Many of us make ambitious resolutions at the start of a new year. However, these are often quite general and therefore hard to action. In 2018, try tackling our list of specific, achievable tasks instead!

Get your finances into great shape by ticking off this financial checklist of essential to-do items.

1. Does your Super Death benefit have a binding beneficiary in place?

This often over-looked task is critical if you want to make sure that your super benefits go to your desired recipient. There are four key steps to ensuring that your superannuation entitlements will be passed to your preferred beneficiary. We map them out for you here.

2. Have you updated your last Will and Testament?

Number 2 on our financial checklist concerns your Will. People often make a Will and then forget all about it. We know it’s not the most pleasant thing to think about, but it’s essential for the future financial well being of your loved ones. Life circumstances change and your Will should reflect this. Changes in relationships, new family members, assets, tax laws or location are all good reasons for to conduct a review.

3. Could you be doing more to increase your superannuation?

Another key area for future financial stability that too many of us put off thinking about is the state of our super. Could you be putting more in by salary sacrificing or other means to increase your retirement benefit? No matter what stage of life you’re at there are things you can do to bump up your super and give yourself a more comfortable retirement. We break down some of them for you here.

4. When was the last time you obtained a policy comparison of your superannuation fund’s fees and charges?

While you’re reviewing your super, it’s worth looking at what fees and charges you are paying and if it's too much. Talk to us if you need help with these comparisons. When assessing your super here are some things to bear in mind.

5. Have you reviewed your budget for the new calendar year?

Making a household budget is something we tend to set and forget. However, your budget also needs regular review in light of factors such as changes in income, circumstances, financial goals or life stage. Set aside time to reflect on how successfully you stuck to your budget last year and where there's room for improvement.

6. Is now the right time to start saving for your children or grandchildren’s education?

The cost of higher education may be the furthest thing from your mind when your children or grandchildren are little, but given the escalating costs of education, the sooner you start saving the better. Here we offer some advice and strategies for making headway.

7. When did you last check on the correct replacement value for your home and contents insurance?

The majority of Australians are underinsured for their home and contents insurance as we tend to underestimate replacement costs. It’s worth regularly reviewing what your policy does and doesn’t cover and whether you have acquired new assets or done renovations that you need to insure for. Here are some helpful tips for calculating costs.

8. Have you reviewed your health insurance and compared the market?

Health funds adjust their premiums every year on the 1st of April. In 2017, prices went up around 5% on average. Over time our health priorities and needs change, so it’s worth regularly reviewing if you and your family are properly covered and paying a competitive price.

9. When did you last assess your home loan?

Conducting a financial health check on your home loan around every three years is a good rule of thumb. Whether you should refinance your home loan depends on a number of factors, such as how competitive your current lender’s interest rate is; if you’ve had any major financial or lifestyle changes; whether you’re looking for new features that your current loan doesn’t provide; or if you need to consolidate debt. We can help you assess whether it’s the right time to make a switch.

10. Could you increase the frequency of your mortgage repayments?

Paying off your mortgage early can save you literally thousands of dollars in repayments over the long term. One very simple way to do this is to change your loan frequently from monthly to fortnightly to weekly if you haven’t done so already.

For more information or advice call us on (02) 8268 2900 for an obligation-free chat.