No one has been unaffected by Covid 19 around the world. As we all settle into our routines under the new Covid 19 measures, now may be is a good time to re-examine and take control of your finances.
This will help you to make sure you have enough money to meet your needs now, and in the future.
Here are my Top Ten Tips to help you save money and plan for your future:
1. Set up and follow a monthly Budget of your income and spending. You can start this on Excel, or access a free planner online or simply write it down in a notebook – www.ccpc.ie/consumers/tools-and-calculators. You need to get a grip on what you are spending your money on first and then establish where savings can be made.
2. Review your Mortgage Rate now! This is an area where big savings can be made. For a comparison of rates check out www.ccpc.ie/consumers/tools-and-calculators. Martina Hennessy (Mortgage Switching Expert & MD of Doddl) has some important advice in this area. “As a rule of thumb anyone who purchased a property after 2008 should review their mortgage regularly. Switching your mortgage is the one change a household can make that will have the largest impact on your finances.” www.doddl.ie.
3. Review all your other loans such as car loan and credit cards check out www.bonkers.ie for comparison rates.
4. Review your existing Life Cover and Mortgage Protection plans to see if you can save money. Rates have become extremely competitive in recent years. If you do not currently have any cover in place I would urge you to look at your options now in relation to Life Cover, Specified Serious Illness Cover and Income Protection. Consult with a good Financial Adviser to find out your options.
5. Make sure to claim any Refunds for Cancellations. If you have Health Insurance you may now be entitled to a premium rebate during Covid 19 crisis. Some of the main health insurers (Irish Life, Laya & VHI) have agreed to rebate clients during the 3 months that the Private Hospitals have been taken over. Five of the main Car Insurers have also agreed to give relief on car insurance – (Allianz, AXA, FBD, RSA & Zurich). Make sure to follow up refunds for any cancelled flights, holiday accommodation, concerts, school transport or commuter tickets.
6. Review your Pensions now. Have you just left employment or do you have a pension value with a former employer(s) and not sure what to do with it? Consult with a good Financial Adviser to find out your options.
7. There are lots of other areas you can add to your task list – banking charges, utility bills, mobile phone/broadband provider, car and house insurance to name a few. There are many sites available online to help you to do this www.switcher.ie, www.onebigswitch.ie or www.bonkers.ie.
8. Ensure you claim all the Tax Relief that you are entitled to – e.g. on your pension contributions, medical & dental expenses, home carers allowance and currently e-working. So many people miss out on claiming their entitlements, believing it will be too difficult, but the average refund for a Taxback.com customer is €1,076! www.taxback.com.
9. If you can make any savings in your bills, repayments, general spending then I strongly recommend you start a savings plan or increase your current plan to build up an emergency fund. It is vital to have a fund in place (ideally 6 months net salary) for that rainy day.
10. Cash Flow Planning – if you are really serious about getting your finances in order and looking at what you would like to do with your money and life, then cash flow planning is for you.
If you are worried about meeting repayments – contact your creditors as soon as possible whether that is a bank, a utility provider, landlord – the most important thing is to make that call.
It can be overwhelming to try and address all of these areas at once. If you have a partner, perhaps you could divide up the steps between you. Start with something easy first – I promise you will feel better and more in control in these unprecedented times. Best of luck – if you need any help just give me a call or email me via our Contact Page.
Gráinne Ryan – CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™