This bright-and-cheery season is synonymous with new beginnings and fresh outlooks; what better time to put some elbow grease into sprucing-up your finances?
Put down the duster, grab your documents, and set aside an afternoon to go through your finances with a fine-tooth comb. You can enjoy the spring sunshine once you’re done!
Here are some areas that may warrant a financial overhaul:
1. Scrutinise your spending
- Print off bank statements from the last three months and have a look at your spending habits.
- Could you be (or do you need to be) saving more? Are there things you can cut back on? Can you get a better deal on any of your outgoings like the gas, electricity or your mobile?
- Cutting back on the non-essentials could help you save money, without missing out on anything.
2. Make the most of your annual tax allowance
- This year the ISA allowance has risen to £20,000 for the 2017/18 tax year, meaning you have the opportunity to put away even more in tax-efficient savings.
- You might want to consider topping-up your private pension pot. The tax-free limit is £40,000 a year – which includes contributions made by anyone else, such as your employer – though you can carry over any unused allowance from the previous three tax years. The GOV.UK website has a useful tool for checking your pension annual allowance* if you want any further information.
3. Review your retirement savings
- Retirement on the horizon? Now could be a good time to review the money you’ve saved across your workplace and/or personal pension pots and other savings accounts.
- Think about when you'd like to retire and if you have sufficient funds saved to achieve your retirement goals, or whether there are steps you need to take to boost your pot.
4. Check the performance of your accounts
- Could your cash be working harder elsewhere?
- Could moving your money to another account give you access to better interest rates, or allow you to take advantage of tax-efficient products?
- If you’ve invested your money in funds – have you reviewed their performance recently and are they still on track to meet your financial goals?
5. Look to the future
A spring clean of your finances will give you a clearer vision of how your money is working for you. And, if you need to, speaking to a financial adviser could help you identify your future financial goals, and how to achieve them.
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