Fix your finances before lockdown ends
The coronavirus lockdown provides a good opportunity to sort out your financial planning. Here are three key questions we think you should ask yourself to get started.
2 min read
Whether the last few months have left you with extra money in your pockets or caused cash flow problems, now’s the time for some financial housekeeping.
The coronavirus-caused lockdown has forced many people to save money – not so good for the broader economy but welcome in lots of households.
For others, coronavirus has caused the stream of cash coming in to dry up as businesses temporarily shut down.
But whether recent months have reminded you of the benefits of saving or the perils of the unexpected, it should point you towards the same thing – getting your financial affairs in order.
Sorting your pension, getting an ISA, protecting your money sufficiently, writing or updating your will. These are all extremely important things to help ensure peace of mind and prosperity – not just for yourself now but for those you love long into the future.
AT LAST – TIME TO PLAN
Whatever your circumstances, lockdown has given us all something that can be sorely lacking in life – time.
And just as some people have used the past few months to learn to play a musical instrument or speak another language, others have used it for much-needed financial planning.
Colin Jones, Specialist Adviser at Coutts, says: “Everyone knows how important it is to get a sound financial plan in place, but many still struggle to find the time. Lockdown changed that, and a number of our clients have been in touch in recent months, using this period to get their wealth in the best possible place.
Key financial planning questions to ask yourself
Sound financial planning usually starts by asking yourself a series of questions about your money, your lifestyle and your priorities. Three of the most important, and potentially most beneficial, are:
Are you on top of your pension? As people move jobs or homes throughout their lives, it can be easy to lose track of the various pensions you pick up along the way. Over 1.5 million pension pots worth about £19.4 billion could be lost because of this, according to the Pensions Policy Institute. It therefore could be worth bringing all your pensions together, making them easier to manage and easier to pass on to your loved ones.
Do you have an ISA and are you making the most of it? ISAs can be quick and easy to set up and efficient in growing your wealth. The ISA allowance for the 2020/21 tax year is £20,000. That means you could invest up to that amount through an ISA and your returns are free from UK tax on interest, dividends and capital gains. Do that every year, and it could soon build up. Do remember though, that investments come with risks. Their value, and the income from them, can fall as well as rise, and you may not get back what you put in.
Is your wealth sufficiently protected? The coronavirus outbreak has been a stark reminder that life is full of surprises. It’s therefore well worth ensuring that, should something unexpected happen to you, your money is suitably safe. From life assurance to critical illness cover, there are a number of things you can do to help ensure you and your family continue to live the life you’ve made for yourselves, even if things take a turn for the worse.
To find out more about how Coutts could help you with your financial planning needs, speak to your private banker or call Coutts 24 on 020 7957 2424.
When investing, past performance should not be taken as a guide to future performance. The value of investments, and the income from them, can go down as well as up, and you may not recover the amount of your original investment.
Tax reliefs referred to are those applying under current legislation, which may change. The availability and value of any tax reliefs will depend on your individual circumstances.