Sunday 19 November 2017

Manage your 2015 better with these financial resolutions

It all adds up: Selling unwanted Christmas presents can replenish the depleted piggy bank
It all adds up: Selling unwanted Christmas presents can replenish the depleted piggy bank
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

WITH another year not long started, now might be a good time to consider how best to deal with your finances.

Even though the economy is doing better, unemployment is falling and inflation is muted, many householders bitten by the recession have yet to feel any better off.

But there are a number of ways to ensure you are not wasting money and instead make the best with the funds that you have.

With that in mind, we asked Eamon Dwyer, managing director at City Life: Wealth Advisors in Cork for some tips.

He outlined five practical financial resolutions for the new year.

1 Make sure to claim the tax relief you are entitled to

One of the only good things about paying tax is the tax relief we can  get on certain financial  transactions.

Yes, the years of austerity have seen the removal of many reliefs, but a few nice ones still remain.

Make sure you are getting full tax relief on pension contributions (and contribute where you can maximise this relief).

Then there are the premiums that many of us pay on income protection insurance — don’t forget these in your tax return.

And you can still get 20pc back on medical expenses via the Med 1.

2 Review the current ­account and get a ­handle on expenses

Life gets in the way of being organised, and of planning our finances properly.

However, setting aside an hour a month to look at your current account and getting a real handle on expenses (perhaps even starting a spreadsheet) would be time well spent.

We would all like to save more, but the starting point is to find that money to save, if we can.

3 Save for retirement

Assume the State pension won’t be around, even if it might.

 The Motley Fool recently pontificated in an online piece: “Start saving for college before your kid is born, and start saving for your retirement before you graduate college.

 “You’ll feel silly when you start and like a genius when you finish.”

 How right that is.

4 Make a will or update the old one

“I’m going to live forever.”

And so are most people it would seem when it comes to dealing with the notion of death.

Like the obvious first step about taking out adequate life assurance, all parents out there should make a will — or update an existing one.

It’s like this; a relatively brief meeting with a solicitor will commit to writing what you would like to happen with your financial affairs and avoid confusion and (often) confrontation on a person’s untimely death. Where there are young children involved, the simple measures of putting some money in trust for them and appointing guardians could save so much hardship.

5 Promise yourself not to confuse ­information with advice

Our always-on, internet-based lives mean that we have incredible access to information.  However, with this accessibility comes increased difficulty in trying to work out what is best for our families and our finances.

Reading a book on the financial markets might well be beneficial, but reading a 300-word article and thinking we know it all is dangerous. Seriously scrutinising our own financial affairs and then deciding where we want to get to, and when, can be done without the internet.

There you have it.  But one thing you should resolve to do in 2015 is to make a financial plan and implement it. Both sides of this coin will likely require specialist advice, unique to a person’s situation. The internet isn’t yet designed for that two way dialogue.

Irish Independent

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