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Small Steps - Things to Find Out

by Sarah McMurray

Small Steps - Things to Find Out

If you’ve figured out:

  • How your life will be better once you sort out your finances
  • When you’re going to get the work done
  • What support you need, and who can help you with that -

then congratulations! You’ve started, which is often the hardest bit.

What now?

You’ve probably heard that budgets are a good idea, and saving for retirement, and paying down debt, and saving for a holiday, and, and, and… cue overwhelm.

If they idea of doing any or all of the above sends your mind running down dead ends and round in circles, take a moment, and breathe.

The first step is not to do any of those things. The first step is to find information. And then to put it where you can easily find it again, because either it will change, or you’ll forget the details, or both.

Don’t feel bad about not knowing the details about your money. It’s really common. Our brains are terrible at remembering confusing details, and sometimes there’s a whole tedious process to go through to even find the confusing details.

If you know someone who does seem to know everything about their money, all that means is that they’ve set up a system that works for them, and they can quickly find whatever detail they need.

Soon, that will be you.

The actual system doesn’t matter – go with whatever works for you. If you’re visual, make the system visually appealing. If you’re relying on technology, do your best to make sure that the information can still be found if your phone dies, or the computer becomes uncooperative.

Steps to follow:

  1. Don’t get freaked out by the list below.
  2. Pick one thing you don’t currently know.
  3. Figure out the smallest step you could take towards finding out the answer. E.g. call the bank’s 0800 number to sort out your login / ask at work if there’s anyone who can talk through your payslip with you / search your email for your previous power bills
  4. Take that step.
  5. Record any information that you find
  6. Figure out the next small step
  7. Rinse and repeat

Your Income

The amount, how often you get it, understanding any deductions, knowing if you can reasonably expect an increase or decrease in the coming months.

Sources of information or help: your payslip, HR department, boss, union rep

Your bank accounts

Which banks they’re at, what the logins are, the balances, interest rates, bank account conditions and fees

Your regular bills

Who your current utility providers are, what amount do you normal pay, when are they due each month, which account do they come out of?

Your Credit Cards, BNPL, Personal Loans, Hire Purchase, Student Loans, Overdrafts, Mortgages

Which banks or companies are they with, what’s the login, how much do you currently owe, what’s the minimum repayment, what’s the current interest rate (or fees), is there a date by which it has to be repaid or a penalty applies?

Your Kiwisaver / Any other Investments

Who’s your Kiwisaver provider, what’s the current value, how much do you contribute

Once you have found out some of the information above, then the steps around saving, planning, paying down debt etc. will be so much easier. In the meantime, I want you to know that the process of getting connected and aware around your money will already start to change your financial situation for the better.

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