The 4th October 2023 marks World Financial Planning Day, which aims to showcase the benefits of financial planning, from the monetary gains to improved wellbeing.
To celebrate World Financial Planning Day, we’ve collated a checklist of steps you should take before the end of 2024 to ensure you stay on track with your financial plan.
1. Think about your lifestyle goals
The financial steps you make should be linked to your lifestyle goals, such as where and how you want to live. Have these changed since you first set out your financial plan? It’s worth taking some time to think about what you want to achieve in the short, medium, and long term.
2. Review your financial safety nets
No one knows what the future holds, but you can prepare for the unexpected. Having financial safety nets in place can provide peace of mind that should something happen, such as becoming too ill to work for an extended time, you still have security.
Ideally, you should have funds set aside in case of emergencies. If you’ve dipped into savings since setting up your plan, consider how you can replenish this fund. You should also review the financial protection you have in place and ensure policies are still relevant for your circumstances and priorities. In some cases, they may no longer be needed, while in others it might be useful to take out additional cover.
3. Assess your debts
Are you on track to pay your debts off? What interest rate are you paying? In most situations, prioritising paying off debts with higher interest rates makes financial sense, as can making overpayments where possible.
In some cases, you may be able to reduce the interest rate by transferring the debt; switching to a 0% interest credit card can often help you to reduce the debt quicker.
4. Check the interest rate on your savings
It’s more important than ever to shop around for a good deal to make your savings work as hard as possible. If you’re able to, locking your savings away for a set period or choosing an account with restrictions can help you access higher interest rates.
If you’re saving for long-term goals, investing may be an option worth considering. Please get in touch with our team to find out more.
5. Take a look at your investments
While looking at your savings, you should review investments too. It can be tempting to base your review on simply how investments have performed recently, but keep in mind investments should be made with a long-term goal in mind. Rather than focusing on recent performance, look at the bigger picture to ensure your investments are still appropriate for you.
6. Check your pension
If you’re not yet retired, a pension can feel like a far off prospect. After all, it could be decades before you start using the money you’re saving for retirement. But it’s important to regularly review what’s going into your pension and what this means once you start using it to create an income.
If you are retired, review your pension savings with your financial plan in mind. Are your withdrawals sustainable? Do you have the level of security you want? And is your current income allowing you to live the lifestyle you want?
Pension savings can be complex and it’s essential you have a long-term outlook. Speak to our pensions experts if you need help understanding your pension savings.
7. Consider your ‘smaller’ retirement plans
How do you want to spend your time when retired? We often focus on the big areas when looking at retirement lifestyle, but your day-to-day plans and goals are just as important. Setting out what you want can help ensure your savings are on track and ensure your retirement lives up to expectations.
8. See if you’re making the most of allowances
How have you used your allowances so far? From ISA limits to the pension annual allowance, making the most of these can help your money to go further. Thinking about how you’ve used allowances now can help you avoid the end of tax year scramble in April 2024.
9. Review your estate plan
While reviewing your finances, you should consider your estate plan too. Changes to your wealth and circumstances may mean you need to adjust your estate plan to reflect these. If you don’t have them already, putting a Will and Power of Attorney in place should be a priority. If you do have these, give them a quick review to make sure they still accurately reflect your wishes.
10. Check when your next review is
Finally, having regular reviews with your financial adviser are a vital part of your financial plan. Your adviser can check your plan still aligns with your goals and see if they reflect any legislative changes that may have been brought in.