The start of a new year is a natural time to reflect, so money experts recommend thinking about previous saving and spending habits. They recommend considering whether you met your financial goals in 2022 and weighing up the changes to make in the New Year to give your money a makeover.
Money experts claim it’s always a good idea to review spending over the last year and think about where habits could be altered, whether that’s cutting out small purchases or making changes to larger spending.
Setting oneself a realistic budget is essential for getting on top of finances at any stage, particularly in retirement when people may not have the luxury of a regular top-up.
Some people find the “50/30/20” rule a good place to start as it provides a framework that puts 50 percent of income aside for essentials, 30 percent for the nice-to-haves and 20 percent for saving.
There are free money management apps available to download or alternatively, some banks provide useful online tools to keep tabs on your spending.
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The start of a new year can also be the perfect time to get on top of taxes – Britons usually have to pay income tax on any income over one’s personal allowance, which currently sits at £12,570.
However, every pension, investment or savings pot you have may be taxed differently and people will need to be strategic with how and when they take withdrawals from each in order to be as tax efficient as possible. By doing so, you can make your money work harder for you and last longer.
For example, a quarter of someone’s pension pot can usually be taken out tax-free and there are tax-free allowances for savings income and dividends.
People’s pensions may drop in value and you have other savings and investments, consider reducing how much you take from your pension or delaying starting taking anything and instead use cash savings or other sources of income to give the fund a chance to recover.
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Financial scams are increasingly at an alarming rate and every day scammers get smarter and more sophisticated. Retirement savings are a particular target, so it’s important that retirees are being extra cautious.
Make sure you never make rash decisions when it comes to your pension or any investments. Never share any details if you are asked to take immediate action on your savings, investments or pension, especially via text or email. No reputable company will pressure you to do that.
If you’re contacted out of the blue about an investment or pension savings opportunity, there is a chance it’s a high-risk investment or a scam. The safest thing to do is report it immediately to Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, or Citizens Advice.
People who suspect they’ve been caught by a scam, should contact their pension or investment provider straight away as they might be able to stop it.
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On a recent podcast, Mr Lewis told listeners that if it looks like it might benefit them, to contact the Government’s future pension centre and get a bespoke calculation.
Mr Lewis said: “A voluntary National Insurance year costs about £800, but it adds £275 a year to your state pension.
“This means, the break-even point, is if you live just three years after the state pension age.”
However, it is important to note voluntary contributions do not always boost the state pension, so it is vital to do one’s research beforehand.