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What You Need to Understand About Debt Agreements

Many Australians wrestle with financial troubles during their lifetime, and this is mainly considered a typical fluctuation in our finances. But what if you’re unable to resolve these issues yourself, but at the same time, you don’t want to declare bankruptcy?

 

Debt consolidation loans are a standard solution that relieves people of financial strain by consolidating all their current debts into one easy to manage loan that’s payable every month. Conversely, debt agreements are another approach available to individuals in financial hardship, and this will be the focus of today’s article.

 

What is a debt agreement?

A debt agreement is fundamentally a legal contract between you and your lenders which constitutes Part IX of the Bankruptcy Act 1966. Under this agreement, your creditors allow you to repay a sum of money that you can manage, over an agreed time frame, to settle your debts.

 

It is necessary to note, however, that entering a debt agreement is an ‘act of bankruptcy’ and has long-term financial repercussions which may affect your ability to receive credit down the track. For this reason, it’s strongly encouraged that folks seek independent financial counselling before making this decision to make sure this is the best solution for their financial circumstances and they clearly understand the repercussions of such agreements.

 

Before entering a debt agreement

There are certain things one should think about before entering into a debt agreement. Speaking to your creditors about your financial predicament is always the first step you should take to try to work out your debts outside of a debt agreement. Have you spoken with your creditors and asked them for extra time to repay your debt? Have you already tried to arrange a repayment plan or a smaller payment to settle your debt?

 

What types of debts are covered in debt agreements?

Debt agreements are designed to assist low income earners who are unable to pay unsecured debts. Not all kinds of debt are covered in debt agreements, such as the following:

  •  Secured debt – for example home mortgages where the property can be sold to recoup money
  •  Joint debt – if you have a joint debt with your partner, lenders can request that your partner repays the full amount if you’re unable to
  •  Overseas debt
  •  Other debts – for instance debts incurred by fraud, court fines, student HECS or HELP debts, and child support

 

Are you entitled to enter a debt agreement?

To discover if you are qualified, just visit the Australian Financial Security Authority’s (AFSA) website (https://www.afsa.gov.au/insolvency/i-cant-pay-my-debts/am-i-eligible-debt-agreement).

 

If you determine that a debt agreement is the best option for you, a debt agreement administrator will assist you with your debt agreement proposals, based on what you can afford, and deliver this proposal to each of your creditors. If your creditors accept the terms of your agreement, then your debt agreement will start, for instance, paying 80% of your debts to financial institutions over a 3-year time period.

 

Drawbacks of debt agreements

As mentioned earlier, debt agreements are an ‘act of bankruptcy’ and consequently there are serious implications one must take into consideration.

  •  If your lenders refuse your debt agreement proposal, they can make an application to the courts for involuntary bankruptcy
  •  Your name will appear on the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII) for 5 years from the date of your agreement, or 2 years after the end date, whichever is later
  •  Your debt agreement will be detailed on your credit report for up to five years, or longer in some circumstances
  •  You are legally obliged to advise a new financial institution of your debt agreement when acquiring a loan over $5,703.
  •  If you own a company trading under another name, you are legally obliged to reveal your debt agreement to anyone who deals with your enterprise.
  •  If your job belongs to a regulated profession or a position of trust, it may affect your employment.

 

Choose your debt agreement administrator mindfully.

Debt agreement administrators play an integral role in the results of your debt agreement, so always choose an administrator that is registered with AFSA’s list of registered debt agreement administrators. Fees also fluctuate widely between administrators, so always review the payment terms before making any decisions.

 

If you’re still unclear if a debt agreement is the right approach for you, phone Bankruptcy Experts Tamworth on 1300 795 575 who can give you the right advice, the first time. For more details, visit www.bankruptcyexpertstamworth.com.au.

 

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Tips on How to Resolve Your Financial Challenges

There’s no question that financial concerns can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety in our lives. Frequently worrying about how you’re going to pay your bills not only makes you distressed, but also puts stress on your relationships, your family, and your health. The fact is, worrying about money isn’t going to cure your financial problems. If you’ve found yourself in a position where you’re battling to make ends meet, here are the best ways to resolve your financial troubles so you can live a stress-free life again.

