Well, here we are, just out of the second lockdown.
It did feel different this time. People seemed generally calmer and just getting on with things, apart from a few loo roll hoarders! Now it’s getting cold and dark, I’m finding it easier to batten down the hatches.
It was much harder in the summer. Having a cosy lounge with a roaring fire does help, I have to admit, although I am writing this from my home office with an extra layer and a radiator to keep me warm! I have decided to take it easy this time round. One thing I am planning to do though is take the time to review my personal finances.
If you are one of the millions of people who have been affected financially by the pandemic, maybe furloughed, working less hours or made redundant, now might be a really good time to take a look at your own finances to see what you can cut down on.
I thought I would share some advice on this as it can be extremely stressful if your income has reduced and it is not always easy to know where to start.
The first thing I would suggest is to look at your household bills.
Can you switch your utilities to a cheaper provider?
Are you eligible for a 0% introductory credit card deal and can switch so you are not paying interest?
Are you paying for a gym membership that you cannot even use?
What about your car insurance?
It’s worth checking whether you can reduce your payments if your mileage has reduced.
I know Direct Line are offering this option to their customers, so it is worth a call.
Once you’ve reviewed the basics, take a look at your protection policies, such as life insurance and critical illness cover.
You might think, if you are short of cash, this is not the right time but a review of your policies could identify any gaps in your cover and ensure the rate you are paying is competitive.
A quick word about comparison websites whilst we are on the subject of insurance – whilst they can give you an excellent indication of what cover is available, it is always best to use an advisor who can access providers who may not be on comparison websites.
Some companies choose not to pay to be part of a comparison website and you don’t always get the full information you might need to make an informed decision. An advisor may be able to find you better cover at a lower price.
And then there’s the biggie – your mortgage.
A review of your mortgage could save you hundreds of pounds, if not more, over the course of a fixed term.
However, if you’re furloughed, earning less or have been made redundant as a result of the pandemic, you may find it more difficult to switch.
This because some lenders will assess your affordability based on your new income whilst others may not consider it at all. If you are within six months of the end of a fixed-term deal, it is really important to start looking now, before you are moved onto your current lender’s standard variable rate, which is likely to cost you much more.
If your financial situation has changed due to the pandemic and you are worried about being able to remortgage, please come and talk to me. We can look at what’s available across the whole of the market including your current lender. Then look at the most suitable options based on your current circumstances and where you are likely to get the most suitable deal.
Get in touch:
Heide Swift DipFA, CeMAP, CeRER