Flavell calls for better debt management

Mortgage Choice CEO John Flavell has urged borrowers to better manage their debts in 2016 after new research by the group found that most Australians are worried about their financial situation.

The broking group’s inaugural Financial Confidence Survey found that 52.4 per cent of Australians consider themselves to be either ‘very worried’ or ‘concerned’ about their finances.

Mr Flavell said the results are not overly surprising as it is common for people to worry about the state of their finances during the festive season.

“People are always more stressed about money during the holiday season as they know it is an expensive time of year with presents to buy, lunches to host and various social events to attend,” he said.

“People don’t want to be told to rein in their spending during the festive season, and the reality is they shouldn’t have to.

“Instead, Australians should use the New Year as a perfect opportunity to re-evaluate their financial situation and make paying off excess debt and debt management a priority.”

Mr Flavell said one of the most common and effective ways for borrowers to manage and pay down excessive debt is to consolidate all of the debts into one area – like the mortgage.

The Mortgage Choice chief said another simple but effective technique is debt rollover.

“If a person owes a lot of money on one particular credit card, they may be able to speak to their lender about obtaining another credit card with a zero per cent interest rate for the first 12 months and then roll their other debt onto the new credit card,” he said.

“That way, any minimum monthly mortgage repayments will go towards paying off the principal debt – not debt and interest.

Mr Flavell said one of the best ways to manage debt in 2016 is to match assets with liabilities.

“Borrowers should avoid using a credit card to fund their home purchase as they won’t be able to use the value of their home to pay off the credit card,” he said.

“Similarly, it is a good idea to avoid taking out long-term debt on short-term assets – such as a five-year personal loan on a used car.

“If a borrower takes out a long-term debt on a short-term asset, their asset will become redundant before they have finished paying off the loan.”

[Related: Credit record a ‘deal breaker’, ME warns]

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