How to make smarter financial decisions
In this article we look at why Australians are more confused than ever by financial complexity, which is impairing their ability to make financial decisions even when those decisions can make their lives better.
We’re forced to make financial choices every single day, some more difficult than others, and it’s not hard to become overwhelmed by these choices. The 24/7 news cycle, media ‘noise’, economic and market news, politics, work, families, seem to create an environment where it feels that making one wrong choice could send our whole lives spiralling out of control.
Being financially savvy is getting harder
The problem seems to be that there are so many financial choices to make. People sometimes choose not to make any (major ones), are content with the minor, more inconsequential ones, or they are happy to simply ‘outsource’ the decision to someone else. This, the wall of financial complexity which seems to be going up, not down, and the reality that most people are more time-poor than ever, have seen a marked increase in levels of financial stress.
This has never been more apparent than in the workforce:
- About two in five of Australia’s workforce is worried about their financial situation, and even more are worried about what their financial future holds.1
- This stress is costing businesses an estimated $31.1 billion a year in lost revenue2. Financial stress has increased for employees in the $50,000 - $75,000 income bracket.
- Experts have confirmed that financially stressed employees spend around 20 hours a month of work time trying to solve their financial problems.
Given this sea of financial complexity and stress, it’s perhaps not surprising that it is difficult for us to comprehend some financial concepts. But why is this? Must we always struggle to grasp the language in a financial document?
One of the reasons is that some of us are not great at speaking up if we don’t understand something. Perhaps it could be that as adults we often feel we’re supposed to know all of these things already.
When we’re choosing a financial product or service, it’s certainly not always one size fits all. So what can we do? How can we improve our financial understanding to enable us to make smarter financial choices?
Improve your financial understanding now
We’d all benefit from a little more simplicity in our lives. General wellbeing and financial wellbeing go hand-in-hand. So it’s a good idea to make sure you have firm financial know-how. And getting smarter about your money may be much quicker and simpler than you think.
At VicSuper, your super is in good hands. Being a profit to member fund, members are at the centre of everything we do. And we’re big enough (approximately $25 billion in funds under management) to deliver real value but not too big that you don’t get the service you need.
We deliver great value to our members in a number of important ways:
- As a profit-to-member fund, we keep fees as low as possible and we don’t pay commissions to financial planners.
- Solid long-term investment returns – we aim to deliver competitive returns for our members.
- Award-winning value – we’ve been awarded Constar’s 5-Star Rating* for Outstanding Value Superannuation in 2020, one of only six super funds across Australia to receive this rating. We’ve also received SuperRatings’ Platinum** rating – their highest rating – seven years in a row (2013-2020), confirming that VicSuper continues to be one of the “best value for money funds” in Australia.
- High quality services – we were awarded Best Fund: Integrity by Chant West (2019)* for offering lower fees and premiums, while continuing to provide the benefits and services members really need, like quality investment and insurance, and member services and advice.
Find out about our award-winning online financial advice tool—Beeline
This advice has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should therefore consider the appropriateness of the advice in light of your individual circumstances before acting on the advice. You should also obtain and consider a copy of the relevant Product Disclosure Statement available at vicsuper.com.au before making any decisions. VicSuper Pty Ltd ABN 69 087 619 412, AFSL 237333, Trustee of Victorian Superannuation Fund ABN 85 977 964 496.
* The Canstar 5-Star Rating for Outstanding Value Superannuation was awarded in March, 2020.
** SuperRatings is an independent superannuation ratings and research company. Platinum is SuperRating’s highest rating. SuperRatings and Chant West are independent organisations. See superratings.com.au and chantwest.com.au for ratings, criteria and methodologies.1Financial Wellness in the Australian Workplace 2018 (AMP).
2 July 2018 we lowered the percentage component of the administration fee in our VicSuper FutureSaver product from 0.28% p.a. to 0.19% p.a. and from 0.28% to 0.22% in our VicSuper Flexible Income product.