Author Topic: Analyse Me [AUS] - Update  (Read 8320 times)

Chris-93AUS

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Analyse Me [AUS] - Update
« on: April 06, 2016, 12:08:20 AM »
Hello everyone,

I just recently joined the forums however I am a longtime reddit personal finance and MMM lurker,

I'd like some suggestions, and some analysis on my position to see if I can improve my situation.

Here goes:

Client Services Manager with a financial planning firm based in Hobart, Salary $52,000 (AUD) per annum.
Savings $1,000
Superannuation (Retirement Account) $12,000 invested in Vanguard's Aus Share Fund and International Fund 50/50
Personal Loan @ 9% $3,500 ($6,500 available)
Credit Card @ 0% (8 months to go until it changes to 19%) $3,750
HECS (Student Loans) @ 2.5% $50,000 deferred until 2017/2018.

Breakdown of fortnightly pay check but stated monthly:
Gross $4,000
Tax -$660
Salary Sacrifice -$200 (Will explain)
Superannuation $380 (In addition to salary and is added to my retirement account which I cannot withdraw until aged 65)

Net Pay $3,140

Expenses
Rent $400
Public Transport $50
Utilities $100-120 (Including a phone on an optus $80 plan, locked in contract until 2017.)
Gym/Martial Arts $106
Fuel $50
Car Insurance and Registration costs $150
Groceries $400-$600
Entertainment/Eating Out $200 - $400 (Varies if I meal prep)
Health Insurance $100
Credit Card Repayment $100
Personal Loan Repayment $800
Savings $450

Life/TPD/Trauma/Income Protection Insurance provided by my superannuation at a cost of $150 per month. (For those that are interested Level premiums) I salary sacrifice some before tax income into superannuation to cover this and change to prevent my balance from deteriorating.

- That's about the average breakdown, some variance as I pay some costs annually and budget for the next year.

Identified Issues:
Not always adhering to my savings/debt repayment schedule but I more or less try hard to stick to it. My goal is to zing the personal loan and then crush the credit card before it gets to the interest rate increase.

Probably overspending on entertainment and eating out, I get lazy sometimes and just buy lunch - although I often meal prep. Finding it difficult to find good meals to prep. Suggestions?

Concerned that I am not building an emergency fund at a reasonable rate, 3-6 months for me is about ~$15,000

I use public transport to and from work as much as possible to cut down on transport costs, I have a Toyota Corolla '92 that has nearly 400,000 kms on the ticker. Probably spent about 5k over the past 4 years on repairs and expecting that this may need replacing in a year maybe 2 if I am lucky.


Points, suggestions, criticism all welcome. Cheers!

(Update)

Thanks for all the suggestions; in the two months since I've done the following:
Reduced insurance premiums from $150 to $88 a month
Discontinued salary sacrificing freeing up $200 a month
Cracked down on the eating out and food budget, groceries are now about $200 a month and eating out is probably about the same.
Was gifted a years worth of rego (Woo!)
Paid off $1700 on the personal loan and $1425 on the credit card
Increased the amount of tax taken from my fortnightly pay check as I calculated that I was going to be short $800 or so by EOFY

I've about $4000 debt remaining and I intend to use the next 3 paycheques and tax return to clear that entirely.
I've decided to set aside $600 a month for my emergency fund and $1000 a month for the next 5 months to start a non-super investment with Vanguard (High Growth Fund).
After which I will increase E fund savings to $1.5k a month and put $100 a month into the Vanguard account. I'll reach 6 months approx. $20k E fund at the end of 2017 and then it's straight on to pumping all excess into my investments.

Thanks again :)
« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 12:02:38 AM by Chris-93AUS »

marty998

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2016, 02:02:16 AM »
You're insurance through super is $150 a month???

Fuck... how much are you covered for?

Mine is about $25 a month the Australian Super...

Clear the personal loan and credit card... you need to be able to pay your credit card in full every month. If you are the type to carry your balance beyond a due date then you really shouldn't have a credit card.

okonomiyaki

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2016, 03:07:01 AM »
1. What are you eating (and where are you buying) that as a single person you're spending THAT much on groceries??? We're not vegetarian or thrifty, and a normal month for the 2 of us in Sydney is under 350...

2. 400 is a bit much for rent for a single person... Could you not downsize?

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2016, 03:27:45 AM »
2. 400 is a bit much for rent for a single person... Could you not downsize?

