As you might expect, last year’s trendiest resolutions were to eat healthier food and get more exercise. But according to a YouGov poll, of the 37% of people who set their sights on a buff ‘new you’, only half of them expect to stick to their goals. So is there a way to make a lasting change this year without getting up early and doing squats every morning? Yes, actually. By focusing on your financial fitness instead.
Follow the tips below to get a sense of which wallet muscles you need to work on, then download your personalised Financial Fitness Plan for 2019. Easy peasy.
Best for you if: you have payday loans or credit cards
This should be your number one priority when it comes to your money, as debts can pile up and cause problems. If you have credit card debt, consider transferring it to a zero balance account – ask Google to find some deals and choose the option that suits your situation. And if you have payday loans, pay those off first. It’s not unusual for annual interest to be over 1000%.
Best for you if: your debts are already manageable
Your rainy-day fund should include enough money to cover unexpected costs like a broken boiler, as well as a buffer for time away from work. As for where you keep it, easy-access Cash ISAs tend to be a safe bet. But if you can find a better interest rate on a current account and can afford the minimum monthly contributions, you might be better off with one of those.
Best for you if: your family depends on your earnings
Hopefully you’ll never need it, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Surprisingly, you can protect your family’s future by covering yourself with life insurance from as little as £10 a month if you’re healthy. Compare basic quotes with MoneySupermarket or Comparethemarket in under 10 minutes, or try LifeSearch if your circumstances are more complicated.
Best for you if: you want control of your legacy
Got half an hour? Then you’ve got enough time to write a will, so stop putting it off. Some charities will let you do one online for free if you leave them a slice of the pie, or you can go to a solicitor for around £500. Even if you’ve made a will once before, make sure it’s up to date. The last thing you’d want after you’ve gone is for the wrong people, like a bitter ex, to have control of your assets.
Best for you if: you only have a workplace pension (or none at all)
One day, you’ll probably want to retire. The only way that’ll be possible is if you save for it now. So use the retirement calculator from Money Advice Service to work out how much you’ll need to live on, and how much you need to put away each month to make it a reality. Then use our private pensions guide to figure out which products and providers are best for you.
Best for you if: you’re in good financial shape but still want to improve
You don’t need a pinstripe suit or a PhD to get your money fighting fit – new services called robo advisers do all the hard work for you. Compare them with our Best Buys table, using the ‘Stocks and Shares ISA’ filter, and invest up to £20,000 a year without paying tax. 9 out of 10 times, stocks perform better than cash over a ten-year period.
1. Answer 6 multiple choice questions about your personal finances.
2. Get tailored advice to manage your debts, boost your savings and prepare for retirement.
Because cutting out gluten and fags can only do so much! Happy New Year.
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