Realise your personal finance goals
Whatever your age or your income, it’s important to consider your personal finance objectives and the earlier you start, the longer you have to achieve your goals. But where do you begin?
We’ve identified 10 personal finance actions to help you.
1. Whatever your age, set yourself realistic financial goals based on your current income and review annually.
The beginning of each new financial year is perfect timing to consider:
- What do you want to achieve?
- What lifestyle you would like in retirement?
- What financial legacy you would like to leave for your family?
- What do you need to do now to help achieve these goals?
Plans and financial priorities will always change over time but starting early means even small amounts of savings and investments add up over your lifetime.
2. Write a Will and keep it up to date
The last few years has taught us not to leave anything to chance. Everyone over the age of 18 should make a Will and if you have children, appoint guardians for them. Wills date as personal circumstances change – moving house, having children, getting married, divorced, or embarking on a new relationship. Take the time to reflect on your wishes.
3. Is now the time for a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Life can change in a moment and if you are no longer able to make decisions about your property and financial affairs and/or health and welfare, then an LPA helps maintain control and ensures your wishes will be followed.
4. Invest in, review, and update your pensions
It is never too early to start thinking about funding your retirement, the age you want to retire and the lifestyle you want to live. State pension entitlement has changed in recent years and you can check for free what you will qualify for at www.gov.uk/check-state-pension.
Invest in a company and/or private pension throughout your lifetime as it’s one of the most effective and reliable ways to plan for and fund your retirement. Review your fund regularly to ensure it is on track to meet your goals and if not consider investing more or finding alternative methods.
Keep track of previous pensions and the accumulated benefits they may have. The Government has a free Pension Tracing Service. Update your pension beneficiary forms to ensure they go to who you would like to inherit them.
5. Review and consider your insurance policies
Are you and importantly your loved ones adequately covered if you need to make a claim? Check if your insurance policies are written in trust so that funds paid out may not be automatically part of your estate and may not be subject to inheritance tax.
6. Review your expenditure and budget
As a result of current economic circumstances many households’ income and expenditure has changed. But in reality it changes all the time, so do take the time to review it and be proactive. Areas where you can look to save money are on things such as transport, holidays, eating out and entertainment. Set yourself a realistic budget for the lifestyle you want and consider how to save as much as you can.
7. Future plan your role in a business
Would you like to work for yourself in the future or are you already involved with a business you part own? Either way, considering how and when to exit a business is important to ensure it is valued appropriately, to minimise exposure to certain taxes such as Capital Gains Tax and to ensure the business is in strong shape to continue for the future.
Consider also the ownership structure of the business and the most tax efficient way of dealing with this in your Will.
8. Understand your inheritance tax exposure
As you get older and accumulate more wealth and assets, carrying out a periodic review of your financial position and your potential exposure to inheritance tax is important. Should you decide to gift some of your money or assets to family and friends, consider all of the implications around inheritance tax, capital gains tax and stamp duty.
9. Giving to charity
The British public are very generous and many people have charitable causes they regularly support. If you can make donations via gift aid you enable the registered charity to receive an extra 25% at no extra cost to you if you pay sufficient tax.
For higher or additional rate taxpayers you may also be eligible to claim the difference between the rate of tax you normally pay and the basic rate on your gross donation. There may also be additional inheritance tax benefits of leaving 10% of your estate on your death to charity.
10. Create an ‘in case of emergency’ document
Family members often struggle to find or are simply unaware of where important documents are held and who to contact upon the event of incapacity or death. If you keep all of the information in one document listing details of any wealth manager, accountant, solicitor along with the names of banks or building societies where accounts are held then this will make it easier to deal with.
No one likes to think of the worst happening to them but thinking about your financial security and your loved ones throughout your lifetime can give you peace and security for a brighter and more secure, financial future.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but if you consider these points each year, it can help to get your New Year off to a flying start and allow you to keep track of your long term financial goals.
To discuss ways to realise your personal finance goals please get in touch.
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