That's $400 a month, not a week. Probably a sharehouse.

Yeah mate I'd suggest that you'll need to knock that personal loan on the head ASAP and get together a bit more in savings. Then kill the credit card.

Any cheaper way to do the gym or cheaper options for food? Can you go car-free (even temporarily) if the Corolla dies? Can you use a bike to commute to work?

One other thing is that HELP debt. At $50K it'll increase by >$1000 a year due to indexation alone, and at $52K you will be under the threshold for payments. Who knows what'll happen to HELP payment rates (indexation and payment thresholds) in the future, a future Federal Budget could have a fairly significant impact for you (you'd be in trouble if they decide to increase the indexation rate like what was proposed in the 2014 Budget).

Any scope for salary increases where you are? Alternatively, are there any other jobs in your field in Hobart that pay better?

Chris-93AUS

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2016, 04:09:50 AM »
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the replies, I'll try and be brief in mine!

Insurance:

Level v Stepped - Summary is that level is cheaper over the long term, so yeah 150 a month seems insane now, but 10 years down the track when my premiums have only increased by cpi and not based on an age bracket? Much better off. Fortunately working with a planning firm means I could zero the commission, and use some great projection software and analysis to get the best deal.

What I may look at doing in the future is taking IP out of super as it is the most expensive and is tax deductable if you pay for it yourself. I think IP is what makes up the majority of that 150 anyway. I guess you could say that I get an additional 15% discount as my super pays for it so its actually closer to 130.

Rent:

Yes, alsoknownasDean is correct. That's a monthly cost not weekly. Really good for where I am located.
My work is about 20 minutes drive, or 45-1hr by bus. The only issue with cycling is it would take even longer, and it's awful cold in winter with Ice on the roads regularly. I'm pretty happy with taking the bus, when switched to public transport I noticed that my fuel bill went from $150 a month to $50, and PT costs me about $50 a month on top.

I'm working on reducing the food budget, it included household items as well - washing powder, toiletries and It was a bit misleading as I put misc expenses in groceries as well, occasional gap payment for the dentist etc. Gym is about as cheap as it gets / on par with competing gyms and is really conveniently located near where I live and its about the only thing that I wouldn't change as I love it.

Absolutely can go car free if it died tomorrow, as is I barely use it now - grocery shop and occasional trip into the city for whatever reason.

I agree with your point about HECS, I'm happy to let it ride for the next little while whilst I get the larger loan and CC under control but I am hoping to make some heavy repayments above $1,000 so as to get the extra 10% bonus I think the gov. still offers for early payments.

As for the job, its a tough market. I have a degree and I still competed with over 50 applicants to get the job and I'm on a salary that's higher than the regional average. I'm upskilling whilst working and I've been promised better pay once that is completed. But whether that actually occurs I'll have to wait and see. I definitely need at least 2-3 years in the job before I'd be confident enough to switch employers. They've been considerably lenient and have lots of flexibility around sick days / annual leave and so forth.

I really appreciate the feedback, thanks.

potm

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2016, 04:33:19 AM »
How accurate is your budget or have you recently made some changes?

Based on your numbers you have a large surplus, where did the personal loan and credit card debt come from?

Also agree that insurances in super are very high.
How useful are level premiums? Especially if most of it is IP and you aim to retire early (which I assume being on these forums)?

Wadiman

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2016, 05:12:16 AM »
Welcome to the forum and good to have yet another Aussie here!

My 20 cents:

As our mentor MMM would say - you've got a hair on fire situation going on!

If i was in your shoes I would immediately ditch the insurances until the personal loans and CC debt were paid off. 

I would also go on a 'frugal' budget until they are cleared - then - and only then - would I consider increasing spending in some categories, building up the emergency fund and then looking to invest/ salary sacrifice into super.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 05:13:48 AM by Wadiman »

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2016, 08:00:30 AM »
As for the job, its a tough market. I have a degree and I still competed with over 50 applicants to get the job and I'm on a salary that's higher than the regional average. I'm upskilling whilst working and I've been promised better pay once that is completed. But whether that actually occurs I'll have to wait and see. I definitely need at least 2-3 years in the job before I'd be confident enough to switch employers. They've been considerably lenient and have lots of flexibility around sick days / annual leave and so forth.

I really appreciate the feedback, thanks.

