SIX OF THE BEST APPS TO HELP MANAGE YOUR MONEY

Nowadays, there seems to be an app for everything and many of us take advantage of these apps to monitor our fitness and health. Apps however, can also be used to help monitor your financial health as well, so here are six of the most popular, easy to use and free apps available on the market that are good for both Android and iOS devices.

  1. Pocketbook: This Australian budgeting app allows you to track your expenses and calculate how much you spend each month. You can even set limits to your spending and connect the app to your online bank accounts, automatically tracking your income versus your spending.
  2. TrackMySpend: This app is fairly basic and easy to use and lets you set up categories for your spending, so you can see where most of your money is spent. You can set categories for regular expenses, groceries, clothes, fuel etc., all of which helps you to keep an eye on your budget. You can also download this data to a spreadsheet or accounting software, making it a very versatile app indeed.
  3. Good Budget: If you still yearn for the days of saving money in different envelopes to help organise your budget, then this might be the app for you! You can create lots of different categories or ‘envelopes’ to track your spending, even syncing with your partner’s app to give you a complete view of your family’s spending.
  4. YNAB: The latest version of this app can now sync with your online bank accounts, as well as your credit card accounts, downloading all your transactions into the app for a complete picture of your spending each month. This helps you to keep track of your budget and you can even split transactions into different categories, which is a great bonus!
  5. Mvelopes: Another app that uses the old envelope strategy of budgeting, Mvelopes also syncs with your bank and credit card accounts, helping you to manage your monthly budget. You can split your transactions into different categories, schedule regular payments and reallocate funds if a transaction puts you over-budget in one or more categories.
  6. Wally: This is another basic app that lets you keep track of your spending with minimal details, giving you a pie chart with colour coded expense categories. You can track all your expenses and incomes, geotag purchases and export your data to a spreadsheet or accounting software.

There are other apps available, so it might take you some time to find one that suits your needs. Depending on how well you understand apps, some people will find one or more of these easier to use than others, as well as preferring one because it has all the features they need.

The essential feature of all these apps is that they let you keep a running total of your spending on-the-go, so you know before you make a purchase whether or not you have the funds in your budget to pay for it. This can be enormously helpful for many of us who have problems keeping track of our spending, only finding out at the end of the month that we are in trouble!

If you want help managing your family’s monthly budget, call me (Amanda McCall) on 07 3356 6926 or send me an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make an appointment.

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GETTING TO KNOW YOUR FINANCIAL PLANNER - AMANDA McCALL

Whenever you need to talk to an expert in a particular topic, it’s always a good idea to know a little bit about them, even if it’s only their experience and qualifications. With a financial advisor however, you need to feel that they are on the same page as you, as far as understanding your financial goals are concerned, without feeling that they have their own agenda.

Tips on getting to know your financial planner better

One of the ways you can have confidence in your financial planner is to get to know them better. This doesn’t mean that you ask them around to dinner, but asking about their qualifications and experience is a good start.

You really want to know that this person is a good match for you and your financial goals and that they see the world in the same way. When you are both on the same page, you can work together easily to achieve your goals, instead of butting heads every time you get together for an appointment.

In some instances, you can gain a better understanding of a financial adviser on their website, simply by reading their ‘About Us’ page. Some people are more forthcoming than others, because unfortunately, some people don’t reveal much about themselves on their website.

Who is Amanda McCall?

I am a good example of someone who has ‘been there, done that’ and knows how to make her clients feel comfortable in her presence. Friends tell me that one of my best attributes is helping clients to understand a complex subject by explaining it in simpler terms, so that my clients don’t feel overwhelmed with too much information.

I am not made from the usual Financial Planner’s mould. In a field where dryness, confusion and mystery abound, I like to take an innovative approach to financial planning.  I am passionate about financial planning and thrive on creating wealth for my clients.  My mission is to ‘make finance fun’.

