You probably won’t be surprised to know that the most common New Year’s Resolution involves weight loss. Chances are that you’ve already chucked out the mince pies and dragged that dusty treadmill from the garage (congratulations if you’re not already using it just for hanging dirty clothes on!). But before you throw all your energy into tuning up your body, you’d be doing yourself a big favour by setting aside some time to tune up your finances for the New Year too. We’ve come up with seven financial resolutions to start 2017 off on the right note.
1. Talk to a financial advisor
When you start a new gym programme, you get a personal trainer. If you’re starting a whole new financial regime, having the assistance of a financial ‘coach’ can make all the difference. We can certainly recommend a good one (*cough cough*).
2. Reflect on 2016
As you look back on the past year, don’t forget to consider the financial implications of any big life changes. Did your family grow? Then life insurance is a good idea. Lose a loved one? Check that you have your own will in place to protect your family.
3. Focus on your debts
Write down all your debts and the interest rates you’re paying, highest rate first. It’s likely that, if you have one, a credit card appears at the top of the list. Make a plan to pay that off as soon as you can. There’s little point investing or saving if you have debts with high interest rates. Focus on clearing those first and you’ll end up better off in the long run.
4. Automate your savings
Make it as easy as possible for yourself and you’re more likely to stick with something new. Just as meal planning helps you achieve your health goals, setting up direct debits into your savings and investment accounts removes the worry of remembering. Automating means you can reap the benefits all year round without doing anything else at all. Don’t forget to funnel some cash into your emergency fund too.
5. Check your pension
Saving for your long-term future might seem like a low priority if you have more immediate money worries. But it really is important to get a pension in place as soon as you can.
Already got a pension? Great. But when did you last review it to check you’re getting the best returns? Set aside some time this year to give your pension a health check. Your future self will thank you for it.
6. Be mindful
We don’t mean take up yoga. Although we’ve heard that’s good for you too! Really think about what you spend your money on. Do you need that fancy coffee or can you make one when you get to the office? Is that designer handbag worth the hefty price tag or would a Tesco carrier bag do the job? OK, that might be taking it too far, but you get the idea. If you can resist impulse purchases, you’ll have more money to either save or pay off debts.
7. Commit to taking small steps
If your financial situation is overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, start small. You’re more likely to make lasting changes if you focus on changing one behaviour at a time rather than trying to overhaul all your finances at once. The most important thing is to start at all.
This article is for general use only and is not intended to address your particular requirements. It should not be relied upon in its entirety and shall not be deemed to be or constitute advice. The value of your investments can go down as well as up, so you could get back less than you invested.
GreenSky Wealth Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FCA No. 629624. Registered Office as above. Registered in England and Wales, Company No. 07103441. Tax advice is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.