Budgeting, cash flow and Super are all very important to better financial management and the attainment of long-term goal.
Don’t ever do a Budget again on the back of an envelope or using anything hand written. The below online resources available from ASIC show you just how simple it is.
Read the informative longer article below called “Cracking the money code’ about overall financial literacy.
Cracking the money code
Literacy is the key that unlocks a world of knowledge. In the investment world financial literacy is how investors can crack the code of our sophisticated and at times complex world of money.
The issue of financial literacy is both broad and multi-layered. At one end of the spectrum there are those people who are effectively shut out of the modern financial system because their lack of financial literacy means they cannot access even the most basic of financial products.
The National Australia Bank first commissioned research by the Centre for Social Impact back in 2011 and recently updated the work in June 2013. It defines financial exclusion where individuals lack access to appropriate and affordable financial products such as transaction accounts, general insurance and a moderate amount of credit.
The research found that about 17 per cent of the adult population in Australia are either fully or severely excluded from financial services. A big concern is that the figure is rising not falling.
Improving financial literacy is a significant challenge and there are a range of initiatives underway including getting basic money management skills embedded in the school curriculum nationally.
ASIC has responsibility for implementing a national financial literacy strategy and a strong focus of that strategy is looking at improving educational pathways and content.
That is to be applauded but clearly this is an issue that ranges from the basic – understanding mobile phone contracts, credit card debts and household budgeting – right on up to more sophisticated challenges like understanding your superannuation.
As our superannuation system continues to grow and mature it is likely to have an ever-increasing role in educating Australians around long-term savings and planning for their retirement.
Australia’s superannuation system is world-class in terms of a system structured to build retirement savings. But one of its core strengths – the mandatory nature of contributions from salaries – brings with it the issue of lack of member engagement because the majority of fund members do not actively make decisions either about the fund or the investment approach.
By its design there is a paternalistic side to our super system that works in a behavioral sense against fund members being fully engaged with their super account in the same way that they are with their banking or credit card accounts.
Ask yourself – or friends/work colleagues – when was the last time you checked your super fund balance?
The other factor working against super is its long-term nature – it is not hard to put off doing something when you can’t get your hands on the money for 30 years.
Financial literacy is an essential life skill if people are to function and succeed in the modern world. Education and banking services are clearly on the front line of improving financial literacy, but increasingly there must be a role for super funds because they are going to be much more integral in people’s lives as the system grows and the population ages.
By Robin Bowerman
Principal & Head of Retail, Vanguard Investments Australia