Category: Helpful information

December 15, 2019

Why a Household Budget Is a Must

Let’s face it, for most people, dealing with and talking about money is intensely personal.

You’ve worked hard for your paycheck, and it can be disappointing to watch it disappear with every bill paid and item bought. It’s a very emotional topic for many people, too. In a culture where money – or high-end things – indicate success, there is pressure to spend money without considering how it impacts your goals. Whether you’re looking for a way to make ends meet, trying to move away from carrying debt, or looking down the road long term for retirement or a home purchase, it’s important to have a plan to get there.

To meet your goals, you’ll have to sit down and honestly evaluate your current financial situation.

The easiest way to do that is with a budget.

Why Budget?

Budgeting serves many purposes, but it’s important to point out what it is not. A budget is not a guess as to your expenses. It’s not a guideline for your spending.

image of a piggy bank to show why a budget is so important

Budgets aren’t wish lists for a future pay raise, or a plan for all the things you’d like to buy. A budget is a rulebook for your bank account and a contract with yourself and your family about how you’ll work together to achieve your goals.

How to Begin a Budget

Budgets are based on your real expenses and income and help you to plan out your next month’s spending. Start by determining how much after-tax income your household will be taking home this month. Next, account for all your recurring expenses. These should include things like living expenses, utilities, food, insurance, car costs, and any recurring costs like medicines, pet care, and services. Depending on your own style and commitment to financial control, you can choose how stringently you plan out your month. Some people choose to create a monthly line item for small expenses like Netflix or coffee, whereas others prefer to lump it together into a discretionary spending category.

There are many great tools out there to help you budget, too. Try ASIC’s MoneySmart Budget Planner for a tool that helps you account for all your expenses. Or you can explore your bank’s tools for ways to help you budget.

Budgeting Pro-Tip

Don’t forget about future expenses like:
– car maintenance
– large upcoming purchases like cars
– school fees
– holidays

Plan for Your Future

Regardless of how you choose to budget, the most important thing is to have a plan for every cent you own. Money that you don’t plan to spend on other things isn’t “free” money – instead, this is your savings and investment in your future. A good rule of thumb is to save 20% of your take-home income. This helps you grow your savings, ensuring that you build up a cushion for hard times, large costs like home deposits, holidays, new cars, and retirement. When you have a plan like this in place and you stick to it, you’ll gain some real control over your finances.

The Side Effects of Financial Control

For many people, that control leads to less stress over money and more focus on enjoying your life.

Budgets have a lot of fringe benefits, too. For people in committed partnerships, budgets can eliminate a common source of stress and strife. By creating and sticking to a budget, you create an open dialogue with one another that allows you to reassess your current expenses and plan for your future together. Budgets help you identify those things which are most important to you both and work together to achieve them.

For others, budgets shed light on the perennial questions, like “Where did my paycheck go?” or “Can I afford such-and-such?” Many people don’t realise how much money they’ve been spending on things like impulse purchases, eating out, and coffee shops. While your cappuccino doesn’t cost a lot of money now, these small bills add up over the month.

As you implement your budget, remember that a budget is a planning tool, not a way to deprive yourself and squirrel away every last cent. You may be in a financial position that allows you to purchase the new iPhone easily, but you should still plan out your purchase. Even if you have the means to afford it, you shouldn’t blow your budget just because you can. When you treat your budget like a suggestion, that’s what it becomes and you lose the insight that you worked so hard for.

Creating and meeting a budget is not hard, but it does take discipline.

It means respecting the limits you and your family set, and saying “no” to things you might want that fall outside the budget. But the upsides – the financial health, the plans for the future, the relief from financial anxiety – are well worth it. And you’ll find that the hard choices you had to make, the fear for your future, and the uncertainty about your own situation disappear. Because with a plan for the future and the steps to get you there, you’ll be a whole lot closer to reaching your goals.


How To Use Your Good Credit Score To Your Advantage

In the US and the UK most people know their credit score and are able to use it to negotiate more favourable loan terms. Right now in Australia – we are way behind.

Very few of us know what our Credit Score is and until Joust arrived in the Australian home loan market – there wasn’t a smart way for customers with good credit scores to obtain the home loan interest rate they deserve.

