Australia’s top 10 financial new year’s resolutions

Angus Kidman 28 December 2016

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Plus simple tips on how to actually achieve them.

As 2016 draws to a close, many of us will start thinking about resolutions for the year ahead. Along with the usual vows to exercise more/eat less/find love, many of us will focus on money. A recent finder.com.au survey of 2,026 Australians asked people about their financial resolutions for 2016. These were the 10 most popular choices (respondents could pick more than one):

ResolutionPercentage (%)
Pay off debt30%
Review monthly commitments24%
Focus on a new career15%
Buy a car15%
Invest in a property12%
Renovate9%
Donate more to charity7%
Graduate from a degree5%
Focus on getting a promotion5%
Consolidate superannuation4%

All those goals seem worthy. Here are some brief tips on how to bring them closer to reality and recent data on the challenges you'll face. Pay off debt: There are some seriously competitive 0% balance transfer offers for credit cards right now, so definitely start with that angle if you've got serious credit card debt. Increasingly, we're seeing 0% offers charging a transfer fee, so make sure you take that into consideration. Review monthly commitments: If you're on an older mobile phone contract, chances are you're not getting decent data inclusions and are paying over the odds when you exceed them. It definitely makes sense to compare what's on offer, even if you want to stick with the same provider. Similarly, with energy bills rising in many states, it's worth the effort of checking out alternatives. Focus on a new career: Start by checking out the industries where wages are growing the fastest. Buy a car: Having your own transport can improve your employment prospects, but don't pay over the odds and don't get conned into expensive vendor insurance. Invest in a property: With no apparent appetite to change negative gearing rules, property remains a tax-advantageous investment. Renovate: Our complete home renovations guide covers everything you need to know. Donate more to charity: This is a hugely worthy goal, but remember the tax benefits for standard donations aren't necessarily enormous: you can claim donations against your taxable income, but unless you're on a very high rate, you won't see a massive fiscal benefit. Treat this as part of your life strategy, not as a get-richer-faster scheme. Graduate from a degree: While some degrees offer much higher starting salaries than others, finishing any degree makes you a more attractive candidate. Focus on getting a promotion: Salary growth in Australia is slowing, so if you want more moolah, you will need to move up the ladder. Consolidate superannuation: Definitely a good idea, and not an expensive task: check out our guide on finding all your superannuation accounts for more details. Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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