According to a survey by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), more than a quarter of people don’t feel confident about their financial situation. Whether you are worried about your money, or just lack financial confidence, our top tips outlined below can help you manage your money better.
1. THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE YOU WANT
Consider how you want your life to look in 10 or 20 years’ time, or when you retire. By determining the future you require, you can then focus on living for today, whilst planning for tomorrow. In turn, you can then consider what you need to achieve the retirement you desire.
2. CREATE A REALISTIC SPENDING PLAN – AND STICK TO IT
Your spending plan doesn’t need to be complex; it can be created using a spreadsheet, app or even a notebook. The purpose of the plan is to determine where your money is going, and help you identify what changes can be made to meet your short and long term financial goals.
Again, focus on living for today, treating yourself from time to time, whilst recognising the opportunity cost of spending money now rather than sticking to the plan and keeping in mind your long term goals.
3. PROTECT THE ONES YOU LOVE (INCLUDING YOURSELF)
Think about what will happen if the unexpected happens – a long term illness or even death. Who would manage your money? Of course, this isn’t something many of us would like to think about but having a contingency plan in place is a necessity – just in case.
Income protection and life insurance are important policies to consider, especially if you have children or dependant adults who would suffer if anything was to happen to you.
4. OPTION TO PAY OFF ANY ‘BAD DEBTS’
Bad debt refers to credit cards or unsecured loans, whereas good debt is generally longer-term debt such as a mortgage. You have the option to allocate cash from your spending plan to repay bad debt, which may be costly, as a priority. If, and when, this has been done, use this monthly allocation to build a ‘cash cushion’ – an amount of money which is available for an ‘emergency’, for example losing your job.
A good guide for a ‘cash cushion’ is the equivalent of three to six months net salary. Ensure this is held in an instant access cash account so it can be quickly retrieved in an emergency.
5. CONSIDER LONG TERM INVESTMENTS
When thinking about future plans and what you want to achieve in retirement, it is worth considering embracing some investment risk, for example with pensions or stocks and shares ISAs.
This can be achieved by investing in low cost, diversified funds made up of company shares and bonds, with the aim of achieving investment returns that exceed inflation over time.
Don’t panic if the pot goes up and down in value as stock markets fluctuate, this is why you should have a ‘cash cushion’ in place should you need short-term extra funds.
6. JOIN YOUR WORKPLACE PENSION SCHEME
When commencing employment, you should be auto-enrolled into your employer’s workplace pension. Contributions are dependant on your earnings, but you may be paying around 8% of your salary into your pension to fund your retirement. This is made up of your own contribution to the pension, tax relief and your employer’s contribution.
It is beneficial to think of it as ‘free money’, or additional salary which isn’t accessible until your reach retirement age.
If you can, it is worthwhile to pay more than the minimum contribution into your pension to achieve the retirement you require.
7. WRITE A WILL
If you were to die without a will, the rules of intestacy decide who will manage your money and possessions which favour spouses/civil partners and children. If you are not married, or if you are single, possessions will pass to your parents and other family members.
By writing a will, you are able to decide who receives your money and belongings in the case of your death.
GET IN TOUCH
We are holding free cash flow modelling sessions, in support of #FinancialPlanningWeek, to help you manage your money and achieve your long-term goals. If you are interested, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
 The survey of 1,965 UK adults over the age of 25, undertaken by YouGov for CISI