Hit the Ground Running with Aussie this Spring

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According to Aussie, Australia's leading non-bank retail financial services group, Australians are well placed to set themselves up for future prosperity thanks to record low interest rares, a robust property market, a better than expected profit reporting season, relatively stable unemployment figures and a sense of renewed confidence.

With record low interest rates it would be criminal for homeowners to be missing out on the best deal and possibly paying thousands more in interest than they should be.

According to Aussie, Australia's leading non-bank retail financial services group, record low interest rates, a robust property market, a better than expected profit reporting season, relatively stable unemployment figures and a sense of renewed confidence as we head into Spring means Australians are well placed to set themselves up for future prosperity.

Aussie executive chairman and founder Mr John Symond said Spring was generally a time of new life, renewed motivation and vigour as the cold weather abates. He said Australians had weathered the storm and had been resilient in the face of the global economic crisis, and had turned a corner in the latter half of 2009 with the "green shoots" of confidence starting to build.

"Given the gloom and doom being predicted at the beginning of the year, Australia has managed to navigate the uncertain times to emerge as a strong, stable economic nation," Mr Symond said.

"The stimulus packages have been working, the first home buyer grant certainly boosted the property market and the recently announced $45 billion liquid natural gas deal with China is fantastic for our nation's future as a resources powerhouse.

"The record low interest rates have been the largest stimulus to our economy and while the Reserve Bank has indicated the next movement will be upwards in order to control any inflationary pressures, I believe we still have at least six to nine months of low rates."

Mr Symond believes it is the perfect opportunity for Australians to "Spring Clean" their finances by looking to shore up their debt, find ways to pay off their mortgages faster, buy a new home or invest in property and look into products such as Aussie Life Insurance to provide security and peace of mind for their future.

"The first thing people have to do is ensure they are on the right loan," Mr Symond said. "With record low interest rates it would be criminal for homeowners to be missing out on the best deal and possibly paying thousands more in interest than they should be."

Mr Symond said it was also imperative customers were aware of the best way to manage their home loan whether it be fortnightly payments, extra repayments or making sure they weren't paying for extras they don't need such as a redraw facility.

"An Aussie broker can find a product from our panel of lenders and our own Aussie Home Loans' products to ensure customers are on the right loan for their circumstances," he said.

As one of the country's largest non-bank providers of financial services, Aussie has a loan book of over $33 billion. With the acquisition of Wizard, there are now over 140 retail shops and 800 brokers across the country ready to help customers get a better deal on their finances.

An Aussie broker will provide information, assess eligibility, lodge the application and then support the first home buyer borrower through the home loan process. Aussie brokers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in all capital cities and regional centres at the request of customers who call Aussie on 13 13 33.

Some initiatives you should consider in paying off your mortgage include:

  • don't over-borrow at the outset as the low rates won't last forever. Factor in at least a 2-3 per cent increase over the next two years and make sure you can still make the repayments at that level;
  • seek fortnightly payments, not monthly, so the interest repayments work faster to reduce the mortgage;
  • an extra $20 in repayments each fortnight can save thousands of dollars in interest savings;
  • lump sum payments (even small ones) into a loan can make a substantial difference, reducing the overall loan term and amount;
  • start an offset account where savings accounts can be linked to the home loan and give up paying fees or any ongoing charges;
  • if rates fall again, which is highly unlikely, keep your payment levels at the same rate as the extra money will cut straight into your principal.
  • research has shown that customers are financially better off over time with a variable rate. However, a fixed rate can be an effective way home owners can keep their repayments at the same level and effectively manage their risk. Fixing part of a mortgage while keeping the remainder variable can be a good each-way bet
  • one trick is to take out a variable and pay the same as what you would be paying on a fixed - you'll be paying your mortgage off faster, accruing redraw, which will give you a buffer should variable rates jump that high
  • if you must fix, only fix part of your loan and take the rest out on a variable rate

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Brooke Stoddart
Aussie
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Angela Graham
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