Rossendale Free Press
Five tips to make better financial decisions
We can all struggle to make decisions from time to time, and when it comes to money, the hardest part is often knowing where to start.
Financial matters can have an impact on our wellbeing, and ultimately we all want peace of mind and to feel confident when making decisions about money.
Shona Lowe, financial planning expert with investment company abrdn (abrdn.com), suggests some starting points to improve your financial wellbeing...
1. HAVE A CLEAR BUDGET
“Creating a plan and sticking to it will help your confidence and overall approach to your money,” says Shona.
Analyse your spending habits from the last six to 12 months so you can see where you spend the most – and where you could make any savings.
Write down expected outgoings for the next month. If you have any money left over, you can perhaps think about your other financial goals, such as saving and investing.
If outgoings are more than your income, consider where you could make changes. If you have problems with debt, make a list of what you owe, to whom and how much, and get copies of your credit reports.
Organisations such as Citizens Advice (citizensadvice.org.uk) may also be able help.
Try to have a buffer, so if you end up slightly overspending you won’t blow your budget.
2. SET GOALS
These could be saving for something such as a new car or holiday, helping your children at university, or repaying debts. To make your targets more effective you might also want to set a time frame for each, so you have a clearer idea of how to get there.
3. TALK ABOUT MONEY
“Financial decisions can come with anxiety and stress, but that’s why speaking to friends or family can help,” advises Shona. “They might have ideas on how you could make a goal more obtainable.”
If you don’t feel comfortable with this, try talking to a financial planner.
4. PLAN FOR EMERGENCIES
The pandemic has taught us the importance of having a savings pot in case of emergencies.
Shona says: “There are several benefits to investing your money, most notably the potential for stronger returns over the long-term, but you still always want to ensure you have an amount of savings in cash to fall back on if you need it.”
5. FINALLY, DON’T RUSH IT
“There are very few, if any, financial decisions that need to be made immediately, and often making a pressured decision could leave you worse off in the future if you have not thought through the detail,” says Shona.
“The key to financial wellbeing is feeling like you’re in control of your finances, so ensuring your decisions are well thought through will help you feel confident.”