If you would like to see my webinar on the steps to complete a financial health check email my team at [email protected] and we will send you a video link
We live in strange times. The Covid-19 health crisis is rocking the world and billions of people worldwide are in lockdown, while national governments try to manage health resources and accelerate efforts to create a vaccine. When we are cocooned in our homes for most of the day, it is easy to take it as an opportunity to put our feet up, vegetate, watch endless box sets, play computer games for hours or aimlessly surf the internet.
Some of that is nice of course, but doesn’t it make sense to do something more productive?
Maxwell Maltz, an American surgeon and self-help advocate, wrote that ‘Close scrutiny will show that most ‘crisis situations’ are opportunities to either advance, or stay where you are.’ I would urge you to take heed of this wisdom and use the chance of the time afforded by lockdown to undertake a thorough review of your financial circumstances. Your personal financial situation is crucial to your future wellbeing and this is the ideal time to reorganise and plan. By carrying out a comprehensive financial health check, you will be using this crisis to provide a brighter future for you and your loved ones.
I recommend you start by looking at these aspects:
Do you have any? I am always amazed at the number of people that do not.
Everyone’s financial circumstances are different depending on their age and life situation, but you should always have a clear idea of what you want to achieve financially. Whether we like it or not our financial situation plays a significant role in our overall wellbeing and having clearly defined goals is the best way of ensuring a secure future that puts you in control and gives you choices.
What are your current outgoings? What do you pay for regularly and do you need it? Many of use subscribe to all kind of services that we don’t use. Are you getting value for the things you pay for? Can you make cutbacks to reduce your expenditure and boost your savings?
Do you work to a monthly budget or manage your finances in an ad hoc way? Budgeting and understanding your expenditure is the best way to control your spending. Budgeting doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself all luxuries or live a frugal existence. It allows you to make informed choices about your buying decisions.
What are your actual debt liabilities and how much do they cost you? Credit card debt is the easiest thing in the world to run up but notoriously expensive, typically three times higher than a more conventional loan. Are you maintaining a constant credit card balance? Would it make sense to consolidate it into a low-cost loan or switch to a card that will give you an interest-free period to provide you with time to pay it down?
What other debts do you have? Are they optimally managed?
For many people, mortgages are a significant outgoing. However, there is a tendency once a mortgage is arranged to file and forget it, letting the direct debit pay it off for years on end. When was the last time you checked what interest you are paying and whether this is a competitive rate?
Currently, we are in an unusually low interest environment, but the lockdown may lead to inflationary pressures and a significant rise in interest rates. Now would be a good time to review you mortgages and lock in a low interest deal for the coming years.
Save and Invest
Saving and investing is vital for a secure future including, but not be limited to, your pension provisions. Are your investments well organised and providing the returns you need? Do you have the right balance between asset classes? Are you set up to take advantage of future growth?
You will be aware of the fall in global stock markets, but market falls represent a buying opportunity. Do you know enough to confidently invest yourself or do you need professional assistance?
Take the time to review your investments and get your money working for you.
We’ve seen very graphically in the past couple of months how a bolt from the blue can derail everything. Insurance is how we protect ourselves from crisis and disaster. Have you got the right insurance in place to cover your risks?
It is the most natural thing in the world to put off writing a will. None of us enjoys contemplating our mortality, but it is essential if you do not want loved one to cope with a financial mess after you pass. Take this time to ensure you have the right legacy planning in place, and if you already have a will review it to ensure it still meets your requirements.
This week, I broadcast a webinar explaining the steps for undertaking a financial health check, if you would like a copy please let me know or if you prefer a personal consultation, contact me on +971 50 618 6463 or email [email protected].
If you have any questions, I am here to help.