Simple steps for financial peace of mind

Everybody has a few things they regret doing. If it’s a dodgy haircut or an ill-advised fashion choice, the worst that’s likely to happen is a slightly embarrassing photo. But not looking after your finances or taking steps to plan for your future can have serious consequences.

We surveyed over 2,000 people about their financial preparedness and financial regrets. Over a third of respondents said they felt unprepared for the decisions they will have to make in the future. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take today to help with your financial peace of mind.

Our expert says...

Carole Ann Rice

Money worries – either day-to-day pressures or thinking about the future – can be a very real source of stress, but they don’t have to be. There are almost always little steps you can take to get your financial affairs going in the right direction. Whether that’s reviewing your daily outgoings, or longer term decisions like starting a pension or writing a Will, it’s never too early to start.

Carole Ann Rice, Life Coach

Slash your daily spending

Our survey found that one in three people (33%) regret spending too much on treats and ‘living in the moment'. It’s easy to see how little things can mount up – and how you can cut back and save some cash. For example:

  • A £3-a-day skinny cappuccino could be costing you almost £700 a year. A capsule-based coffee maker delivers barista-standard espresso for about 25p a cup – and it’ll pay for itself in about a month or so
  • Cable or satellite TV subscriptions with sports and movies can easily cost £80 a month – close to £1,000 a year. Switching to streaming services and Freeview could save about £850 over the year
  • Gym membership can cost around £50 a month – and you might not even be using it. Council-run gyms can be about half the price of other fitness centres, so you could save around £300 a year

Switch utility provider

Changing energy provider to find a better deal is something we all know we should do, but few people seem to get around to.

By not shopping around to take advantage of the best energy deals available, the government says you could be missing out on savings of up to £200 a year – while some people, especially those switching to payment by direct debit, could save up to £300.

Armed with a few months’ bills to get an idea of your average usage, it only takes a few minutes on online price comparison sites to understand how much you could save.

Save for the future

Our research found that almost half of people (45%) think they’re not saving enough, while nearly two-thirds (60%) of people regret not saving more while they had the chance.

You might be saving for a specific goal, like a house or car, or helping to pay for a wedding. You might just be saving for a rainy day. Whatever you’re saving for, it’s important to have the right kind of account for your needs.

For example, you might want to take advantage of the tax-efficient nature of ISAs, or opt for an easy access savings account if you need to get hold of your money. Equally, if you don’t mind locking your money away for a longer period, a fixed term account might make sense.

If you’re not sure which savings accounts fit your needs, our free My Review service could help you understand your options, and whether you might benefit from financial advice.

Make a Will

Do you know what will happen to your assets when you die? Having a Will is important, especially if you’re a homeowner, are married or cohabiting, or if you have children or other dependents.

But by some estimates, around half of people in the UK don’t have a Will, and so die 'intestate'. This means who inherits your assets and estate is decided by rules set down in law, which may not be in line with your wishes.

Having a Will lets you state what you want to happen to your assets. Depending on your circumstances, writing a Will could also help minimise the amount of inheritance tax that might be payable from your estate.

As Wills and the laws surrounding inheritance are complex, it’s advisable to get your Will drawn up by experienced Will writing professionals. Skipton, and our chosen legacy partner Redstone Wills Limited, can construct a Will to offer you and your family peace of mind for the future.

Check your pension and have a financial review

If you don’t like thinking about the future when it comes to your finances, then you’re not alone. Our research found that 16% don’t like thinking about the future, but equally 8% regret not seeking financial advice.

But if you’re worried about the future, there are steps you can take to give yourself some peace of mind. Think about the kind of lifestyle you’d like to have in retirement and whether what you’re putting aside in a pension or other savings vehicle might be enough to allow you to do that.

If you have a workplace pension and your employer matches your contributions, it’s worth checking if you’re making the most of this valuable benefit.

As you get closer to your intended retirement date, it’s often a good idea to speak to a financial adviser. Financial advice takes your personal circumstances into account and gives you a financial recommendation that’s tailored to you.

Trusted & clear advice

According to feedback from 3,403 financial advice customers between March 2012 and April 2017, 94% of our customers would recommend our financial advice services to their family and friends.

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