Knowing what to do next with your money can be hard especially as all the noise of "money management" can overwhelm you - and prevent you from doing anything at all!
This is in partnership with FinWELL with whom I am a Financial Wellbeing Specialist
If you can picture yourself within these 5 Key areas, where are you?
Protecting what’s important
Investing for your future
Modern Retirement Planning
Getting your basic money management in place before moving forward will give you a better platform from which to grow & evolve. It will ease a load of pressure, make you feel confident & in control.
This is where my passion & expertise lies, the rest I will signpost you to my colleagues & other resources.
Debt Management. If you're in or getting close to having issues with how much you owe, I would recommend Stepchange as a great starting point. They have calculators and lots of tools to help.
You have a personalised money plan, a budget and its written down!
You’re 10 times more likely to achieve your goals, or stick to a plan if it’s written down as this act can activate an area of your brain that enables your commitment.
You have created money and lifestyle goals for the next few years.
Writing these down will enable you to feel confident & able to work towards them. What do you want, I mean what do you really want? Life moves really fast...
Your spending habits & your relationship with money are key to get a handle on.
In my budgeting for beginners toolkit you'll find a spending and savings tracker that is the absolute best way to keep you accountable & in control
Savings and emergency funds.
Are you saving for something like a holiday, or kids going to university, a new kitchen or even for Christmas?
What about a "sinking fund"? A what now? If you find that Christmas depletes you through to March or you groan and ignore your car servicing because you haven't got £300 this will be your saviour for a balanced debt free approach. Add up how much these big things cost you each year, eg £1000. Divide by 12 = £83 a month go into a separate savings pot & voila!
What about an emergency fund - there are different opinions on how much you should have from £1000 to 3-6 months of your expenses.
Financial advisors ALWAYS advise you to have one for 6 months.
Expenses are all your outgoings so that you pay all your essential bills & eat, so all your basic needs are met. So ours for example is around £1500.
6 months would therefore be £9000 in savings! A tough ask but really sensible.
Something however, is always better than nothing. If you're on a low income there is a great scheme called Help to Save you might find useful.
Are you looking to get on the property ladder for the first time, or maybe for the first time solo after a relationship breakdown?
You might find this First Time Buyers Toolkit really useful, the ebook is packed with really helpful information, checklists & research notes. The spreadsheet does all the maths for you so that you can use it really easily, it looks pretty too so you'll actually like it instead of it making your eyes cross.
If you like podcasts try this one by Mark Humphrey he's a great mortgage advisor, I collaborated on his 16th episode all about... Budgeting for your first home!
How far away from your fixed rate mortgage ending are you? Give yourself around 6 months lead time to research your next move, you can commit to a new rate with your current or new lender with months to spare so that you can grab the best deal on the market. Again speak to Mark above who can help you navigate this.
If you're over 55 & worried about the impact of retiring or would love to use some of the equity in your home to afford a new kitchen, or get your son or daughter into their own property with a money gift towards their deposit, Chris is the man to speak to. I see him every couple of weeks, he's absolutely brilliant.
Protecting what's important
What is your plan B if something happens to you, your partner, losing your job?
"What if's" sadly can happen and if you have no plan B, life can become even harder on top of your emotional pain. Speak to your mortgage advisor or a financial advisor to discuss your best options.
These needn't cost a fortune, and as always, something is always better than nothing.
When you've arrived here you need to have a conversation with a good financial advisor. They will know things you don't and are the experts - would you cut your own hair? I mean not on purpose, or because you got some gum stuck in it?!
There is always a risk but you can choose the level of risk so that you make your savings work hard for you - after all you no doubt worked bloody hard for them!
Modern Retirement Planning
This landscape looks quite different to what I learned about in my first job at M&S where I set up my first pension pot. I couldn't give two hoots about it at the time but looking at my pot now, whilst it's not going to lavish me with a champagne lifestyle it will definitely help!
From being 20 years old to 49¾ life went really fast! I know it's tough when you're young as you've got enough to pay out for, but have the conversation just so you are aware, and as always something is better than nothing. Your future self will thank you!
There are tax efficiencies, and all sorts you could be missing out on, so just make the time to become educated. This initial conversation won't cost you anything - get in touch with a good financial advisor - let me know if you need help.
Thank you - coming next in Part 4 is how to create your own goals and make a solid plan for moving forwards.
From the above pointers, what is your next move?