Finance advice

Ease your debt burden through consolidation

By Stacey Moseley

Most working Australians are no stranger to debt. These days, most of us have at least one credit card, a car loan, and in many instances, a personal loan.

 

Access to credit has made life easier and in many cases a lot better for most people in general. But while there are many positives associated with using credit, there can be a downside.

It is easy to let your credit card balance creep up, and before you know it the bank has kindly increased your limit. Before you know where you are, you’re up to your eyeballs in repayments and your cash flow is getting tighter.

When debt starts to spiral, it’s imperative that you take decisive action if you’re to regain control. The first action must be to address your spending habits to ensure that the debt does not continue to climb at the same pace.

With a tighter grip on your spending, your main focus should be on reducing the debt levels on your credit card, as this is where you are likely to be paying the highest interest.

It can be tempting to take out another credit card with a lower rate, but be warned: if you don’t close down your existing cards, you’ll simply magnify the problem.

It is better to focus on reducing the outstanding amount, and that means saving more than you spend each month.

The most effective way to achieve this goal is to set a budget. This will help establish what your fixed costs are, such as your mortgage, school fees and utility bills. You can then look at what’s left and decide where you can pare back.

With a simple strategy in place, and a goal to strive for, you should see your situation begin to improve. And the lower your debts are, the less interest you’ll pay out each month – and the greater amount you’ll be paying off the debt itself.

There are instances, however, where it may be more effective to look at restructuring your debt in conjunction with implementing a budget.

If you decide to take this approach, make sure that you look for a loan that will offer you a far more competitive rate than a credit card.

One option is a personal loan but that is still likely to attract interest of around 11 to 14 per cent, or more. It may also be possible to consolidate high interest debt into your home loan if there is sufficient equity in your property.

If consolidation is the only answer, using your home loan to pay off a credit card can be an effective solution as the interest rate on a mortgage is significantly lower than a credit card – in some instances it is as little as one third.

Remember, as soon as you’ve tackled your credit card debt reduce the maximum available balance – stick to using just one card and keep spending on track by staying with your budget.

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podcast

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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Wood, Opteon state director for NSW, ACT and Qld joins us to discuss the importance of valuations in the current property market

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Joining host Phil Tarrant, Sally will draw on her 25 years of experience in valuation and discuss the processes involved in arriving at a value for a particular property. She will also share how that process differs between commercial and residential properties and the difficulties which regional property valuations can present.

Sally will unpack the importance and cost of regular valuations on your properties, discuss whether presentation and owner input can sway a valuation and share what you should look for when seeking a reputable property valuer.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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Sydney
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A softening market can be a difficult time for a property investor with finance approval tightening and property capital growth slowing, and while many real estate agents are also feeling the squeeze McGrath Brighton Le Sands' Bill Tsounias claims it is simply the market returning to normal.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Bill joins host Phil Tarrant to share his thoughts on the current Sydney property market, and to share the shifts that he has seen in house and unit sale prices following their worst quarter in the past decade.

Bill will unpack why properties are spending longer on market, share what he believes property investors are doing wrong when trying to sell their properties and share the secrets to getting the best out of a real estate agent and an auction in the current softening market.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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Gavin Kemp and his now-fiancé bought their first property together after only six months of dating. They weren’t even living together at the time. Now, two years on, the pair have bought five properties, sold two and have a solid plan in place for their ongoing property journey. 

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Gavin joins host Phil Tarrant to discuss how he chose the locations where he decided to invest and how, due to the initial lack of education (something that he now values highly), he lost money on his first two investments.

Gavin will share his thoughts on the current property market, reveal the people who he has leaned on throughout his property journey and discuss why his strategy employs a zero procrastination rule.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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A joint property portfolio before they were even living together

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