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Health check

PUBLISHED: 07:41 17 March 2014

Finance

Finance

Archant

One of the biggest financial headaches we experience is finding money in an emergency. Having money put aside to pay for that unexpected bill or home repair can really help you sleep at night. In an ideal world it’s appropriate to have available three to six months’ income as an emergency fund, but if that seems unrealistic, saving even a few hundred pounds can be a big help.

Losing an income in the event of accident or illness can seriously impact lifestyle and savings. An income protection policy could help replace an income while taking time to recover or look after a loved one. Providing those closest to you with financial security in the event of death is essential, while mortgages will be paid off through life insurance providing additional cover to leave your dependants with greater financial security can bring greater peace of mind.

In the Autumn Statement, further measures indicated the state pension age would be increasing, making pension savings more important. If you have not already started, saving into a personal pension can help provide much needed income, or the flexibility of early retirement. New laws mean an employer has to automatically enrol employees into a workplace pension scheme. This is a great way to build up retirement savings and is usually supported by employer and government contributions. Saving for retirement can start from as little as £20 per month and it is important to take advantage of the tax benefits these offer. At basic rate, £80 will equate to £100 after government tax relief.

Once the essentials are taken care of, making your remaining money work best for you needs careful consideration. Each year you can save into an Individual Savings Account (ISA) tax efficiently with the current allowance being £11,520 increasing to £11,880 next tax year. Where possible these allowances should be utilised and you can invest up to half in a cash ISA or the full amount in stocks and shares. Stocks and shares can offer exposure to different asset classes, ranging from fixed interest, equities and property, with portfolios tailored to your risk level and tolerance to loss.

It is important to consider all these elements as part of your wealth planning. A financial health check may help focus on areas of importance, save you money or give your current savings a much needed boost. For more information, and a no cost initial meeting, please contact Scott Hansell at Lovewell Blake Financial Planning Limited’s Lowestoft office on 01502 532290.

Disclaimer:

Please note that this article is provided for your information only. While every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy, information contained herein may not be comprehensive and you should not act upon it without seeking professional advice.

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