Right now in Australia – we are way behind

Consumers can now visit GetCreditScore.com.au which is a free service that allows Australians to obtain their credit score from Equifax. Go ahead – and check them out.

The home loan market in Australia is extraordinarily large. It is estimated to be worth $1.4 trillion and approximately 800,000 new home loans are settled in Australia every year. However, the Home Loan market in Australia is far from perfect. 

800,000 new home loans are settled in Australia every year

Good Customers

Good customers who have stayed with the same bank for many years may be paying too much, whilst lower quality customers who represent a higher risk for banks frequently do not pay enough.

Here is where digital technology and a truly transparent online market place can fix these imbalances. Consumers with a good credit score can input their details to Joust and within minutes have Banks around Australia bidding for their home loan business – straight back to their mobile.

When good customers discover the fully transparent digital market place created by Joust they can benefit from their good credit history. Banks love good customers with an excellent payment record. Via Joust – these customers are being rewarded with live competition resulting in discounted interest rates offered on home loans. This results in an optimal outcome for the customer and an optimal outcome for the Banks. A marketplace that delivers optimal outcomes for all market participants is the definition of a “perfect market”.

World First Technology

Joust is extremely proud of it’s “world first” technology that creates a digital market place for home loan customers and lenders in Australia. So get on and use your good credit score to your advantage. Ultimately every customer should obtain the price that they deserve in a perfect market. The Joust platform continues to resonate with customers and the banks. Joust is leading the next revolution in retail lending in Australia.   

Make sure that if you have a good credit score – you are not missing out. To find out more about how joust works – click here.


How Joust Protects Your Credit Rating

Building a healthy credit rating and then maintaining your credit score should be a very high priority for all Australian home loan consumers.

Every credit provider wants to know the likelihood of customers repaying a loan. So, the higher your credit score, the more confidence they will have that you will repay a loan in terms of the credit agreement.

image of a man with a crown and cape to show how to protect your credit rating

Usually, when you apply for a new loan or credit facility, the provider will complete a full credit check with reputable credit bureaus such as Equifax. However, in many instances, these full credit checks can serve to negatively affect your credit score, so you always need to be vigilant. The last thing you want is to have an exemplary credit score that then gets marred by multiple full credit checks. All that hard work and diligence on your part would no longer shine through.

At Joust, we understand that you need to protect your credit rating. We therefore subscribe to the Equifax Access Seeker service, which does not have any negative impact on your credit score.

In fact, once you have submitted a Joust, you are the only person who will ever know that you have used Joust.

image of a knight on a horse jousting to show that Joust are jousting to protect your credit rating

We perform an Equifax inquiry to extract your credit score, representing it in the form of a credit score band to the Joust panel of lenders. This will never be visible to any credit providers. So, they won’t be able to see that you are shopping around for the best home loan interest rate.

You are our number one focus, and we always strive to help you get the best home loan interest rate possible.

For more information on how Joust protects your credit rating via the Equifax Access Seeker product visit our Terms and Conditions. Or, to learn more about Equifax, visit https://www.equifax.com.au 


Ever wondered how much your bank values you as a customer?

Have you ever noticed how loyal some people are to specific brands? Fierce debates rage on over the superiority of Apple or Android; entire extended families may choose to own only a single brand of car.

Most Australians wouldn’t even consider bringing a Vegemite knock-off into the home, and some people refuse to drink a cola that isn’t Coke. Studies have shown time and again that we as consumers show a marked preference to companies, even when we can’t point to something as distinct as taste.

Picture of a money box to show how Joust can save you money on your home loan

For many people, that brand loyalty extends even to our banking. Whether you’ve been with the same bank since high school, or the tellers all know your name, loyalty to your bank can be a great thing. It’s nice to deal with familiar faces, easy-to-use apps, and see our balances grow with favourable interest rates.

But have you ever wondered how much your bank values you as a customer? Whilst their tellers may like you, big decisions like loan terms and credit approvals rest on the hard numbers. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work in your favour.

This is especially true for home loan applicants. When shopping for a home loan in Australia, you’re probably tempted to start with your personal bank. After all, they already know you, right? Your bank should love to have your business!

