Stuck in Isolation? – 10 Money and Life Hacks to Pass the Time
So, it’s your turn for a seven day (or more) personal lockdown after one of the kids has brought Omicron home with them from school. This can be a stressful time for the whole family but rather than focus on the things you can’t do, why not get some of those things done that have been sitting in the too hard basket forever. For most of us this too hard basket is most likely full of things that are money or health related and we perceive that getting them done will be complex and take too much time but in reality, the fixes are simple. Here are ten money and life hacks that you can get sorted if you find yourself in isolation.
Get your Will done
My estimates are that most people do not have their Wills and Associated documents in place and if they do, they don’t review them. Wills can be complex documents, particularly if you have a blended family, unique family situations, or assets other than the family home such as a business. Finding a lawyer that can ensure that the Will not only reflects your wishes but will legally act on these wishes when you die is essential. In addition to your Will, you should plan for guardianship if you have young children and Power or Attorney in the event that you find yourself in a situation where you need someone to act on your behalf. This doesn’t necessarily mean if you become ill but even if you get stuck overseas (increased chances now with COVID-19) and you need a legal document signed. Something that most people forget about when it comes to their estate is the Death Benefit Nomination for their super. You may not be aware that your super sits outside your will, so without a Binding Death Benefit Nomination in place, the Trustee of your Super Fund will be able to decide where your super goes upon your death.
Once you have these in place, your will and associated documents should not be set and forget. When major life events happen i.e., divorce, children you should review these documents. Don’t leave a mess behind for your family.
Calculate How much you will have at Retirement
If you haven’t given much thought to how much money your will need when you retire, plug in your balance https://moneysmart.gov.au/retirement-income/retirement-planner It’s a starting point and you might get a rude shock. The best time to be planning for retirement is 20 years ago. The next best time is now. Ideally, speak to someone who can help you make plans for retirement. Reach out & we can recommend someone who is a good fit.
The recent shock of Shane Warnes and Kimberley Kitching’s death at such a young age should get us all booking in a health check. Don’t neglect yourself, your health is your primary asset. What better time to book in any non-urgent medical check-ups whilst in isolation? Whether you are employed or a business owner, being in good health will go a long way to ensuring that your financial goals are met as you won’t be needing to take long periods of time away from generating income.
Are you paying too much for Insurance?
Insurance is the biggest item in the too hard basket. In a couple of ways. Firstly, when we get sent the insurance renewal each year, most of us accept the status quo and do nothing. Contact your house & car insurance? It can’t hurt to ask. Insurers will often jack the price up because they can, knowing we can be lazy & more likely to accept. 10 minutes on the phone with my House insurance they knocked off $280 from the premium and a further $220 off the car insurance which was coming up for renewal. $500 savings for 10 minutes of work. You can even go to www.comparethemarket.com.au to compare your insurer against others (be aware though that once you drop your details in their form, your phone will ring incessantly for years after.
Secondly, it is important to know if you are sufficiently insured. Whilst this is somewhat relevant when it comes to your car and house, it is very important when it comes to personal insurance such as Life, TPD, and income protection insurance. As with your Will, you don’t want to leave your family in a mess if something happens to you, particularly if you have a mortgage or other personal debt. It is worthwhile reaching out to a specialist Insurance Broker for some advice.
Quick tip for small business owners – There are insurances such as key person insurance for a “key person” in your business that can be an effective risk mitigation strategy.
Manage your Subscriptions
Hands up if you know exactly how many streaming subscriptions you have? The frustration with these subscription services is that each of them has a show that each member of the family must see, so you have to have them all. More than likely, you have also signed up on a honeymoon deal when your kids were desperate to see a particular show and once, they are finished they stopped using that streaming service. It is important to periodically review what you are signed up for and what is being used. A fun way to find out is to cancel a service that you don’t think anyone is using, the kids will quickly let you know if you are wrong.
Say goodbye to Spam emails
Many years of signing up for emails or handing over your email address for travel deals will mean an exponentially full inbox. The Ant-spam laws mean that all sales, promotional, or information emails you are sent must have an unsubscribe button. Depending on how many competitions you have entered unsubscribing may be a big task but well worth it to stop your attention from being taken away by hundreds of spam emails each day
Get confident with online shopping. During isolation, you have no choice but to plan and order your food and supplies online. By doing all of your shopping online you will generally only buy what you need and reduce the number of impulse buys. Spend your time on more productive things by ordering as much as you can to be delivered and thanks to the current situation in Ukraine, you may also save some fuel costs.
Spring Clean Up
Tidy up the junk cupboard and send it to charity or sell stuff online. Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree are perfect places to sell things that you don’t need. We all have stuff to get rid of so why not create space & make a few bucks. A good example to our kids on how to not waste anything but also the bargains that can be found by buying 2nd hand.
Review your Loans
What interest are you paying on your mortgage? If you have had your mortgage for more than 2 years – highly likely there is more equity in it, and this means more options for a better rate. If you have credit cards, refinance & then cut them up. Interest rates are predicted to start rising in the middle of 2022 so rather than wait you should reach out to a broker now to see what can be done to minimise the impact.
Small Business fees and charges rebate
A quick one for small business owners is the Small Business Fees and Charges rebate. Many business owners have no ideas that this exists. If you're a sole trader, the owner of a small business, or a not-for-profit organisation in NSW, you may be eligible for a small business fees and charges rebate. The rebate can be used for things such as licences, rates, and road tolls. You can find out more about this and apply here - Apply for the small business fees and charges rebate | Service NSW
Unfortunately, we all know someone who has spent a week in isolation. On a positive note, it looks like close contacts may soon not have to isolate with the Covid positive but if you do find yourself in isolation, don’t waste this time. Yes, starting a new hobby is important but so is securing and protecting your family’s financial future.
The Fox Group Chartered Accountants are specialist Business Advisers that not only provide best quality Accounting and Taxation services for Businesses and Self-managed Super Fund but also have close professional relationships with Financial Advisers, Lawyer, Insurance Brokers, and Finance Brokers. If you find yourself not knowing where to start when it comes to finding the right help, reach out to us and we will point you in the right direction