January is commonly the longest month that salaried employees must cope with before payday occurs. It is also the month when we make resolutions, so it’s natural that personal finances tend to be high on the list.
If you want to get fit, you might join a club or sign up to an online fitness plan and start to build up your training. Finances are no different – it takes effort and there are plenty of online resources that could be your ‘club’. Being financially sound isn’t about how much money you have; it’s about making the best use of what you have, and the continual learning you undertake and put into practice.
In these exceptional times, we are facing real issues, with people worrying about the ever-increasing cost of living. However, there are three simple, basic steps we can all take to help us improve our financial fitness – and there’s no time like the present to start planning:
It doesn’t matter how much money you have or how much you earn, if you don’t have a budget in place then you’re unable to properly plan ahead. All it takes is a spreadsheet or a budgeting app and you can start to take control.
- Emergency funds
Many UK workers don’t have anything to fall back on should the worst happen, and the ongoing Covid-19 situation is opening our eyes to this. Most are still moving from payday to payday without putting anything aside for future emergency use. There are many opinions on how much you need but it starts with having an element of savings in your monthly budget.
- Don’t worry!
This one is always counterintuitive, as we naturally worry when things start to get out of control or if we experience any financial difficulties. Rest assured, there are ALWAYS solutions to every financial problem you might have. If it’s debt, there are charities and Citizens Advice with multiple solutions; if it’s income, then your employer and your local council can help; if it’s savings and investments, then advisers and your bank will help you find a solution. If you just put your hand up, you’ll find help is out there.
So, having financial wellbeing as our New Year’s resolution isn’t hard; like all resolutions, it just means we need to spend time and effort to make things better for ourselves. Taking time to manage the money in versus money out and starting the savings journey will help greatly with our financial security. Seeking help is essential – we all need a helping hand from time to time.
This article has been written by Adrian Firth, one of our Employee Benefits Consultant.
All content is correct as of January 2023.