 

Document your monthly expenditures

The first step in managing your financial issues is find out exactly where your pain points are. Regardless if you’re dealing with a large credit card balance, you’re trying to increase your retirement savings, or you just spend too much on eating out throughout the week, discovering the main causes of your financial problems will show you which expenditures have to be prioritised so you can get your finances back on track. Grab a pen and paper and document your current monthly expenses including debt repayments, food, bills, tuition, transport, and any other items you normally spend every month.

 

Lower your expenses

Once you’ve got your monthly expenses in front of you, take a closer look and examine which expenses can be lowered and which can be removed altogether. While your mortgage repayments clearly can’t be lowered, you can most likely lower your food bill by only eating at home and even eliminate other entertainment expenses such as cable television. It’s vital that you are pragmatic about minimising your expenses. Remember, if you’re trying to address financial complications then you must make sacrifices to resolve them.

 

Create a budget

Now that you’ve got your monthly expenditures jotted down without the unnecessary spending, you need to create a budget. If you’re unfamiliar with making a budget, there are a number of wonderful apps you can download on your smartphone. Personally, I’ve found the Budget Planning app from ASIC to be very useful: https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/calculators-and-apps/budget-planner.

 

This will enable you to identify how much money you have left each month by examining your income and expenses. It’s paramount that you stick your budget. If you think that it could be too hard to do this, add a miscellaneous item to your budget to give you some room to breathe, or even a motivation item to reward yourself at the end of the month for following your budget.

 

Prioritise your debts

Some debts cause more suffering than others, so to alleviate your financial strain as best as possible, aim to decrease your biggest debts first. Not only will you be saving money by paying less interest, you’ll also feel much better about yourself. Only paying the minimum repayments on your credit card bill can sometimes take years to pay off, so aim to decrease these types of debts as quickly as possible. Remember, you still have other fixed debts every month such as phone bills and electricity, so these have to be accounted for as well.

 

Still feeling the heat?

If you’ve cut down your expenditures and created a budget but still find that there’s not enough money to pay off all your debts, you’ll need to find other income sources. Are you able to work a second job? Can you sell any costly household items that you can do without? Reaching out to family and friends is another reliable way to attempt to deal with your difficulties. Whatever you do to get additional money, never get a personal loan from the bank to settle your existing debt – this will only worsen an already stressful situation.

 

Seek financial guidance

If the above steps haven’t relieved your financial pressure, it’s better to seek financial assistance sooner instead of later. Depending on your individual situation, there are plenty of solutions available like debt consolidation loans or debt agreements which can help those in need. Don’t fight your debts for years before seeking guidance, speak with Bankruptcy Experts Tamworth on 1300 795 575 or visit our website for more information: www.bankruptcyexpertstamworth.com.au

 

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Top 3 Causes of Personal Bankruptcy in Australia

Nobody likes to consider bankruptcy, which is understandable given that bankruptcy will disturb your financial circumstance for several years to follow. This may be one of the reasons why individuals don’t look for financial assistance in times of need, because they are under the typical misconception that bankruptcy is the only way to work out their financial concerns. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case as there are many choices available to those facing financial difficulties. What many people don’t know is the sooner they act, the more choices will be generally be available to them.

In Australia, personal bankruptcies are on the rise again, with the September 2017 quarter indicating an 8% growth in the amount of bankruptcies cases than the last year. In truth, the September 2017 quarter was the ninth consecutive quarter in which the number of debt agreements increased. Like me, you may be wondering why?

Well, the economy is doing fine with interest rates still at record lows and unemployment steady at 5.6% as of February 2018. Even though the unemployment figures aren’t ideal, it’s floating around average levels which surely wouldn’t cause an 8% increase in the number of personal bankruptcies. So, what exactly has caused 4,236 people to file for bankruptcy in the September 2017 quarter?

If you’re dealing with any financial hardship, understanding the top causes of personal bankruptcy will give you awareness into what aspects of your finances you need to prioritise. Our world is changing quickly and detecting new risks in your own financial circumstance will help you to proactively address them. To give you some insight, here are the top 3 causes of personal bankruptcy in Australia in 2017.

Excessive use of credit

The primary cause of bankruptcy in Australia today arises from excessive use of credit. This is exceptional, since it is the very first time since data collection started in 2007-08 that excessive use of credit has surpassed unemployment as the number one cause of personal bankruptcy.

