Synchronised swimming may be one of the strangest events to watch. It’s also one of the most inspiring. Seeing everyone moving together, in harmony, towards a common goal is beautiful.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could see the same sort of beauty in the way you save and invest? What if, instead of swimming against the tide, you were in better sync with your finances?

In this article we’re going to look at some ideas that could help you to rethink some of the habits and strategies that might be holding you back.

Peg down a budget that lets you breathe.

One of the best ways to get in sync with your money is to ensure you know where your money is going, and ensure your expenses aren’t exceeding your income. When it’s done correctly, a budget doesn’t restrict you, it frees you up.

By getting into the habit of ‘save first, then spend’ you’ll find it easier to work towards your goals. How do you create a budget? Well there are lots of ways. Pen and paper might be all you need to kick things off. If you’re a Microsoft Excel fan, you can draw up a spreadsheet that can be easily updated month by month. There are lots of budgeting apps out there too. See if your bank has one that works for you.

The main thing is to keep track of your income and expenses. It’s a great way to improve your relationship with money.

Pump up your emergency fund floaties

Do you have an emergency fund? Having some cash stashed away for a rainy day is a good idea, but not everyone does it. Recent research revealed that only 41% of the population had at least $5,000 to pay for unexpected costs, while 30% had less than $1,000 on hand to cover expenses. People who don’t have an emergency fund, or their fund is too small, might have to dive into credit card debt to cover an unexpected medical bill or home repair. These short term credit sources can be expensive and might create an unwanted debt that’s hard to shake.

Dive into your super fund’s performance

While our superannuation is often one of our most significant financial assets, a lot of people barely give it a thought while they’re working. Many of us wait until we’re close to retirement to look at our super, and by then it may be too late to make significant changes.

If you haven’t checked on your fund for a few years, you could be in for a surprise. Even if you did your research, and picked the best super fund for your needs, markets change over time, and your fund may no longer be offering the performance you expect. Are you in a balanced fund? Should you be in a growth fund? What kinds of fees are you paying? Does your fund provide you with adequate insurance cover?

Dive in. Do your research. And do it now. A little bit of course correction now could get you back on track for a better outcome in the future.

How many points are you scoring for diversification?

Having a diversified portfolio of assets is vital. It means that when some assets are not performing as well as you’d hoped, other assets might be able to balance things out for you.

Diversification is something the ATO wants to see in self managed super funds (SMSFs) too. If your SMSF is only investing in a single asset or asset class e.g. property, the ATO might have some questions for you.

So how do you achieve this diversification? Some people maintain several retail and industry funds, thinking that this will deliver diversity. This may not be a good strategy. Many retail and industry funds tend to invest ‘close to the index.’ This means that each fund may have very similar holdings. They may also be holding a larger amount of a particular segment, e.g. the banks, than you might want.

To achieve greater diversification, think about the assets inside the fund, rather than the number of funds. If you have an SMSF, seek personal advice from a financial adviser

Are you pooling all your money into the mortgage?

Like any journey, when it comes to your finances, planning is the key. Once you’ve set your goals, a financial adviser can help you map out a practical path to get there. Financial advisers will explore a number of financial strategies and investments with you to help build your wealth, including shares, property, cash and fixed interest investments, term deposits and superannuation.

It’s not just about planning for the future either. A financial adviser can help adjust your current situation, as well as preparing you and your family for the years ahead.

A good planner can help get you in sync

Like any journey, when it comes to your finances, planning is the key. Once you’ve set your goals, a financial adviser can help you map out a practical path to get there. Financial advisers will explore a number of investment options and strategies with you to help build your wealth, including shares, property, cash and fixed interest investments, term deposits and superannuation.

It’s not just about planning for the future either. A financial adviser can help adjust your current situation, as well as preparing you and your family for the years ahead.

Elston is here to help

If you’d like to get in sync with your finances, don’t hesitate to get in touch. To speak with one of our advisers call 1300 ELSTON or contact us.