MONEY MONEY MONEY: Zoe Lamont of 10thousandgirl talks about improving your finances in the New Year.
MONEY MONEY MONEY: Zoe Lamont of 10thousandgirl talks about improving your finances in the New Year. Contributed

Time to improve your financial situation for 2016

10THOUSANDGIRL chief executive office Zoe Lamont said improving your financial situation was sort of like planning a holiday.

"You need to know where you want to go, you need to know what your current situation is and then you can start doing some research on how to get from A to B," she said.

Ms Lamont was in Toowoomba recently for a money management and investment education workshop to help women check and boost the health of their finances.

The workshop was part of a national, two-year Better Money Management program that offers regional women access to expert financial education and was designed to strengthen the financial position and planning abilities of regional women.

While she was in town, she spoke to The Chronicle and shared some handy tips about improving your financial situation this New Year's period.

"I think the most important thing and something we've spoken a lot about is setting clear goals and having them written down," she said.

"Write down your goals like they've already been achieved - like say 'I've just stepped out of the plane, it's this date and I'm heading to Zimbabwe' or wherever you're going.

Have a financial review of 2015 and look at your spending patterns and work out how you can improve yourself financially in 2016.
Have a financial review of 2015 and look at your spending patterns and work out how you can improve yourself financially in 2016. David Sacks

"Or if you're a visual person take some time over the break and flip through a heap of magazines and pull out different pictures and make a vision board and stick it up in your house."

She said it was important to be really specific about what your goals were and to choose short, medium and long-term ones.

"It depends on what sort of lifestyle you want to lead," she said.

"Whatever goal setting methods work for you, just make sure you've got something physically or in words.

"Once you're clear on your goals, you can look at how you're going to financially reach them."

To do this, Ms Lamont suggested doing a financial review.

That meant looking at your spending patterns, your different loans and if you're on top of them or not, looking at different insurances, your net worth (listing your assets and liabilities and understanding what your position is), whether you can borrow money or whether you want to focus on repaying debt and looking at your super and if that's being maximised or not. "

Write down clear goals for the short, medium andlong-term.
Write down clear goals for the short, medium andlong-term. Bakhtiarzein

She encouraged people to always keep three to six months worth of living expenses in cash as an emergency buffer.

"Then anything above and beyond that keep for your medium and long term goals - you might want to look at different ways to invest in shares and property," she said.

Ms Lamont said since it was easier to focus on short term goals, she suggested taking up the challenge over the New Year's period of setting yourself a medium and a long-term goal.

"If you're at the start of your career that might be working out how much money you need for retirement and making sure you're tracking towards that or working out if you want to go live overseas for a year, how much money do I need to do that and maybe it only means $100 a month if it's 10 years down the track," she said.

"So the longer you plan in advance the easier it is to achieve your financial goals."

Ms Lamont also suggested taking some time out for reflection.

Make a vision board if one of your financial goals is to travel this year.
Make a vision board if one of your financial goals is to travel this year. Thinkstock

"Reflection is important so you can learn from what you've done in the past," she said.

"So good questions to ask yourself are things like what are the three best things that happened to me over the last year, what are the three worst things that happened to me over the last year and how do I want to change that going forward, what skills did I build this year and what skills do I want to build in the next year.

She said using reflection along with goal setting was a good way to get on top of your financial situation.

If you'd like to find out more, visit 10thousandgirl.com or find them on Facebook.

EXAMPLE GOALS

  •  Pay for kids education
  •  Going on an overseas holiday each year
  •  Building a dream home
  •  Landscaping a garden
  •  Go for a nice dinner each month or each week

USEFUL FINANCIAL SITES

  •  10thousandgirl.com
  •  moneysmart.gov.au
  •  understandinsurance.com
  •   fpa.com.au


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