Are salaries much better in your field on the mainland?

You'll do alright once you get rid of the personal loan and credit card debts. Although that $50K (that's a big HELP debt) HELP debt's going to be a challenge to knock on the head.

Chris-93AUS

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2016, 07:10:21 PM »
How accurate is your budget or have you recently made some changes?

Based on your numbers you have a large surplus, where did the personal loan and credit card debt come from?

Also agree that insurances in super are very high.
How useful are level premiums? Especially if most of it is IP and you aim to retire early (which I assume being on these forums)?


My personal loan was for a computer and a medical condition that required surgery.

The credit card was the result of a holiday 2 years ago, got into a bad pattern of foolishly using it and not paying it off monthly.

Ideally yes, retire early and wouldn't have any need for it, however I like what I do and expect that I'd probably work for the considerable future. I'll see what else I can do to reduce the insurance costs.


Are salaries much better in your field on the mainland?

You'll do alright once you get rid of the personal loan and credit card debts. Although that $50K (that's a big HELP debt) HELP debt's going to be a challenge to knock on the head.

Salaries are better in Melbourne/Sydney but the cost of living and transport is much higher, it'd be rather difficult to justify..
I'm aiming to have zero personal debt in the next 6 months, then settle in for the long haul on student loans :/

hodor

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2016, 12:44:09 AM »
I'm sure you are aware of this but I'll spell it out anyway

Based on the numbers you provided.
In eight (8) months all loans will should be cleared ($900 total repayments per month, so you'll just miss paying CC interest) and $4600 cash savings ($1k cash plus $450pw)
In 16 months you will have your $15k emergency fund saved, $4600 cash + the $1350pm you can now save

As for the HELP debt the government is looking at lowering the point at which mandatory payments begin so even if you just miss it this year maybe in the future you won't once the deferral is over. I'm new to the MMM website and my views don't strictly align with smashing low interest debt - at 2.5% I don't see the point in making additional repayments to HELP - I would be inclined to put the cash into the ETF VAS (currently divs are 5% + franking credits) for a better return on my dollars. If HELP debt gains extra interest above indexation then this may change.

Are you planning to race to FIRE asap? What's your vehicle there? ETFs? In 16 months you are going to have serious cash to start throwing into investments even without changing spending or increasing income -$16,200 pa to be exact.

As for eating and groceries.
Breakfast - Oats in winter and museli in summer are my options with some fruit on top.
Lunch - Make batches of curries, salads or whatever you like at the start of the week
Dinner - Google recipes and enjoy cooking. Plan your week, write out a list and buy what you need.

Primm

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2016, 01:22:05 AM »
Gorgeous part of the world. Husband and I are eyeing off your state as a retirement location. One day...

Of course we haven't stayed there for any long period of time in winter yet. That could be the deal breaker.

Bee21

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2016, 03:35:27 AM »
I would cut the food and eating out immediately. When I was living alone on 44k pa I spent 120 a fortnight on food. It is manageable even with today's food prices. Write down a list of meals you like eating and cost them. Mix low cost meals w the expensive ones. Do your shopping in the evening or at midday at weekends at farmers markets. Pack your lunch.stock up on non perishables when they are half price.

The gym is high. Can you switch to those low cost 24/7 gyms until the debt is paid off? I'm paying 21 p fortnight for one of those machine only places.

How old are you that you need that sort of insurance?

I would personally reduce the salary sacrifice until I clear the personal loan and CFCs.Smarter people might be able to clarify it better, but I think at your tax rate, you are better off paying a high interest loan than saving 15% tax on Sth you will be able to access at 65. Thoughts?

Of course you are missing out on the long term benefits, but you are to decide if it is worth it.

There are some items missing from your budget, see where the money goes.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2016, 04:07:05 AM »
I would personally reduce the salary sacrifice until I clear the personal loan and CFCs.Smarter people might be able to clarify it better, but I think at your tax rate, you are better off paying a high interest loan than saving 15% tax on Sth you will be able to access at 65. Thoughts?

