Should you Combine Your Pensions?

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Over the course of your career, you are likely to move jobs and contribute to more than one pension. Keeping track of all your separate pensions and monitoring the relative performance can be a difficult task; there’s also the often complicated fees and charges to be taken into consideration too. It is no wonder that many working adults in the UK do not stay on top of their retirement planning in general and pensions in particular.

Your Pensions and Performance

When you have tracked down your pension pots, write to the pension providers and if necessary advise them of your new address. I add this point in because whenever I have lost track of a pension it is because pension providers have been sending the annual statements to an old address. You must notify them when you move house. Once your details have been verified, when you call your pension provider they will be able to give you a statement balance for your pension. Repeat this step for each of your pension pots. Ideally you will have the balance from previous years too. This will enable you to calculate which is your best performing pension.

Exit Charges

Once you have worked out which is your best performing pension it would be great if you could simply move all of your pensions into the best performing pension and go on to live happily ever after. Well, unfortunately it is not that simple, whilst most pension providers will usually let you add to an existing pension pot free of charge the same cannot be said ot exiting an existing pension plan. You are likely to face exit charges for exiting the pension plan early. Give your pension provider a call to find out the full extent of the charges that you will face if you exit the pension plan.

What Should You do?

After your research and phone calls, you will have a better understanding of whether it is a good idea to combine all of your pension pots into one. I cannot give a generic recommendation in this case. Please also consider the investment funds that your pensions are invested in on your behalf. You could have set them up with different risk profiles; keeping separate pension pots could be a smart way to diversify your pensions portfolio and reduce investment risk. At some point as you are evaluating your pensions and deciding what to do it would be sensible to consult an independent financial adviser.

Have you tracked down a lost pension pot recently ? Have you worked out which is the best performing pension? Let me know in the comments section below.  There is no need to write any specific amounts!

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My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

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4 Obstacles You will Face on Your Financial Journey

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The path to financial freedom is a route that is potentially open to many and yet few actually take it and liberate themselves. Achieving your financial goals and becoming financially free requires discipline and commitment, you will face many obstacles but with the right mindset and financial habits success will come. I have listed four of of the obstacles that you will face below. Consistency of action and your ability to adapt to changing circumstances will be key if you are to make it.

Obstacles on Your Financial Journey

Level of Income Changes

The days when employees could expect to work continuously for one employer for a period of forty years and then retire are long gone. In many cases, you are now more likely to be made redundant and suffer a period of unemployment during your career. The chances of this happening are higher if you are an ethnic minority or a woman. Self employed workers and freelancers are also more likely to experience fluctuations in their income levels. If this happens, you will experience a change in the level of your income which could jeopardise your financial objectives.

What to do:

You should immediately re-visit your monthly budget and assess the impact to your net worth. It is important that you adapt to your changing circumstances; should you look for a part time job while also looking for a new main job? Can you make cuts to your levels of expenditure? Surely, the entertainment budget can be reduced? These are questions that you will need to ask yourself.  Hopefully you have an emergency fund that you can use until you secure another job.

Pressure from Creditors

If you are following the steps I outlined in this post, What’s the Best Strategy For Clearing Debts?, you will have a prioritised list of debts to clear. It should come as no surprise to you that your creditors will have no regard for your list. You may receive phone calls, text messages or letters from creditors who are a low priority on your list. They will want you to make payments to them and will not care what your overall plan is for reducing your debts. These communications from debtors are an obstacle to overcome and can put you under pressure. If you need to talk to someone consider contacting The National Debtline.

What to do:

Stay strong mentally and do not change your priorities in terms of debt reduction because you received a specific phone call. Stick to your plan that will result in you getting out of debt more quickly.

Pressure from Friends

True friends and family members will understand the financial journey that you are on and the steps that you are taking to put yourself in a better place financially. However, there will be many who do not understand or perhaps are not in your inner circle, they may continue to expect you to attend expensive social get togethers or go on holidays with them. This will put you under some social pressure.