Born and bred on the north side of Brisbane, I am a local girl with a passion for helping my clients make money and achieve financial freedom. As a certified financial planner, I have successfully operated my own business for nearly 20 years and love educating my clients, so that they can make their own financial decisions about their future.

On a personal level, I am quite fond of champagne and cocktail evenings with family and friends, and a love for shopping in Brisbane.  I have recently got involved in aqua aerobics and have now set myself the goal of doing 50 new things before I turn 50!

If you feel that I can help you to achieve your financial goals, call me (Amanda McCall) on 07 3356 6926 or send us an email to make an appointment.

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A SHORT OVERVIEW OF INVESTMENT BASICS FOR BEGINNERS

Whenever you talk to someone about financial security and wealth building, invariably the topic comes around to investments. For most of us however, we just hope to pay the bills, let alone find money for investments!

It’s not such a hopeless topic however - you might be surprised how easy it is to put together your own investment portfolio by reshuffling your budget. So let’s take a look at some of the basics of investing, by identifying the four different types of investments that you might want to investigate further: fixed interest, shares, property and cash.

Fixed interest investments

These are usually issued by governments, corporations and financial institutions to raise money for their own investments. In return for you ‘lending’ your money to these financial bodies, you receive a fixed rate of interest that does not change over the life of your investment. Australian fixed interest investments are considered low risk, giving investors a regular income and helping to diversify investment portfolios.

Share market investments

You can buy shares in Australian or international companies either directly or via a managed fund, where you enjoy the benefits of the company’s profits in the form of dividends. Unfortunately, you can also suffer from the vagaries of the share market, resulting in substantial losses if you are not experienced in these types of investments. Your best option might be to invest using a managed fund where you rely on the experience and skills of a fund manager to make your investment decisions. These can be high risk investments, but if you are in it for the long term, they can be a valuable part of your investment portfolio.

Property investments

You can invest in commercial, residential or industrial properties, but if you are new to property investing, it might be best to utilise a property managed fund, where just as with share market investing, you rely on the skills of a fund manager to oversee your investments. On the other hand, many Aussies own investment properties themselves, benefiting from both negative gearing and capital gains. It all depends on your experience and your comfort level, as to whether you join a fund or manage your own property portfolio. In the long term, property investments tend to be low risk and some can deliver very high returns indeed.

Cash investments

These types of investments include bank term deposits and savings accounts in financial institutions where you receive interest on your savings. Many Australians have these types of accounts and whilst the interest rates you receive on your money at the moment is very small, it is a move in the positive direction. Cash investments can also include gold and other precious metals, as well as precious stones. Whilst these can’t be used as cash themselves, you can liquidate them very quickly and turn them into cash.

A diversified investment portfolio usually includes at least two or more of the above types of investments, but the percentage split can change depending on your needs and your returns.

If you need help to create an investment portfolio for yourself or your family, call Amanda McCall on 07 3356 6929 or complete our online enquiry form.

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TIPS ON ORGANISING YOUR FINANCES FOR VALENTINE'S DAY SWEETHEARTS

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, maybe it’s a good time to look towards your financial future as a couple? Many couples don’t give their finances enough thought before they live together or get married, often resulting in complications further down the track. So, if you have found the love of your life, here are a few tips to keep your finances running smoothly as a couple.

Financial common sense

Everyone deals with money differently – some people are avid savers, others spend as if there is no tomorrow and others are in between. It definitely pays to discuss your spending and saving habits before you move in together, otherwise your finances could become a problem, sooner than you think! For example, if one of you has mounting debts due to poor spending habits and the other has a sizable saving account and abhors debt, you can imagine that something will need to change, pretty soon!

Not all debt is ‘bad’ debt, but you both need to be on the same page about ‘bad’ debt and ‘good’ debt, because regardless of the definition, too much of any type of debt can be stressful to a couple. Examples of ‘bad’ debt, where the ‘asset’ doesn’t appreciate over time are car loans, boat loans and credit card debts.  Even though a mortgage is generally considered as ‘good’ debt due to capital gains, combined with too many other debts, it all puts pressure on a relationship.

