Did you make any impressive new year resolutions this year? Are you learning any new languages, or have you swapped the comfort of the couch for a spot of strenuous marathon training?
If so, maybe you’re well on the way to achieving your goals. Or perhaps you’re already regretting the extent of your ambition. Most of us are probably familiar with the ways in which big new year ideas can start to feel like a step too far as January finally fades away.
Time to tackle your finances
But that’s not to say that the dawning of a new year isn’t a great time to get round to a few tasks you might have been putting off for a while – such as reviewing your personal finances, for instance.
Maybe you think that training for a marathon sounds much easier than sorting through old pension statements and savings accounts. But if that’s the case, it isn’t something you need to tackle alone.
First things first though. Before you start digging through old box files or leafing through ring binders, all you need to do is have a good think.
Focus on your future goals
Quite simply, what do you want your future to look like? And specifically, when would you love to slow down or even stop work and enjoy a more leisure paced lifestyle.
Remember that withdrawal from your active working life doesn’t have to be a single day on which all paid work stops and a life of leisure begins. But it’s definitely useful to have an idea of when you might want to ease into a slower paced way of life – and how you might want to live when you do.
Think about your income
With goals like these in mind, you can start to think about what kind of income you might need when you leave your working life. It may be that you won’t have the kind of financial commitments you have today – such as the cost of bringing up children, paying your mortgage, or paying off large loans – but there may be other expenses that you will want to cover, such as longer holidays or maybe moving abroad.
Of course, once you have a clearer picture of your ideal future, it’s time to think about where your post career income will come from. At this point, a good financial planner will really come into their own.
Find a good financial planner
Naturally, we include our Franklyn team in this category – for well over 20 years, our wonderful clients have trusted us to deliver great financial advice throughout our home county of Cheshire and across the UK. We have sophisticated tools that help us put together detailed cashflow forecasts based on all kinds of future scenarios – and, most importantly, we have the friendliness and expertise to guide you towards the future you want for you and your family.
Whoever you choose as your financial planner, take care to find someone you can trust. They’ll be helping you take some big financial decisions, after all. Ask around family and friends for recommendations, and make use of websites run by reputable organisations. The Financial Conduct Authority website at fca.org.uk is also full of great advice about ways in which you can protect yourself.
The full picture
Remember, too, that good financial planners always have your best interests at heart, so it’s important to be completely open about your situation and future plans. They won’t judge you or baffle you with jargon. But they will help you focus on what you want from life – and with goals in place, they can put you on the path to achieving them.
So if those new language apps and exercise plans are already starting to seem more like a curse than a blessing, why not resolve to get your finances into shape this year instead?
Though if you’re still loving those hours on the exercise bike, don’t let us stop you.
We’re more than happy for you to resolve to do both.