Naturally, this is an ongoing issue that needs to be addressed. Banks charge extravagant fees and interest charges for late credit card repayments, so if you’re currently behind in your credit card repayments, act now. The Government’s MoneySmart website (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au) has lots of online resources that can help those with credit card troubles. Seeking financial guidance is highly advised to educate individuals how to plan and stick to a budget.

Unemployment

Unemployment or loss of income remains to be one of the most contributing aspects of personal bankruptcy. This comes as no surprise since many Australian’s don’t have income insurance or an emergency fund which they can use if they encounter an unanticipated termination or resignation. With unemployment rates currently at 5.6%, this leaves many Australians without a steady income source and depending only on Centrelink payments to continue to be solvent. The best way to deal with an unanticipated loss of income is to be prepared, which highlights the importance of putting together an emergency fund that can assist you and your family for three to six months.

Relationship breakdowns

The third biggest cause of personal bankruptcies in Australia stems from relationship breakdowns. Divorce rates are gradually increasing, with the ABS recording 46,604 divorces in 2016. Although divorces are not uncommon, financial problems caused by divorces are common given the affiliated legal costs, child support, and the abrupt transition into a one-income household. Many individuals end up inheriting debts from their partners or are not able to pay off existing credit because their expenditures have greatly increased.

Looking ahead

Irrespective of the reasons for your financial challenges, the fact remains that the sooner you seek financial assistance, the more prospects will generally be available to you to resolve these issues. Lots of individuals grapple with debt for years before seeking help. If you’re juggling your finances and avoiding phone calls, don’t wait any longer. Call the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Tamworth on 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for more information: www.bankruptcyexpertstamworth.com.au

 

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Weddings On A Budget – How To Save Money When Getting Hitched

We all have a fairly good understanding that weddings can be an expensive pursuit, but do you actually know just how much the average wedding costs in Australia? A little over $36,000, based on Australia’s Money Smart website. And that was in 2012! At present, it’s quite likely somewhere around the $50,000 mark. I suppose if you have rich parents it wouldn’t be a concern, but unfortunately most of us don’t.

Let’s admit it, $50,000 is a considerable amount of money! You could buy a company, place a down payment on a new house, settle your student loans, or maybe travel the world! The fact is though, weddings are a celebration of two people who commit to devoting the rest of their lives with each other. Sure, we ‘d all love to have the wedding of our dreams, but we shouldn’t forget what’s really important.

Even though I’ve never been married personally, I have a close circle of friends, and two of them managed to pull off the most splendid weddings on a shoestring. Obviously, it didn’t consist of costly bridesmaid parties and catering for 400 guests, but it was intimate, unique, and everybody who came had the time of their lives. If you’re organising a wedding on a budget and looking for ways to save money, then here’s how.

Location
There’s lots of ways to save thousands of dollars on your wedding venue alone. One of the most beautiful weddings I was invited to was in the backyard of a friend’s home. Other alternatives you could look into is hiring a local park for the day, or maybe the beach. The atmosphere is fantastic, you can customise your wedding to exactly how you want it, and the costs are exceptionally low. If you choose to have your wedding in a public place, just remember to talk with the local council and make reservations well ahead of time.

Wedding Date
Although many people prefer their weddings on a Saturday, the rates of venues are far more pricey on Saturday than any other day of the week. Think about having your wedding on a Friday or Sunday where Monday is a public holiday. The time of year will also have a significant impact on the fees of your venue. If you’re dead-set on having your wedding reception in an indoor area, then organise your wedding date in winter and you’ll save around a third of the costs for venue hire.

Photography
The cost of a professional photographer will often cost around $4,000 for the whole day. With the outstanding specs of smartphone cameras nowadays, think about hiring a professional photographer only for the formalities and ask your buddies to take photos throughout the duration of your wedding. You can make a hashtag on Twitter and ask your friends to post their photos, ensuring that there’ll be an abundance of natural photos that reflect the true spirit of your special day.

Food & Drinks
If you really wish to save money, then catering businesses are your key target! They charge extravagant prices and aren’t all that necessary. Consider putting together your own food and drinks and don’t hesitate to go against the grain here.

