Hey gang, get up to speed on this week’s financial trends with my market updates.
Aussies Are Still Not Very Positive
Following on from what I was saying last week, Aussies are not getting any more positive. The latest research shows we need a swift kick up the backside to get us optimistic and spending more to help the economy.
· The Westpac/Melbourne Institute survey of consumer sentiment index fell by 1.9 per cent in December after rising by 4.5 per cent in November. The index stands at 95.1 points… well below the longer-term average of 101.5 points. A reading below 100 points denotes pessimism.
· Oh my goodness… Australians believe that the wisest place for extra savings is in the Bank (28.5 per cent of respondents). What. The Bank! That shows how nervous we are. We’re prepared to put our money in bank accounts which mostly pay a taxable interest rate return of below inflation… so the purchasing power of our money is going backwards.
· BUT there is a glimmer of hope as the CommSec Luxury Vehicle Index has risen for the past five months, matching a similar lift in Australian home prices. Maybe, just maybe, this is an indication our sentiment is on the turn.
If You Want Rewards From Your Credit Card… Follow These Tips
According to Citi Australia, one-in-three Australians are uncertain they are getting full value from their credit card reward scheme. They have suggested four ways to get the best bang from your rewards buck;
· Get a rewards card, and to the extent, it makes sense for you financially, put your expenses through this card so you generate points.
· Use all your benefits. A lot of people take out their credit card for a joining offer, and then don’t check out the ongoing benefits, which can be huge. Your rewards depend on your card, but it can be anything from free insurance to airport lounge passes, to various cashback offers throughout the year.
· Define what value is for you. When you choose a card, find one where the value aligns with your spending pattern. For example, if you travel a lot, find a card that has better point’s ratios for overseas spend. If you like dining out, find a card that has a ‘foodie perk’, like our offer of free wine when you dine at a partner restaurant.
· Double dip. A lot of cards will give you a double dip option when it comes to earning points. For example, your card could have its own program and a tie in with another program like Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity or flybuys. If you can pay and earn across both programs, you might as well. Every dollar helps.