How you spend your money determines how well you can save you money. Spending more than you have or buying unnecessarily can severely impact how efficiently you can save. Sometimes you aren’t even aware of the small habits that are actually limiting your savings capabilities. Here are a few bad money habits that are getting in your way.
Not having a budget:
Spending a substantial amount of money each month on purchases and experiences adds up. Not preparing and sticking to a budget is a common mistake, as many people believe that a budget isn’t necessary for their lifestyle and income. Regardless of how much you earn, individuals need budgets to know where their money goes and what needs to be set aside to achieve their goals.
Dining in restaurants or grabbing take away most nights in the week is a good way to deplete your finances. Save money by eating out one or two nights and cooking the rest of your meals in bulk at home. Preparation of food will help on those nights when you don’t want to cook and stops you from ordering food.
Purchasing items without a second thought is an easy way to lose money. A good way to avoid this can be to ask yourself if you are buying something because you ‘want’ it, rather than if you ‘need’ it? Learn how to recognise when you do the action and force yourself to wait. You can then consider if you have the extra money to spend on that item, giving you time to properly think about your decision.
A credit card is an easy way to spend money you may not have. Living beyond your means is a fast way to fall into debt and is one of the worst things you can do for your finances. Remember, if you don’t pay the card in full each month, every dollar you put on a card will cost you many times more in interest charges. Avoid this problem by thinking of your credit card as an emergency-only option.
Divorce or separation can be emotionally draining and stressful as it is, but the legal and financial responsibilities you also need to think about add an extra burden to dealing with the spit. One key area that needs to be considered to protect your financial future is your superannuation and what happens to it after your divorce.
The superannuation splitting law treats superannuation as a different type of property. This means that like any other asset it can be divided between partners who were in a marriage or de facto relationships either through:
- A formal written agreement where both parties sign a certificate confirming that independent legal advice about the agreement has been provided.
- Seeking Consent Orders to split the superannuation.
- Seeking a court order to split the superannuation in the event you cannot reach an agreement.
Splitting the super does not automatically give you a cash asset as it is still subject to superannuation laws.
There are three main options for dealing with your super in a split:
- A payment split: this is the most common way of dealing with super at the end of a relationship. If you are not yet eligible to withdraw your super, the benefit will be split whilst remaining in the super system. If you have retired or are eligible to withdraw your super, your split can be done as a payment.
- Payment flag: you can defer your decision if you want to wait for a specific event to occur, such as retirement or the maturation of an investment. Flagging allows you to protect the interest in your super fund and prevents the super fund from making a payment out of the super account until the flag is lifted.
- No split or flag: this is when you choose to treat super as a financial asset instead of splitting or flagging the super. The super is then a relationship asset that can be divided between the parties. This option is often used by de facto relationships in Western Australia as their super cannot be split, making it their only legal option.
If you run a self-managed super fund (SMSF), then your situation can often be more complicated, particularly if your former spouse is also a trustee of the SMSF. Trustees must continue their responsibilities as a trustee and act in the best interest of all members in accordance with super laws. You must not exclude another trustee from making decisions or ignore requests to redeem assets over to another complying super fund. Dealing with SMSFs in the event of a divorce are often done with professional legal advice.
Hiring an intern can sound like a win-win situation; the intern gets an opportunity to learn and boost their career, you get some extra help generally at a lower wage rate than regular employees. However, it is important to first think about if an intern would be right for your company before you make the commitment.
Ask yourself why you need an intern:
If you’re looking for an intern for a short-term solution to help with your daily tasks, think about if it would really be the best solution before putting up a job ad. Hiring an intern also means that they should be trained and monitored, which also takes up resources and time. Additionally, interns nowadays often want to do more than admin tasks such as getting coffee. A good internship usually means that the intern gets industry experience and mentorship.
If an intern is hired in accordance with the law, then they do not always require compensation. Think about what kind of tasks they would do, how much they would work and their academic and professional experience to help you decide on appropriate remuneration. Many companies choose alternatives to regular payment, such as gift cards, free lunches, public transport remuneration or free company products.
Think about resources:
Do you have the time and resources to train and mentor an intern? Often, interns are part of educational programs which means they may also have to commit to their studies as well as the internship. This requires more flexibility as to which days they can work each week, as well as periods they wish to take off to study for exams. It is therefore important to think about if you have enough resources to not become dependant on the intern for certain tasks.
The Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999 (SUMLMA), more commonly known as the unclaimed superannuation money protocol, has been updated recently to provide a clearer structure going forward.
SUMLMA provides guidance on in relation to unclaimed money, lost member accounts, superannuation accounts of former temporary residents and their associated reporting and payment obligations. The update has now added content on inactive low balance accounts.
The act now clearly defines what is an inactive low-balance account, how statements and payments work, the registering of lost members and various rules for special cases.
It is important to note that the information in the protocol does not apply to super providers that are trustees of a state or territory public sector super scheme, in which:
The state or territory has laws requiring the reporting and payment of unclaimed super money to the state or territory government. Or;
The state or territory public sector super scheme complies with relevant state or territory laws.
The protocol provides administrative guidance only and should not be taken as a replacement for the law or technical reporting specifications.