Interest rates are often based on the national average rather than your individual worthiness. That means that even strong applicants with excellent credit and employment history are offered rates based on the masses which includes a pool of customers who may not have been as responsible as you.

This could be one of the reasons why so many people have previously chosen to use a mortgage broker to find their home loan. But mortgage brokers charge banks high front end fees and are paid trailing commissions by the banks which adds significant cost to the value chain.

Fortunately, there’s now a better way.

Joust is an exciting online home loan marketplace for Australians. A growing number of banks are signing up for a whole new level of competition in the mortgage market. Joust delivers competitive tension and transparency that is unmatched either here in Australia or elsewhere in the world.

Joust helps to match banks with the exact customer they’re looking for – you.

Banks and lenders will look at your de-identified profile to determine the best home loan rates they can offer you, then place bids in your Joust. Best of all, every bank can see what the other banks are bidding so this allows banks to compete for your business in a completely transparent market place.

The potential savings can run into thousands of dollars per year – straight back to your pocket. It takes approximately three minutes to input your profile details, where you can set the time period for your Joust from 1 to 3 business days and have the bravest banks in Australia all battling to win your home loan business.

Since our launch in June 2016, we’ve grown to have twenty-one lenders creating competitive tension for more than $1.2 billion worth of home loans, helping thousands of home loan applicants buy and refinance their dream homes.

As you start your home buying journey, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start shopping at your preferred bank – but you should absolutely not stop shopping there. Make sure you’re choosing the best home loan rate for you.


Join the Financial Service Revolution

Did you know there is a major revolution happening in the Australian Financial Services Industry and you should be part of it? Otherwise, you may be paying too much on your home mortgage.

Many Australian home loan lenders have been stuck in the dark ages, the bad old days where they relied on a void of publicly available personal credit file information to charge high-interest rates on consumer credit products. Practices such as penalising consumers that made numerous inquiries with different lenders to obtain better home loan rates were common in the industry. Until recently, making multiple credit inquiries would diminish your credit score and your credit rating, often resulting in a higher interest rate offer.

animated man in a crown and cape to depict someone fighting for your home loan

Matt Symons, the co-founder of the successful start-up disruptive Fintech business Society One, led the charge for good customers to have access to better interest rates for products such as personal loans and credit cards through his innovative peer-to-peer lending platform.

Peer-to-peer lending has been extremely popular overseas for a number of years now, rewarding good customers by providing better interest rates than are generally available through mainstream banks.

Joust is another great step forward in the home loan revolution and has been brought to life to help good customers get the best home loan interest rates on a dynamic, obligation-free online marketplace (which is free to use). All this without all the hassle and running around normally associated with finding the best home loan interest rate. And, now you can cut out the middle man costs and trust issues associated with using a broker.

Did you know that using a mortgage broker means that much of the discount you could be receiving from a lender goes to that broker? It goes to them in the form of upfront fees and trail commission usually paid for the life of the loan. If you have complicated financial affairs, you may need a broker. However, many Australians have a relatively straight forward financial position and don’t need any advice, they just need to find the best home loan interest rate available in the market place.

And…who really has the spare time or patience to try and understand hundreds of products that you find on all the home loan comparison sites?

knight on a horse fighting for your lowest home loan rate

Joust brings the lenders to you. They battle it out to win your business, all while you sit back and watch them Jousting in-real time on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Like Society One, Joust obtains your credit score by using the Equifax Access Seeker product which does not have any negative impact on your credit rating.

Now, you can enjoy the benefits of better home loan interest rates and Joust is extremely proud to be playing its part in the revolution.


Convenience and Transparency In the Search For a Home Loan Lender

The prospect of changing banks can be daunting. It seems like a long and complex process – but this doesn’t have to be the case.

animated image to show how a user uses Joust to compare home loan rates

There’s a general perception that it is very difficult to change banks. We need to reconstruct this image because the banks benefit and you’re not getting the best home loan rate you deserve. One of our ambitions at Joust is to give you complete transparency. This process has become possible with digital technology, and we can help you find a new lender and get the best home loan rates in Australia.