You could hire a wood fire pizza truck that serves gourmet pizza, or look at hiring somebody to roast a whole pig in the ground and make the sides yourself. For me, there’s nothing better than a pulled pork burger with delicious sauce and cheesy smashed potatoes! Remember that most of the time, being original is much more memorable than being traditional. Also, search for a venue that allows you to bring your own alcohol. You’ll save a pile of money this way, and you’ll be able to negotiate a sizeable discount when buying in bulk.

Don’t Borrow Money
It’s not out of the ordinary for newlyweds to borrow money to cover their weddings, not knowing how hard it can be to pay back. Not only will you be paying for the wedding itself, but also interest on top of that, which can frequently take years to pay off. If you’ve had a luxurious wedding and found yourself in financial difficulties, always seek financial help sooner rather than later. The sooner you act, the more choices will be available. For any financial assistance regarding your personal circumstances, get in contact with Bankruptcy Experts Tamworth on 1300 795 575, or visit our website for additional info: www.bankruptcyexpertstamworth.com.au

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Personal Finance Tips – Finance Goals In Your 30’s.

There’s no doubt that hitting your 30’s is a significant milestone for us all. While some of us may have embarked on a new career, bought a house, or even started a family, this decade of our life has a considerable financial impact for your future years. For most people, our financial commitments have probably grown and juggling expenses and responsibilities with saving money for the future is harder than ever.

Many of us have dusted off the mistakes of our 20’s and discovered a thing or two, however this decade of our lives is the time when we really have to mature and seriously consider our financial situation. We need to prioritise commitments, like our children’s education and retirement savings, and take the most suitable steps to achieve a prosperous financial future for you and your loved ones. Life can unquestionably get more complex in your 30’s, however by focusing on a couple of crucial aspects of your finances, your money doesn’t have to be nearly as complicated.

By making modest lifestyle adjustments, you can significantly bolster your financial circumstance now and in the decades to come, so here are some personal financial goals that everybody in their 30’s should look at.

Increase your emergency fund
Hopefully you initiated an emergency fund in 20’s, saving enough funds for several months’ worth of costs. This is a fantastic goal to reach in your 20’s, but making more money and having increased financial obligations in your 30’s signifies that your emergency fund becomes increasingly important. Finance specialists highly recommend that folks in their 30’s should have at least 6 to 12 months of living expenditures saved in their emergency fund. Keep in mind, moving back in with your parents is much more difficult in your 30’s, particularly if you’re a parent yourself.

Review your insurance coverage
Normally, people’s circumstances change significantly in their 30’s. You may have bought a new home, a new car, or have started a family, so it’s crucial that you review your insurance plans so they’re up-to-date. It’s likewise a practical idea to have a look at income protection and life insurance along with your existing insurance coverage. Even if your personal situation hasn’t changed in your 30’s, you should nonetheless review your insurance plans several times a year to make sure that you’re getting the best rates and premiums.

Strengthen your retirement savings.
Now is the time where you should begin building your retirement contributions, specifically if your workplace offers a salary sacrifice plan. Making voluntary super contributions is a great way to grow your nest egg, so if you receive a pay increase, look into using the supplementary income towards your retirement savings. In addition to this, if you start a new job or career, always make sure that use the same super account which will significantly minimise costs and maximise your retirement growth.

Live well below your means.
When you find yourself having more financial responsibilities, you should revise your budget and make sure you’re living well below your means. The secret to improving your wealth is to increase the gap between what you earn and what you spend. You’ll quite likely need to cut down some expenses like eating in restaurants or cable television subscriptions, but the more money you save, the quicker you’ll accomplish your financial objectives. It’s also advisable to look at percentage of income saved instead of dollar amounts, as this makes it a lot easier to ascertain which expenses can be minimised to ensure you’re always saving more than you earn.

Seek financial help sooner rather than later.
If you’re finding it a challenge to make mortgage repayments on time or you’re plunging deeper into debt, seek financial assistance as soon as possible. Often, the sooner you do something about it, the more choices will be available to you. Many people suffer financially for several years prior to seeking help, and not only are they in a far worse position, but it is also completely unnecessary! There are many possibilities available for those in financial trouble, so if you need any financial help, phone Bankruptcy Experts Tamworth on 1300 795 575, or visit our website for further information: www.bankruptcyexpertstamworth.com.au

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How To Save Money On Food

All of us experience phases in life where money is tight. Luckily for us, there are several expenses that we can simply eliminate, like cable television, gym memberships, and eating out at restaurants. Despite this, there are other expenses that we simply can’t avoid. Rent, debt repayments and school tuition are just a couple of the mandatory expenses that are fixed and there’s not much we can do about it. Having said this, there is one mandatory expense where we can all save a great deal of money; and that expense is food.

