Set yourself up for a better retirement with these 12 ways to manage existing debt
Some debts cost more than others. The interest rate on a credit card is typically higher than that on a mortgage, so pay off those with the highest interest first. This could be done by switching to a credit deal that offers 0% on balance transfers. Take time to figure out what each of your debts are costing over time.
Talk to your creditors
If you’re finding it difficult to make regular repayments on your debts, contact your creditor. They will be usually sympathetic and want to agree a repayment strategy that works for you.
Review your outgoings
Look at your direct debits and standing orders to see if you have any unnecessary monthly expenses. Do you still need that magazine subscription? Do you still want to support those causes?
A good budget will help you prioritise bills and mean there’s more money to put aside for your retirement. See what other providers you might use, whether for food, utilities, insurance or even your mortgage. There are lots of budgeting and comparison tools out there.
Claim what you’re due
You might be surprised what you’re entitled to. Visit gov.uk/benefits-calculators to find out what you could claim.
Stop giving money to others
It can be hard to say no. But your children, particularly, have their whole careers to build up their retirement provision. You no longer do and it’s important to remember that charity begins at home.
If you’re lucky enough to own your current home, you might want to consider selling it and moving either to a smaller property or one in a cheaper area.
It’s not unusual to keep earning once retired, whether by taking a part-time job, consultancy role, freelance position or something less conventional, such as cat sitting or dog walking.
Turn clutter into cash
If, like many, you have a house full of unwanted items, it might be worth deciding what you’re willing to part with. It pays to do your research, however. Items such as books, DVDs and CDs may only be worth selling in bulk. Others, such as jewellery, comic books and vinyl records might be worth more than you think. Get in touch with your local auction house for a free quote.
Withdraw from your pension pot
This is not something to be done without due consideration. Seek professional financial advice and be cautious.
Ask for help
Don’t suffer in silence. Debt charities offer free support and advice for anyone facing financial difficulties. You’ll find contact details for various debt charities and helpful agencies on the back of this guide.
Release the equity from your home
Most long-term homeowners will have built up equity in their homes. If you’re one and aged between 55 and 95, you may be able to take out an equity release plan. The most common type is a lifetime mortgage, which is a loan secured against your home. Remember, equity release will reduce the value of your estate and may affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits. If you're considering going ahead, we recommend reading 'Is it right for you?