So you want to seize control and build some wealth but don’t have a lot of time? You’re come to the right place. Take our five-minute money health check:

1. Find out where you are.

You need to work out your assets and liabilities. Log into your bank accounts and add up the pluses – including your super, savings and investments.  If you own your own home, you can get a quick valuation online.  Now subtract what you owe. Now you know what you’re worth!

It’s a snapshot – but it will let you measure the success of your wealth strategies.

2. Set your goals

You can’t set out on a journey without knowing when you’ve got to your destination.  But your money – and your life – is lived in stages.  When you’re 20, it’s all about having a good time.  At 30, for those in relationships, it’s about homes and possible children.  The sandwich general in their 40s find themselves caught between kids and aging parents.  And in your 50s and 60s it’s all about retirement!

So set short term (one or two years), medium (three to give years) and long term goals (five years and beyond). And don’t forget to include some fun things to spend your money on along the way!

3. Learn to budget

Like a diet or health regime, budgeting is a bore but essential. And the rewards are amazing! Here’s what you need to do:

Work out your income using pay slips and bank statements

Work out your expenses – and be realistic about entertainment, eating out and travel

Work out what you can save

Check it again – be tough!

Use the budget planner at MoneySmart – it’s brilliant!

4. Deal with debt

First, get rid of credit card debt and anything that involves repayments of more than the current personal loan level of around 8 per cent.

Then work out how to pay down other debts. Bottom line: in today’s low investment rate environment, you’ll never earn back what you are paying for borrowed money.

5. Maximise your earning power

Think of yourself as a small business.  And work every angle to get more income which you can invest to bring in even more!

Ask the boss for a raise.  Turn hobbies into money (see our stories on the site for this). And sell stuff that is cluttering your home and stays on the shelf unused.

Get into the habit of looking over your budget like it is a personal balance sheet!

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