Finding The Right Home Loan For You Has Never Been More Convenient

At Joust, we want our digital platform to show you how easy finding a new lender has become.

Obtaining a better rate is easy through Joust. We have created an innovative competitive marketplace that is no longer time consuming or confusing.

The effort of researching and negotiating the best home loan rates is greatly reduced by using Joust. Experience the convenience of using Joust on your mobile device, and watch the lenders Joust for your business in a competitive, live transparent bidding environment.

From the comfort of your lounge or on the tram on the way to work, Joust eliminates the need to meet with various lenders to negotiate the best deal.

The small effort required to create a profile and interact with your home loan leaderboard is greatly surpassed by the benefits you are rewarded with. Experience the best home loan rates Australia has to offer you without the need for appointments or a mortgage broker.

Joust Gives You Transparency in the search for a better Home Loan Rate 

Mortgages and home loan rates can be difficult to get your head around. Especially when you have to collect all the information about the current home loan rates by yourself. 

But it can become even more confusing when you’re getting hard sells from multiple lenders, and different statistics from various home loan comparison sites. Not to mention all the different home loan calculator options.

Joust helps you move past the chaos of conflicting advice and gives you the concise, accurate answers you need, directly from the lenders.

When you start a Joust, lenders will bid based on your basic profile information. Joust removes the need for a mortgage broker and cuts to the chase. In a time-bound bidding environment, lenders present you with the information you want to hear, and we present it to you directly to your personal leaderboard.

Finding your new lender has never been so easy. Don’t be apprehensive in your search for the lowest home loan rate in Australia. Joust removes the struggle and provides you with the easy to use and accessible marketplace that brings the banks to you. 


Transparent Variable Rate Home Loans – It Is Possible

Deciding which home loan to choose can be tricky business, particularly when it comes to the stability of a fixed-rate or the flexibility of a variable rate.

Variable rates have traditionally been attractive due to their initially low rate, but how do you know if that rate will remain low? Banks have significant control in the setting of loan rates, and there is little transparency surrounding how these rates are calculated. 

This week, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics has weighed into the discussion of offering tracker mortgages through the four major Australian banks.

Tracker mortgages have rates which fluctuate in line with the official cash rate, so there is transparency regarding how the rate is calculated and fluctuates. However, according to bank executives, it wouldn’t all be good news if this type of loan is introduced.

Brian Hartzer, chief executive of Westpac, and NAB chief executive, Andrew Thorburn, stood opposed. They said that excessive premiums would be attached to tracker mortgages due to the high risk associated with them for the banks. This, in turn, would be unappealing for consumers, who generally opt for a fixed rate on their loan if they are after more security. Mr Hartzer went on to say that if banks offered loans with that much risk, they would be in serious trouble if the cost of funds spiked.

On the other hand, ANZ Chief Executive Shayne Elliott and Commonwealth Bank of Australia Chief Executive and Managing Director Ian Narev, were open to the idea – despite the high risk. Both agreed, however, that they wouldn’t be certain there would be much demand for tracker mortgages due to the high premiums.

They also wondered if the introduction of another loan option would make it more confusing for the consumer.

Finding the best home loan rates can be confusing, especially when you consider the many options and the general lack of transparency associated with many banks and mortgage brokers. Joust removes the confusion and provides unrivaled transparency, which makes the decision process much clearer for consumers.

We bring the banks to you with their best offer and the most relevant information on the table, which means no hidden fees and far less confusion. Providing a marketplace where you and the banks are able to see other offerings provides full transparency, which is often difficult to find when purchasing a home loan. This process is what makes Joust the simplest and most competitive platform to use when shopping for your mortgage.

Find out how Joust works and let the banks come to you with their mortgage offer.


3 Ways Joust Simplifies Your Search for a Better Home Loan Rate

Researching the best home loan rates Australian lenders currently offer can be a headache and incredibly time-consuming.

image of a phone with Joust platform to show the start of how to start comparing home loan rates

At Joust, we are dedicated to helping you find the best home loan rates banks can offer you. We have created a digital marketplace that provides transparency and empowerment in your search for a mortgage, but we have also optimised the process for your convenience.

