What are the best free online financial literacy resources for Australians?

I have no doubt that I will update this post (or make a new one as more useful resources come up) and also post some of these links on the left sidebar under “Finance Favourites”.

The purpose of this post is to provide the best free finance resources available to Australians. There is a lot of questionable material floating around the internet and it’s easy to get confused. There are also caveats to some of the materials available and I will try to go through as many of them as possible. Please note that I might not necessarily list all of the possible resources, because there are many and I’d be here forever.

Personal Finance

First and foremost, I will list the website that everyone should use. Funnily enough, this is a government-owned website – MoneySmart. This is an incredibly useful resource and can help you understand many of the financial products available. It can even help you get started on planning your retirement. They even put up recent scams – definitely check it out.

Tax

If you’re interested in matters of taxation, you should check out the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website. This has plenty of free resources which will help you get involved in matters of taxation, super, business and more. There are a few helpful calculators on there as well such as the Simple and Comprehensive tax calculator. You should use these to estimate your tax.

Business & tracking down dodgy scammers

If you’re dealing with someone who you suspect to be dodgy, you can always check to see if they’re a registered business using the Australian Business Register here. This doesn’t just apply to finance, but any business. You can also follow the prompts to get started on registering your own business.

Speaking of business, you should be aware of the fact that an Australian Business Name is different to an Australian Business Name. The ABR is for ABN’s (numbers). You can also use ASIC to search for Australian Business Names and the entities behind them. This can help track down scammers and save you money when dealing with dodgy companies.

Mortgage brokers

I will touch on mortgage brokers in a later post, but if you are going to go ahead and use a mortgage broker, you should always ensure that they are registered with one of the two bodies – MFAA and FBAA. The major difference between these two bodies is that the MFAA requires a Diploma of Finance, whereas the FBAA requires a Certificate 4 for membership. This might change, but I still think that an MFAA broker cares more about their business because it’s more difficult to become accredited with them.

Note: whether you use a FBAA or MFAA broker, you’ll still more likely get a less biased opinion than that of a banker. Just make sure they’re registered.

Online lending calculators from the major banks

You can go ahead and use any of the major bank’s calculators. Sometimes they’ll tell you the assumptions that they use and other times they won’t. If you notice differences between different banks’ calculator results, this is because your borrowing power might be different between Bank A and Bank B. Why is this? Different banks have different risk appetites and lending criteria. So go ahead and use them for access to multiple banks.

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