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Another new year is upon us and the gyms are busier, the pubs are quieter and health food stores are no doubt raking the profits.
It shouldn’t just be your physical fitness that gets an MOT, however. After what tends to be an expensive time of the year for most, January is an opportune time to take stock of our finances and decide, as we head through 2018, how we can best improve our personal balance sheets.
We asked some colleagues around the office for their 2018 financial resolutions:
Darius has pledged not to be afraid to take profits this year, given there is a significant amount of uncertainty on the horizon.
“I also think it will pay to stay mindful of portfolio style biases, given that growth stocks have hugely outperformed their value counterparts,” he warned.
“Because of this uncertainty, I also think it it will pay to drip-feed money into portfolios monthly rather than invest lump sums.”
Ryan plans to buy his first house in two years’ time and, to help achieve this, will calculate the amount of money he needs to spend per day and save any surpluses.
“Given my short-term time horizon, I have decided to hold half of this in cash,” he said. “The remaining 50% will be spread across lower-risk funds in my Lifetime ISA.
Sam has decided not to dabble in single-stock purchases, having bought shares in a company this time last year which have since halved in value.
“I have decided that I’m a much better writer than I am a stock-picker, so I’ll leave it to the experts this year!” she said. “I am also thinking of investing monthly rather than saving up a cash lump sum and buying into the market annually because, otherwise, it is sitting there doing nothing.”
Ron aims to regularly keep tabs on his direct debits, buy household goods in batch and keep a closer eye on any unnecessary purchases he makes each month.
“I need to smarten up on what I spend money on. To do so, I am going to check my online bank statements more regularly and note any bad habits or excess expenditure I have been racking up,” he said.
Lauren hopes to prevent herself from checking her portfolio on a daily basis so she can ignore short-term volatility and take on greater risk.
“I need to learn to sit back, ignore the market noise and just invest for the longer-term,” she said. “As part of this, I have increased my exposure to small-caps and now hold most of my money in the Elite Rated Marlborough UK Micro Cap Growth fund.”
Juliet wants to be more on top of her outgoings this year.
“Because of my job my investments tend to get all the attention they need and my savings habits are pretty good,” she said. “But I’m not so good when it comes to making sure I get the best deal on utilities and finance agreements.
“While I talk about the value of compounding with investments, I’m often guilty of letting teaser rates lapse and paying more than I need to on things and it soon adds up. “This year I need to sort out the finance on the car and remortgage, when my fixed rate expires. I also need to regularly review all my outgoings.”
While the gym membership may get used less come March and the carbs will no doubt sneak back in to meals very shortly, we’ll all try to keep these financial resolutions and update you later in the year!