Yeah I'd agree, maybe hold off the salary sacrifice until you're out of debt. Then again, it's only ~$65 a month after tax. Still it's $65 off your debts :)

Chris-93AUS

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2016, 07:32:38 PM »
I'm sure you are aware of this but I'll spell it out anyway

Based on the numbers you provided.
In eight (8) months all loans will should be cleared ($900 total repayments per month, so you'll just miss paying CC interest) and $4600 cash savings ($1k cash plus $450pw)
In 16 months you will have your $15k emergency fund saved, $4600 cash + the $1350pm you can now save

As for the HELP debt the government is looking at lowering the point at which mandatory payments begin so even if you just miss it this year maybe in the future you won't once the deferral is over. I'm new to the MMM website and my views don't strictly align with smashing low interest debt - at 2.5% I don't see the point in making additional repayments to HELP - I would be inclined to put the cash into the ETF VAS (currently divs are 5% + franking credits) for a better return on my dollars. If HELP debt gains extra interest above indexation then this may change.

Are you planning to race to FIRE asap? What's your vehicle there? ETFs? In 16 months you are going to have serious cash to start throwing into investments even without changing spending or increasing income -$16,200 pa to be exact.

As for eating and groceries.
Breakfast - Oats in winter and museli in summer are my options with some fruit on top.
Lunch - Make batches of curries, salads or whatever you like at the start of the week
Dinner - Google recipes and enjoy cooking. Plan your week, write out a list and buy what you need.

Thanks!

I see your point about the student debt, at the moment I believe you get an additional 10% on top of any additional repayments you make (I could be wrong but will investigate) that makes it a little bit more attractive to pay down as opposed to putting spare cash into ETF's. But yes I do see your point, any changes could affect this area considerably.

Ideally I would love to race to FIRE, Vanguard ETF's generally 100% stocks no bonds. And at this stage I wouldn't put any money into bonds until I rates rise to more reasonable levels. I can take any hits for the medium to long term if the market is poor. Thanks for the food suggestions, oats this morning and I have meal prepped my lunch for the week - some lovely cheap beef in a red wine sauce rice and vegies :)

Gorgeous part of the world. Husband and I are eyeing off your state as a retirement location. One day...

Of course we haven't stayed there for any long period of time in winter yet. That could be the deal breaker.

Winter is a killer for the first year, after that you adapt. Makes it easier if you have at least one really good jacket!

I would cut the food and eating out immediately. When I was living alone on 44k pa I spent 120 a fortnight on food. It is manageable even with today's food prices. Write down a list of meals you like eating and cost them. Mix low cost meals w the expensive ones. Do your shopping in the evening or at midday at weekends at farmers markets. Pack your lunch.stock up on non perishables when they are half price.

The gym is high. Can you switch to those low cost 24/7 gyms until the debt is paid off? I'm paying 21 p fortnight for one of those machine only places.

How old are you that you need that sort of insurance?

I would personally reduce the salary sacrifice until I clear the personal loan and CFCs.Smarter people might be able to clarify it better, but I think at your tax rate, you are better off paying a high interest loan than saving 15% tax on Sth you will be able to access at 65. Thoughts?

Of course you are missing out on the long term benefits, but you are to decide if it is worth it.

There are some items missing from your budget, see where the money goes.


Agree 100%. I am taking steps to reduce food costs. Locked in contract for Gym, but I previously shopped around my local area and further afield, nothing like that within reasonable distance.
The insurance is necessary, IP is pretty important if something should happen that affects my ability to work.

The small amount of salary sac has marginal benefits, this is true.

hodor

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2016, 09:58:29 PM »
There is a 5% bonus on extra HELP repayments;
https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Study-and-training-support-loans/Voluntary-repayments/

I don't mind the 100% stocks approach, especially early on. I am still in two minds what I plan to do with asset diversification long term myself.

If FIRE ASAP is what you want to do you're in a great position. As time goes buy your wages should increase and hopefully you can minimise expense creep. Mentally it is much easier to budget having never been wasteful with expense so if you can keep increasing your savings rate and you'll charge ahead.

Change in life circumstances (partner, wanting a bigger house etc) is going to be where you need to keep focus.

Good luck and let us know how

Anatidae V

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2016, 03:36:57 AM »
The 5% bonus is only valid to the end of this year, as well.

Chris-93AUS

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2016, 04:51:10 PM »
The 5% bonus is only valid to the end of this year, as well.

I realised this the other day, now not a lot of point post Jan 1 2017 - guess it'll be Vanguard for my excess as the indexation on hecs is minimal

onlykelsey

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2016, 05:05:16 PM »
Gorgeous part of the world. Husband and I are eyeing off your state as a retirement location. One day...

