New financial year: Perfect time to check finances

WELCOME to another financial year. It is the perfect time to do some work on improving your financial situation. 

Just remember that becoming financially successful does not take any special skills on your part, but it does require some action - usually the hardest part of that action is starting.
So grab some old bank statements and pay slips and prepare a one page list of income and expenses. Hopefully you will find there is an excess of income - if not, you had better do some serious budgeting as you are living beyond your means, and financial problems are almost certainly around the corner.

If you're stuck with personal loans and credit card loans, focus on these first as they carry a much higher rate of interest and they are not tax deductible.  List them, and then use all your spare money to pay off the smallest loan quickly. When that is out of the way, use the repayments no longer needed for it to speed up repayments on the second smallest non-deductible one.  Do this and you will be amazed how quickly you will start pulling yourself out of personal debt.

Once you start taking an interest in your finances you will be amazed how ideas start to appear. No longer will you ignore those dollars sitting in an account that pays almost no interest - you will have the money in one of the online accounts earningthree percent, or have it in an offset account where you will be receiving the tax free equivalent of the rate you are being charged on your mortgage.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions. Email: