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Starting your career

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.

Checklist

A quick checklist of actions to take before you start your career.

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Videos

Watch our short videos on topics relevant to your initial training.

WATCH VIDEOS

Tools

MoneySmart’s Budget Planner will help you plan and prepare where your money is going.

BUDGET PLANNER

Why does this matter?

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!

 

Goal setting

Goal setting

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.

Budgeting

Budgeting

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.

Banking

Banking

You want your banking arrangements to be as simple and hassle free as possible.

We suggest that you think about:

  • Opening two accounts – one for everyday transactions and a separate high interest account for your savings
  • The fees and charges you are paying – the lower the better
  • Account restrictions – for example, do you have to deposit a certain amount each month to get a better rate of interest on your savings
  • Transferring your savings to your savings account automatically from your pay
  • Providing details of your banking arrangements to your next of kin
  • Whether you want your spouse or partner to be a signatory or have online access.

Credit cards

Credit cards

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:

  • Understand the fees and charges – read the fine print
  • Pay your balance in full each month to avoid paying interest
  • Consider using a debit card instead
  • Minimise the number of credit cards you have – you shouldn’t need more than one.

Debt

Debt

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.

Bills

Bills

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.

Tax

Tax

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.

Superannuation

Superannuation

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.

Salary packaging

Salary packaging

If you have any questions about your salary packaging contact:

  • Smart Salary at smartsalary.com.au or on 1300 476 278; or see a registered tax agent/accountant/licensed financial adviser.

Financial advice

Financial advice

If you are thinking about getting  financial advice watch the film Financial Advisers – The Facts and the Fiction and consider using the ADF Financial Advice Referral Program.

Insurance (personal possessions)

Insurance (personal possessions)

Check your insurance for personal possessions including car, home and contents.

Military compensation

Military compensation

Find out what your entitlements are to military compensation by visiting www.dva.gov.au/benefits-and-payments.

ADF death and invalidity cover

ADF death and invalidity cover

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.

Personal insurance (death and invalidity)

Personal insurance (death and invalidity)

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.

Will

Will

Having a valid will is the best way to protect your loved ones. We suggest you:

  • Check that your will is up to date. See a lawyer if you need a new will (ADF LEGALOs can usually help)
  • Never use a will kit
  • Store a copy of your will in a safe place (DCO stores wills of permanent members and some reserves) and ensure your executor and next of kin know where it is.

Power of attorney

Power of attorney

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.

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