Are you in touch with your financial situation, is a financial review something that you do regularly, or do you work month to month or quarter to quarter? There are some real benefits to carrying out a financial review and now is a perfect time. Not only because our lives are changing (again) with the relaxation of Covid rules, but we’re at that mysterious mid-year point. Which isn’t mid-year at all, but it feels like it right?
The schools are out for Summer, holidays are on (well, staycations…), the Sun is shining (at least at the time of writing). So why not take a look at your finances today, where they’re heading, and do a little planning and future-proofing.
There are some key areas to consider when you conduct a financial review. There will be considerations that are personal to you, but we’re going to take a look at the key areas that will apply to everyone.
1. Your financial goals
Think of a financial review as a bit of a business plan for your home. Every plan has a series of goals that guide how your business performs. It’s no different for your home. If you want to achieve your personal ambitions, why not keep a record of them?
Are your ambitions achievable based on your current income and expenditure? Maybe you want to finance children through university, move home, buy a new car or take a long holiday, or travel. Whatever it is, you may be able to afford it now, you might be able to save, a loan or mortgage might be the way to finance your ambition, or a look at investments could be in order. The point is, if you’re clear on what your financial goals are, you can plan for them.
2. Review your expenses
Take a look at your household expenses as well as your own. Can you make savings on your energy, insurances for home and vehicles, and other household costs? Review energy providers to check out prices. It’s worth taking a look at the smaller providers as they are often cheaper, and as an added bonus have excellent green credentials so you can buy energy from renewable sources. If you use calor gas or oil plan the best times to buy- these fuels are often cheaper in the Summer months when demand is lower, so keep a watch.
What about your personal expenses? Here’s a thought. Are you going into work now? Did you used to collect a coffee on the way? Let’s say it cost you £3 a day. That’s £15 a week. And that (assuming you work 498 weeks a year) is a whopping £720 a year! What about lunch? do you buy out? Your coffee and sandwich could be costing you almost £2000 a year. Why not take lunch with you and buy a decent small flask to take your morning coffee. OK so it’s a bit geeky, but would you rather have a big chunk of that £2000 in your pocket? What could you do with it?
And take a look at what you spend on food. A great tip is to write a meal plan each week and shop accordingly. You’d be amazed how much you can save!
3.Savings and Investments
Take a look at what you’re putting in your savings and the status of your investments. If you don’t have an Independent Financial Adviser, it could be worth considering taking some professional advice. Whatever your income, they will be able to help you make your money work hard for you. and with that £2000 you’ve saved by not buying a coffee and lunch at work every day, you could use some of it to go into savings, investments, or to increase your pensions payments.
4. Debts and Interest
The obvious ones here to take a look at are any loans, credit cards, and of course, your mortgage. In terms of the former, could you pay down anything with higher interest rates first? Could you consolidate any debts into lower interest products, or even add to your mortgage to clear any debts. As always, we’d recommend taking advice from an IFA and your mortgage adviser in the case of a further advance on your mortgage. There is a balance to be found between savings where interest rates are very low, and any debts that have higher interest rates. Is it more economical for you to use some of your savings to pay down debt and then direct what you would have paid in interest back into your savings and investments? These are all things for careful consideration and expert advice.
5. Holidays and Leisure
You might think that holidays and leisure don’t sit in a financial review, but they absolutely do. We include gym memberships, kids clubs, and activities, the things you do for leisure like days out, cinema and so on, and of course holidays. First of all, do you budget for holidays? Do you pay for your holiday with a credit card and pay later? Or use holiday company credit? Ask yourself if you can really afford that holiday. Or could you save the money by cutting things elsewhere? Or think about the sort of holidays that you could take that are lower cost. It depends on what you’re comfortable with.
Remember that £2000 that you saved by taking coffee and food to work? Are there other things that you spend on that you could stop and save for holidays? And when you go out for the day, the same rules apply. Could you take a packed lunch rather than eat out every time. Is a day at the beach, a bike ride or hike a good alternative to paying for the zoo, or local tourist attractions every time? Could you put some of the money that you save aside for your holiday?
And your gym membership. Could you work out at home? Do you use the facilities that you’re paying for? Or have you been seduced by the salesperson into buying something you’re not really going to use. If the answer is yes, and you enjoy the gym, why not take a look at a range of different gyms and facilities and see if you can save. Can you justify that £100 a month membership when you could actually be paying £30? There’s another £840 a year saved…
6. Protection and Insurance
Is your mortgage protection up to date? This might seem like an unnecessary expense, but what would you do if you were injured or taken ill and unable to work? The loss of an income into your home could have serious consequences, and force you to use savings that you had earmarked to one of your financial goals. You could even be forced to rely on credit cards and debt to finance your household. Putting in place the right income protection will mitigate this issue should it happen, and life insurance will provide for your family should the unthinkable happen.
7. Estate Planning as part of your Financial Review
Have you considered what will happen to your estate and assets after you die? How will they be divided amongst your family and loved ones? And how can you do that in the most tax-efficient way that ensures that everything goes to the people you want to leave them to? Estate planning is a complex area that requires expert advice. We recommend using the services of a professional estate planning consultant. Our sister company Will Protect* can assist with your estate planning requirements.
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So your financial review will look at all of the aspects of your personal finances and help you align your income and expenditure with your financial goals, save you some money, streamline other areas and give you a clear picture of what you need to do. And financial worries are a major cause of stress and anxiety, so understanding your finances clearly can help to reduce this stressor in your life too!
For advice and guidance on your mortgage and protection needs as part of your financial review drop a member of our team a line, and we can take a look at your personal circumstances and help you find the best mortgage and protection products to suit your needs.
Liddle Perrett Ltd is an appointed representative of PRIMIS Mortgage Network. PRIMIS Mortgage Network is a trading style of First Complete Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE