The start of a new year is a popular time to make a resolution to live your life differently, whether that’s improving your health, learning something new or managing your money more effectively. Below we list a few simple pointers for how you might improve your personal finances.
Get on top of your files, paperwork and plans and make a simple and clear summary of what you own, owe, receive and spend. It pays to be organised!
Understand what you are spending
It doesn’t matter how much you earn, if you spend too much, then you will never be financially secure. If you never seem to be able to regularly save a meaningful amount, or you are racking up debt, then chances are you don’t know exactly how much you are spending and on what.
Manage debt carefully
Although interest rates are abnormally low at present, it’s unlikely that they will stay that way forever. Even so, some types of debt, such as credit/store cards and higher cost loans, charge high interest. Debt repayment represents a risk-free, tax-free return equal to the interest you will avoid. You could work out an affordable repayment schedule to repay the most expensive debt first, cut up credit and store cards and close the accounts or if you have a large mortgage, relative to your income, then think about fixing the interest rate for five years. Although the probability is it will cost slightly more than variable rates over that time, at least you will have the comfort of knowing what your repayments will be.
Pay yourself first
If you are still working, then the chances are you aren’t saving nearly enough for when you can’t or no longer want to work. As a rough rule of thumb, you should be saving around 20 per cent of your annual income, less if you are young and more if you are older. To help you save more, make sure you contribute as much as you need towards your pension and savings accounts.
Make sure you have enough of the right insurance
Insurance is something no one likes paying for but is always happy to claim. If you insure for what can go wrong, you can then invest for what can go right. Make sure you have adequate life insurance, income protection and that your home buildings and contents cover reflects the true rebuilding and contents replacement costs.
Setting aside a small amount of time each month to focus on your personal finances will increase your chances of financial security and stability.
Do feel free to get in touch with us directly if you have any questions around this topic.
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