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With 2019 here, it’s time to kick-start your personal finances for the year ahead. In this article, we provide you with a financial checklist to help you take stock of your personal circumstances.

Written and accurate as at: 14 Jan 2019

When it comes to assessing the most appropriate path moving forward for your personal finances, it can often help to take stock of your personal circumstances (financial situation, goals and objectives).

By laying out the details before you, it can give you the opportunity to see things from a big picture point of view, as well as zero in on specific areas (and, assess whether something needs to be addressed). If you are not sure where to start, then you may find the financial checklist below helpful.

We already know a lot of this information about our clients; however, it’s a good time to have a refresher. Importantly, after reviewing your personal circumstances, if you think a specific area needs addressing (or simply have a question that you would like answered), then please remember that we are here to help.

Personal

  1. What is your current marital status? For example, single, married (de facto or registered), widowed, separated or divorced.
  2. Do you have financial dependants? And, if so, when do you expect their dependency to end?

Employment

  1. When do you expect/plan to retire?
  2. What is your current accrued sick leave, annual leave and long service leave?
  3. Do you currently salary sacrifice into superannuation?
  4. Do you expect to change occupations?
  5. Do you expect to receive a redundancy or early retirement payout?

Social security

  1. When is your eligibility age for the Age Pension?
  2. Are you eligible for, or receiving, Centrelink benefits? For example, the Age Pension, Child Care Subsidy, Carer Payment/Allowance/Supplement, or Family Tax Benefit.
  3. Have you ‘gifted’ assets to someone in the last five years?

Income and expenditure

  1. What was your taxable income last financial year?
  2. What is your take-home pay each pay cycle?
  3. Do you currently have a HECS/HELP loan? And, if so, what is the current outstanding balance?
  4. Do you keep track of your work-related expenses?
  5. What are the sources of your income and expenses? And, do you expect any changes to occur?
  6. Do you have a budget and track your spending?
  7. Do you earn more than you spend?
  8. Do you have a savings account that you regularly deposit into?
  9. Do you have enough savings to fund your living costs for at least three months?
  10. Do you pay your household bills on time?
  11. Do you plan ahead for large expenses?

Assets and liabilities

  1. What are your current assets and liabilities?
  2. Where is your superannuation invested and how much do you have? And, which superannuation fund is your employer currently contributing into on your behalf?
  3. Do you make concessional and/or non-concessional contributions to your superannuation?
  4. When is your preservation age for withdrawing superannuation?
  5. Do you need to review your trust deeds for your self-managed superannuation fund in light of the recent superannuation reforms?
  6. Do you receive an income stream? For example, retirement or transition phase pension, or annuity.
  7. Do you have a negatively geared investment?
  8. Do you know the current interest rate on your home loan? And, if interest rates were to rise by 0.5-2% per annum, would you still be able to afford your mortgage repayments?
  9. Do you have an interest-only loan that will soon convert to principal and interest?
  10. Do you pay more than the minimum required payment on your mortgage?
  11. Do you pay your credit card off in full within the interest-free period?

Insurance planning

  1. Do you have life, total and permanent disability, trauma and income protection insurance in place? And, has a recent life event occurred that may require a review of your personal insurances?
  2. Do you have cross-insurance in place?
  3. Are your personal insurances held inside or outside of superannuation, or a combination of both?
  4. Do you need to make a claim on your personal insurances?
  5. Have you gone 12 months without smoking or recently had a favourable health assessment?
  6. Do you have a buy-sell arrangement in place?
  7. Do you have key person and business expenses insurance in place?
  8. Do you have private health insurance in place?
  9. Do you have comprehensive motor vehicle insurance in place?
  10. Do you have home and contents insurance in place? And, is the level of cover adequate?

Estate planning

  1. Do you have a current will? And, if so, does your executor know where to find a copy of it?
  2. Do you have a testamentary trust in place?
  3. Do you have ‘joint tenancy’ or ‘tenancy in common’ ownership with regards to your home and/or investment property?
  4. Do have a power of attorney, guardianship and advanced care directive in place?
  5. Have you made death benefit nominations in relation to your superannuation?
  6. Are you considering receiving aged care services? For example, the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, Home Care Package or Residential Aged Care.

Goals and objectives

  1. What is important to you in terms of the following areas:
    1. Your family? For example, making sure there are appropriate personal insurances in place in the event of your death, or sickness or injury.
    2. Your local community? For example, charity and volunteer work.
    3. Your career? For example, a promotion, pay rise, improvement in job security and stability, and/or other employment opportunities.
    4. Your money? For example, debt and cashflow management, and saving and investing.
    5. Your health? For example, maintaining a healthy physical and mental lifestyle.
    6. Your house? For example, renovating, upsizing or downsizing.
    7. Your business? For example, maintaining, preserving and growing the business, and succession planning.
    8. Your retirement? For example, accumulating wealth to support your retirement lifestyle.
  2. Do you have any future planned expenditures? For example, upgrading the car, renovating the house, or taking an overseas holiday.
  3. What are your investment preferences? For example, diversification, asset allocation, risk versus return, liquidity, and environment, social and governance considerations.

If you have any queries about this article, or have had a change in circumstances that you would like to discuss, then please contact us on 03 5331 5660.