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Sort My Money
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Australia's cheapest and best personal budgeting and debt management company.
Australia's cheapest and best personal budgeting and debt management company.

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A fascinating 60 Minutes report that suggests private schools are overrated - with no difference in academic, career and earning outcomes between private and public.
If anything, children from public schools actually do better at uni.
What do you think? Are private schools a good investment?
Or a waste of money, as the report suggests?
http://www.9jumpin.com.au/…/60m…/extraminutes/4182246915001/

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Not in control of your day-to-day finances? Watch this video to learn how to tame your money!

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We are delighted to announce that Sort My Money has received a 2014 SERVICE AWARD from the influential word-of-mouth online website www.womo.com.au for its excellent customer service.
Only the top 5% of businesses gain this distinction, and they are the only business awards in Australia to be based entirely on customer feedback.
These awards cannot be bought—they must be earned by means of positive reviews from real customers.
We would therefore like to say a huge THANK YOU to our valued customers for making this accolade possible!
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THE NOT-QUITE-SO-LUCKY COUNTRY?
New research by the Australian Council of Social Services reveals that 1 in 7 Australians is living below the poverty line - a figure that is on the rise.
This includes 1 in 6 children and 1 in 3 children of single-parent families.
These are a mind-blowing statistics, given that we are meant to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
The media reports these facts as if nothing can be done about them.
Living by a properly-planned budget, though, is a proven way of becoming better off - no matter how much or how little you earn.

WHY IT PAYS TO PAY ON TIME
The Facts That Every Australian Needs To Know About Their Credit File
Back in November, we foreshadowed the fact that credit agencies were due to obtain increased access to your financial data.
The new system is now upon us. The 12th of March 2014 marked the beginning of this brave new world of credit-behaviour monitoring in Australia. So what do these new rules mean for you?
In a nutshell: now, more than ever, it pays to pay on time. Your credit repayment behaviour now affects your financial future like never before.
Credit agencies (who make available your credit file to third parties when you authorise them to carry out a credit check) will now be tracking your last two years of credit repayment history.
-If you are 60 days overdue on a credit repayment amount of over $150, this becomes a default. No change there.
-If you’re five days late with a credit repayment, this will lead to a black mark on your credit file. This is a big new change, so try to avoid being five days late on any credit repayment.
-Credit agencies can also see what credit facilities you have applied for and which ones you were approved for (this last part is new).
It’s not all doom and gloom, though – there are some positive changes for you, as the consumer. For example:
-This two-year payment history only relates to credit repayments, not the payment of phone bills and the like, which are not considered to be credit under the new regime. So the late payment of a mobile phone bill can now no longer adversely affect your credit rating.
-Credit agencies can also see whether you’ve made credit payments on time, meaning that you now get brownie points for making punctual payments. This also means that you can start to redeem yourself if your credit file does contain problems from the past – something that did not used to be possible. This is a huge incentive to make timely credit repayments.
-Also, if you pay off or cancel a credit card, this will be counted on your file – more positive behaviour that now gets noticed, but that didn’t used to show up.
The bottom line? Under the new regime, punctual credit repayments are the be-all and end-all.
If this isn’t your strength, it's probably time to start living by a budget.

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Going Overseas But Can’t Get Over The Fees?
Yesterday, a reader wrote into the excellent Money section of The Age newspaper asking which card product offered the best exchange rate for overseas trips.
They made the point that, whilst it’s easy to compare the various fees, comparing exchange rates is not so straightforward.
The Age replied, as follows:
“The other option is an OzForex pre-paid travel card – if you go to the OzForex website you will see examples of how favourably its rates compare with those offered by the travel cards issued by the big banks.”
Although this in no way constitutes product advice on the part of Sort My Money, we believe that knowledge is power. We hope, therefore, that this extra information will empower you to make the best decision for your circumstances ahead of your trip.

Are part of your monthly credit card payments being soaked up by a consumer credit insurance fee?
Do your car loan repayments include a separate item, such as tyre-and-rim insurance, that you didn’t even realise you had signed up for at the car yard?
Did the electrical goods retailer advise you to purchase an extended warranty on your new TV, just in case it stopped working after 12 months?
These are just some of the many examples of add-on insurance – an area that is the subject of constant consumer complaints.
As a result, the corporate watchdog ASIC (Australian Securities & Investment Commission) has now put retailers on notice that it will be taking a good look at these products and their associated sales practices.
These can be loosely defined as bundled insurance policies that consumers take out as part of the purchase of goods or services, including loans. 
Generally speaking, they are not the items that someone sets out to buy – rather, they are products that were ‘cross-sold’ to them by the sales person.
Payment protection insurance (PPI) is the equivalent of consumer protection insurance in the UK, where hundreds of thousands of consumers have so far been awarded compensation pay-outs totalling over $20 billion by banks and other lenders, who didn’t fully explain what PPI encompassed.
Consumer protection insurance covers circumstances in which you are unable to repay your loan. When agreeing to this form of add-on insurance, though, there are a number of things that many people don’t realise.
Firstly, any insurance pay-out goes to the lender, who provides the loan, not to the consumer.
Secondly, such products typically contain a high number of exclusions, meaning that, quite possibly, they were never suitable to begin with – something the consumer often only discovers when they come to make a claim, ie when it’s too late.
Thirdly, in certain circumstances, Australian credit law already allows for the consumer to request a repayment arrangement of their lender on the grounds of financial hardship – irrespective of whether consumer credit insurance is in place.
Finally, regarding extended warranties, in the case of higher-cost, higher-quality items, it isn’t always necessary to make a provision beyond the manufacturer’s 12-month warranty.
An Australian Consumer Law guideline of 2013 cites the purchase of a top-of-the-range plasma TV for $1,800 that stops working after two years.
Any supplier that takes a ‘so-sad, too-bad’ attitude by insisting that the consumer should have purchased an extended warranty is in the wrong.
Because it is reasonable to expect “more than two years’ use from a $1,800 television”, to quote the report, “The supplier must provide a remedy free of charge.”
The moral of the story?
Be aware of your rights.
Don’t allow anyone to cross-sell add-on insurance or extended warranties to you unknowingly.
And only sign up for them when you have decided that they are right for you and your circumstances.

With the kids back at school, now is the time of year to make next year’s school expenses the most affordable they will ever be. 
By putting $20 aside each week (in the form of an online ‘fire-and-forget’ periodic payment into a free savings account, for example), you’ll have $1,000 saved in time for the next school year; $30 a week gets you $1,500, and so on.
The cost of books, tablets, calculators, art materials, sports kits, uniforms and state school fees (not to mention the activities your children sign up to in term 1) can be overwhelming – and all just weeks after Christmas. And who knows whether the School Kids’ Bonus will be there to help in the future.
So why not act now . . . the 2015 school year will be a breeze!

“When you have money it means nothing to you, and when you don’t it affects everything in your life.” This quote from Koo Stark, the former wealthy socialite who has - more recently - fallen on hard times, sums up the tendency not to appreciate the value of money until it is in short supply.
If you live by a budget, you treat money as the scarce resource that it is. Only when something is finite (and treated as such) can it have value – a fact that applies to rich and poor alike.
If you are wealthy and live by a budget, money won’t ‘mean nothing to you’, as you will always recognise its finite nature.
Similarly, being poor and living by a budget is the perfect training ground to becoming rich and happy, as you will never succumb to the tendency to take money for granted.
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