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Written by

Cherry Reynard

Content correct as of

15 March 2018


5 personal finance achievements for your lunch break. Really!

We’re not going to pretend that we can enthuse you about sorting out your finances. Like the dentist or visiting your in-laws, we know most people just hope it’s going to be as quick as possible and with minimal pain.

With that in mind, here are five try-‘em-at-your-desk hacks that will improve your financial situation without taking (almost) any time at all. You can do them in your lunch break.

1. Read this article (there, you’ve almost finished one already)

2. Buy life insurance – this takes 10 minutes at most, is not expensive, and is one of the single kindest things you can do for your family. All the major comparison sites have a life insurance option. Don’t get too caught up on which one you pick – life insurance isn’t shoes.

If you’ve got time left over in between sandwiches, you might give your inner pessimist free rein and think about some of the other big risks in your life. You have death covered, but what about ill-health, redundancy or the risk that your partner runs off with someone else? Have a little ponder about whether you could cope and read this article.

3. Check whether you’re entitled to a state pension. Most people believe that everyone is entitled to a state pension, but you need to have made 35 years of national insurance contributions to qualify for the full amount. You can check here.

Again, if you’ve got a little time left over, think whether you might have any pensions from old employers that you have forgotten about. The Pension Tracing Service can help.

4. Automate your savings – there’s genuinely no use relying on willpower to make savings every month, or hoping you’ll have money left over. Create a direct debit to go out the day your salary goes in, double it when you get a payrise, and put in a quarter of your bonus.

5. Get investing. Doesn’t particularly matter where (hint, not Bitcoin). Any nice, diversified collective fund will do. For this, you will need to sign up to a platform or sign up with a robo-adviser. We can’t tell you which to do, but we can say that which one you pick is far less important than picking one and it will take less than half an hour.

If you’ve got time left over, or you get a taste for financial self-improvement, you could do one or other of the following:

  • Stop changing your travel money with your bank and sign up with a proper low-cost currency exchange service, we like Revolut.
  • Check the ‘statement of wishes’ on your pension (this is who your pension goes to if you die, very important if you would rather it didn’t get allocated randomly).
  • Write down everything you’ve spent that day, even better, download a spending tool like this one.

Ta dah – you’re in charge of your own financial universe, one lunch break at a time. Don’t you feel better already?

And if you have more questions, you can always ask them here.