As you can appreciate, trying to pay down a large mortgage and two car loans can just about cripple a couple financially, increasing their stress levels and putting undue pressure on their relationship. If one person then looses their job, the debts can become overwhelming and the couple can be in real trouble

Discuss your debt behaviour

Your current finances and how each of you deals with money (your spending vs saving behaviour) needs to be addressed sooner rather than later in your relationship. If you don’t come to some sort of agreement about your finances, you could end up with one partner spending heavily and increasing your debt, while the other struggles to pay the bills every month.

The best approach is to agree on a savings plan for both of you and with a specific goal in mind. This might be a deposit on a house, a new car, boat, holiday, paying down credit cards or an investment plan. Your goals will partly depend on your ages and whether or not you have children, but planning for your future is important for your financial security, regardless of your age and family circumstances.

Discuss your incomes and create a financial plan

You both need to be transparent about your incomes and decide on a financial plan as a couple. You might decide to live off one income and save the other or allocate certain bills to be paid from each income, as well as having separate savings accounts. Whatever works for you as a couple is right for your relationship, but you both need to understand each other’s ‘money behaviour’ and agree on a financial plan together as a couple.

When you both agree on a financial plan, you can look forward to your future together, safe in the knowledge that you are both working towards the same goals.

For help organising your finances as a couple, call Amanda McCall on 07 3356 6926 or shoot us an email.

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6 WAYS TO ORGANISE YOUR FINANCES FOR THE NEW YEAR

With the New Year on top of us, it’s time for you take a long hard look at your finances, so that you can set yourself up for 2018. Hopefully, you didn’t overspend at Christmas and you don’t have a big credit card debt to pay off in the New Year.

If you want to move your finances in a positive direction this year and stop worrying about living through each month, here are our top 6 tips that will help you to organise your finances for a better future.

Tip 1: Create a budget: It goes without saying that you won’t know where you need to cut down on your spending if you don’t know where you overspend! A budget is one of the easiest ways to see where your money goes, but it is one of the hardest actions to take. So, decide to create a budget this year, identify where you can save some money and stick to it!

Tip 2: Budgeting apps: Some of these personal finance apps are free and others cost very little each month. Some of you might love the idea of a budgeting app and others will throw their hands up in horror. Whatever your feelings on using apps, it pays to check them out because they can help you to reduce your spending: YNAB (You Need a Budget), Mvelopes (for people who love putting money away in envelopes) or Mint (perfect for identifying where you can save money).

Tip 3: Pay off debts: Why not focus on either paying off your smallest debt or the one with the highest interest rates this year? Credit cards and personal loans have pretty big interest charges, so paying these down and then cancelling the credit card account is one of the best and fastest ways to get yourself out of debt. Tip 3A: Don’t take on any more debt this year!

Tip 4: Plan your EOFY tax: Everyone, not just business owners and sole traders can benefit from organising all their receipts and statements, so that they are ready to go in July. Receiving a tax windfall is awesome, but if you submit your tax as soon as possible in July, you can use it to help pay off your debts faster than you might originally have anticipated.

Tip 5: Hard copies: In this day and age of computers and the internet, we tend to forget to keep hard copies of our essential financial information. If you don’t backup your hard drive and your computer crashes, you could lose all your records. So always backup your PC’s hard drive regularly and keep a hard copy of statements, receipts and passwords.

Tip 6: Meet with a financial planner: Good financial advice is worth its weight in gold, so it pays to talk to a reputable financial adviser so that you can put together a plan to achieve your goals. Whether these goals are to pay off your debts, buy a house, new car, boat or plan for your retirement – getting good advice is important to your financial success.

If you need help achieving your financial goals in 2018, call Amanda McCall on 07 3356 6929 or complete our online enquiry form.

2018 PLANNING BUDGET FINANCES

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