2011 MONEY & PLAN
-Top Handy Tips.
1. IDENTIFY YOUR GOALS: Identify the priorities that are most important to you and your family and start to plan for them. For example in the short term we could be talking about a holiday, whereas in the long term we could be planning for a retirement. Establish the cost of your goals and apply timescales.
2. BUDGETING: Draw up a budget and make sure you stick to it. You should spend less than you earn, but if you don’t. Then try to cut your costs or increase your income.
3. DEBTS: Borrow only what you really need and, before you take out a loan or credit card, know the true cost of borrowing by looking at the interest charges. Work out a plan to pay off your debt as quickly as you can, paying off your high interest debts first, although prioritise mortgage repayments and bills.
4. SAVE: Once you have paid off your high interest debts and have got your emergency cash cushion, start saving on a monthly basis for your shorter- and medium term goals, for example, a summer holiday, a new car, Christmas, house renovations etc.
5. GET YOURSELF PROTECTED: Protect yourself and your assets against unforeseen events. Make sure you and your family have the right amount of cover against illness, accident, death etc, otherwise your finances – and your life – could easily be derailed.
6. RETIREMENT PLANS: Make a financial plan for your retirement. Do you have access to a workplace pension scheme? Even if you have debt, seriously considerate, especially if your employer will make a contribution too.
7. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE WORTH: Your net worth is the difference between what you own and what you owe. Set specific targets and include precise timescales to increase it in line with your life goals.
8. STASH SOME CASH: Use a deposit account to save for an emergency fund or ‘cash cushion’ of at least two to three month’s income (this is important to do even if you’re paying off a mortgage, but not if you’ve got high interest debt). This will help cover you for emergencies such as if your car breaks down or you loose your job.
9. INVESTING – NOT JUST FOR THE RICH: Investments are not just for the rich. It opens up opportunities to make your money work harder for you over the long term. Also look into ways to help reduce tax you have to pay on your returns.
10. SPREAD THE WORD: Teach your children about money – earlier they learn, the better they will be at managing their money.