BY JOHN ELLIS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
IT is springtime once again. 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 and utility renewals to automatically roll on, but you may miss out on savings if you do. The current price spikes in utilities should have spurred us all on to seek better rates from other providers.
There is then the knock-on effect to all businesses and so, when renewing your insurance policies, it is imperative to make time to shop around. You will now notice on your renewal papers that the last number of years premiums you paid are listed. This is to give an indication to you of how your premium is either rising or falling over time. Just because the premiums are reducing each year does not mean that there are no other savings to be had by shopping around.
It’s also important to spend the time ensuring that you have sufficient levels of cover. For instance, with the cost to build a house rising significantly it’s imperative you have proper levels of cover in place should disaster strike.
Get to know your options for protection
As the saying goes, ‘he 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.” It is important to protect our loved ones and ourselves by planning in advance.
One piece of advice – when you are completing an application for any type of cover eg. life or serious illness, be very careful how you answer the health questions. If you think something is irrelevant or no need to mention that, think again! Be as comprehensive as possible. Better to give too much information “han too little.
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 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 it is never too late
Real protection starts with income
Think about how you’d cope if your income suddenly dried up due to ill health or injury? The things you care about – your family’s lifestyle, your home, your children’s education – could be in jeopardy.
You are a money-making machine! The money you earn pays for almost everything you have. You 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 thus giving you peace of mind.
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.
Are you claiming all tax reliefs available?
Based on research completed by Bank of Ireland only 1onein 5fivepeople have the confidence to conduct tasks relating to tax reliefs and welfare benefits. Income protection, pensions, medical expenses are amongst the most unclaimed tax reliefs. Look over all your outgoings and see what can be reclaimed.
Finally, get advice.
Many people find financial decisions and financial planning quite tricky and often put it off. Contact a financial adviser who will give you valuable ideas about where to start.