6 ways to overhaul your finances sustainably for 2023
We take a look at some of the top ways to turn your "green" even greener.
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In the last few years, sustainability has become increasingly important for both financial providers and everyday consumers alike.
The reasons why are complex. The 2022–2025 Housing Outlook: Green Edition, commissioned by QBE LMI, digs into some of the main themes – but there are really 2 main factors at play.
- Consumers expect the businesses they buy from to demonstrate good corporate social responsibility – and they're in a position to place them under the spotlight when they don't.
- Ethical business owners have a sincere interest in preserving the future wellbeing of the environment.
So with the new year kicking off, there's never been a better time to look for ways to get your finances into better – and greener – shape.
1. Look for greener finance
Now, you might be surprised to hear it – but some mortgages are actually greener than others, which can be good news for your wallet and the planet.
For example, QBE LMI has recently launched a 5% rate discount on lenders' mortgage insurance through a number of lenders for homes bought with a green mortgage*.
We've spoken about the importance of values-aligned mortgages previously, and choosing to finance – or refinance – with green providers, can be a great way to put your money where your mouth is.
2. Renovate your home to be more eco-friendly
According to the Housing Outlook report, in Australia, water heating accounts for approximately 25% of household energy.
In fact, it's the second most demanding energy requirement – after spatial healing and cooling!
So with these 2 costs taking up such a big chunk of the energy bill, it makes sense to look for ways to make your home more energy efficient.
The Housing Outlook report points to a few different home improvement options, including:
- Lighter coloured roofs, to better reflect heat
- Improving the quality of your window fittings to reduce heat loss
- Investing in better insulation
- Fitting more efficient water fixtures
- Installing solar panels (more on that in the point below)
- Replacing your home's lights with LED lights
Also, certain lenders also provide discounted loans for eco-friendly renovations.
3. Make use of government schemes
In many ways, we're living in an ideal time for people looking to make their homes more eco-friendly.
Technologies such as greywater tanks, large-scale batteries and solar panels are considerably more affordable than they were in decades past. A number of these technologies have also been subsidised by the government to encourage wider take-up.
For example, there are several federal and state-based solar rebate schemes designed to give people a financial incentive to fit solar panels to their homes.
The impact is clear: according to the Housing Outlook report, Australia has the highest solar uptake in the world.
4. Invest in green, energy-efficient appliances
Newer models of many common appliances such as fridges, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers are designed with eco-friendliness in mind.
When you're looking at options, you can also check out energy star ratings on specific appliances. These can help you make an informed decision.
Ultimately, this means they'll use less energy and cost you less in the long run, too – a win-win.
5. Reassess your investment portfolio
If you're serious about keeping your finances green, it might be worth looking at some of your own investments.
Many investors – both individually and in the corporate world – are divesting themselves from fossil fuels or mining.
Depending on your individual outlook and values, many are refocusing their investments on green tech instead.
Others are simply choosing to reinvest in areas that don't cause the same harm to the environment.
In a similar vein, some people are also engaging with their superannuation portfolios to ensure their super investments align with their values.
6. Check for green-friendly credentials
Unfortunately, some organisations seize on "green" branding to make their image look better, rather than because they're advocating for sincere change. It's called "greenwashing".
So it's always important to do a bit of sleuthing before you opt to work with a financial institution on the basis of its claims around being green.
External certification, awards, company transparency and visible signs of their green initiatives are all promising signs that they're serious about what they do.
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