Written by Mary Hemingway
At Prosperity we are always happy to offer expert guidance so here are a few ideas on how to potentially make or save yourself some money without the use of a Financial Advisor! (I know, we must be mad!)
- Get to grips with what you have. Our lives are filled with work, family commitments, leisure activities, holidays, home improvements, walking the dog… It is so easy to ignore your finances in favour of all of the above, but you really shouldn’t. Set some time aside to go through that drawer of ‘important paperwork’ and note down in one place everything you have. This includes pensions, savings, premium bonds, loans, life insurance, the lot! Include policy numbers, financial providers and balances in your list and update regularly to keep tabs on your money.
- Track down those missing pensions! There is always a little niggling question about ‘what happened to that tiny pension from when I worked for so and so…’ Well now you can find out. Visit pensiontracingservice.com to track down missing schemes and you could well be in with a surprise because the Association of British Insurers estimates there are up to 1.6million pension pots left unclaimed valued at around £19.4 Billion!
- Make a Will and put a Power of Attorney in place. Having a valid and up to date Will can speed up the distribution of your estate after death and ensure your wishes are adhered to meaning a lot less stress for your family and beneficiaries at such a sad time. From experience Power of Attorney is the most often overlooked of the two and can actually have the biggest financial impact on you, simply because you’re still here when it’s used! If you lose mental capacity, you may lose the ability to make both day to day and long term financial decisions. So even if you have been incredibly thorough and planned your finances diligently you risk having that work undone as you lose control until a Guardian can be appointed, a lengthy and stressful process in many cases. Visiting a reputable Solicitor and putting both a Will and POA in place secures peace of mind for your financial future, before it’s too late.
- Keep your cash secure. Cash is a vital part to any portfolio and we would recommend you keep at least 6 months worth of cash in an accessible bank account at any given time. However, you should bear in mind that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) only insures up to £85,000 in one bank meaning anything over this is at risk if the bank were to fail. Watch out for banks operating under different names too, for example Halifax and Bank of Scotland operate under the same banking licence so you only have £85,000 protection on holdings across both banks.
- Shop Around! Complacency can cost you hundreds a year if you’re in the wrong deal (or no deal) for your everyday bills. With the worst offenders being energy suppliers, insurance companies, mobile phone providers and banks. It really does pay to switch to a better deal when it is available. We suggest you always note your renewal date in your calendar and stick to shopping around, there is very rarely a loyalty bonus for staying where you are. There are also some services that take the hassle out for you, for example the Current Account Switch Guarantee service will ensure the smooth transfer of all your credits and debits to a new bank. There’s nothing to lose!
As you can see there are many ways to potentially take care of the pennies without a Financial Advisor however, we would always recommend speaking to your Prosperity IFA for any matters involving your Mortgage, Pension, Life Cover, Investments or Tax Planning. In these complex areas there really is no substitute for professional advice!