Here are three ways Joust simplifies your search: 

1. Access a Digital Marketplace Through the Convenience of Your Mobile Device

When you begin using Joust, you start by building a quick online profile.

Image of home loan rate comparisons

Lenders can view your de-identified profile, so they can quickly bid with their best home loan rate based on your profile.

This means you don’t have to worry about making face-to-face appointments with multiple lenders. Instead, you no longer waste your time in long consultations with a sales representative and have the most competitive bids sent directly to your mobile device.

Enjoy the convenience of receiving less complex and targeted rate bids – all through the convenience of your mobile phone.

With Joust, you are able to search for some of the best Australian home loan rates no matter where you are.

2. Joust Saves You Time From Having to Compare Home Loan Lenders

Joust is much more than a home loan comparison site or a home loan calculator.

The best offers for residential mortgages can often be fleeting and limited by time-bound conditions – but you deserve access to the best home loan rates on your terms.

We have created a digital marketplace that saves you days of researching what some of the best current rate offers on home loans are.

By bringing potential lenders all to one place, you save valuable time that would have been spent going from bank to bank, or meeting with a broker.

We give you power as a buyer and flip the pressure of time back onto the lenders. When you create a profile with Joust, you are able to choose a time frame for banks to bid on your loan. Watching the bidding action on your live leaderboard is great fun. Once this period has closed, you get to see which banks have offered you their best home loan rates.

3. Avoid time-consuming Negotiations and Receive Home Loan Rate Bids That Reflects Your True Value

Find some of the lowest home loan rates that banks can offer you. When you use Joust, you avoid having to deconstruct the complexities of a home loan by yourself, obviating the need for help from your accountant or a mortgage broker.  

Joust provides an innovative digital platform where good consumers get the opportunity to have a customised auction for their home loan.

Under the competitive tension we create between lenders in this unique bidding environment, Joust opens up opportunities for interest rates you may not otherwise have access to.

This is made possible not only through the competitive tension but by cutting out the middle man.  

Using your basic profile information, banks can do more than assign you to a pre-existing, standard deal or rate. They are incentivised to cater to your profile and to compete with their best interest rate bids.


Home Loan Myths Busted!

What are the biggest myths that could be hindering your home loan experience?

Fake or fact image to help explain some home loan myths

There are many myths surrounding the home loan and refinancing process that can create an overwhelming feeling for consumers who are looking to secure a better home loan rate.

These myths are often created through confusing or misunderstood information in the financial services sector.

In this article, we bust the three most common home loan myths.

Myth 1:  It’s too difficult to switch banks

Home loan shopping shouldn’t be that hard. In fact, a home loan should be one of the most convenient and transparent shopping experiences. As competition increases in the home loan market in Australia, good customers are discovering that mortgages are becoming more and more portable. The fees and efforts that are associated with switching banks are getting lower and increasingly, much of the work can now be done online. 

You can check your loan agreement to see if your lender charges a discharge fee when you repay your home loan account. A Discharge Fee can typically range between $150 and $500. Allowing for government charges, you can expect to pay in the order of $1000 in total. It can make sense to discuss with your lender to explore ways to minimise the costs or speed up the process of discharging your mortgage. 

With Joust, good customers are now able to choose from some of the best banks in Australia – who will battle for your home loan with their best rates.

Once you complete an auction of your home loan on Joust and declare a winning bank, your new bank will complete the switching process with you. 

Myth 2:  A home loan is a difficult and long process!

Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions in life, choosing a home loan isn’t! 

A good home loan customer can think of a mortgage much like petrol! There’s plenty of choices out there and it doesn’t really matter where you get it from. What matters to most customers is the price at the pump.  The same logic can be applied to choosing a bank for your mortgage.

Over the past 30 years, banks have intentionally created a perception around the home loan process being difficult, confusing, long and extremely complex.  The reality is that for good quality customers, the process is actually quite straight forward.

Joust removes complexity from the home loan process by insisting that the bank’s bid based on its best rate.  This means home loan borrowers don’t get distracted by a myriad of unhelpful and irrelevant “specials,” packages” and “features.”  Joust takes away all the running around and research for customers – allowing you to simply submit your home loan profile online and sit back and watch the banks battle in a genuine auction experience on your mobile device.  Then, with a single click – you can choose the winning bank.

