Money problems can creep up us on gradually – here are five key indicators that you could be heading into financial stress in 2020 and tips on what you can do to avoid it, brought to you by industry super fund-owned bank ME.
1. Your bank account is frequently overdrawn
Due to our busy lives, even the best money managers can overdraw their accounts from time to time. But if your account regularly dips into a negative balance, it’s time for action.
Review your budget to ensure you’re not overspending. Check if you’re being overly ambitious with regular transfers to savings accounts – trying to save too much, too fast could leave you overdrawn. Also, consider the range of smartphone apps that send you an alert when a regular bill is due. A simple reminder can help you avoid overdrawn account fees.
2. You have emergency savings worth less than three months’ pay
The latest Household Financial Comfort Report by ME found that more than one in two (52%) Australian households hold less than $10,000 in savings. Around 20% of households said they didn’t think they could raise $3,000 in an emergency.
This can leave you vulnerable in a crisis but growing rainy day money doesn’t have to be hard. Work out what you can comfortably tuck away each month – even small amounts can grow to something big over time. Then set up a regular transfer of funds into a separate savings account.
3. You have credit card debt and savings
Credit cards can be handy to manage cash flow which can help us get ahead financially.
However, a ME survey found that 42% of credit card holders with outstanding credit card debt also have personal savings. It’s an approach that rarely stacks up financially. Chances are, you’ll pay a much higher interest rate on the card debt than you’ll earn on your savings.
Sure, it’s always a good idea to have some spare cash. But it can make better financial sense to use savings to pay off high-interest debt first, then concentrate on growing savings.
4. You’re paying high bank fees
Take a quick flip through your bank statements and you’d be amazed at the fees you’re being charged on something as simple as an everyday bank account. Plenty of banks don’t charge regular account-keeping fees. Some also offer refunds for ATM fees. Use 2020 to get a better deal on everyday banking.
5. Money matters are a source of stress
A 2019 study found three in five Australians are worried about their financial situation. If money matters are robbing you of sleep, it’s important to find solutions.
A valuable first step can be expanding your financial know-how. Head to ME’s free online school of money, Ed, to boost your financial IQ and discover simple strategies to get your finances in great shape.
This article is brought to you by ME. For more information, please visit mebank.com.au
Members Equity Bank Limited ABN 56 070 887 679 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229500.