How Professional Help Can Boost Your Financial Wellbeing
by Carlisle Homes
Overwhelmed by the idea of tackling your finances? Wherever you are on your financial journey, enlisting professional help is a great way to boost your financial wellbeing.
Let’s face it – dealing with money can be scary. On paper, your budget is just a series of numbers. In reality, it reflects some of your most intimate habits and priorities. And when we start talking about home loans, it’s like speaking a whole new language. Do you want an offset account or a redraw facility? A fixed, variable or split loan? What is DTI and how does it differ from LMI?
If you find all this finance talk overwhelming or confusing, you’re not alone. According to Kantar Australia’s second Finding Financial Freedom study, 45% of Australians want to be more financially confident and only 27% believe they have higher than average financial knowledge.
But here’s the good news: there are professionals out there to help you at every stage of your financial journey, from getting started to building wealth. Read on to find out who you should be talking to!
The first step to getting things in order is to create a budget. You need to know how much you’re earning, how much you’re spending and where your money is going. If you need a little help with this step, there are budgeting specialists that can lend a hand.
MyBudget and RDV Business Solutions are two companies that assist in this space. They understand that for some people, knowing what to do is only half the battle. Actually doing it is the other half. Budgeting specialists will help you create a personalised budget plan, check in with you to see that you’re sticking to it, and in some cases, even organise bill paying and negotiate debt repayment plans on your behalf.
Another alternative is to see a financial advisor. Your super fund or loan provider may refer you to someone, but be aware that these companies have a vested interest in keeping you with them. You may prefer to look for recommendations from a professional financial advice association or ask a trusted friend.
If you’re struggling to make your debt repayments, a debt counsellor might be just what you need. Debt counsellors will:
Help assess your financial situation, including going through your list of expenses.
Provide advice on how to cut back if you’re struggling to pay bills and other expenses.
Help you negotiate with your creditors, including banks, landlords and utility companies.
If you have debts that have been passed to debt collectors, a counsellor will help you deal with them. This might include writing to them to negotiate a payment plan.
The National Debt Helpline is a great place to start. Call 1800 007 007 to be transferred to the service in your state. You can also find independent debt counsellors near you by going to MoneySmart and typing in your postcode.
If you have your finances under control, you can start to look forward to your next goal. You can approach banks directly to obtain a home loan, but there are several advantages to using a broker instead.
Brokers will look at your overall financial position. If you aren’t yet in a position to apply for a home loan, they can work with you to improve your chances. That might mean paying down debt, looking for more secure employment or improving your credit score. The advantage of doing this before you go to a bank is huge. If you apply for a home loan and are turned down, that shows up on your credit score. Knowing ahead of time whether you’re likely to be approved can avoid that trap.
Brokers have access to a wider range of home loan products. Your bank may have a few packages available, but brokers work with a large number of institutions at once. They’ll be able to tell you which option is best for you, whether there are any cash back offers at large, and if relevant, which lenders are best for unconventional employment situations (for example, if you’re self-employed).
Brokers also act as go-betweens, dealing with the banks during the loan process. If you’re anxious, or just time-poor, this can be invaluable. No more time lost trying to fax through copies of bank statements: your broker will collect everything they need from you and liaise with the lender on your behalf.
Get in touch with our in-house construction finance specialists for advice that works for you. If you’re ready to buy, call Carlisle Homes on 1300 328 045 to discuss the perfect house and land package for you.