Want to improve your financial literacy and money management? Here is one way to get some trusty top tips. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission might be better known for their role in regulating the financial industry, but did you know they also provide consumers with educational resources on personal finances via their Moneysmart website: Moneysmart is simple, down-to-earth, easy to access and absolutely free for anyone to use.

Covering all the basics
The purpose of the Moneysmart site is to give comprehensive information on the basic financial issues in a simple and straightforward format. Basic issues such as how to better manage your debts, how to select the right bank account to best suit your needs and how to build and maintain a budget are just some of the subjects covered. Beyond that, wider financial topics are also dealt with, such as a section on insurance giving vital information on what to look out for when buying life, car, home and health insurance. Even pet insurance is covered.

When it comes to investment you can find lots of helpful tips on superannuation, retirement and investment basics that can help you better understand the financial planning process. Of course Moneysmart is not intended to provide detailed personal advice, but it can give you a foundation of basic knowledge that will complement the specific advice you get from a financial planner and will help you get more out of your relationship with an adviser.

Helping you guard against financial pitfalls
Moneysmart also provides critical information on how to identify and avoid scams and fraudulent investment schemes, which are of growing importance in an age where the internet has seen growth in financial exploitation. Moneysmart explains how scams work and what to do if you have been impacted.

The site is also an invaluable aid to understanding your consumer rights when dealing with financial institutions. Issues such as how to cancel a credit card, how to use loan comparison sites, how to limit bank fees and how to make complaints against an institution are just some of the matters that are given attention.

Tools and calculators
Beyond just providing information, Moneysmart also has comprehensive interactive features that can give you practical help. There are various apps and calculators that you can use on the site to help you with budgeting, working out the real cost of personal loans, assessing the financial benefits of switching mortgage providers and an assortment of other topics.

Ever wondered if an interest free deal is all that it is cracked up to be? Or wanted to compare how an interest only mortgage compares to principal and interest? Or maybe whether it is better to rent or buy a home appliance? Moneysmart has all of these issues covered as well as many more.

The tools and resources section also provides centralised access to various online searching tools to assist with claiming money that may be due to you from superannuation funds, life insurance policies, bank accounts or company share ownership.

Life event advice
Another handy aspect to the Moneysmart site is the section on life events, where you can pick up excellent tips on a range of typical purchasing decisions and life experiences. This includes such things as buying a mobile phone, buying a car, being a carer, dealing with illness, losing a job and divorce.

In a world where it can be tricky to know who to trust, Moneysmart provides an impartial and independent “first port of call” that can help you to navigate your financial life with confidence.

Have you ever used the Moneysmart site? Share how you benefited below. 

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