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How You Can Become financially Flexible in 2019

Julian Parsons - Sydney

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What is financial flexibility?

Matt Balderston from Pure Financial explains that financial flexibility is the ability to become financially secure and the ability to maintain financial security regardless of what happens in the economy.

“Financial flexibility and the level of it will generally indicate how a person or company will fare when circumstances change or a financial crisis hits. In 2018, struggling Australian farmers had exhausted their access to the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) and had little means to cover of running their farms. On the 24th of July, SBS reported that National Australia Bank had introduced farm management deposits, which allow farmers to “remove money from their taxable income during good years to later use during tough times.” The new financial scheme allows farmers to accumulate funding that can be utilised when farming conditions worsen, thus allowing them more flexibility, and, as a result, financial security.”

Having financial flexibility ensures that you remain secure when your circumstances change or even enjoy more abundance when you retire. Moving towards financial flexibility means you will fare better if markets plunge, you’re unable to work for long periods of time due to health issues, or are suddenly made redundant and need to look for a new job.

How Can You Become More Financially Flexible?

Financial flexibility will increase your chances of moving your net worth from a negative value (in the red) to a positive value (in the black). It also maximises your chances of staying in the black.

Here are the steps individuals can take to get financially fit and flexible.

  • Assess your finances: It may seem obvious but before you can really take financial action, you need to know what the state of your finances is.

Start by assessing your net worth: Your net worth =Assets – Liabilities. Your assets are all the objects of value that you own and your liabilities are what you owe. You will also need to subtract how much money you spend from how much money you make. These calculations will highlight if you’re in the red or black.

  • Create a budget: break down your expenses. Monitor your spending behaviour over a few weeks and determine where you are spending. Document your spending and create a budget.
  • Plan ahead: After assessing your finances and gaining clarity on your spending habits, you need to create a plan of action.

Certified financial planner and Forbes contributor, Jeff Rose  illustrates that financial success “doesn’t usually ‘just happen’. It starts with a detailed plan, and a willingness to commit to that plan”.

You’ll need to plan how to get out of debt (if you have any) and if you don’t, you need to set some financial goals and plan out how you will work towards them.

  • Get out of debt: The next step is to get back into the black. Refer to your budget and determine where you can cut down spending and put money aside to repay your debts. At the same time, ensure that you are not accumulating more debts. Once you get back in the black, make sure you remain out of debt.

  • Start saving: Again, look at your budget and determine where you can make cuts to your spending and start stowing away money every time you get paid. It does not have to be a large sum to start off with, especially if you are in debt, but it should be consistent.
  • Consider life insurance: you may be the sole or main breadwinner for your family. Life insurance is important to have if that is the case. It means that if you are unable to work for long periods of time, life insurance will ensure that your family can still have financial security and meet its everyday needs.
  • Be Super involved: Anthony Keane from News  explains: “Do you have four superannuation accounts and have no idea where they are invested? Well – chances are your super is being eaten away by fees. So, take an active interest in your super, and invest it wisely. It’s your money.”

To learn more about how Super works, visit the Australian Taxation Office website. It is also important to note that the coming federal elections will influence Super, with both coalition and opposition set to make changes in Super – with Labor promising that

it will increase the Superannuation Guarantee from 9.5 to 12 percent” as reported by Nassem Khadim.

Invest: The management deposits scheme introduced to farmers by National Australia Bank enables farmers to stow away cash when they’re in the black. Similarly, you should be making investments when you’re in the black.

Max Funding’s startup business loan experts recommend “To start fresh. It’s the best decision you can make.”

There are many avenues for investment, such as the stock market, physical commodities and savings accounts. Anthony Keane recommends investing is avenues that have longevity rather than what is trending at the moment.

Jeff Rose advises clients to invest “no matter what the market is doing” and recommends that if “it's a bad time to invest, then simply cut back on how much you are investing in equities. But at the same time, continue accumulating cash and fixed income investments in your portfolio, that way it'll be there to buy when the timing looks a little bit more favourable.”

This advice may be important to remember, as David Chau of ABC reports that the Australian share market will be volatile in the first half of 2019, with Brexit, US-China trade relations and the Australian federal elections being major influencers. The share market is, however, “expected to rise more stable in the second half”.

Implementing the aforementioned steps will send you on your way towards financial flexibility.

Author Bio:

A Sydney-based university student, Julian Parsons is also a freelance writer. Julian is a business student and passionate about learning new things. You will see Julian in a coffee shop enjoying his time alone when he is not on his desk. You can get in touch with Julian through his email.

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