Having performed some research, I’ve found there are a number of ways in which we can all save on food expenses. Needlessly to say, eating out at restaurants is far more expensive than eating at home, but I’m talking about saving money on your weekly food bills. You’ll be surprised at just how much money you can save by following some basic guidelines, so here are some quick tips that can save you thousands of dollars each year on your food bills.

Plan your meals and prepare a shopping list
Have you ever had to throw out food simply because it’s past its expiration date? I know I have! By planning each meal of the week, you can be sure that you only spend money on food that is really needed. Look in your kitchen to find what ingredients you presently have, which ingredients you need to buy, and prepare a list of all the ingredients you’ll need for the following week.

The majority of us are regretful of impulse buying at the grocery store, so planning your meals and sticking to the ingredients on your list will drastically lessen any impulse buying. Don’t forget to always keep a pen and paper in the kitchen, so when you run out of a certain ingredient, you can write it down quickly and potentially eliminate a 2nd trip to the grocery store. And always shop for groceries on a full stomach!

Don’t bring your kids to the grocery store
Occasionally it can be tricky to organise, but if you go grocery shopping when your children are at school or in the evening when somebody can keep an eye on them, you’ll save a great deal of money. Not only can you shop faster, but you don’t have to drain your energy by saying ‘NO’ to your children every aisle. Usually this can be frustrating, so lots of people will give in here and there, and these unnecessary products will accumulate over the year far more than you’d imagine.

Shop at night
Speaking of shopping at night, you’re more than likely to uncover the best prices at this time of day. Big grocery stores will often discount items when they’re overstocked, and perishable goods like bread, fruit and vegetables will also likely to be marked down. While it may seem a bit cruel after a long day, you can bag a lot of bargains by shopping at night.

Buy in bulk
It should come as no surprise that buying in bulk will save you money, particularly on discounted items. Be cautious though, you don’t want to buy too much and throw away food, but always bear in mind that you can cook meals and freeze them for a later time. Butter, bread, and cheese will last up to three months in the freezer, and meat products will typically last up to six months. Just make sure you have enough room in your freezer first!

Try discounted grocery stores
Discounted supermarkets like Aldi will always have goods that are more affordable than the supermarket giants like Woolworths and Coles. Nevertheless, some goods will be more costly, so try finding bargains at discounted supermarkets before heading to your normal supermarket. While you may not recognise some of the brands, the quality of the food is practically the same. The design is also different, so it may take a bit of getting used to, but if you want to save money on food then this is an exceptional idea.

If you’re going through financial challenges, always bear in mind that there are basic ways to save a great deal of money on one of your largest expenditures. By making some modest adjustments together with a dash of self-discipline, you can potentially save thousands of dollars every year on your grocery bills.

If you find that your financial situation is still worsening, it’s always better to seek financial advice sooner rather than later. Speak with the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Tamworth on 1300 795 575, or visit our website for more financial advice: www.bankruptcyexpertstamworth.com.au

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Best Ways To Save Money And Improve Your Life

These days, saving money is a plan that everybody wants to accomplish, though usually it can be a difficult task for lots of folks. Rent, bills, food, and everyday necessities accumulate quickly, leaving most households with little to no savings. Being able to save money and enhance your life seems to be a paradox, as we mostly associate a better life with spending more money! Irrespective of this, small lifestyle alterations can have an inspiring effect on your savings balance as time passes, and investing these savings sensibly will certainly improve your life in the long-term. All it takes is some discipline, motivation, and knowledge.

With the new year upon us, now is a suitable time to review your financial situation and plan to track your spending patterns and cut needless expenses. After all, saving money means earning greater than you spend, so here are the leading ways you can save money in the new year to secure a better future for you and your family.

