’d shop around for the best price.
- Do you know how much super you’ve got?
A.I know I don’t have enough.
C. I have a pretty good idea.
D. Super is the last thing on my mind.
E. I know how much I have and am planning to save more.
- Does the idea of a money health check sound:
A.Like a visit to the dentist – something I’d rather avoid.
B.Like something other people do – I don’t think too much about money.
C. Unnecessary – my finances are in pretty good shape.
D. Pointless – my finances are a mess.
E. A good idea – I’d like to be sure I’m doing a decent job managing my money.
If you answered mostly A’s
You get by on what you earn but it’s a constant juggling act. You’d like to be better organised and able to save more but other priorities keep coming up first.
Next steps: Track your spend for a few weeks and then review your budget; or, if you don’t have a budget, prepare one. ASIC’s MoneySmart has some handy tools to help you on this journey. Download the ‘Track my spend’ app and then use the online budget planner.
If you answered mostly B’s
You live for today and don’t tend to think too much about the future. You enjoy spending money and happily buy now and pay later for most big purchases. Beware your debt doesn’t get out of control.
Next steps: Test your knowledge with the Borrowing & Credit Quiz on ASIC’s MoneySmart website to make sure you understand the implications of your borrowing decisions. And do a Money Health Check to get a broader picture of your finances.
If you answered mostly C’s
You are likely on a good income, so you don’t have to worry too much about money. However, money is important to maintain the lifestyle you enjoy and things could change suddenly if life threw you a curveball and your income was impacted.
Next steps: Do a Money Health Check – you might be surprised to discover there are areas of your finances that need attention. If you’re thinking of investing, be aware that some scams are quite sophisticated.
Find out more about scams scams on the MoneySmart site.
If you answered mostly D’s
You find money a frequent source of anxiety. There’s never enough, you are likely struggling with debt and probably feel that you it’s unlikely to get any better.
Next steps: Check that you are receiving your entitlements. Centrelink has an online tool to help you check this, called the Payment Finder. If you’re in financial difficulty, consider getting in touch with a Financial counsellor for free, confidential information and support. Call the Financial Counsellors hotline during business hours on 1800 007 007.
RELATED: Know Your Tax Facts
If you answered mostly E’s
You manage your money well and seek out information when you need it. You are always interested in better ways of doing things and love playing with online tools and calculators that can help you better manage your money.
Next steps: You have probably already discovered the MoneySmart website and its various tools. Remember that circumstances can change: give yourself an annual Money Health Check to make sure you stay on track.