Brushing up your money habits this month could make a big difference to your finances in 2020 and beyond.
The new year often means a fresh start – and for some, 2020 could mean turning over a new leaf when it comes to their finances. But don’t be put off by the idea of having to grapple with big numbers, as large gestures aren’t always what’s needed.
You may find small actions taken now could go a long way towards improving your financial prospects, whether it’s cutting down on daily treats or trying out online tools to help you manage your money better.
“In 2020, investing a little more time managing our money could be the best investment we make,” says Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva.
Here, he shares 10 top tips for better money management in 2020…
1. Don’t just focus on your big financial commitments – small ones can also add up
For example, did you know that over a working life of 40 years, we could spend more than £25,000 on daily coffees? Reducing this to one takeaway coffee every other day could save more than £10,000.
In 2020, it would be a good idea to think about where you spend your money and what little savings could be made.
2. Make the most of free help
Many of us are not confident when it comes to managing our money – but there are many free services to help us along the way, such as the independent Money Advice Service website.
3. Shop around
Many people don’t shop around when making financial decisions. This could be costly. A different bank account, a different pension, or a different mortgage could save you a lot of money.
4. Understand your state pension
The state pension represents the biggest source of income for most people in retirement. But it is also complicated. In 2020, it would be a good idea to get a free state pension forecast from the government to understand how much state pension you could be entitled to, and from when. More information is available at gov.uk/check-state-pension.
5. Take control of your workplace pension
Record numbers of people have been saving into private workplace pensions. This can make a big difference to your retirement wellbeing. In 2020, it would be a good idea to understand your workplace pension, to ensure you are maximising the benefits.
6. Hunt down lost savings
It’s been estimated that more than £20 billion of people’s private pension money could have been misplaced over the years. In 2020, you could use the Government’s free pension tracing service to track down any pensions you may have lost. Go to gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details.
7. Use your retirement freedoms
This year marks five years since the freedoms launched. More than one million people have since taken advantage, seizing greater private pension flexibility from age 55. If you are aged over-50, the Government’s free Pension Wise Service (pensionwise.gov.uk/en) can help you understand your options.
8. Make the most of online tools to help you manage your money
Many banks and pension and investment providers offer free online services to help you make the most of your money, whenever and wherever you want.
9. Keep calm during volatility
Continuing economic and political uncertainty may cause investment volatility in the year ahead. In 2020, it would be a good idea to ease your nerves by reminding yourself that the value of your investments can go up as well as down, and many investments are designed for the long term. Try to avoid short-term panic.
10. Keep fit
Last year saw the number of people in work over the age of 50 reach a record 10 million. Working longer is a very powerful way of paying for our longer lives in retirement. Keeping fit and healthy will help us do this.