In Australia, homeownership is plummeting.
Today, only 66.2% of households own their home (mortgaged or otherwise) — the lowest rate of ownership since 1994.
What's behind this trend? One of the biggest reasons is that it's simply harder to get a mortgage. Many people go to the bank to find out they aren't eligible, despite having put in hard work and planning.
A decade or two ago, they would have qualified for a mortgage. Today, they're out of luck. What changed?
Why It's Harder to Get a Mortgage in Australia Today
In 2019, a Royal Commission Into Misconduct In The Banking, Superannuation, And Financial Services Industry was conducted.
As a result of the inquiry, banks are now required to put more emphasis on responsible lending. For ordinary people looking to get a mortgage, this means banks now look not only at your credit rating but also at all of your bank statements for the past 3-6 months and scrutinise every single expense. That includes Netflix/Foxtel subscriptions, cigarettes, gambling, takeaways, alcohol, online shopping, dining out, and every other expense.
After assessing your credit rating and expenses, the bank considers whether you are going to be a good risk and able to pay off a mortgage without getting into difficulties, or if your lifestyle habits are going to put too much pressure on your ability to easily pay your mortgage.
For many of us, finding out where all of our money is going is a huge shock. Confronted for the first time with the knowledge of what we actually spend our money on, and with the knowledge that no bank is inclined to loan us the money to buy a home at this point, the natural reaction might be to go home and create a budget.
But this is the WRONG course of action. In fact, it may actually jeopardise your chances of owning a home soon. Why is this?
Why Budgets Are a Bad Idea
- Budgets don’t set clear targets. The job of a budget is really just to itemise transactions that have already happened. They don’t do a great job of setting goals or giving clear direction to your future spending.
- Budgets incorrectly use Income as a starting point instead of Expenses. With a Budget, people start with their Income, set aside a predetermined amount each pay for every expense they can think of, then assign the remaining amount for savings, only to find that come the next payday there is nothing left for savings, and they can’t understand why. It is all the ‘little expenses’ which slip through our fingers that always derail our Budget.
- A budget won’t tell you HOW to make ends meet, it just provides the raw data
- With a budget, you’re looking in the wrong direction — back at past expenses instead of forward at all the possible future unexpected expenses that are likely to trip you up.
- A budget demands a high level of self-discipline. You have to constantly monitor and check your spending, and you’ll feel guilty whenever you break with your strict routine.
- There’s no reliable way to measure success with a budget, and it’s mostly based on guesswork
- Budgets work very poorly when it comes to factoring in occasional expenses, like new laptops, furniture, washing machines, and others
- Budgets require lots of ongoing work, time and maintenance
In other words, budgets can be a good starting point for managing your spending, but they fall short in multiple areas. If you rely solely on a budget, you’ll find it much harder to get your finances in order and it’ll take you much longer to afford that dream home.
Instead, you should make a spending plan. Here’s why.
Why Spending Plans Are Better
- They allow you to set clear targets for every one of your expenses, not only regular expenses, but in particular irregular and unpredictable expenses. This gives much more structure to your plans and makes your goals more specific and actionable.
- They tell you HOW to meet your targets, giving you clear direction and steps to follow.
- They look into the future, anticipating all your possible expenses ahead of time so they don’t catch you unawares.
- There’s very little self-discipline or guesswork required. Once your Plan is in place, it practically runs itself. Whenever your bank balances are more than the required amount you can spend as much as you like, guilt-free.
- Spending Plans isolate your cost of living from your income, using a clear system which shows you how to be able to pay every single one of your expenses. No more having to take money from the electricity account to pay the rent, then having to take money from the school fees account to pay next week’s electricity bill. Knowing when you cannot overspend because you need to have a certain amount in the bank TODAY, to be certain you have enough to pay every single bill in the next 12 months, is critical to your success with money. Once your Plan is in place, it’s incredibly easy to confirm that you’re on track.
- They factor in occasional and one-off expenses, so your plans aren’t derailed every time your car needs major mechanical repairs, or you lose/smash your mobile phone
- With a spending plan, you do the record-keeping in advance, so you only need a few minutes each week to make sure you’re still on track. Budgets, on the other hand, demand constant work.
So by self budgeting instead of having a comprehensive Spending Plan, you are actually SABOTAGING your efforts to get into your new home much sooner.
How a Spending Planner Will Help You Purchase a Home, Including When Lenders May Initially Refuse to Approve Finance
With a Spending Plan, it’s easy to factor your goal of buying a home into your existing spending.
Your Plan will identify exactly how much surplus you have available to set aside for your new home, and as soon as people see how fast they are finally able to save with assistance from their Spending Planner, and see the exact future date their deposit can be achieved, they often get highly motivated to channel even more into their savings so that their new home happens even sooner!
