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Financial tips for the year ahead

2019 is here.

But, as with any New Year, nothing is particularly different; apart from finding yourself writing the incorrect year in the date until mid-January.

Unless you want something to change in life, often, nothing will.

And it’s the same for your finances. If you’re looking to cut back here and there, or store some money away in 2019, but don’t make any changes to your lifestyle, it’s unlikely your circumstances will alter much.

So, what changes can be made over the next 12 months to make life more comfortable?

Budgeting

Often the first rule of finance; budgeting will allow you to analyse what you spend and where your money is going.

Whether you’re in full-time work, on retirement’s doorstep, or have been enjoying your well-deserved free time for over a decade; budgeting is always important.

So, if you’re looking to save or improve your financial circumstances, start by drawing up a budget to work out your income and spending to the finest detail.

Cutting costs

Once you have drawn up a budget, it will be much easier to work out where costs can be cut.

Of course, you should never go without the essentials or stop enjoying yourself. But almost always there are one or two areas of spending which can be reined in – even ever so slightly. The weekly food shop comes to mind.

Increasing your income

If you have been unable to cut costs, or the amount you have saved is merely not enough, then looking for new ways to boost your income may be a route of interest.

In 2018, we wrote a short piece on part-time jobs which could bring in a little extra cash.

Life model, tour guide and being a TV or film extra were just some of the roles we came up with, but, of course, there are several more.

However, you could always make your current financial assets work harder for you.

Harder working assets

This includes checking on previous investments or making sure you’re receiving all benefits and pensions you’re entitled to.

Often, you don’t see any cash unless you make first contact. So, for pensions, be sure to get in touch with the Pension Tracing Service on 0800 731 0193 or visit their website*. For benefits, head over to the calculator section of .gov.uk to see if you’re entitled.

Other assets

You may not think so, but your home could also provide the financial security you have been looking for. And we’re not just talking downsizing.

Releasing money from your four walls with an equity release plan has the potential to provide a comfortable future, all the while allowing you to retain your current way of life.

Clearing your existing mortgage, seeing off existing debts, enjoying the holiday of a lifetime, home improvements, buying that dream car; equity release is your tax-free money to spend how you wish.

But equity release is not for everyone. And at Key, we know that. Which is why, if you’re thinking of releasing equity and it’s not for you, we will tell you.

Remember, good advice is Key.

Things to consider

Our independent, specialist advisers search the whole market to find the right equity release plan for you. They’ll explain all the options available and that taking a plan reduces the value of your estate and may affect any means-tested benefits you’re eligible for.

You have to get specialist advice before releasing equity; it’s the only way to do it. The initial consultation is free with no obligation to proceed. If you decide to go ahead with an equity release plan, our advice fee – usually 1.99% of the amount released, subject to a minimum of £1,499 – is payable only on completion.

With a lifetime mortgage; the most popular form of equity release, you’ll still own your home. As with any kind of mortgage, it’s a loan secured against your home. All equity release plans we recommend have a no negative equity guarantee, which means you’ll never owe more than the value of your home.

You should always think carefully before securing a loan against your home.

* https://www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details

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