Here are 5 money tips that can help you get off to a strong financial start:
1. Negotiating your salary
Most people struggle with the idea of negotiating their pay, and it can be particularly uncomfortable when it’s your first role out of uni.
Before you accept a job, check you’ve been offered a fair salary. Do some research to discover the average salary for someone with your experience, in the particular industry you’re starting out in. Sound out your friends too.
And if you feel it’s on the low-side, chat to the HR contact or hiring manager. It’s a bold but important move. While you may not get an increase in your salary, you may be offered a perk like flexible working hours.
2. Sorting your super
When you start a new job, you don’t always have to agree to join the super fund that your employer chooses. Simply complete a Super Choice form and hand it to your new employer if you want to choose your own super fund.
Having all of your super together makes it easier to keep track of your money, and you could save on fees. So if you have more than one super fund, you might want to consider bringing it all into the one fund.
3. Adding your TFN
Your 9-digit Tax File Number (TFN) is unique to you – the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and other government agencies will often ask for it.
Make sure you add your TFN to all your bank accounts and super fund. Without it, banks and financial institutions must, by law, withhold tax on any interest earned over a certain threshold.
This means you could be out of pocket until you lodge a tax return at the end of the tax year.
4. Saving cash
Being paid a regular salary can feel liberating, especially after years of living on a student budget.
Putting some money aside from the get-go is a good idea. Consider setting up an automatic transfer from your everyday account into your savings account every time you're paid.
It’s important to have an emergency buffer for unexpected ‘rainy day’ expenses, and some savings behind you so you can pay bills, afford the odd holiday or two, or start saving for your first car or home.
Getting into a savings habit helps you stay on-track and avoid the pitfalls of living pay-to-pay or spending more than you earn.
5. Repaying your student loan
HELP student loans are income-contingent. If you’ve successfully negotiated a salary that falls within a compulsory repayment income threshold, you'll have to start paying down your student HELP debt.
Make sure you include your HELP debt on your TFN declaration form so your employer is aware of your HELP debt.