What to do:

Do not give in to pressure to keep up  with the Joneses at all. If an event or purchase does not fit with your financial plan avoid it. If you must attend a wedding or special occasion, plan and budget specifically for the occasion. Recycle an outfit for the occasion rather than buying a brand new one. If necessary, explain your decisions to your friends.

Changes in the Value of Investments

On your financial journey, you will experience many changes in the value of your investments. Depending on the nature of your investment portfolio, these changes could be quite significant. For example, those who have invested in cryptocurrencies during the last few years will have experienced a level of price volatility that can make even the most confident investor think twice.

What to do:

Keep tabs on your investments and prepare to takes steps to rebalance your portfolio if it is no longer consistent with the level of risk you are comfortable with. Avoid knee jerk reactions to market changes and consider the long term at all times.

Having a financial plan and goals is a wonderful position to be in, having the strength of character and determination to stick to it and adapt when necessary is even better. You will face obstacles but it is possible to overcome them. I write from experience, I have faced each of the obstacles I have described and more.  I want you to come out the other side and be able to recognise your achievement and smile.

Have you faced any of the obstacles I have mentioned here? How have you handled them?  Let me know in the comments section below.

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If you have enjoyed this post you will also like the following posts:

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Are you and Your Partner Financially Compatible? 

Why Choose a Gold IRA?

What are the Best Savings Accounts for Children? 

How to Teach Your Children About Money

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My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

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4 OBSTACLES YOU WILL FACE ON YOUR FINANCIAL JOURNEY

 

 

Why you Should Track Your Net Worth

This post may contain affiliate links please read our disclosure for more info.

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I hope those you who did not already have a monthly household budget, have now had chance to create one. If not, this post will help you, How to Create a Budget That you can Stick to.  One stage on from creating a monthly budget is to create another simple spreadsheet that records your total net worth.

Calculating Your Net Worth

Net Worth can be defined as the sum of all of your assets minus your liabilities.  For many of you, the thought of creating a spreadsheet with all your assets and liabilities recorded in one place might fill you with dread. If you have large student loans or credit card debts, recording your total amount of liabilities and assets might be a painful process. However, this is a necessary step to track your net worth.

Your personal net worth looks at the bigger picture, it’s not just your monthly income and outgoings. You also get the opportunity to track all of your assets as well as your liabilities. Assets include properties, savings, investment accounts, stocks and shares and businesses owned where applicable; liabilities include, mortgages, student loans, credit card debts and loans.

For the sake of simplicity it is acceptable to leave out all regular monthly expenses that are paid out of your monthly salary or wage. When thinking about net worth I always remember a quote attributed to the mathematician, Karl Pearson.

“That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.”

Karl Pearson

Improvements to Your Net Worth

This is exactly why we are doing this! Your net worth will improve. When you complete your first total net worth tracker spreadsheet, it will take some time. By the way,  feel free to think of a more exciting title than Total Net Worth Tracker Spreadsheet. 🙂

When you come to update it after a month, unless you have suffered some financial calamity,  your total net worth will have increased. For example, if you have made payments to student loans and or credit cards, their totals will come down slightly and your net worth will have gone up. If you are like me, you will find this incredibly motivating!  As an aside, do not compare yourself to others, just track your own progress. In time, deficits will turn into surpluses. Money that was originally to pay debts can be diverted into savings accounts when those debts have been paid. Tracking your net worth is an excellent habit and will help you to transform your finances.

What Should you do Now?

Create your total net worth spreadsheet and update it each month. Here’s a downloadable spreadsheet that you can use. 

Are you already tracking your net worth ? If so, what has been the improvement in the last 12 months? Let me know in the comments section below.

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If you have enjoyed this post you will also like the following posts:

Have you saved Enough into Your Pension? 

Are you and Your Partner Financially Compatible? 

Why Choose a Gold IRA?

What are the Best Savings Accounts for Children? 

How to Teach Your Children About Money

How to get Value for Money When Buying Foreign Currency 

Save up to £500 Per Year With a Sim Only Mobile Phone Deal 

How Much Should You Save?

