Top 10 tips to get your finances in order
When was the last time you considered your financial future? It might be low on your list of priorities but getting your finances in order could enable you to achieve some long-held ambitions, and might even help you sleep more soundly at night. And what better time to start than now, during financial planning week 2014. Here’s how to get started…
1. Understand your current situation
You need to be clear ‘where you are at’ financially – this includes all the details about what you own and what you owe etc. There’s a useful planning tool called Truth Lite, which is available free of charge this Financial Planning Week. You can also book your place at a free Financial Planning surgery with an expert financial planner. It’s a great opportunity with absolutely no strings attached. You can find details on financialplanningweek.uk.
2. Understand what rate of interest you are paying on any debts
Fees and interest vary massively. If you have credit card debt that is going nowhere positive, transfer it to a 0% rate and start a repayment plan with the money you are saving in interest. Yes there is a transfer fee, but it’s much less than the ongoing interest payment over the duration of the debt.
3. Ensure you are getting a decent return on your money
Work out exactly what savings you have and what rates of return you are getting. To get the best interest rates on deposit accounts you’ll need to be proactive, review the rates regularly and switch to get the best return.
4. Spend less than you earn
It seems a simple point but you MUST move to a position where you don’t spend all your income – or worse still – spend more than your income! If you don’t, you will never create any wealth for yourself.
5. Protect what you have got
You insure your car but not your life or your income. Take a moment to work out who would lose out financially if you were to die or have a long-term illness. Take out cover to protect them and your family. Don’t forget you need to have an up to date will in place too.
6. Plan for the future
No one is going to provide the lifestyle you want for yourself in the future other than yourself. Start to work on what your life should look like and how much it will cost, that will focus the mind and help you to get planning!
7. Consider your current employment position
Are you in the right job? Does it give you the lifestyle that you wish? Will it meet your requirements in the future? If not, do something about it – change jobs, undertake further study, start your own business etc. It is in your hands and only your hands, you control your future…
8. Work out what is truly important to you
Modern life makes it very easy to play an expensive ‘keeping up with the Jones’ game. Are there areas of your life that you could leave behind to make you happier and wealthier?
9. Eat well and get plenty of exercise
None of this is of any value if you don’t make it!
10. Get some help
There are some great tools on the internet to help you review your debts, savings etc such as moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/health-check. Use them. However if you have done all of those and need help with the lifestyle elements, seek out a Certified Financial Planner professional, pay some money and get powerful, life-changing advice to make your dreams become your reality. You can take advantage of free financial planning surgeries taking place across the UK this Financial Planning Week.
* Tips courtesy of Steve Martin CFPCM , Managing Director, Smart Financial, smartfinancial.co.uk
* For more information on Financial Planning week visit financialplanningweek.uk