Five ways to spring clean your finances

By JOHN ELLIS, Financial Advisor

IT’S springtime, the days are longer the sun is shining into every nook and cranny showing up the cobwebbed corners of the house. Hence the spring clean, the deep scrub. While you are putting some elbow grease into sprucing up your home why not spend some time getting your finances into tip top shape too – here’s what you need to know

Shop around for valuable savings
It is very tempting to just leave policy renewals and utility renewals to automatically roll on but you may miss out on savings if you do. When renewing your policies and utilities, it is important to make time to shop around. It’s also important to spend the time ensuring that you have sufficient levels of cover and an adequate plan in place that meets your needs for the year ahead.

Get to know your options for protecting you and your family
As the saying goes, ‘the only certainties in life are death and taxes’. We can’t predict what life has in store and when it comes to things like premature death or serious illness. We usually think, ‘it will never happen to me’. In reality, we all know someone who has been affected. So it is important to protect our loved ones and ourselves by planning in advance.

Remember, real protection starts with income protection
The money you earn pays for almost everything you have. You probably don’t think twice about insuring your home, car or healthcare but what about your income – the one thing that pays for everything.? With Income Protection, you take control of your financial security. By paying a monthly premium, you will receive a regular income for the complete duration of your illness until such time as you return to work or retire. Therefore, regardless of your employment profile, you must prepare for a medium to long-term income gap.

Get to know your options when saving for retirement
Choosing to start a pension is an important step in your life. It’s one of the ways to secure your future and ensure the lifestyle you’ve planned for once your working life is over. And if that’s not a good enough reason, a pension is one of the smartest ways to save. There are valuable tax incentives available on pension contributions (subject to Revenue limits). The earlier you start the better but remember it is never too late.

Are you claiming all tax reliefs available to you?
Income Protection, Pensions, medical expenses are amongst the most unclaimed tax reliefs. Based on research completed by Bank of Ireland into people’s awareness and familiarity with tax reliefs and welfare benefits they found that only one in five people are very confident in conducting tasks relating to tax reliefs and welfare benefits.

Get advice
Many people find financial decisions and financial planning quite tricky and often put it off. Although there is likely to be a cost, a conversation with a financial adviser would give you good ideas about where to start.

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