This week, 23rd – 29th November, is Financial Planning Week.

At Santorini Financial Planning we want to help you by providing you with some top tips for Financial Planning Week to help make your life better:-

1. Define your goals and targets, and with timescales, priorities and costs too! If you don’t know what you want your money to do for you and by when, how can you know if you have enough money or not? Whether it’s retiring at 55, buying a property abroad or setting up a business, work out your priorities and start to plan for them.

2. Pay down debt. The cost of debt on credit cards and personal loans is likely to be far higher than the returns you get on any savings accounts so work out a debt repayment plan and pay these off first if you can.

3. Make saving a habit. If you know what you are saving it for it makes a huge difference, it becomes real. For example, if you know how much your children’s school fees are and when you need to pay them, it makes it easier to work out the amount you need to save to achieve this. Don’t forget with RPI inflation running at 1.3%, your net returns after tax and charges needs to be over this figure if the value of your money isn’t going to depreciate. Using tax efficient savings products such as ISAs and Pensions may help.

4.Know your numbers. How much do you need to earn, save or sell your business for ( if you have one!) to get what you need? How much is enough? You need to work out your household income and expenditure very closely to see what you realistically have spare and are able to comfortably set aside. Having a budget and keeping to it will help you. There are useful online tools such as that available free on www.financialplanningweek.org.uk/wayfinder which may help.

5. Make a Will. One of the most important financial decisions you may ever make and probably the least expensive. Not only does a Will give instructions on who you want your money to be passed to in the event of your death but can include details on how you want your funeral to be arranged to. One of the most important elements of a Will if you have Children is the ability to nominate Guardians for your them so they avoid becoming a Ward of the Courts.

6. Shop Around. Finally, always make sure you shop around to get the best deals on key household expenses. Get into the habit of using price comparison sites for car and home insurance, gas and electricity, phones, broadband, TV and even holidays. Even when shopping for clothes or children’s toys the difference in price from one retailer to another can be quite significant. It all adds up. As the saying goes

“if you look after the pennies the pounds will look after themselves”

Remember, it’s Your Life, Your Money, Your Plan!