This guide is designed to help you get off to a strong start financially. We encourage you to use these resources to develop the good financial habits you need to be successful with your money.
Managing your money competently is vital to a successful ADF career, because it enables you to focus on your role, perform at your best, earning the trust and respect of others. The habits you develop will also help you achieve goals in other areas of your life.
The good news is that the conditions of service for ADF members, including competitive salaries, attractive superannuation arrangements, subsidised housing and other allowances and entitlements provide a strong foundation to build your financial future.
Getting on top of your finances doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. This site and the MoneySmart website provide a source of reliable, impartial information, useful tools and other resources to guide you along your path.
The earlier you start the better!
To be successful in any field, you need the ability to form, commit to and work towards meaningful goals, exercising discipline to achieve them. Think about what you want to achieve financially by the completion of your initial employment period. Write a brief description of the financial goals you want to achieve over the next 12 to 24 months.
You can re-assess and update your goals each year.
A budget helps you work out where your money is going, giving you the ability to exercise control and make decisions about how to achieve the goals you set.
The MoneySmart budget planner can help you do this. When you know what you spend your money on you’ll see how much you have to save towards your goals, or what you could cut down on to achieve what’s really important to you.
Review your budget regularly to ensure you are still on track.
You want your banking arrangements to be as simple and hassle free as possible.
We suggest that you think about:
Credit cards can be very convenient, but used irresponsibly they can become a huge financial burden. They can be a high interest, high fee form of credit.
Before you apply for a credit card, we suggest you:
Avoid debt if you can, especially for things that go down in value, like new cars.
If you must borrow money to make a large purchase, shop around, compare and negotiate on interest rates and look for a loan you can pay off early without penalty.
Make a list of your regular bills and loan repayments.
Set up direct debits to pay each account on or before the due date to ensure bills and debts are paid on time. This will help you avoid late fees and charges and a bad credit rating.
Read the ATO’s guide for ADF members at www.ato.gov.au.
Make arrangements for your tax return to be lodged by 31 October each year or get an extension through a registered tax agent, accountant or the ATO.
Learn about your superannuation entitlements by visiting https://adfconsumer.gov.au/your-superannuation/.
Decide whether you wish to make additional contributions.
Please note: If you have a pre-1 July 2016 service contact CSC urgently via www.csc.gov.au to ensure you are in the correct fund.
If you have any questions about your salary packaging contact:
Check your insurance for personal possessions including car, home and contents.
Find out what your entitlements are to military compensation by visiting www.dva.gov.au/benefits-and-payments.
You have automatic death and invalidity cover as a member of the ADF either through ADF Cover, MSBS or DFRDB (depending on your membership).
Find out about your death and invalidity cover by visiting www.csc.gov.au.
Decide if you need extra cover on top of your superannuation and compensation entitlements. If you need extra cover first read the guide at www.adfconsumer.gov.au/your-money-guides/personal-insurance/ for further information.
Please note: Very few personal insurance policies cover ADF personnel on operations or for other activities deemed ‘warlike’. You need to make sure yours does.
Having a valid will is the best way to protect your loved ones. We suggest you:
Decide whether you should give someone a power of attorney or revoke an old one.
See a lawyer for advice.
Please note: Only ever give someone a power of attorney if you completely trust them with your money and property because they will have the power to deal with it, use it or sell it as if they were you. If in doubt seek legal advice.