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Financial Management, Savings and Retirement Planning



With even tougher times expected in 2012 there has never been a better time to organise your finances

As the perilous global economic situation continues, it has never been more important to manage your money. Find a system that suits you and simplify and process your finances regularly. Good financial planning can transform your current and future position. The clearer you are of your direction and goals, the easier it will be to pursue them.

  • List your short, medium and long term objectives: a roadmap towards achieving financial goals. A good short term plan addresses factors such as how much money you’d like to save, the interest savings should earn, and how best to achieve this and explores how the plan affects longer term goals.
  • Protect yourself and your family from the unexpected, e.g. set up an emergency savings account or consider life insurance.
  • Know what you owe - a plan will help you to allocate your money and clear your debts.
  • Launch a new business - secure a loan, set a budget and know what to invest in and what to avoid.
  • Review your plan - it may need revising as you head towards your goals.

Saving

The key to building wealth. With interest rates continuing at an all-time low, it’s a tough time for savers, but there are ways of saving money on even the tightest budget.

  • Make sure you know exactly what rate you're getting on your savings.
  • Take advantage of bonus rates - move your money after 12 months if necessary.
  • Lock your money away into a fixed bond for better deals.
  • Save little and often, it’s better than saving nothing at all.
  • Remember to use your full tax free Individual Savings Account (ISA) allowance: £10,680 (including stocks and shares) or £5,340 in cash.

Take advantage of an online savings calculator to project how much your savings may be worth in the future or for help on reaching a savings target.

Planning for your retirement

The sooner you start your retirement planning, the better. The state will give you some help but it is wise to set up your own pension plan as you aim for a comfortable future.

  • State pension - paid to those over state pension age who have paid enough NI contributions.
  • Personal pension - save as much as you like and receive tax relief on the amount you put in up to the annual allowance.
  • Stakeholder pensions must meet a number of minimum standards to make sure they offer value for money, flexibility and security.
  • Group personal pensions - your employer may arrange for a pension provider to set up a personal pension through your workplace. A personal pension (including a stakeholder pension) arranged in this way is called a 'Group Personal Pension Plan'.
  • Company pensions - run by employers, contributions may come from your salary, your employer or both your salary and your employer. You will receive tax relief on the amount you put in up to the annual allowance. From 2012 your employer will automatically enrol you onto a pension scheme unless you are already in one. You will be free to opt out.

So don’t delay, start today - fix those finances and enjoy the future you deserve.


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