Understanding your financial situation is crucial to achieving both short-term and long-term objectives. With a detailed insight into your finances, you can maximise your assets and devise a robust plan for wealth accumulation and protection.
As we enter 2024, let’s explore what to consider for the new year.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR FINANCIAL STATUS
Knowing where you stand financially is important. Understanding your financial status, income and expenditure requires asking yourself a number of questions.
What is my total income? What are my fixed expenses? What are my variable expenses? Do I have any outstanding debts? How much do I save and invest each month? Do I have an emergency fund? What are my personal and financial goals?
ASSESSING YOUR INVESTMENTS
If you have investments, it’s essential to know their details. Where are they invested, and what is their current value? Are there ways to make these holdings more tax-efficient, such as maximising your annual investment allowance for your Individual Savings Account (ISA)?
Also, consider if your lifestyle or risk tolerance has changed since you made these investments. Knowing your risk appetite helps determine if your investments align with your goals or if changes are necessary.
Pensions are a vital part of your financial fitness journey. You need to pay attention to your pension plans until retirement so you don’t miss out on potential benefits. Take the time to track down old pension plans, especially those associated with previous employers.
If these aren’t providing good value or necessary features, consider consolidating them or consulting with us to review your options. Ensuring your pension works effectively is crucial to meeting your long-term financial objectives.
ACCOUNTING FOR FAMILY CIRCUMSTANCES
Consider maximising combined incomes and capital if you’re married or in a registered civil partnership. Transferring assets between you could result in tax planning benefits and increased ISA allowances. It’s equally important to consider unique financial circumstances.
For instance, if there’s an age gap, ensure long-term financial stability for the younger partner. If you’ve separated from a partner, disentangle your finances and seek professional advice from us to understand your new financial status.
EVALUATING YOUR HOME OWNERSHIP
As a property owner, it’s crucial to understand how this impacts your financial standing. Do you own several properties? Are you grappling with a mortgage? If yes, are you aware of your existing interest rate, mortgage term and the potential timeframe for full repayment?
Have you considered the prospect of renting out a property for additional income? Maintaining an overarching perspective on the financial consequences of your property ownership is vital to ensuring your fiscal well-being.
SECURING YOUR FUTURE
No one enjoys contemplating the unexpected, yet it’s an unavoidable aspect of life. What if circumstances prevented you from working and earning an income? Could you meet your living expenses comfortably? Regularly evaluate your protection policies, both personal and those associated with your employment. Are they current and valid?
Are you under-insured? Maybe you’ve changed jobs, and a previously accessible plan is no longer available, necessitating a replacement. It’s wise to have contingency measures in place – just in case.
PROJECTING YOUR RETIREMENT INCOME
Everyone dreams of a comfortable lifestyle post-retirement, but not all know what they can afford. You can better understand your potential income post-retirement by thoroughly examining your current assets. If you’re still in the income accumulation phase, continue saving and investing a targeted amount monthly to help achieve your ideal retirement.
If retirement is looming, you need to understand the income you’ll receive from your pension, savings and investments. This can help you adjust your spending habits to align with your desired retirement lifestyle.
PLANNING YOUR LEGACY
Once you have a robust financial plan to meet your future income and capital needs, you might discover surplus funds you’d like to distribute to loved ones or charities posthumously through your Will. Creating or updating your Will need not be a gloomy task.
It’s a positive personal responsibility that can reassure and support your loved ones after you’re gone. Ensure your Will accurately encapsulates your estate distribution wishes. Obtain professional advice when drafting a Will to ensure it fulfils your needs.
GIFTING AS A WEALTH STRATEGY
If your financial circumstances permit, gifting a portion of your wealth to family and friends may be a viable strategy. You have the opportunity each year to gift a specific amount without incurring potential Inheritance Tax liability. If you’re contemplating this option, we can explain and help you understand the allowances at your disposal and how to maximise their benefit for your loved ones.
You may also want to explore charitable gifting. By spending time strategising the support you wish to provide – both now and in the future, as well as your legacy – you can ensure your generosity is as effective as possible. This amplifies the impact of your giving and may yield tax relief benefits for you and your estate.
ANNUAL FINANCIAL REVIEW
Looking towards the future often reveals opportunities for further financial optimisation. Many personal and tax allowances are renewed annually, making an annual review of your investments and finances a prudent practice.
This review could involve streamlining your pension plans, ensuring your savings are as tax-efficient as possible or identifying new investment opportunities. We’ll help you navigate these areas effectively and align your decisions with your long-term financial aspirations.
TIME FOR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE TO ENSURE YOUR PLANS ALIGN WITH YOU AND YOUR GOALS?
Understanding and managing your finances can be complex, but you don’t have to face it alone. If you’re seeking further information or wish to delve deeper into your financial planning for 2024 and beyond, please get in touch with us. We’ll guide you towards a secure and prosperous financial future.