Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Tue 6 Jan 2015



The Northern Territory news Tue 6 Jan 2015

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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News Corp Australia

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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News Corp Australia



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24 BUSINESS TUESDAY JANUARY 6 2015 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Rewards are on the cards WITH merchandise, cash back or frequent flyer points on offer, credit card rewards programs are a popular way for banks to entice people to sign up. But as with any incentive program, you really need to crunch the numbers. Work out what you need to spend. Rewards programs can be really worthwhile for big spenders but get less attractive the less you spend. And the individual program will dictate how well youre rewarded, with some cards requiring you to lay out as much as $24,000 to earn a $100 voucher. Thats just plain silly. With the average annual credit card spend sitting at about $18,000, most rewards programs will see you not breaking even after you take into account the annual fee. Canstar (www.canstar.com.au) does some great analysis of how different cards stack up at different spending levels. And you also need to make sure you check the fine print. Read the terms of use and product disclosure statement carefully. For existing cards its important to check out the earn rate on statements, which will tell you how many points youll need to get a dollar of value. For example, you might spend $10,000 a year and earn 10,000 points which sounds great, but the program might require 100 points to redeem $1 worth of rewards. That means youll end up with $100 worth of rewards for that spend. And thats the key: working out the dollar value of rewards and then deducting the annual card fee to see whether the program is worthwhile at your level of spending. If you have multiple cards with the same bank, it might be possible to maximise rewards by focusing on the best deal. However, if theyre with two separate financial institutions, its likely youll be doubling up on fees and splitting your spend. The trick is to find the best program and consolidate your spending there. ...but it pays to check that the numbers stack up SMOOTH SAILING: Robin Lyons says the skincare business she runs with her husband is her best-performing investment. Picture: CLAUDIA BAXTER Skin in the game ROBIN Lyons, 56, is a co-founder of Simplicite Skin Care with her naturopath husband David. The former television newsreader takes a conservative approach with her money. What was your first investment and how did it go? I had an investment house 30 years ago but it wasnt my thing and I sold it a few years later and got what I paid for it. What is your favourite type of investment and why? Ive always liked property for the long term. What is the best investment advice you have received and who was it from? It was from my financial planner, who is also my brother-in-law. He strengthened my superannuation position and ensured our business is structured for the best outcome. How do you approach investment risk? I like to be conservative quick profits and wild speculation led to several friends coming unstuck. What has been your bestperforming investment? Family of course! And then the many hours and persistence weve put into our business. And the worst? Shares I made a profit only once and then I lost that in tax anyway. Do you have a financial planner? I certainly do and hes indispensable. He helps me find my way through all the forms and the different laws, rules and legislation we come up against in running our business. How do you treat credit cards? I pay it off every month. I think if you cant do that then its best not to have a credit card. How do you feel about life and disability insurance? These are essential, especially when you have a family and your own business. Do you have a personal finance budget and do you stick to it? Yes I do and Im pretty good at sticking to it these days. Im just glad you didnt ask me this question in my 20s. Whats the most extravagant purchase you have made? A 1981 Mercedes 380SL convertible I came to my senses two years later and got rid of it. Money matters: its about time TIME is money, they say, and many Australians believe a lack of time is a key barrier to them getting ahead financially. New research by the Commonwealth Bank has found we spend an average 131 minutes a month or 30 minutes a week managing our money, and 42 per cent of us want to spend less time on financial administration. While spare time may be abundant during the holiday season, soon everyone will be back at work and trying to squeeze money management into their busy schedule. The good news is there are ways to get things done in less time than you may think. The Commonwealth Banks research found the biggest monthly time-stealers when it comes to money are checking account balances (21 minutes) and paying bills (19 minutes). Its executive general manager of consumer finance payments and strategy, Angus Sullivan, says mobile banking is the most convenient and secure way to save time. Many people feel they simply dont have enough time to keep on top of bills, manage regular payments or track their spending, and this is impacting their ability to manage their everyday finances, he says. One of the easiest and most effective ways to both save time and keep on top of everyday money management is to utilise the technology we already have. Most financial institutions have mobile banking apps that allow you do you much of your banking on your mobile phone while commuting or at lunch or on other breaks. The rapid take-up of contactless cards is another time saver. Sullivan also says you should review your past 12 months spending and set a budget to help you focus on priorities and manage overspending. Communication breakdowns can cause money management delays in relationships, so talk to your partner at least once a month about your money goals. Shared goals are important and now is a good time of the year to sit down and write them down, says Impact Financial Coaching director Allan Ward. Different partners have different attitudes to money so you have to understand each other, he says. Ward says there are several money management software programs and apps, including a few free ones, that directly import data from your bank accounts, saving you time. Technology in banking and finance is finally delivering what people want, he says. ANTHONY KEANE EVERY MINUTE COUNTS HOW AUSTRALIANS TIME IS SPENT ON MONEY MATTERS EACH MONTH: Checking account balances................................21 minutes Paying bills.........................................................19 minutes Reviewing credit card accounts ......................... 16 minutes Transferring money........................................... 14 minutes Tracking regular spending ................................. 13 minutes Talking about finances.........................................9 minutes Source: Commonwealth Bank MONEYSAVER PROFILE Aussies share their financial stories