Inspect your financial circumstances
If you don’t understand your financial situation, then there’s almost no way that you can strengthen it! Being able to make sound financial decisions begins with education and understanding where your money is being spent. Most of the time, it’s tough to keep track of our expenses, so it’s a smart idea to start keeping your receipts and overviewing your expenses every week to acquire a better understanding of your spending habits. This is the most vital step in being able to save money. Now, let’s explore some specific money saving strategies.

Groceries
Saving money on food is much easier than you think. The trick is to arrange your meals a week in advance before you head to the grocery store. Once you’ve planned your meals and the appropriate ingredients, produce a list and stick to it! Don’t go grocery shopping hungry either, that’s a sure way to spend unwarranted money impulsively. It’s also a great idea to have a paper and pen in the kitchen area, so when you run out of a particular ingredient, you won’t have to make a second trip to the supermarket in case you forget.

Electricity
Electricity is another manageable way in which you can reduce expenses by making some small adjustments. The most beneficial way to save electricity is by turning off devices at the power point when you’re not using them. Even though the appliances aren’t being utilised, an active electricity socket continues to use electricity, and these expenses can really add up as time passes. Other ways to save on electricity is to use fans as an alternative to air conditioners, turning off lights that aren’t being used, using hot water bottles as opposed to electric blankets, and using a clothes line as opposed to a dryer.

Entertainment
All of us need to let off some steam after a hard day’s work, so a glass of wine and some cable television works for most people. Having said that, cable television is an enormous expense that is rarely used to its full capacity. Consider switching to streaming services like Netflix or Hulu which charge somewhere around $10 a month as opposed to the standard $70 a month for cable TV. That’s a saving of over $700 a year alone. In addition, instead of eating in restaurants with friends once a month, opt for hosting a dinner night where everyone brings a dish and their beverage of choice. You can rotate hosts, save stacks of money, and never have to worry about being too loud!

Invest your savings
While these recommendations are far from comprehensive, saving money by making trivial changes gives you more financial options to enhance your life. You could use these savings to indulge in a family holiday once a year, or you might choose to invest your savings in a diversified investment portfolio. Whichever you chose, the fact of the matter is that we can all make small sacrifices to save money which can be used to enhance our lives.

Having problem with Debt?
If you’ve found yourself in a position where you’re continuously dealing with debt and can’t see any way out, there are a couple of options available for you. You don’t have to live your life in worry and stress, and the sooner you act to rectify your predicament, the more choices will be available for you. If you need professional advice on any financial problems that you’re currently facing, don’t wait any longer. Speak to the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Tamworth on 1300 795 575, or visit our website for further information: www.bankruptcyexpertstamworth.com.au

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New Year’s Resolution – Improving your Financial Health

The New Year is obviously a fantastic time to reflect on the previous year and make some resolutions to improve ourselves. Most individuals’s resolutions centre around getting healthier, strengthening their career, or improving their financial position. Now all of us understand how challenging it can be to stick to our New Year’s resolutions, so it is essential that you make realistic, attainable goals that can be accomplished with a certain degree of persistence and self-control.

If you’ve elected that you want to improve your financial health in 2018, there’s a decent amount of preparation and planning needed. To realise significant financial improvements in your life, it’s critical that you concentrate on the things you can control and to evaluate your progress routinely. To give you some insight on how to do this, the following details some suggestions that you should follow if you choose to enhance your financial well-being in the following year.

Set clear financial goals
Research reveal that simply writing down goals noticeably increases the likelihood of you accomplishing them. In a monetary sense, writing down exact goals with an expected timeline not only increases the likelihood of you accomplishing these goals, but you’ll likewise understand what is most important to you.

Some financial goals, for instance retirement, may require the support of a financial planner, but there are many simple, obtainable goals that you can plan on your own, for instance buying a vehicle, saving for a home deposit, or organising an emergency fund for a rainy day. It is crucial that you take small steps to achieve these goals, and assessing your progression often is the key to success.

Increase your savings
The majority of people have no idea how much money they save annually, so it is crucial that you assign an actual dollar amount that you hope to save for the coming year. Regardless if you achieve this goal or not isn’t the issue, the fact that you’re specifying specific goals and planning ways to accomplish these goals is the most important aspect.

Simple ways to increase your savings account is to increase your superannuation contributions (and possibly Government payments), or schedule an automatic deposit into an emergency fund or high interest savings account each week. Regardless of how you do this, increasing your savings will enhance your net worth and overall financial health.

