This is that time of year, three weeks into January, when we’re done with reading emails and articles about setting big goals and resolutions and the ‘new you’.
At least I know I am.
Yet as a financial planner and adviser I’m expected to talk about ‘goals and objectives’ the whole year round!
And in my experience many people can find this quite difficult. It’s easy enough to think about plans for a year or maybe two. But longer than that?
Giving financial advice is more straightforward if we’ve got a specific numbers goal to work towards. But it’s not always essential in every situation. Wanting to be ‘financially secure’ may not be specific but it can certainly give us a direction and something to work towards.
Having a system that incorporates healthy money habits and routines can help a lot.
Here are some of my favourites:
- Knowing your basic numbers – income, expenditure and emergency cash reserves – not to the nearest penny or even pound but as close as you can get. (We can help!)
- Maintaining at least 3-6 months’ worth of expenditure in an easy access account, readily accessible for emergency use. In the current environment some people like to have more.
- Reviewing and rebalancing your investments at least once a year. This is part of our ongoing service so all you need to do is sign the authority when we send it to you!
- Carrying out an annual review of your cash, and consolidating any ‘waifs and strays’ accounts you might have forgotten about. If you’ve built up more cash than you’ll need in the short to medium term, consider investing the surplus for the longer term.
- Max-ing out on annual ISA subscriptions – ideally investment, not cash ISAs. If you don’t want to invest a lump sum at the moment, set up a monthly ISA subscription instead. It’s on auto-pilot and drip feeding into the markets. (Don’t forget if your ISA is flexible, you can put back any money you’ve taken out during the current tax year in addition to your annual subscription. But only in the same tax year)
- Making regular pension contributions – for yourself if you’re eligible and/or your family members (children, grandchildren).
Getting into the habit of using your Inheritance Tax (IHT) exemptions every year. It’s a great way to reduce your estate and help your family, without impacting too much on your own financial security. I’m putting together a little summary of these – let me know if you’d like a copy when available.
How are your goals and resolutions coming along?
How many of these can you tick off? If you’d like to know more about how we work with clients do get in touch.
Photo by John Baker