Of course we haven't stayed there for any long period of time in winter yet. That could be the deal breaker.

I had to google where Tasmania was to make sure I wasn't making some sort of geography mistake.  Nope, it's exactly where I thought with the climate I expected.  I forget that Australians would have different ideas of what "cold" means.

Anatidae V

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2016, 05:39:48 PM »
Gorgeous part of the world. Husband and I are eyeing off your state as a retirement location. One day...

Of course we haven't stayed there for any long period of time in winter yet. That could be the deal breaker.

I had to google where Tasmania was to make sure I wasn't making some sort of geography mistake.  Nope, it's exactly where I thought with the climate I expected.  I forget that Australians would have different ideas of what "cold" means.
If it was just snowy, that would be different to "wet, wild & windy", which I believe Tas might be during winter? I have yet to step foot on it, but I hope to within a few years.

Chris-93AUS

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2016, 08:41:02 PM »
Gorgeous part of the world. Husband and I are eyeing off your state as a retirement location. One day...

Of course we haven't stayed there for any long period of time in winter yet. That could be the deal breaker.

I had to google where Tasmania was to make sure I wasn't making some sort of geography mistake.  Nope, it's exactly where I thought with the climate I expected.  I forget that Australians would have different ideas of what "cold" means.
If it was just snowy, that would be different to "wet, wild & windy", which I believe Tas might be during winter? I have yet to step foot on it, but I hope to within a few years.

Winter is the wettest period, and usually the most windy. Temps average around 3-11 degrees c in winter.
However we did have snow in the city last August, which hasn't occurred in 10 or so years.

Nothing like North American / Canadian winter lol

SU

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2016, 01:34:28 AM »
How old are you that you need that sort of insurance?

I would personally reduce the salary sacrifice until I clear the personal loan and CFCs. Smarter people might be able to clarify it better, but I think at your tax rate, you are better off paying a high interest loan than saving 15% tax on Sth you will be able to access at 65. Thoughts?

Ditto the insurance question. Not the life insurance, but the private health insurance. Unless you have some preexisting medical condition (you did mention an operation) or are over 30, until the debt is cleared you could just stick to Medicare.

I'm also in the get rid of debt before increasing super contributions (if you're only looking at 12 months to clear the debt) and ignore HECS for now.

AliEli

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2016, 05:34:32 AM »
I would ditch the private health insurance, and probably also the life insurance through super at this point.  Income protection insurance is a product, and not necessarily one that will pay you what you expect when you expect it to.  I've had a workplace injury that has massively affected my income and am not eligible for any compensation from anyone (and not interested in litigation either).  At a young age and with such a small asset base, your insurance costs are disproportionate to the affect an injury may have on your long-term income.  It would also be worth investigating who you are insured through and who their underwriters are, and watch the 4 corners episode from a couple of weeks ago about Comminsure - a lot of people have paid a lot of money for insurance they can't use for the purpose they bought it.  In the long run, lowering your overheads by paying off your debt is sooner going to have a much bigger impact on your long-term financial future than having large amounts of insurance you are unlikely to need.  If your goal is early retirement, how much of a difference will that insurance make if you are retired at 35 and living off investments? 

If I were in charge of your finances, I'd direct every cent towards that HECS-HELP loan before December 31st to get the additional 5% off your debt (has to be payments over $500 each time).  Can you go without the gym until the end of the year?  That's an additional $848+ that can go towards paying your HECS down, and will free up time for you to investigate other things you could enjoy doing and don't cost any money.  Can you get your grocery bill to less than $150 for the month?  Can you go for a month with zero dollars going to entertainment or any other non-essential costs?  Can you do anything about the car insurance?  Sometimes calling with a competitor's price can bring your premium down, or you could increase the excess to reduce the premium since you don't use it often.

Chris-93AUS

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2016, 05:59:18 PM »
How old are you that you need that sort of insurance?

I would personally reduce the salary sacrifice until I clear the personal loan and CFCs. Smarter people might be able to clarify it better, but I think at your tax rate, you are better off paying a high interest loan than saving 15% tax on Sth you will be able to access at 65. Thoughts?

Ditto the insurance question. Not the life insurance, but the private health insurance. Unless you have some preexisting medical condition (you did mention an operation) or are over 30, until the debt is cleared you could just stick to Medicare.

I'm also in the get rid of debt before increasing super contributions (if you're only looking at 12 months to clear the debt) and ignore HECS for now.

