New Year. New You?
The obligatory ‘get yourself sorted for the new year’ article.
Only this one isn’t really about losing the festive pounds.
Or having to detox from your new found love of cheese.
Rather, it’s about how you can retox and rejuvenate your financial lifestyle.
So now that 2022 is here, it’s never been a better time to take a look at your finances.
After all, let’s start off the year strong.
Before life and anything else gets in the way.
You may have been on the fence about financial planning or investment opportunities last year, but life has a habit of throwing you surprises.
Time may have gotten away.
Maybe you still need to complete your self-assessment form? You also might be concerned about proposed NI changes later on this year.
All that aside, it’s not too late to put thought into action.
To get your finances in good shape for 2022, here are a few actions to consider…
Where’s your (financial) head at?
Consider the overall picture of your finances and review your portfolio.
Check over your portfolio – what’s happened in the last twelve months? Any unexpected changes?
Do you need to make it leaner and meaner, or is it carrying a few extra pounds? (Still hoping that Gamestop will make another surge?)
Make sure your portfolio is consistent with your risk tolerance and goals.
Credit & Debt
A good NY resolution is to sort out your current debt situation, so that it doesn’t get worse or affect your credit rating. Where possible, consolidate any existing loans together and avoid taking out any new ones. Stuck on the fence about buying something? Wait three days and then decide.
Doing this will get you into the habit of thinking before acting. Useful too, of how much debt you can take on comfortably, without stressing you financially.
Too much debt can affect your long term financial plans, as you may well know…
Set financial goals. No, really…
Have you got a short-term goal (perhaps a holiday this year, restrictions pending, or saving up to buy a car?) or a BHAG?
Settle down and check over your savings and investments. This way, you’ll see if you’re still on track with your goals/risk level/timescale.
Consider getting help from a financial advisor if necessary to find out if you’re going in the right direction.
Build an emergency fund
A rainy day fund is necessary, and not just because of the weather here in Edinburgh(!). Got one started? Make sure you maintain it also. We mentioned how important it is to have one previously.
If anything, it’s a backup that will help you out during uncertain times, so that you don’t have to dip into your savings.
Keep an eye on it and top it up as and when you can.
Prepare for the Taxman…
31,000 people filed their self assessment in December (with almost 3,000 doing so on Christmas Day!) according to a recent HMRC press release(1)
So we thought it best to tell you now (and if we have to remind you again in January then we will!) that the deadline for your online tax return AND payment is midnight on the 31st January 2022. Don’t leave it until the last minute to sort!
If you’re self-employed and your business has several ongoing costs, look at these. Are any of them allowable expenses?
This could include office stationery, petrol for a company car, bank charges, utility bills or website costs.
Anything you have purchased in the last tax year for the essential running of your business could also be a capital allowance – this includes company cars or any equipment/machinery. If you’re not sure, contact HMRC for advice.
Max out your retirement contributions
If you have the capital, remember that you can contribute up to 100% of your salary (up to a maximum of £40k)
If you participate in a company retirement plan, you still have time to maximize your 2021 contributions.
Don’t forget that whilst you’re alive and kicking, your annual tax-free allowance is £3000.
You can also give away as many gifts up to £250 as you want (known as your annual exemption.)
The deadline is the end of each calendar year and if you don’t use it, it’s gone. You cannot roll it over to the next year.
This can be an effective way for individuals to gift on a regular basis to family and/or friends without being subject to gift tax.
If it’s important to you, make sure it’s protected in case something happens (because it inevitably will at some point!)
Health. Home. Family. Other valuables.
Make sure you are adequately covered, and that there is enough after considering your income and dependencies.