According to research, the top three New Year’s resolutions we make every year are to lose weight, exercise more, and sort out our finances.

Sadly, and predictably, most resolutions are forgotten or fizzle out before the end of January, often because we have a tendency to set unrealistic targets. We should commit to going running for 10 minutes twice a week, rather than an hour a day. We should aim to lose a couple of pounds rather than a stone. Small achievable goals may be less inspiring than grand ambitions, but a few small steps achieved are surely better than not embarking on a long journey.

It’s the same with finances – making progress and major changes can seem overwhelming (especially if you run a business) but if you break them down into small goals, they suddenly become manageable. People used to marvel at Henry Ford’s ability to mass-produce cars in the early 1900s, but as he said at the time, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs”.

Here are the “top three” sensible resolutions you might consider to get your finances in order in 2016:

 

  1. Make a Will

Nobody’s ever been able to make the idea of making a will appealing, that’s why over 60% of adults in the UK haven’t made one. Yet without a valid will, your loved ones will have little control on the inheritance of your estate, and will be left with a potential minefield of legalities (and associated costs) to wade through when you die.

Kingsfleet Wealth are experts in trusts and estate planning, and can help you organise your affairs so that Inheritance Tax is minimised, businesses are taken care of, and your family receives “the right funds in the right hands at the right time” after your death.

 

  1. Invest Your Cash

With interest rates still stuck at 0.5% and looking to stay that way for another year, and inflation set to be around 1% in 2016, money kept in the bank is barely holding its own. There are good reasons to keep cash available but keeping too much in the bank, earning virtually no interest, could be a missed opportunity.

Seek out investments for your money which can realistically outstrip inflation, preferably offering an income, some opportunity for growth, and a level of risk you can handle. Buy-to-let property has been popular but beware of recent stringent regulations and increasing tax burdens.

The team at Kingsfleet Wealth can narrow down the myriad of options to some that will appeal to you based on your circumstances and the level of risk appropriate to you.

 

  1. Plan For Retirement

Pensions used to be all about annuities – swap your pension pot at retirement for a lifetime income. However the level of guaranteed income that savers can get in return for their pension pots has shrunk dramatically over the past 10 years; in 2015 the best annuity deal on the market was £5,456 a year for life in return for £100k cash. A retiree at 65 could generally obtain a lifetime income of approx 5.5% of the capital invested.

Fortunately, recent Chancellors have relaxed the pensions regime, so annuities are not the only game in town. This is great for flexibility, but the range of options now available makes it a lot harder for individuals to work out what’s best to do with their pension pots. The choice is frankly baffling. This is one area where sound independent financial advice is definitely required, and can make a huge difference to your long-term wealth.

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A local independent financial advice firm like Kingsfleet Wealth can help you get a handle on your finances by analysing your situation, discussing your financial goals, and creating a plan to work towards them. They are available for appointments any time, so there’s no excuse for not making one! Plus they hold regular events in the Ipswich area where you can get free information and help with your finances, so look out for them at an event near you or follow them on Facebook to be kept up-to-date.

You may not hit every target in 2016 but by sticking to a few “achievable resolutions” you can be sure you’ll be moving in the right direction.

 

The value of investments can go down in value as well as up, so you could get back less than you invest. It is recommended that you seek full, personal advice in respect of your needs where all appropriate risks will be explained.

Kingsfleet Wealth is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  Registered in England and Wales Company No. 07051136. FCA Firm Number: 514731