Each Christmas and New Year many people reflect on the year that has been and the one that is on the way. We stand back and evaluate what is important in our lives. We also take time out to make changes – and for many, this means sorting out your finances. So, here are five simple things you can do to make sure your money is working for you this year.
1: Get organised
Do you know where all your financial stuff is? Where are all your life policies, pensions, investments, bank accounts, post office accounts, credit union accounts, etc?
If something was to happen to you, would your loved ones be able to find them?
Make a list of providers and policy or account numbers. Put it in an envelope and seal it. Then leave it in a safe place to be found if needed.
While you are doing that you should also consider what you still need to keep, what you no longer need, and what you should review for decision.
If you are not sure, get advice from a Certified and Professional Financial Planner.
2: Get the facts
We all do back-of-the-envelope quick math. The trouble is that we are very poor at estimating or being honest with ourselves.
Download your last three bank statements and then add up all your expenses and subtract this amount from all your income. If you get a positive number great. If you get a negative number, you have some thinking to do.
Look at what you spend money on. Put them into THREE groups.
Needs: These include heating, electricity, food, rent or mortgage, life cover, health insurance, transportation, education, and phone etc.
Wants: These include dining out, takeaways, movies, entertainment, TV, hairdressing, hobbies.
Desires: These include weekends away, holidays, luxury items.
Can you get a better deal on any of the services that you need – can you shop around? Is an expensive car a necessity? Can you do without any of the wants? Consider not buying luxuries until you have the money saved.
4: Plan to get rid of debt
Plan to get rid of credit card debt and overdrafts as quickly as you can. These will become unmanageable if not sorted.
If you feel they are too big already use the “elephant eating” technique. One small piece at a time.
Create a plan. This means deciding a date by when the credit card needs to be paid off. Decide how much you need to pay off each month to meet your target date. Do not spend any more on the card. Cut it up if you need to and take the same actions for the overdraft.
5: Plan for future expenses
Think about any large, planned expenditures during the year ahead. Holidays, weddings, home renovations, communions etc.
Figure out as best you can what they will cost. Try and set aside money to pay for these things so that you do not need to borrow. If you can think about things up to 5 years ahead, even better.
Like anything in life, hairy scary goals are more achievable when you break them down into easy-to-take actions.
Don’t procrastinate any longer – use your downtime to make 2022 a better financial year and form some new money habits.
If you’d like to chat with us about a financial plan for you and your family, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find us on social media and tune in to our Navigating Money podcast.