10 Ways to Make Money Now

What’s the Best Strategy for Clearing Debts? 

What are the Different Types of Savings Accounts?

My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

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Why you Should Track Your Net Worth (1)

Have you Saved Enough into Your Pension?

This post may contain affiliate links please read our disclosure for more info.

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Have you saved enough into your pension? For a large proportion of the United Kingdom population the answer is no. Most people are not saving enough for their retirement.  Does your vision of retirement include freedom to travel and time to enjoy a comfortable standard of living? If we all to have the retirement that we aspire to one day, we will need to make sure that we are on track to achieve it.  It is time to get serious and work out how much that will cost.

Pensions: Why Many People Are Failing

There are a lot of assumptions built into pension calculations, assumptions that are not true for many people. For example, the assumption that you will work 40 years of continuous employment with your salary continually increasing by X% and you maintaining your pension contributions at 12% of your salary for 40 years. Some of the realities of life such as redundancies, women taking time out to raise a family, individuals starting businesses, part time work, time out for studying and credit credit or student loan debts don’t exist in this Continuous Pension Saving Utopia.

I think when people realise that they are not on track to hit their pension goal, they give up and hope someone other than themselves will solve the problem. Let me be more specific, if you would like to live on a retired income of £25,000 you will need to have a pension pot of £500,000. That is assuming that you use your pension pot to purchase an annuity giving you the annual income of £25,000.  Try this pension calculator to work out how  much you would need at other income levels. As you can appreciate, £500,000 is a large amount especially when it’s considered that the average pension pot in the UK is around £50,000. 

What Should you do Now?

Pension Pot 

Work out the total pension pot you currently have, if you have had several jobs during your career  you may need to do a little detective work to track down all of your workplace pensions.  This article will help you find your pensions. 

Up Your Contributions

Re-evaluate your household budget, can you afford to increase your contributions? If you are in a workplace pension then you should maximise the contributions that you make because these will be matched by your employer. If you are self employed, you should also increase your contributions.

Develop a Plan B

It may be that increasing your pension contributions alone will not be enough for you create a big enough pension pot for retirement. If that is the case, you should develop a Plan B.

Property is a great way to supplement your pension savings, you could downsize your main residence and use the profit for your retirement. Alternatively, you could rent out a spare room and earn extra income that way. There are other ways too, they include equity release and property investing. You can read more about these ways via this link. 

If you own a business, this could become your Plan B. Depending on the nature of your business, you may be able to sell it and contribute money to your pension savings after the sale.

Don’t Lose Heart

The fact that you are reading an article like this is a positive in itself. You still have time to improve your level of preparedness for retirement and there are a number of ways you can do so.

Are you on track with your pension savings? If not, what are you going to do about it? Let me know in the comments section below.

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If you have enjoyed this post you will also like the following posts:

Are you and Your Partner Financially Compatible? 

Why Choose a Gold IRA?

What are the Best Savings Accounts for Children? 

How to Teach Your Children About Money

How to get Value for Money When Buying Foreign Currency 

Save up to £500 Per Year With a Sim Only Mobile Phone Deal 

How Much Should You Save?

10 Ways to Make Money Now

What’s the Best Strategy for Clearing Debts? 

What are the Different Types of Savings Accounts?

My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

Follow me on Pinterest

Have you saved enough into your pension_ (1)

 

 

Are you and Your Partner Financially Compatible?

This post may contain affiliate links please read our disclosure for more info.

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If you are going to be successful and achieve your financial goals you will need to face up to obstacles head on rather than wait and hope that they disappear of their own accord; usually, they do not disappear of their own accord. Are you financially compatible with your partner?

First of all, a quick definition, when I use the use the term financially compatible,  I mean to share the same financial goals, vision and habits. Are you both saving regularly and maximising investment returns? Is your discretionary expenditure linked to value for money? I do not mean that you need to be earning the same salary. It is great if you are but it is not essential for financial compatibility. The key word in this context is together, ideally you need to be able to plan your financial future together and work towards it. This could mean saving to buy a home, a goal of becoming debt free or financial freedom (retirement) at an early age.

