We truly are creatures of habit and unfortunately, one of the most human habits of all is to leave things until the last minute, so it is no wonder that for some, the end of the tax year can be more panic than planning.
Thankfully, there are solutions.
IBC presents five crucial steps you can take to ensure you start the upcoming tax year and each year thereafter – in control of your financial future.
1 – Know your goals and why you have them
An ISA is one of the most tax efficient saving vehicles there is, but you may be surprised to find out that many people who make use of ISAs don’t know exactly why they have them.
One of the most important steps to taking more control of your financial planning is not only setting a goal but understanding why you have that goal in the first place. If your intention over the next 12 months is to save, make sure to ask yourself why you are saving.
If you don’t have a reason for your goal, you will be less inclined to keep up with it – knowing why you have the goal will help you stay on track.
2 – Get your house in order
If you can comfortably sit down and say exactly what you have spent and where in the last month – you are a member of a very small club. It isn’t easy to keep track of every last thing but there are costs we could probably all track better.
A first port of call is to check what all your direct debits are and if you still need them. When you are doing this, it is important to involve everyone who has an influence on your finances to check you aren’t duplicating bills (does one household really need two Amazon Prime accounts?).
A lot of people will have the foresight to check their regular outgoings but not everyone will immediately think to check their income. As well as checking your expenses, make sure to get a handle on exactly what your net pay looks like every month. This is just as important as checking your outgoings as it will help you determine whether some direct debits need to be reviewed.
3 – Sit down with your financial adviser at the start of the tax year
Making an appointment with your financial adviser will encourage you to plan ahead and allow you to review what kind of year you have had.
Even some of the most financially responsible individuals only manage to make a meeting with their adviser once a year. Should you be booking that meeting twice a year? Every quarter? Every month? The answer depends on your goals so get that initial meeting in your diary right at the start of the tax year and don’t be afraid to ask your adviser how often they suggest you should meet.
Review meetings are designed to provide that mutual catch up. Often, if nothing has changed then no actions are required but it is great to have that peace of mind.
4 – Challenge ideas
After setting your goals, meeting family members or business partners, checking incomings and outgoings, and having that vital conversation with your financial adviser, you’ll now be overflowing with ideas about what to do with your money. Now is the time to challenge those ideas.
Always be ready to ask the question, ‘why is this right for me?’
Challenging ideas will ensure you maintain a clear focus on your end goal and don’t get side-tracked by an idea that’s great but not necessarily great for you.
5 – Involve the people that matter
Whether your financial plans are personal or corporate, it’s likely they will affect other people. Inheritance could be a big part of your long-term planning, on the other hand your most important goal right now might just be saving for a dream holiday.
Whatever your goal, if your financial planning will eventually involve others, it will be worthwhile to involve them in your planning journey early on.