The Christmas break is a good time to reflect on how you spent your money during the year and if you want to make any changes, an expert says.
Founder of personal finance coaching firm Enable Me Hannah McQueen spoke to The Weekend to give tips on how best to manage your money in 2023.
“Money is something we tend to drift through. Our financial success tends to be by chance instead of being quite deliberate,” McQueen said.
“I think the good thing about the Christmas break is that you have a time to reflect on what you did last year and do you want to end up in the same place this year? Probably not.”
McQueen said a lot of people overspend around the Christmas period and it was important to know your financial situation and understand if you were a saver or a shopper.
It was vital to know what was possible for yourself as an individual in terms of saving money.
“Now people are capable of huge improvements if they start layering up all the components so it doesn’t take a big effort but it translates to a big result.”
McQueen said people should be reflecting on their money goals each week and hold themselves to account if their actions did not quite add up to their goals.
This gave opportunities to correct themselves, rest and refine their goals.
McQueen said the first thing to do was to work out if interest rate hikes actually affected you.
If they did, it was time to work out how long the increase would be in place for – as people were usually capable of making sacrifices with money when theirs was a particular time period in place.
For her own clients, McQueen said she would work with them to understand the financial impact of a higher interest rate and try to neutralize it by being smarter.
She suggested people look to refinance elsewhere and restructure their mortgage. It could help lower the amount increased.
McQueen said it was an “amazing” year to buy a house because although interest rates were higher, the market had “stabilised”.
“This is your opportunity.”
McQueen said many of her clients “frittered” their money and usually lost about 15 percent of their income without knowing where the money had gone.
Working out what that money was spent on, and saving it instead could help show a bank you were capable of affording higher levels of debt.
McQueen said Kiwis did not manage money well and their cash flow was weak.
She said Kiwis were “fixated” on property – and not for the right reasons, did not pay off mortgages fast enough and “fritter” their money.
It was important to set financial goals and understand capabilities, she said.