One of our clients — a young woman in her early 20s — had been trying to save for her home deposit for 12 months. After this time, she was still no closer to her goal, so she turned to Premier Spending Planners to help her stay accountable.
Although there was the occasional indulgent spending, this young woman truly rose to the occasion, mainly because she now knew where all her money was going, and that her accountability buddy Spending Planner was working hard to keep her on track with weekly check-ins, assistance whenever unpredictable expenses occurred, and monthly reviews where further adjustments could be made.
She used several saving strategies which helped to ensure her success:
- Delaying 4 months of income from her second job until the contract ended, providing her with a large lump sum which went directly to savings.
- Adjusting all expenses so that she was spending a little less on everything, yet still enjoying ALL of the activities she was accustomed to.
- Once she could see Savings increasing quite significantly, her motivation to succeed was doubled, and she no longer withdrew money back out of the house savings for purchases when she experienced weak moments (which we all experience from time to time!)
- An excellent working relationship with a loan specialist.
- Determination to reach her goal.
Her comments on how much having a Spending Plan has given her total peace of mind and helped her achieve her dreams say it all:
“I am terrible with money or anything to do with numbers. I have always really struggled to keep track of where my money was going and was never able to save consistently. Like a lot of young people, I had several "buy now, pay later" accounts which basically read as a history of impulse buys.
I've only been working with Kim since January and have already paid off my AfterPay, Zip, and SPER debts (thanks to all those pesky parking fines). To me, this is so exciting!!! I wanted to focus on these debts as they caused a lot of anxiety. Now, I actually have a decent amount in my Savings account and feel excited knowing that every spare cent will go there - not to paying off old purchases and account fees.
Money causes a lot of people anxiety for a lot of different reasons. I have just eliminated one reason entirely - WOW. It's hard to say how valuable that peace of mind is. Even with the current COVID-19 uncertainty, I know that my finances will be secure. Again, you can't overstate the importance of feeling confident in your finances.
THANK YOU so much, Kim! We are just getting started - but what a great start we've had!”
- Ashleigh Lawson
Working with Premier Spending Planners, you will no longer be caught out by unexpected expenses, as that is also factored into your Plan, and you’ll be able to save the required amount and fulfil the bank’s requirements much more easily. The disappointment and stress of having to dip into house savings for continual unexpected expenses will no longer apply.
At Premier Spending Planners, we help you achieve all of this. We’ll assign you a Spending Planner, who will help you make a clear plan that focuses on ensuring you achieve your home savings goals; better manage your money, and be fully prepared for the unpredictable. We’ll also keep you accountable and on track! This is usually the hardest thing for people to do when saving on their own — keep themselves accountable and on track.
The extra side benefits are that our clients now have far more quality time together with money to spend on things that they didn’t have before, plus there is no more worrying about money, which means their relationships greatly improve!
Client Testimonials on Why It Is Well worth Spending the Money to Engage a Spending Planner to Reach Savings Goals
“Initially, I was borrowing money from here to pay for there, and it was a nightmare. I fought with my husband most days he was home and blew up every time he asked for money. Now, I am happier and not stressed, my relationship with my husband is wonderful, and I don’t dread going to the mailbox anymore!”
“What our Spending Plan showed us was that (even though my partner was on 9 months maternity leave) we could be saving for a house, paying off our debts and still have a life without needing to rely on credit cards!
Just touching base to say a MASSIVE thank-you for the tools you gave us for planning, saving and paying down debt. Although we got a bit lax at points, we managed to pay off Jess's car loan ($30k) in under 12 months, along with my personal loan. Which led to us getting enough together to buy our first home!!!! We got the keys on Friday, and have managed to move in over the weekend!
On top of saving for our home, we have invested $9,000 into shares as well. Amazing when you have money saved how you can use it!!! We are going to put the share money into touch ups on our new house to raise its worth!!
We wouldn't have gotten here in such a short space of time without your help!"
- Tom & Jessica
“We earn a reasonable income but each month we were falling further behind & it was stressful. But now we have a workable plan amendable to the (changing) needs of our family, and can finally save for our dream property”
- Jackie & Justin
“I have paid off 2 credit cards in 8 months, a huge sigh of relief and weight off my shoulders”.
- Liz Andrews
With a spending plan created specifically to suit your savings goals, you’ll be able to qualify for a mortgage and buy your home significantly sooner. You won’t just save on the purchase price, you’ll also save yourself several months of “dead rent” and get the keys to your new home before you know it.
To find out more about how we can help you do this, book a free call here
Get Started with a Spending Plan Today and Achieve Financial Success!