New Year resolutions for a fitter financial future
Well, you have probably already swept away the party poppers and Champagne corks, but now is the time to reflect on 2017 and consider the future.
It's also, of course, the time to make New Year resolutions. For most people, such 'resolutions' are often ambitious, unrealistic and maybe even harmful (I mean, giving up chocolate – that's never going to happen).
In fact, research from the University of Scranton, USA, in 2013 found that a mere 8% of people achieve their New Year goals, and a ComRes poll from November 2015 revealed that 43% of all the failed resolutions that year hadn't even lasted a month.
It seems that the typical pledges of eating more healthily, taking up a new hobby and giving up bad habits are really not achievable and it's becoming increasingly common for resolutions to be financially related.
This is hardly surprising; money worries occupy many minds these days and most ordinary people want to save money and make the most of the finances they have, but it's typical for people to be unsure of the best ways to fulfil these objectives.
So, here are some of our ideas for resolutions that could help your finances, and therefore yourself, in the coming 12 months. Hopefully, once you realise how beneficial they could be, you won't be tempted to give them up in February.
Make a budget to help reach your savings goals
If you wish to save more, it will help to make a plan. Whatever your savings goal – perhaps it'll be education fees for your children or you just want to boost your pension savings – working out a budget is incredibly useful.
Firstly, you'll need to list all your income and expenses. No, it's not a quick task, and honesty is key here, but it will be worth the effort to get a better understanding of where your income goes each month. Once you have listed everything, over several months, you'll be able to see your essential spending against the non-essential items – wow, how those Coffee Shop purchases quickly add up. Once you pare down your spending, remember to actually 'save' your savings. Open a separate account or arrange to pay them directly into a pension or investment scheme. You'll soon see how small changes can make big differences to your savings pots.
Get on top of your inheritance planning
It probably isn't the most obvious, or enjoyable, thing to think about at the start of the new year, but estate planning is a necessary task that all adults should think about – sooner rather than later.
If what's going to happen to your money and property after you die is of any concern to you at all, why not make 2018 the year you get on top of it. At Blacktower, we can provide you with all the information on estate planning you need to mitigate unnecessary tax burden and ensure that all your assets are distributed the way you want.
Explore more options for your pension
With pension auto-enrolment now a legal requirement for any UK employer who has at least one member of staff, more people, particularly younger workers, are now saving for their retirement. This is great news. But there are many people with a UK pension who are unaware of the ways they could be making a lot more out of their pot.
There are several schemes that, if you were to move your retirement fund into them, could be beneficial. For instance, if you've moved abroad, have you considered the effectiveness of a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) or a Qualifying Non-UK Pension Scheme (QNUPS)? Both offer the saver reduced tax liability and exemption from UK inheritance tax. Both of these schemes are crucial to know about for expat pension planning.
A SIPP (self-invested personal pension), which allows you to pool your pensions into a single pot, may be another option for you. Transferring your money into a SIPP will allow you to have freedom and flexibility over investment choices as well as the ability to pass the money on to a beneficiary.
Seek professional financial advice
Now this is a resolution that many people think about, but few actually get around to fulfilling. For all aspects of your financial good health, it's useful to have a helping hand. Just like getting physically fit, a good way of increasing your chances of getting your wealth management in order is to simplify things as much as possible. However, simplicity is something not often associated with money matters, which is why having an experienced financial adviser on your side is always useful.
As tax legislation varies from country to country, it can be confusing for expats to decide what is best for their money, particularly when it comes to their expat pension planning. To stop yourself getting caught out and for your money to grow as much as it possibly can, Blacktower's financial advisers can help you.
We can inform you of all the possibilities open to you, whether you're concerned about your pension, estate planning, or your regular savings. At Blacktower, we can give you the expert guidance you need in all these matters to ensure that 2018 is a year to remember for all the right reasons.