The fact you started pension savings last year is great, says Glenn Gaughran, head of business development and marketing at the Independent Trustee Company. You are still young and it is definitely a case of better late than never when it comes to a pension, he said.
If you break a savings habit like this, it can be very difficult to return to it. Perhaps you don't have to halt payments altogether. But you could reduce them for a few months, until your finances become more stable, Mr Gaughran suggests.
Don't forget there are big tax breaks on pension contributions, so you will be losing out on these if you stop altogether. Also, you don't mention if you are part of your employers' scheme. If you are, ask your employer if the company will be able to maintain its pension contributions at the same level. While many employers have had to implement temporary pay cuts, many too have said they keep their contributions at the same level, so hopefully yours will be in a position to do this.
If you do stop, make a diary entry to review your situation in six months' time to see if you can recommence saving.
Question: I travelled to the US on a J1 in the summer of 2018. I was only there three months and worked part-time. When I left, I submitted a tax return because a friend of mine said I could have difficulty getting back into the country in the future if I didn't. Last week I received $1,200 into my US bank account. Some of my friends got the same. One said they think it's because we worked in the States in 2018? Can I keep this money?
Answer: Laura McHugh of Taxback.com says her firm has been inundated with enquiries similar to this. It is very likely this was given to you in error and her advice would be that you should make contact with the American tax authorities, the IRS, to return the money.
Without more detail on your individual situation, it is difficult to know exactly what happened. Ms McHugh says it is very likely that, like many others, you might have mistakenly submitted your 2018 American tax return on a "resident" basis whereas, in fact, you were/are a non-resident for tax purposes.
Because the Care (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act stimulus package is a provision for residents, it was automatically transferred to your account having met the eligibility criteria.
Taking steps to return the money is the first recommendation by Ms McHugh.
She also advises you to amend your previous tax return to a "non-resident" declaration to ensure you are compliant with US tax laws and so you will not face any difficult returning to the US in the future.
Question: We are both over 70 and cocooning and likely to be doing so, or staying close to the house, for the rest of the year. Do we still need home insurance as it is extremely unlikely we will get broken into as we are here all the time?
Answer: You don't mention if you have a mortgage on your home but, if you do, home insurance is generally considered a prerequisite by the bank.
By cancelling cover you would be breaking the terms of this contract, according to Deirdre McCarthy of Insuremyhouse.ie.
Your position around the likelihood of a burglary is understandable. Reports suggest the volume of burglaries around the country is down as a result of the lockdown. But your policy also covers you for any financial loss caused by fire, water damage or personal injury to anyone in or around your home.
The chances of you needing to claim have not disappeared completely, so you should be mindful of this before you cancel your cover, she said.
If you cancel mid-policy your insurer may well insist you pay a cancellation fee and/or an administration fee, so any refund you receive might be less that you imagine.
If you break a savings habit, like contributing to a pension, it can be very hard to return to it at a later date.
If you have a mortgage, then having home insurance is generally considered to be a prerequisite by the bank.