With the New Year approaching, it’s almost time for fireworks and Auld Lang Syne, popping champagne corks and ringing in the new year with plenty of cheers. Many of us use this rewind in the calendar to take a fresh look at our lives and look for things that need changing, from losing weight to moving on from a career or relationship that has seen better days. If this year you’re considering some new year’s resolutions then perhaps it’s the financial side of life that need a bit of attention? If that’s the case then here are a few of the financial new year’s resolutions that most of us could do with making:
Start to budget
If you are over the age of 18 and you don’t already know how to budget then 2016 is a great time to start. Budgeting failures are at the heart of financial woes for many of us and it’s such a simple way to start sorting out your finances next year that it’s silly not to. The basics of budgeting are easy: line up all your income against all of your monthly expenses such as rent/mortgage, bills, food, travel expenses, mobile phone etc and then look at what you have left – that’s what you should be using for savings, luxuries or creating a financial buffer.
Save your cash
Even if you’re only putting aside £20 a week, getting into the habit of learning how to save is very positive and that £20 a week translates to £80 a month and £960 a year. Us human beings often have a hard time computing how it’s the little things that can really make the difference when it comes to achieving our life milestones and saving is one of those areas where this is even more the case. Start 2016 with good intentions and open a savings account with a decent interest rate and then leave your money in there to grow.
Manage your debts
Whether you have lots of debt or just a little, make next year the year that you get to grips with it and make it work for you. From mortgages to personal loans, credit cards to payday loans, there’s a huge range of different types of finance out there, all of which is designed to make it easy to engineer the life that you want from the choices that you have. Debt can be a positive step that helps you move your life on to the next phase, as long as you’re in control of it and you’re not missing payments and running up fees. Whatever help you need Solution Loans could help
Set smart goals
No doubt you have plenty of ideas about what you want to achieve with your finances next year but, instead of vague resolutions, set yourself SMART goals – that’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive goals. What exactly do you want to do and when are you going to aim to do it by? Are you setting yourself goals that are achievable or are you engaging in a bit of wishful thinking? Yes, it’s a good idea to aim high but too high and you will just find yourself feeling permanently discouraged and giving up.
Get to grips with tax
Particularly if you’re freelance, a big part of being in control of your finances is understanding how you pay tax and what methods there are for introducing tax efficiencies into your life. Have you planned how you want to pass property or assets on to family in the most tax efficient way? Do you know how to use ISAs? Are you making the most of the best ways to pay your income tax and anything that can be set off against it?
Write a will
A big part of getting your financial affairs in order is making sure that if anything happens to you there is a record of what the next steps should be to tie up whatever you leave behind. It doesn’t matter what your final wishes are but – whatever stage of life you’re at – make sure that they are recorded in an official document so that someone somewhere knows what needs to be done.
Get a pension
In 2014 a money website survey found that one in seven people retiring in that year had no pension to rely on. This comes at the same time as news reports that the UK state pension is one of the least generous in the world. While paying into a pension may not seem like a priority during your working life, when you begin to lose your earning potential it will be a huge relief to have something in the bank to make sure you have your basics covered.
Oliver Jones has written for Solution Loans since 2015. His passion for personal finance comes through in the 150+ blog posts he's written since that time. His talent for explaining all things money means he's covered topics as diverse as...Read more about Oliver Jones