Track your spending
Understanding just how much you spend each month is pivotal in having the ability to increase your financial health. Keeping every bill and receipt and manually producing a spreadsheet is one way to do it, but there are a number of fantastic apps that track your spending on the go, providing you with a true indication of how much you’re spending with minimal effort required.

ASIC’s TrackMySPEND app (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au) is a credible and effective tool that helps you understand your average monthly and annual spending, so you can better plan and accomplish your financial goals. If this doesn’t satisfy you, there are lots of other apps available, so don’t be afraid to test a few to find which is best for you.

Examine your mortgage and insurance policies
Assessing your mortgage and insurance policies is a reliable way to increase your savings. For example, you should be examining how your current mortgage and insurance policies measure up to other providers on an annual basis. Banks and lenders change their policy structures all the time, so chances are you can get a better deal if you do a bit of research.

Even small decreases in interest rates can save you thousands of dollars every year, so it’s absolutely worth the time and effort! If you find a better offer elsewhere, don’t hesitate to ask your current provider to match it, and similarly, don’t be afraid to switch providers if they don’t. There’s an abundance of online resources which can successfully guide you through this process.

Seek advice quickly if you’re experiencing financial hardshp
Improving your financial health doesn’t always correspond to increasing your savings and emergency funds. Lots of folks suffer through years of stress from financial distress without realising that there are plenty of options available to them to enhance their financial wellbeing.

If you’re encountering any financial suffering, the sooner you seek professional advice, the better your recovery options will be. For any advice relating to your financial circumstances, don’t hesitate to talk to Bankruptcy Experts Tamworth on 1300 795 575, or visit our website for additional information: www.bankruptcyexpertstamworth.com.au

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The best ways to Repair Your Credit Rating After Bankruptcy?

Congratulations! You’ve successfully served your 3 year period of bankruptcy and have been discharged, so now what? You’ve undoubtedly taken the most suitable measures to settle your financial challenges by declaring bankruptcy, and all your debts are well behind you now. Keep in mind though, there’s still plenty of work involved to get your finances back in order. The greatest issue that discharged bankrupts face is their ability to borrow money, and the reason for this is their bad credit rating.

For the last 3 years, you’ve had no debts to pay off so your credit history has nothing to show other than a bankruptcy mark next to your name. There’s been no movement on your credit report, so a blank page will make lending institutions hesitant in lending money to you simply because they can’t inspect your repayment behaviours. Repairing your credit rating is the best way to get your finances back on course, and make your recovery process as smooth as possible.

Ways to repair your credit report after discharge?
Since lenders haven’t had the ability to ascertain your financial management skills for the past three years, you need to begin exhibiting healthy financial habits. Here’s a list of ways in which you can do this

1. Steady employment
Obtaining reliable and ongoing employment is an effective way to enhance your financial security and display to financial institutions that you have a regular source of income. Stable employment will enable you to increase your savings and strengthen your overall financial condition, resulting in a better credit rating.

2. Increase your savings balance
Your savings account is an asset, so increasing your savings balance gradually will demonstrate to loan providers that you are financially sensible and are capable of making loan repayments. By putting money into a specialised savings account every month, even a small amount, will improve your credit history.

3. Limit your credit applications
Whenever you apply for a line of credit, it is documented on your credit history, so excessive credit applications can adversely impact your credit rating. After being discharged, it’s integral that you are sensible and vigilant about the kinds of credit you apply for to increase your chances of approval. It’s best to make an application for only one line of credit at a time, and bear in mind that secured loans and options with a guarantor or joint accounts will increase the likelihood of approval.

4. Consider a term deposit
If you’ve been able to save money throughout your bankruptcy period, think about investing some of it into a term deposit account. Not only will you accumulate interest and improve your overall financial situation, it will additionally show financial institutions that you are financially sensible. Subsequently, the likelihood of acquiring a loan will be increased which leads to an improved credit rating.

5. Always make repayments on time
One of the most important things you can do as a discharged bankrupt is to make any kind of repayment on time. Regardless if it’s your rent, electricity, or even a secured loan in your name, making these repayments on time will most certainly improve your credit history and increase the confidence that lenders have in your financial management skills.

