Knowing what money you have coming in each week or month, and what money you have at your fingertips, is half the battle to financial peace of mind. Sometimes, when money is a cause for concern, it’s easier, and understandable, for people to avoid the issue: what I can’t see won’t hurt me. The result is further monetary issues and a lot of stress.
Treat your money to time and attention
To fund a great future and get out of the debt cycle, you need to monitor where your money is and how you can use it. It may mean taking a more active approach to what money you have and how it is being used and stored. It may mean finding out a little more about the financial networks and options open to you or getting expert guidance.
Money in pocket and the remains of the salary…
“Arrange for direct debits to be taken soon after you are paid. It will make it much easier to budget for the here and now, future financial needs and long-term requirements.”
This way you have a clear idea of how much money you have for everyday needs and weekly treats. Now you can see the wood for the trees – and what those trees will hopefully look like when they grow tall!
Don’t forget the pennies
As we all get closer to a cashless society, the bits and bobs in our wallets, purses and pockets often stand idle for long periods. It is easy to lose track of what we actually have to spend. Organise how you use your cash more effectively by saving in-house to take pressure off future bills (for example, it can help to create different pots for different outgoings, such as utilities, entertainment, and hobbies).
Once you have an idea of what income you have coming in and how it is saved, you can determine whether you can save a little more. Money may seem tight at times, but have you considered different ways of buying to free up more resources? For instance, buying goods over a period of time rather than putting down one large sum may put you back in control of your finances. In the same way, only buying when you can afford to pay the full amount instead of paying for extra months on hire purchase may also free up money. Get used to working out what works best for you.
Keeping a close eye on your savings
The question we all ask at one time or another is “will I have enough?” Unfortunately, determining what you will need in the future is never an exact science – especially the long-term future. Things happen we could never envisage.
“But there will always be milestones you can put money away for, such as a family wedding, the new car or rainy-day money.”
From there you can adapt your saving methods to changes in the financial market, so long as you are keeping a close eye on how your savings are progressing.
How do you store your financial resources?
How much resources do you have and how will it be stored? For example, money in pocket, easy access savings for that unforeseen bill, longer-term savings for life milestones, long-term savings for your retirement. Make sure you have enough easily accessible resources; accounts which may not be so accessible but pay higher interest are good for medium-term savings. And your State Pension, work pension and private pension will be fundamental for your retirement years.
Actively saving for your dream future
When you put money away, your savings and investments will only make substantial profits if you understand how they may grow, and by monitoring their performance. Get used to checking your yearly pension reviews and keeping an eye on how your savings are building. If it all seems a little complex, consider working with financial experts who can guide you through the complexities of it all. An independent financial adviser will be able to give you an idea of what are the best available financial products on the market and what your options are in the current market.
Don’t let debts eat away at your savings
Tackle those debts a little bit at a time and try to move towards a stress-free time where financial worries and past debt are not holding you back. It could mean small sacrifices. Look at those debts with the highest interest first (rather than the biggest debt), this way any money you put in could be reducing future financial outgoings.
“Why not create a debt list so you can see how your money will work for you in the future? Also be aware of the options which are open to you when you save, such as interest rates and the pension freedoms.”
Your pension is simply a long-term savings device
Your long-term needs may seem a long way off, but they are just as important. Check out your State Pension – are you still on track to receiving the maximum amount when you retire? By adding small contributions, you can bring it up to speed if you need to. When was the last time you looked at your work or private pension? Will its current performance and the benefits it offers still satisfy your retirement needs and aspirations? Consider reviewing your pension regularly with the guidance of a Portafina financial adviser.
Be aware of your savings options
As well as such short-term savings as ISAs and current accounts, your pension could in fact be a savings resource in later life before you retire. Knowing this will allow you to plan more wisely throughout your life.
For instance, your pension can be a great way to save for the future, and also give back an extra bit of cash when you need it. From the age of 55, as long as you have an eligible scheme, you are able to access your savings through the pension freedoms. By watching the performance of your pension, you can prepare how you can use this benefit. The first 25% of money taken from your account will be tax free and any money left in your pension fund will continue to be invested for your retirement1.
Financial resources are important for everyday living and future plans. For everyone at some time or another, its scarcity will cause stress. As much as we cannot foresee the future, we can get a good idea of how things may turn out. From there we can make plans to ensure we have resources for immediate needs, accessible savings for likely life milestones, and a secure pot of money for long-term requirements. By planning and monitoring long-term funds throughout our lives, we can ensure as far as possible that money we need in older age will be available.
1Accessing money from a private pension is not right for everybody. It could leave you worse off in retirement. For some this benefit is not available. Be sure to secure the support of a Portafina regulated adviser to keep you safe.