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Balancing the budget – Nationally and at home

It seems that every time you open a newspaper at the moment, there is some warning about how government spending will need to be cut. Just yesterday I read through several warnings in the Financial Review about the prospect of increasing the aged pension age from 67 to 70 and about the possible recommendations of the Commission of Audit review that is under way.

What we know is that at federal and state levels there is great pressure on the budget and every expenditure item is under scrutiny. So as we approach the budget season the best thing we can say is fasten your seat belts for the bumps ahead. We will keep you informed through our e-news publications of the various changes and how they impact on individuals and business.

However, what is true at the government budget level is also true in the family budget. In order to make the most of the resources at your disposal, you need to manage your money wisely. The best way to do this is to prepare a family budget and track your spending. There is an excellent tool for preparing a family budget at www.moneysmart.gov.au (MoneySmart budget planner) and we would encourage every family to go through this process and to regularly review your progress.

When we are asked to assist people with a financial strategy for retirement, the starting point is to set a budget so that their needs and available savings can be assessed, now and into the future. Then we consider what you will need in retirement for your desired lifestyle. Using some simple financial models, we can then identify the gap between what you have now and what you will require. Then we develop a strategy to bridge that gap.

Setting spending and savings goals and tracking your performance against them is the best way to prepare for a comfortable retirement. The fundamental disciplines of controlling spending and saving for the future are the main factors that will enable you to build your wealth.

You can’t start this process too soon so why not discuss this with one of the Saward Dawson team who will be pleased to assess how we can help you.

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