10 Steps to Spring Clean your finances
When was the last time you organised your financial paperwork, checked your car insurance deal or took an inventory of your direct debits and standing orders? Now might be the perfect time.
People up and down the country have been using the coronavirus lockdown to do something positive – whether it’s finally cleaning that bit behind the washing machine, or finding out exactly what is in the garage.
So why not extend the spring cleaning spirit to your finances?
Here are 10 things that you can do that will make a positive impact on your money and finances.
- Have a budget and stop bad spending habits: Grab a bank statement and a highlighter to see what you are spending each month. Many people don’t budget because they don’t want to go through what they think will be a boring process of listing out expenses, adding up numbers, and making sure everything lines up. If all it takes to get your spending on track, is a few hours working a budget each month, why wouldn’t you do it? Instead of focusing on the process of creating a budget, focus on the value that budgeting will bring to your life.
- Organise your financial clutter – start by collecting all your paperwork in one big pile, highlight the policy numbers and then sort into individual piles. Keep important paperwork such as tax statements, but generally any other statements more than 12 months old, probably do not need to be kept. You can scan copies and keep your paperwork electronically – create folders on your computer so you can find documents easily.
- Write a will – Recent research indicates 54% of adults in the UK do not have a will. For those who already have a will, this might also be a good time to review and determine if it needs to be updated in the form of a new will to reflect changes in circumstances
- Update Pension beneficiary form – now you have reviewed your will – who will inherit your pension benefits? Pension benefits normally do not form part of your estate and therefore are not covered by your will. You should contact your pension providers to find out your current nomination and to obtain the relevant forms if you need to update.
- Review Old Insurance policies – Every month, do you see that direct debit leave your bank account for that protection policy you took out years ago? Or do you have that prehistoric mortgage endowment policy which you keep receiving annual statements for? Do you know what you are actually covered for and whether this is sufficient for your needs. Right now might be the time to review your protection policies to ensure you are adequately covered.
- Consider new insurance policies – If you do not have any insurance currently in place, then this is something that you may wish to consider. Putting in place a basic level of protection is probably more affordable than you think and you could get life insurance for just a few pounds a month. In particular do you have enough cover in place to replace your income in the event of long term sickness?
- Switch to a cheaper mortgage – rates have never been so competitive and with 5 year fixed rates are as low as 1.24% ( at time of writing) there as never been a better time to review your payments. You should start looking at this 3 months before your current deal is due to expire.
- Collate and review your pensions – Are you aware of all of your existing pension arrangements? Even from that short-term employment you took up 10 years ago? Any pension funds which you have accumulated in your working life could make a real difference to your overall pension savings when you reach retirement. Do you know what you are paying in charges ? How is your money is invested and what will your income be at retirement ? Maybe now is the time for a review ..
- Savings rates – following the Bank of Englands base rate cuts, savings rates have been tumbling. Use sites like moneyfacts.co.uk to check you are getting the best returns on your money.
- Get expert advice – use a qualified adviser to get some help. Most advisers will offer an initial meeting at no cost and you can see if they could be of value to you.
Financial advice is essential in the current circumstances. You can rely on us at Gardner Fianancial Management for considered, measured advice to assist you in navigating these uncertain times.
Why not book a 30 minute meeting to discuss your money and finances to see if you are on track.
Discover the power of half an hour and book your initial meeting HERE