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The New Year is a perfect time to take stock after a difficult 2021 and take steps to make the next 12 months better.

And while most of us are setting (and already breaking) some ambitious resolutions to make 2022 a healthier, happier and more prosperous, there are some simple tasks worth adding to your list of goals to help kick off the year as you mean to go on.   

Here are 10 life admin jobs done so you’re set up for the next 12 months.

1. Make sure your Super working for you.

It’s well worth doing a regular check on your Super performance. As with any long-term investment, it may not be productive to focus too much on the day-to-day performance.

Performance review:

But it is wise to do regular – quarterly or annual – reviews to see if your investments are working for you and performing well.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) recently named and shamed the worst performing Super funds. It looked at 76 funds, comparing fees versus performance over seven years. It found that 13 funds failed to pass its test.

Find out what’s involved in switching to a better performing Super fund here.

Insurance fits current situation:

And while you’re checking, it’s a perfect opportunity to see if the insurance cover is worth it.  Your Super may have life cover, income protection and insurance for if you sustain a total and permanent disability following an injury.

These regular reviews are especially important if you’ve recently changed jobs. If the risk profile of your new role has changed significantly, it is crucial to update your terms to ensure you have adequate cover.

Consolidate funds:

If you have worked for a few different employers you may have multiple Super funds, and even several overlapping insurance policies.

Now is the time to tidy up your Super affairs. The sooner you do, the less of a headache it could become later.

Read more about what you need to consider before consolidating your super here.

2. Update your Will

Do your plans to provide for your loved ones after you die still reflect your wishes? Has anything changed that might complicate matters or mean your current will needs to be revised?

There are five major life events which should prompt you to update your will:

  • Relationship status changing – getting married, separated or bereaved
  • Starting a family
  • Moving or buying a new home
  • Retiring
  • Becoming ill
     

A will should be kept up to date. If you’ve been putting off making changes, now is the time to tick that off the to-do list.

Or, if you don’t have a will in the first place, they’re easy and quick to set up, so this next year is the time to create one.

We’ve written about when and how to make a will here.

3. Arrange Enduring Power of Attorney

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document where someone you trust is legally authorised to make a decision on your behalf after the person granting it has lost their mental capacity.

In a few simple steps, you can have peace of mind that you’ve prepared for the unexpected. Find out about Enduring Power of Attorney here.

4. Planning to change jobs? Get prepared

Nearly 40 per cent of working Australians revealed they were planning on leaving their job in the next 12 months, according to a recent survey by PwC.

Across America employers are struggling to fill roles as people quit in record numbers, in what’s being called the Great Resignation. Some experts predict the same phenomenon will hit Australia in autumn.

If you’re thinking of changing employer or even career, the new year could be the perfect time to prepare.

The first thing to do is review your current employment contract.

  • Find out what your notice period is.
  • Work out if leaving will have any impact on getting a bonus or other incentive
  • Check there are no restraint of trade clauses which might scupper plans to join a rival firm.
     

We covered how to leave a job the right way here.

5. If you're buying, selling or renting a house – make sure you know your rights

Your home is likely your biggest asset you ever own. With the last year seeing a surging market – and few signs the next 12 months will be any different – making a mistake could be costly.

So when buying, selling or renting one, navigating the market can be intimidating. It pays to know your legal rights and responsibilities. We covered some key information below. 

Read more about renters rights

10 things people forget when inspecting a house:

What can you do if a real estate agent is underquoting?

6. Review the impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 restrictions have had an enormous impact on everyone. It’s shows how vulnerable we are to outside forces.

As life starts returning to normal, it’s a good time to review exactly what effect it’s had on your finances and - even if you’ve managed to come out of it relatively unscathed – check that you are as resilient as possible to weather future shocks.

Small business owners:

  • Ensure insurance scheme adequately cover you for business interruption.
  • If you’re struggling due to restrictions, check that you’re getting the support you’re entitled to.

Read more

Employees:

  • Working conditions or terms may be changing significantly. If you’re unsure of your rights or whether you’re being treated fairly, it’s worth seeking expert advice to find out where you stand.
  • If you’re exposed to COVID-19 at work, do you know your rights?

Learn more about your rights during COVID.

Learn more about income protection.

7. Check in with an elderly or vulnerable loved one

Our elderly or vulnerable loved ones have been some of the groups most affected by COVID-19

Isolation due to health restrictions has damaged many of the connections we previously had with friends and relatives. This has raised concerns that many people have become more vulnerable to abuse – both financial and physical.

Elder abuse can take lots of different forms – but there tend to be a few tell-tale signs:

  • Family members who try to inappropriately influence their parents’ choices including encouraging them to make changes to their will.
  • Older persons frequently changing their mind about their enduring power of attorney
  • Lack of money for day to day items
  • Loss of jewellery or personal belongings
  • Older person expressing fear, anxiety or confusion when discussing finances, assets, property
  • Unexplained amounts of money missing from bank accounts
  • Unpaid accounts
  • Loss of trust
     

If you haven’t recently checked in with a vulnerable loved one, make time in the new year to check in and see if everything is ok. Help is available if you suspect someone is suffering elder abuse.

Report it to authorities, or get advice about what legal options are available. There are organisations in each state that can provide assistance.

Learn more about elder abuse and recognising the signs here.

8. Do a safety audit of your home

With the children off school during summer holidays, it’s a good time to do a quick safety check around the house.

You can find helpful safety checklists online which highlight some of the most common hazards.

Here’s one from the Queensland government. 

It’s also worth remembering that some common products have an expiration date. Beyond that time limit, it’s not recommended to keep using them.

Baby and child car seats:

In Australia, the expiration date tends to be 10 years. It’s not illegal under Australian law, but is a manufacturers’ best-practice guideline.

If you’ve received a hand me down from a friend or relative, it’s worth double checking to remind yourself when it’s a good time to replace it.

Smoke alarms:

Test if it’s still working. This should be done regularly. Do you need to replace batteries?

Fire extinguishers:

The same can be said for fire extinguishers. These should be inspected every six months.

Australian Fire Safety Standards can be found here.

9. Check your travel insurance covers you for post-lockdown trips

As COVID restrictions lift and borders reopen to travel, many of us will be looking forward to heading off on holiday. But in all the excitement, it’s easy to overlook whether you have the right insurance cover for your trip – especially in the event a COVID outbreak causes complications.

We covered some important points to know here.

10. Upskill: Enrol in a safety or training course

There’s never a better time to invest in up-skilling – and improving safety can literally be life-saving.

With road accidents remaining one of the main causes of death an injury in Australia, the new year could be the perfect time to brush up on driving skills. And taking part in a first aid course could give you a life-saving skill if disaster ever struck.

Our superannuation work

If you're unable to work due to illness or injury, you may be eligible to claim on your superannuation insurance. Your injury doesn't need to be work related. Our specialist superannuation lawyers are here to help.

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