Financial literacy is not a skill-set everyone has, some are willing to learn whereas others are more interested in living for the moment instead of having a financial plan. Not everyone approaches personal finance and their financial responsibilities in the same way.

Are You Financially Compatible?

Disagreements over money remains one of most common causes of divorce. If one person is a disciplined, lifelong saver and the other is frivolous with money, there will be friction between the two. In my opinion, if these differences are entrenched there is no chance of achieving your financial goals together. It does not seem very romantic to consider a partner’s financial compatibility when you are just getting to know them but if you don’t, you could be storing up problems for yourself later on. Hopefully, if you are in a relationship you have already taken an opportunity to discuss money with your partner.

Depending on your starting point, following a budget for a prolonged period can be hard work. To achieve financial freedom for example, you and your partner will need to work as a team and to be consistent. You need to be in alignment.

Create a Financial Plan Together

If there are only slight differences between you then thankfully, with a calm approach, compromises can be agreed upon.

If that is the case, the following steps will help:

  • Arrange to have regular money meetings with your partner; during these meetings discuss financial goals and budgeting and agree a way forward.
  • If one of you is the natural saver, take the lead in these meetings but be careful to avoid being judgemental.
  • Build in quick wins on your financial journey together, this could be paying off a credit card with a low balance or saving for a planned weekend away.
  • Allow yourself small celebrations when you hit your financial milestones, be creative with these and do not spend a lot of money on them.

By working together you will dramatically improve your financial health and you will strengthen your relationship. Well done! Your future is looking bright.

Have you sat down with your partner and discussed finances? How did the conversation go?  Let me know in the comments section below.

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If you have enjoyed this post you will also like the following posts:

Why Choose a Gold IRA?

What are the Best Savings Accounts for Children? 

How to Teach Your Children About Money

How to get Value for Money When Buying Foreign Currency 

Save up to £500 Per Year With a Sim Only Mobile Phone Deal 

How Much Should You Save?

10 Ways to Make Money Now

What’s the Best Strategy for Clearing Debts? 

What are the Different Types of Savings Accounts?

My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only.  This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

Follow me on Pinterest

ARE YOU AND YOUR PARTNER FINANCIALLY COMPATIBLE_
 

How Much Should You Save?

This post may contain affiliate links please read our disclosure for more info.

Image credit: http://yourmoneyrelationship.com/

For many people, saving money is not exciting; when they consider what their savings may allow in the future it can become more exciting.  This may mean the chance to have an expensive family holiday or a more comfortable retirement.

Save Money

Whatever your level of salary or wages, you should aim to save 20% of your earnings. Depending on where you currently are in terms of your financial health, this 20% figure could seem insurmountable or very manageable. Please remember this is a guideline.

This guideline is based on the following breakdown of income; 50%  on mandatory expenditure including accommodation and associated bills, 30% on discretionary expenditure and 20% on savings.

Is this the Dream versus Reality?

Level of Household Savings UK

The chart above is from Trading Economics  and clearly demonstrates that in the UK most households are not getting anywhere near the 20%  figure.  My own anecdotal evidence is  that there are times when I have been able save above the 20% and other times when no saving has been possible at all.

For our US readers, the situation is actually slightly worse, as you can see from the chart below. There is data from other countries as well on the website, so please explore to find figures for your country if you are not from the UK or US.

How much should you save

I would like everyone who reads this post to take a step forward to a better financial future. We have just started a new month, commit with me to saving 20% of your income, or as close to that as you can.  If you comfortable doing so, leave a comment below indicating the percentage of your income that you will save this month, this month being June 2018.

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If you have liked this post you will also like the following posts:

What are the Different Types of Savings Accounts?

10 Ways to Make Money Now

What’s the Best Strategy for Clearing Debts?  

My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that financial education is largely absent from the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010.

I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

Mike

How much should you save