The days are longer and the birds are singing. Even if your newspaper is full of war, covid and inflation, it is impossible to ignore at least one piece of good news – the fact that spring is here.
With it comes a new tax year, and a range of new tax allowances which you need to take full advantage of.
At Continuum, we believe that those allowances – and the fact that the world of finance has set some new challenges not just for savers and investors but for anyone with bills to pay – means it’s time to take a fresh look at your financial arrangements. In fact, it’s time to ask if a financial spring clean could help you make your money go further and work harder.
1. Getting started – sorting out your monthly spending
Inflation is a threat to your finances. Your monthly income simply will not go as far, and making it fit your outgoings may mean cutting back a little.
To see where your cash is currently going, start by getting your bank statements and looking at what you really have coming in and going out each month. Now that cards are overtaking cash, it is easy to see all the little things that are eating into your available money. The daily coffee, the bottle or two at the weekend, and what about things like gym membership, subscriptions for online services you don’t use, or insurance for that phone you dumped years ago?
Cutting back on the daily sweet treats can benefit your waistline as well as your balance, and the forgotten standing orders and direct debits can be sorted out with a few emails or a call to your bank.
More serious is debt. If your monthly outgoings include partial repayments to your credit card, you need to take immediate action. Credit cards are easy to use, but with interest rates of 20% or even 30%, they are hard to pay off. The balance goes on growing month after month. Getting out of debt is the first step to your financial spring clean.
Find a card with a 0% balance transfer offer – many credit card providers offer an interest-free period as a way of attracting new customers. They allow you to shift your outstanding debts onto a new card where you can pay it off without incurring interest for up to two years. Ideally, you should pay it off in full before the 0% offer runs out, but if you can’t, pay off as much as you can each month, and find another transfer offer when the introductory period runs out.
You can find details of 0% credit card deals on comparison sites – but for the next stage of your financial spring clean, you will need some help from a Continuum expert.
2. Getting a better mortgage deal
Low interest rates mean low monthly mortgage repayments. But interest rates are back on the way up – and if you want to take advantage of historic low rates you need to act now. A remortgage would pay off your existing lender and replace your home loan with one with less to pay each month. You may have to pay an Early Repayment Charge (ERC) to your existing lender if you re-mortgage
One good thing about rising house prices is the fact that you probably own a higher proportion of your home. You therefore need to borrow a smaller proportion of the money you need to buy it. This means a smaller loan to value ratio, which in turn could mean an even more favourable rate.
At Continuum we know what is available across the entire mortgage market, including deals that are not publicly advertised. We aim to help you save – or own your home in less time.
3. Getting insurance protection for less
The insurance market has gone through some changes in recent years and a regular review of your policies is essential. Our knowledge of the insurance market can often help us tailor the cover you need to be a better fit for you and your family, giving you better protection and easing the demands on your monthly budget.
4. Getting your money working
If your financial spring clean means having some money over at the end of each month, it could be time to get it working for you.
The new tax year means a new ISA allowance, which will let you invest up to £20,000 and protect your subscription from the taxman, because any growth is currently tax free. If you don’t have £20,000 to spare as a result of your spring clean, we can research ISA’s which let you pay in monthly.
5. Getting some help
Whether it is time to make your money stretch further, or put it to work with savings or investment, it pays to get some expert help.
At Continuum we would be pleased to provide it.
To find out more about what we can do for you, call us today.
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable Protection products or investment strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate personal finance.