Across the country, we are facing unprecedented times.
For many of us, as a community, country and a human race collectively, it may be our toughest challenge yet. Pulling together yet staying apart.
Now that you have exhausted all the online workouts, Zoom events and mid-morning yoga options… what do you do with all this time at home?
Our partners SRB Wealth Management offer six ways you can improve your financial health.
What if you spent time being financially forward thinking?
We have a rare opportunity to take time to get to grips with, re-evaluate and make improvements for our future finances. Doing those little jobs that we put aside, because other daily tasks get in the way, gives you a sense of achievement, control and the knowing that you’re making progress toward a better financial future.
The team at SRB put their heads together – virtually, of course – and came up with some simple but effective things that you can do at home, to improve your financial health during this ‘stay at home’ period of time.
1. Dig out that paperwork
We all get annual statements about our ISAs, pensions, life assurance, savings and bonds and we are often guilty of sticking them in a drawer, either because they don’t make a lot of sense to us or we don’t have time to look at them. Now is that time. Dig out those statements and take a long hard look at them. Understand them and make sure you’re comfortable with what they’re telling you.
Don’t lose sight of key financial dates, such as tax year beginning or end. Longer term financial plans may not be a current priority. But opportunities to invest and take advantage of these dates shouldn’t be ignored.
2. Do your sums
If you have a retirement income goal in mind, think about how much you’d need to save each month, from now, to hit that target, taking into consideration the effects of inflation.
Are you saving the right amount? If not, think about what you can do to make that happen.
Find out how much you might have in your state pension, using the state pension forecasting service, and consider whether that’s enough for you to live the retirement life you’d like.
3. Track down those lost pension pots
If you’ve worked for more than one company during your career, then it’s likely that you’ve paid into different workplace pensions. Make use of the Pension Tracing Service to help track down what you’ve paid and to where. All you need is the names of companies who have employed you – even if the company no longer exists.
Please note: This service will only tell you the name of the provider, but you can then get in touch and request the detailed information. Once you know what you have and where, you can consider whether to leave as is or consolidate, depending on the type of pension and your personal circumstances.
4. Review your energy outgoings
This often creates a big ‘sigh’ in most households under normal circumstances, because it takes time to review and research. But if you haven’t reviewed your suppliers and rates either for your home, or your business, now is the time to do it. Energy prices are favourable at the moment, but wont be forever.
Compare rates across a number of suppliers using comparison sites, or check their offers directly to find the best deal for you. You could free up some money that could be better placed elsewhere.
If you’re unsure of the service or reputation of some suppliers, for impartial information and advice on household and business energy from Britain’s energy regulator, check out the Ofgem website.
5. Ensure your protection is adequate
It’s a given that we protect our material possessions – car, home, phone, even holidays. But many people overlook protecting their income, or their family’s ability to survive without it.
Protection is fundamental. It may not be the most exciting of subjects, but it addresses one of our most basic desires – to keep safe all that we hold dear.
Take the time to consider whether your existing protection is right for your current circumstances. Is it cover you no longer need? Are you under insuring yourself? If you don’t have cover, think about how that looks should the worst happen.
6. Look at your current mortgage arrangement
A mortgage is often your biggest financial commitment. Can you ease that burden in the short term, or make it work better for you in the longer term?
Consider whether the mortgage payment holiday on offer is suitable for you. Look at your current rate, when did you last review this?
Look ahead at your plans for the property. Do you want to make changes, or are you considering moving house in the future?
Take steps toward a better financial future
Using this time to take action and make small but important changes to your finances offers many benefits.
You might improve your financial position for the future. You’ll certainly get a few things off that ‘to do’ list and it’ll give you a great sense of achievement. It also puts you in control, when much around you is out of your hands.
There’s always time to speak to your Financial Adviser
If you have a Financial Adviser, you don’t have to wait to see them face to face to discuss any concerns or questions over your portfolio.
A good FA will be there to support you during this unsettling time, to go over any concerns and relay market information. Review your portfolio and see where you could make improvements by moving or changing things around.
Your adviser is likely to be working from home too, so will be available for a chat on the phone. Take this time to discuss your existing investments, bonds, ISAs and Personal Pensions or to simply get an update of where things are. They’re in a great position to keep you up to date with what’s happening with your investments.
Take this time to look after your future. If you’d like to speak to a member of the team about wealth management, retirement planning or Inheritance Tax planning, contact SRB Wealth Management on 01698 536064 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you select and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested.
SRB Wealth Management Ltd is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the group’s website www.sjp.co.uk/products.