Your financial year ahead

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When a new year comes around, the months ahead can seem daunting, especially after an expensive festive season. But there are lots of ways to help to boost your savings and get your finances under control

CAPTION: Your financial year ahead.

Most of us are trying to save for something, whether it’s a big purchase, our families or retirement. But it can be hard to tighten our purse strings…

LAURA: I can cover my rent and living costs but I don’t know how I’ll be able to save up enough to buy a house in the future. How can I save more?

JIM: I’m worried about paying my mortgage, my bills and supporting my family. How do I make sure that I have some cash in reserve?

GEORGE: I want to invest some money so I can build up my savings, but how do I invest with risking losing my money?

SAJID: I don’t want to work into my retirement. How do I boost my savings so I can maybe retire a bit earlier?

ALICE: I’m worried about making my income last throughout my retirement. How do I make it stretch a bit further?

CAPTION: It might seem impossible, but there are ways you can make your money go further… Drawing up a financial plan could help you to take control of your finances. Work out exactly what your goals are, and how you might be able to achieve them. There are lots of free templates online that you can use to get you started.

Taking control of your debts could save you money. Check which debt is costing you most in interest and concentrate on paying that off first.

Shopping around on comparison sites such as Money Supermarket or Go Compare, could get you a better deal on all your utilities. From gas to broadband, to your mobile phone, a little research could end up saving you money each month. Also look around online for savings accounts with the highest interest rates. Using tax efficient schemes such as ISAs could help your money grow more quickly.

Establishing a weekly or monthly budget can help you get your finances under control. There are plenty of budget templates online, or budgeting apps such as Mint, and You Need a Budget, that you can manage on your phone.

You can also check and see if you’re entitled to any of the many benefits available which could help you with your income and bills. Many people in the UK are not claiming the benefits and tax credits they are entitled to.

Make sure you are opted in to your workplace pension scheme. Employers are obliged to pay into your scheme as long as you do, so you’ll be benefiting from their contributions as well as the governments.

Finally, investing can be a good way to boost your money and add more to your savings, but there’s always a risk. To reduce this, you can pick investments that cover a range of assets, such as stocks, bonds and guilds, across several regions. Alternatively, you can invest in a multi-asset fund, which will diversify your investments for you.

If you need help with your savings, an impartial financial adviser can provide personalised advice based on your circumstances.

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