For many Queenslanders becoming debt free can seem out of reach but it is certainly not an impossible goal, according to Queensland’s largest superannuation fund.
ASIC’s Money Smart website reveals nationwide around $32 billion1 is owed on credit cards, and close to 30 per cent2 of Australians say they find dealing with money stressful and overwhelming.
QSuper CEO Michael Pennisi said with the Reserve Bank of Australia cash rate at a record low of 2 per cent, it is a great time to tackle personal debt and in turn, build up confidence.
“The journey to be debt free should start now - it’s never too late to take control of your finances,” Mr Pennisi said.
“Record low-interest rates are an opportunity to pay off your loans off quicker – as long as you don’t reduce your repayments and don’t take on more debt.”
Mr Pennisi said when it comes to household debt, there are three types – good, bad and necessary.
“Good debt refers to those such as tertiary education costs and investments, bad debt includes credit card debt and necessary debt is home and car loans,” he said.
“Knowing how to pay them off is crucial to clearing the debt.
“Typically the interest rate you are repaying on credit cards and other personal loans will be greater than the percentage you are earning from your investments.
“By prioritising paying off your debts, you will be in a better financial position.”
QSuper's checklist to reduce debt
Where does your money go? Start a spreadsheet which lists all of your current debts with corresponding interest rates, remaining balances and payment dates. This will give you an overall picture of your current debt situation.
What are your high interest debts? If you have the capacity to make extra payments, focus on debts with higher interest rates.
Are you being realistic? When you’re devising a budget strategy, plan for the worst case scenario. If you need to work out a payment plan with your creditors, ensure you have sufficient cash flow to meet the repayment schedule. You may be penalised if you have to renegotiate another payment plan.
How can you save more? By putting aside a small amount each week you can help to cover yourself in the event of an unforeseen incident. This will help you to avoid falling behind on payments and incurring excess interest and charges.
Do you know where to go for help? If you are struggling to control your spending and manage your debts, help is available. A financial advisor can provide you with the advice you need to get back on track.
For more information, visit qsuper.qld.gov.au.
QSuper is Queensland’s largest superannuation fund and manages in excess of $60 billion in funds for more than 540,000 members and was awarded SuperRatings Fund of the Year 2016.3
Maryanne Kepui/ QSuper / 3029 9355 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma Norris / PPR / 3309 4704 / email@example.com
1. ASIC Moneysmart website, accessed on 14 March 2016.
2. Source: ASIC Key Finding Report 464: Australian Financial Attitudes and Behaviour Tracker, Wave 3: March – August 2015.
3. SuperRatings does not issue, sell, guarantee or underwrite this product. Go to www.superratings.com.au for details of its ratings criteria. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.