3 Ways to Improve your Financial Wellbeing (that don’t cost any money)

Let’s be honest – money is the last thing any of us want to worry about right now.

Coronavirus is stressful enough, worrying about our health; our family’s health; being cooped up with our other half and the kids 24/7.

As always with these things, it’s the uncertainty around money that’s the hardest to deal with.

None of us knows yet, when life as we previously knew it will resume.

And when it comes to our finances, not knowing how much money we have coming up is seriously unsettling.

Obviously Boris has now put in a place a range of COVID-19 financial support measures, for those of us who aren’t key workers – to try and ensure there’s still some income coming in, if we’re not able do our job from home.

This includes furloughing employees (who get 80% of their wage, up to £2,500 pre-tax) and a payment due to most self-employed sole traders, due at the end of June.

As well as grants for businesses who have rateable premises (up to £25,000) and government-backed Business Interruption Loans.

It does mean that lots of people now have time on their hands.

When you can’t face watching more Netflix and you’ve Marie Kondo-ed every cupboard in the house (even the cutlery drawer) – how about taking some time to truly feel on top of your finances?

So that when you come out the other side (and we WILL!), you have a better grasp of your finances?

And you feel calm when you think about money, rather than stressed?

Here are 3 things you can do NOW, to improve your financial wellbeing.

I’ve deliberately chosen things that won’t cost you anything to implement – so if you’re worried about your bank balance, you don’t need to find money to move forward!

  1. Check your credit file.
  • You can get a free report from Credit Karma. Or use Experian / Equifax (just be sure to cancel before the end of the ‘free trial’ period).
  • Get the full report – not the score – the number is not what really matters!

First off, check that it’s accurate. It should say that you are on the electoral roll (registered to vote) at your address. Lenders like this, even if you don’t plan to go out and vote, so contact your council to register if you haven’t already.

Check that you’re not still linked to an ex-partner – otherwise their file is linked to yours and any adverse credit on their file can affect your chances of getting borrowing. The only person you should be linked to is your current partner (if you have a joint bank account and/or mortgage with them).

Check that for each credit commitment, you have a row of green dots to show all your payments are up to date. If any show as yellow or red, it usually indicates a missed or late payment. So you’ll need to speak to the lender and bring your account back into the green, as soon as you can.

  1. Set up direct debits for all your credit cards.

Most of us get our monthly credit card statements by email now. Or you get an email telling you to log on to your lender’s website, to your check your statement.

But it’s so easy to miss them, when your inbox is full of emails from Amazon and newsletters you’ve signed up for!

Miss a payment and it can damage your credit file (as we talked about above).

Contact each provider and set up a Direct Debit to either pay off your balance in full each month (if it’s the credit card you’re just using to collect points / airmiles on your everyday shopping) or the minimum payment (if it’s a card you use as and when or on holiday).

If you don’t want to pay interest on your spending, you can always make top-up payments. But a regular Direct Debit stops you from getting a late payment marker on your credit file, if somehow you forget to make a payment.

  1. Review your protection policies – life cover / sick pay – or lack thereof…

There’s nothing like people getting ill all around you, to focus your mind on the “what ifs” for your family.

Honestly – I’ve had way more enquiries than usual during the coronavirus outbreak, from women (especially business owners) who ‘keep meaning’ to put some protection in place.  To ensure their family is safe if they die, get seriously ill or lose their job.

And they’re right. Now IS the time to get it sorted.

A Protection Review costs you nothing. And if we decide to set up something for you, all you need to pay is the monthly premium of the plan you choose (which will always be within the budget we agree).

Because protection is the only part of financial planning still paid by commission, it’s not in our interests to sell you stuff you don’t need or don’t see the value of.

Each provider pays us the same rate of commission, so we’re not biased to recommend you choose one over another. And on top of that, they pay us over a 4-year clawback period (so if we set something up and you then cancel it 6 months later, any money we’ve been paid – they clawback!)

So you really can feel assured that I’ll help you find the exact protection you need, that works for you and your family. Nothing more, nothing less and no hidden agenda!

If you don’t have protection cover in place yet – or if your circumstances have changed since you set it up – please do get in touch and we can chat more

And for more free, helpful information about feeling in control of your finances, come over and join our Facebook group now:  Peace Together Money Confidence!

Until next time,

Claire

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