We’ve all heard of a spring clean, but what about an autumn audit? Your finances can often end up being an endless stream of paperwork and email communications. That added to the fact that your money might be here, there and everywhere can make organising your finances feel like a huge burden. Yet, knowing where you stand is the key to improving your financial wellbeing and resilience. And to help here’s a complete financial planning checklist to refresh your finances and make sure everything is in order.
Your financial planning checklist
To understand your financial situation, you have to look at where your money and check if it is working hard enough for you. A little restructuring could go a long way, bringing you that closer to your financial goals.
Here we’ve put together a financial planning checklist that covers six fundamental areas of a comprehensive financial planning strategy:
Income & Expenditure
Ο Do you know how much you receive each month?
Ο Do you know what you spend each month?
Ο Do you know the split between your essential and discretionary spending?
Ο Do you have a budget?
Ο Have you reviewed your direct debits/payments recently?
Ο Do you have debts which could be repaid early or restructured?
Top tip -why not try this free online budget planner to get a clearer picture.
Goals & Priorities
Ο Have you thought about what is most important to you?
Ο Have you prioritised these?
Ο What are your timescales to achieve them?
Ο Are they attainable?
Ο What steps do you need to take to achieve them?
Top tip – If you haven’t done so already, it’s important to get your thinking cap on and put pen to paper. Write your goals down; this helps solidify them and provides focus.
Savings & Investments
Ο Do you have an investment timescale?
Ο Do you current your investments align with your values and investment needs?
Ο When did you last review your investment portfolio with a professional?
Ο Are you making the most out of your money and utilising all your tax-free allowances each year?
Ο Do you have a savings target or plan?
Ο What do you need to use this money for in the future? Is there a clear purpose or intention?
Top tip -You should review all aspects of your financial plan every year. However, if you haven’t looked at your investments with a financial planner in the past couple of months, we would recommend doing so.
Ο Are you making pension contributions?
Ο Are you a member of your workplace scheme?
Ο Have you reviewed your existing pension provision recently with a professional?
Ο Do you know how much you need to save to live comfortably in retirement? The UK Retirement Living Standards will give you an idea of how much you will need.
Ο What retirement plans do you have? Are you on track to be able to retire when you hope to?
Ο How are your retirement savings being invested? Are you taking an appropriate amount of risk?
Ο Have you calculated how much retirement income you expect to get? The pension calculator here will give you an idea of your retirement income.
Ο Have you reviewed the expression of wishes for your pension recently?
Ο Do you understand what income you or your partner will receive if the other should pass away?
Top tip – Have you checked your state pension entitlement? If not, it might be time you do – get your state pension statement online here.
Ο Do you have life insurance?
Ο Do you have a policy that you can claim if you become ill or unable to work?
Ο If so, have you reviewed your protection recently? Check the term, amount of cover and premium.
Ο Is it the right type of protection for your current situation, and are you adequately covered?
Ο Have you reviewed your beneficiaries for your life insurance recently?
Ο Do you know where will it be paid if the worst should happen?
Ο Do you know how much you can claim if something were to happen to your partner?
Ο Do you have an emergency fund?
Ο Do you have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
Top tip – A will deals with your affairs once you are gone, but an LPA looks after them if you are unable to during your lifetime. It needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, but will only come into action if you lose capacity. So it’s better to sort this sooner rather than later.
Ο Do you have a will? If so, have you reviewed it recently?
Ο Who are the beneficiaries of your estate?
Ο Have you nominated beneficiaries on your life and pension policies?
Ο Do your loved ones understand your wishes?
Ο Do you know what happens when your partner dies?
Ο Have you taken advantage of your inheritance tax gifting allowances?
Ο Have you made any larger gifts recently? Or do you plan to make any?
Ο If you have children, have you appointed a guardian for them?
Ο If you own a business, do you have a succession plan?
Our financial advisers can help you work through this checklist, as well as taking the weight off your shoulders. Financial planning is what we do, and so addressing all of these questions and concerns is all part of our process in making sure that your financial future looks as bright as it can be.