The end of the year has traditions most of have come to love, I’m a Celebrity, the latest John Lewis advert and the countdown to Christmas – soon followed in January by the customary groan as we look at our finances.
Traditionally a job for the new year, for many putting together a financial plan for the upcoming 12 months is no longer a luxury but essential. With rising rates of inflation, interest rates and energy prices, nobody has been immune to the events of 2022, and following this week’s Autumn Statement, now is a good time to get prepared for 2023 – and beyond.
So what should we be looking at? We all know events such as Christmas and birthdays are the same date each year, so working out your budget early – and vowing to stick to it! - and setting up a monthly standing order to a savings account can help your finances.
Many of us have children in our family and while you may not be able to buy them the latest game, accessory or must-have toy, you could consider a financial gift, such as a contribution to their existing Junior Individual Savings Account (JISA). For the adults, a donation made in their name to a charity that’s close to their hearts – such as our national charity partner, the British Heart Foundation – could also be greatly received.
There are lots of other areas you could be looking at. While it’s important to ensure you have enough budgeted for the essentials such as rent or mortgage, utilities and food, it’s also important to think of the future. The majority of us will be entitled to a state pension however, the amount you will receive depends on factors such as your NI payment history, any credits you may have been entitled to as well as when you reach your state pension age. For 2022/23, the flat rate pension is £9,627.80 (depending on NI record) however this will increase by 10.1% in April 2023 as a result of the triple lock. Thanks to auto enrolment most of us have private pensions however, do you know how much you’re paying into your pension pot?
By increasing your pension contributions early, you can potentially increase the amount you’ll be entitled to when you stop working. By starting as early as possible you can benefit more from compound interest.
The recent Pension Awareness Week raised some important questions regarding how we look at our retirement planning. Our consultants have put together some helpful articles on these very topics, which you can read about here.
Finally, look at your current incomings and outgoings. While having a second income – aka a ‘side hustle’ - is currently in fashion unless you have the time to dedicate to it you probably won’t make enough to warrant the time spent. It’s therefore a good idea to look at your outgoings. What are your expenses? Do you pay for a gym membership and can’t remember the last time you used it? Are you paying too much for your mobile phone, car or house insurance or even your streaming services? By taking some time now to look at what you can cut back on means you could have more in the bank later.
Whatever way you look at it, being prepared for your future is always a good thing. Not only will it help you financially, but it also means you can look forward to the festive period in a more comfortable position than you thought, allowing you more time to spend with your loved ones.
Content is correct as of November 2022.