Myth 3:   I need a mortgage broker to get a good deal on a home loan

Out of the three myths that we have discussed, there is no greater myth than you need a mortgage broker to get a good deal on a home loan. 

An intermediary or a “middle man” is a popular option in today’s society, but one that often comes with a hidden expense.  Mortgage brokers who act as a middle man between a customer and their home loan deal don’t charge the client directly, however they make their money through large front-end fees and trail commissions.  Increasingly, there is independent research and public investigations that suggest that the home loan a mortgage broker recommends to you, may not always be in “your” best interest.

By auctioning your home loan business on Joust, you: 

  • Can be confident that you’re getting the best rate relevant to your profile. 
  • If you have an attractive home loan profile for lenders, then banks are likely to bid aggressively for your loan.
  • Then, you can select the lender and home loan rate that you want. 

Hopefully, busting these myths can shed some light on the dark secrets and some of the mysteries within the financial service industry.

Take control of your home loan journey and watch banks bid “live” for your business.


How to Be Rid of Your Monthly/Annual Bank Fees

Bank fees. A necessary nuisance. Or are they?

image of a home

Every day, thousands of Australians pay ongoing fees to their bank. Many people don’t realise that these fees don’t have to loom over your home loan. That it’s actually possible to get a home loan without the nasty fees attached.

So, why are you paying bank fees when you don’t have to?

Banks are Businesses

When it comes down to it, banks are businesses. Their focus is as centred on their profit margins and bottom lines as any other major corporation. So, in an effort to increase their returns, banks have introduced monthly account fees on some home loans, as well as annual so-called “package” fees. These fees are often between $400 and $500 – a sizeable amount to someone already paying a mortgage. This added cost can make a significant impact on your day-to-day life, not to mention your stress levels.

Good home loan customers shouldn’t have to live with these monthly or annual drains on their purse strings.

In the past, avoiding these fees meant hard negotiations with lenders. However, the idea of negotiating with a bank is daunting, so people are often put off. These negotiations also take up a lot of time and effort, which can be very difficult to cope with if you have work or family commitments.

If good consumers had the time and inclination to negotiate hard enough with their bank, they would more than likely get their monthly or annual fees waived. Especially if they indicated a potential move to a different bank.

How Can You Avoid Bank Fees?

Negotiating with a bank isn’t everyone’s “cup of tea”. Many people just accept the fees applied by their bank and roll with the punches, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

We encourage you to explore your bank statement and see if there are any unwanted monthly or annual banking fees.

If you find that you are being charged an annual fee for your home loan, the Joust platform can help you to find a better option.

The Joust platform has been designed to improve your life as a home loan customer. By acting as a matchmaker between good quality consumers and lenders, we give you 100% of the power in selecting a better home loan rate. Setting up your profile only takes 3 minutes, and running a Joust is completely free. Even better, your personal information is kept confidential, so you won’t be harassed by salespeople.

With Joust, you can sit back in the comfort of your own home or on the train to work and watch as lenders compete for your home loan in real-time

Joust is all about encouraging lenders to bid with their best home loan rates available. Through increasing competitive tension amongst many of Australia’s best lenders, you could receive a home loan interest rate bid that is significantly lower than your current loan rate.

Good consumers who use the Joust platform to have lenders bid live for their home loans are seeing offers from banks with no fees attached to them – and this is how it should be.

We believe that you don’t need to be paying bank fees to be entitled to good service or a good price on other products. You should be rewarded for your profile quality and with the help of the Joust platform, there’s no reason to settle for less.

By using Joust, you could be very pleasantly surprised. You may be able to put that $495 annual package fee straight back into your pocket.

You don’t have to accept the bank’s argument that these fees are for a “package” of other services or discounts. Instead, you could get a better home loan interest rate with zero fees by doing a free Joust today.

Would you like to learn more about how Joust works? If so, you can explore more information here. Otherwise, if you’d like to learn from expert tips, how to avoid the pitfalls and read advice on how to get the best home loan rates, we have a free eBook “19 Secrets to Finding the Best Home Loan Rate” you can download at any time.