6. Don’t hesitate to talk with lenders
If you wish to request a line of credit after your bankruptcy period, or discover what types of options are available to you, don’t hesitate to speak with banks or other financial institutions to review your situation. They are in the best position to advise of your eligibility, and offer insight on what options would work best for your personal circumstances.

Be cautious of credit repair agencies
There are plenty of credit repair agencies that will make all kinds of promises to improve your credit record. While many of them are effective in disbuting any incorrect listings on your credit record, they may not be able to do anything else to improve your credit report. The Government’s MoneySmart website (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) advises discharged bankrupts to be “very careful” of these agencies since they “may not always be able to do what they claim they can”.

If you need any guidance in repairing your credit history, or have any concerns with respect to your recovery process after bankruptcy, it’s always best to seek advice from qualified professionals. Get in touch with Bankruptcy Experts Tamworth on 1300 795 575, or alternatively you can visit our website for additional information: www.bankruptcyexpertstamworth.com.au

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4 Money Saving Ideas This Christmas

Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Spending quality time with your family, being on holidays, offering presents to loved ones, and certainly the grand Christmas lunch! It’s most certainly a time for giving, and with this comes expenses. It’s very easy to go overboard with family holidays, presents, and scrumptious foods; to let your hair down and savour the spirit of Christmas. The bottom line is, though, that the silly season inevitably passes and many of us are left with the strain of large credit card balances. Some individuals spend months attempting to repay their Christmas debts, while others end up in much deeper water.

Although some folks have the financial capacity to shower their loved ones with expensive gifts and lavish functions, many of us should be watchful to spend within our means so our Christmas joy can smoothly sail into the New Year. So with this being said, I want to share with you some reliable ways of celebrating Christmas, without breaking the bank.

1. Set a Budget

While it may sound cliché, it’s very important that you create a budget and adhere to it. Produce a list of all the presents you’ll be giving and calculate the total amount. The majority of the time, it will be far more than you imagined. Use this as encouragement to think outside the box (pardon the pun!) and make some modifications so you can stick to your budget. You could have a garage sale and sell things that aren’t being used anymore, speak with family and friends about a setting price limit for gifts, or perhaps contemplate making gifts yourself! ASIC has released a fabulous app to monitor your Christmas spending called TrackMySPEND (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/) which I’m certain many of you would find invaluable.

2. Shop Online

Even though many people find pleasure in wandering through department stores and basking in the magnificent Christmas displays, almost all the same goods are offered online at more affordable prices. Utilise comparative shopping websites like Google Shopping, Nextag, or PriceGrabber to locate what you’re searching for. These websites are incredibly competitive and will usually have discounts that can save you a bunch. Whilst shopping online will be more cost-effective, you have to take extra precaution to ensure you get what you paid for.

3. Rethink your Christmas Cards

If you’re one of the many families who send Christmas cards to all your family and friends, you’ll comprehend that the costs of this exercise can be considerably expensive. It’s no surprise that only a few of your friends and family will actually keep these cards so it’s essentially just money down the drain. As an alternative, why not send a family Christmas video message online? There are heaps of apps on smart phones and tablets that allow you to send fun and amusing Christmas videos that can be sent out electronically at no cost at all. Additionally, you can always create your own Christmas cards with personalised messages and have your kids draw pictures to make them super special!

4. Wrapping Paper

A beautifully wrapped gift can make a powerful difference, despite being the cheapest of presents. Christmas paper can be quite costly, so contemplate buying plain brown paper and adding a festive ribbon from a craft shop which will look a lot nicer than Christmas paper. You can even re-use brown paper bags that are often given at clothing stores. Additionally, consider buying plain green, red, or gold paper which can also be used as birthday presents throughout the year. Don’t forget, certain department stores will wrap your presents for free, so don’t hesitate to ask!

As you can see, Christmas festivities doesn’t need to break the bank. Sadly, however, lots of folks spend beyond their means and end up in financial hardship in the New Year. If you find yourself in this position, it’s better to seek professional advice sooner rather than later. There are many solutions available to you; all you need is the right advice. For any support on financial hardship, speak with the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Tamworth by calling 1300 795 575, or alternatively visit our website for further information: www.bankruptcyexpertstamworth.com.au