How to invest and be kind to our planet
It’s Good Money Week – an annual event that runs in October each year, and which is designed to help...
The new year is the perfect time to hit reset on your financial goals. Whether you’re an experienced investor or just starting out on your money journey, everyone has action steps they can take to improve their finances. So, let’s take a moment to consider some of the best habits we can form when it comes to our finances.
“The goal isn’t more money. The goal is living life on your terms.” — Chris Brogan, author, and social media marketing consultant
Finding a budget that works for you is a bit like finding that perfect pair of jeans — it’s difficult! Budgets are not one size fits all, no matter what people try and sell you on social media. So, take a weekend, a piece of paper and a pen and make a list of all the money coming in and going out of your bank account. See if you can trim your outgoings to increase the amount you can save. The best budget is ultimately one that works for you, so it’s okay if it takes a few different tries to get it “just right”. And remember: everyone budgets. They may not write it down each month and account for every pound spent, but everybody – in some way – has a budget.
Next steps: consider your future self, aka emergency savings, life events and retirement options
Now you have a budget, but did you remember to include your emergency fund in the equation? If the last year (or two…) has taught us anything, it’s that life can be messy and unpredictable. The amount you need for an emergency fund is debatable but most people say that it should be enough to tide you over for 3-6 months if money dried up completely through redundancy or illness. At least it is something you can easily calculate now you have your new budget! Ultimately your emergency fund should bring you peace of mind.
Next steps: focus on paying down your debt or planning for life’s “next steps”
Easily the top New Year resolution I saw this year. The unpredictability of the last few years has meant that a lot of people relied more heavily on credit cards and loans to get by. Depending on your starting point, this could be a multi-year effort – and that’s okay!) – it just requires some interim steps and be sure to celebrate small milestones along the way.
The first step is to get a super clear picture of exactly what you owe, at what rates, and by when you need to pay it back. Then assess your personal situation. What can you afford to “overpay”? Just meeting minimum payments isn’t enough to get out of debt – all that does is pay off the interest. (Hint, reference your budget!)
Then decide on your “method” – should it be the snowball method or the avalanche method? Without going into too much detail, the snowball method focuses on repaying the smallest debt first and working your way up (regardless of interest rate). This is good for people who like to see progress quickly. The avalanche method focuses on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. This results in less interest paid – so reduces the overall amount you are paying back, but can take longer to achieve.
Next steps: if you’re going to be focusing on debt for an extended period, it’s a good time to brush up on your financial education. Try starting with our introductory guide to investing. If you’ve got your debt under control, it’s probably time to start thinking about life’s “next steps” aka starting a family (and how to afford it) or buying your first home
If you’re ready to start a family, buy a home or another major purchase, it’s time to get your finances in order. Savings are just one part of preparing for these big spends. If you’re looking to start a family, find out your maternity/paternity/adoption leave pay so you can plan accordingly and adjust your budget. Looking to buy a home? Review your credit report and understand the picture that a lender would see. Explore pre-qualifying for your loan with your lender.
Next steps: start investing and planning for retirement
Hopefully, by now I’ve convinced you to at least consider investing and what better time than a new year? 365 blank pages and all that. If you’re new to investing, start small.
Choosing an investment fund can be a tough decision but getting it right (or wrong) can have a huge impact on your money. So you might want to have a quick look at our short guide on how to choose a fund.
To get you started, here are the most viewed funds and trusts amongst millennial visitors in 2021*
P.S. If your New Year resolution is more self-care read why financial education is an important form of self-care too
P.P.S. Don’t forget to review our three saving tips, tricks, and funds for 2022
*Source: Google analytics, FundCalibre visitors aged 25-44