Ok so my Health Insurance covers dental / optical and a couple of other things. Its the lowest tier and cheapest aside from hospital only. I ran a trial for a year on what it costs for me to not have it, and its worth having solely because Dental/Optical get pretty pricy. I'm not eligible for the low income health care card so its out of pocket expenses that hurt most. Medicare doesn't cover either of those things.

I.P I think I covered earlier but its 100% tax deductible outside super - so I'm looking at doing that, and whilst I feel for AliEli's situation,(I don't know enough to accurately judge) you really have to read the fine print, and I've done mine with a fine tooth comb. I'm with TAL, would never buy a comminsure or other insurance product from the big 4!

Fortunately I am very aware of the industry and what it sells and how it deals with claims, as my firm assists in making claims for clients as part of its advisory services.

I'm not a fan of not having any Life/TPD cover, simply because it is cheap and is useful if an event occurs and I need it. I could forgo the Trauma, as I am young and probably won't be affected by anything - but again there is a risk, (how considerable I can't really determine at this stage), that I'll need it. And if I do have anything crop up, it'll totally ruin any progress I make in the next couple of decades.

I would ditch the private health insurance, and probably also the life insurance through super at this point.  Income protection insurance is a product, and not necessarily one that will pay you what you expect when you expect it to.  I've had a workplace injury that has massively affected my income and am not eligible for any compensation from anyone (and not interested in litigation either).  At a young age and with such a small asset base, your insurance costs are disproportionate to the affect an injury may have on your long-term income.  It would also be worth investigating who you are insured through and who their underwriters are, and watch the 4 corners episode from a couple of weeks ago about Comminsure - a lot of people have paid a lot of money for insurance they can't use for the purpose they bought it.  In the long run, lowering your overheads by paying off your debt is sooner going to have a much bigger impact on your long-term financial future than having large amounts of insurance you are unlikely to need.  If your goal is early retirement, how much of a difference will that insurance make if you are retired at 35 and living off investments? 

If I were in charge of your finances, I'd direct every cent towards that HECS-HELP loan before December 31st to get the additional 5% off your debt (has to be payments over $500 each time).  Can you go without the gym until the end of the year?  That's an additional $848+ that can go towards paying your HECS down, and will free up time for you to investigate other things you could enjoy doing and don't cost any money.  Can you get your grocery bill to less than $150 for the month?  Can you go for a month with zero dollars going to entertainment or any other non-essential costs?  Can you do anything about the car insurance?  Sometimes calling with a competitor's price can bring your premium down, or you could increase the excess to reduce the premium since you don't use it often.

Do you think its really worth paying the HECS till Jan? I figured I could probably contribute 10k, that's $500 in bonus for early repayment.

The gym is a contract so it'll be a while before I can change anything there, I will definitely set a goal of $150 a month for food, that'll be fun to see if I can do.

As for the car insurance, already on the best rate I could find I think it was $300 a year plus discounts when I paid it upfront :)

Loving the input, its really making me consider alternate points of view so thank you
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 06:04:38 PM by Chris-93AUS »

Primm

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2016, 06:26:19 AM »
Gorgeous part of the world. Husband and I are eyeing off your state as a retirement location. One day...

Of course we haven't stayed there for any long period of time in winter yet. That could be the deal breaker.

I had to google where Tasmania was to make sure I wasn't making some sort of geography mistake.  Nope, it's exactly where I thought with the climate I expected.  I forget that Australians would have different ideas of what "cold" means.

Relativity. Where I live the mean maximum daily temperature is 26.4C (80F). And yes, that includes winter...

AliEli

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2016, 02:41:53 AM »
Hi Chris-93, I would say it is definitely worth paying down your HECS as much as you can while you get the discount.  It may not feel like a lot, but $500 off is more than you will get in the future and by paying down $10500 this year, you will save yourself a bunch of money into the future.  If I could go back now I would slap my 25 year old self into paying my HECS off while the discount was 20% for upfront payments.  It becomes a drag on your future income as you become more established in your career.

marty998

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Re: Analyse Me [AUS]
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2016, 04:36:43 AM »
I paid up front waaaaay back in 2004... got a 25% discount :)

The voluntary payment bonus was 10% at the time.... picked that up on my last payment back in 2010...

Always worth it to pick up the bonus whenever you can.