Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Financial Thinkings

When it comes to finances, we should never bury our heads in the sand.  With the current economic climate affecting us all, now is the time to discuss money matters and make plans to protect our families from the recession for now and the future.

Like many families we have financial concerns.  We have two older children who live away from home who we worry about financially.  We often need to help out the kids and a lot of our savings have dwindled because of cars, house deposits and unexpected expenses that they can't afford to pay.  Our 17 year old daughter is going to be going to university in 2014 and will not be entitled to any financial help from the government other than her student loan.  We will be supporting her to fund her living expenses.  Most worryingly of all, Ian's job is yet again under threat as his company has been bought out and many of the personnel are in fear of compulsary redundancies.  It isn't the first time that the fear of being made redundant has reared its ugly head, but it is still just as frightening.  I try not to worry about it too much, because I don't want it impacting too negatively on my everyday life.  But we do need to have plans in place in case of the worst.

I was really interested to follow the Live Financial Q & A (broadcast in conjunction with the Markettiers4dc Parenting Broadcast Blogger Network and brought to you by Bright Grey) which offered advice on financial planning and answered questions that were put to them by other families.  We have always been good with money and have no outstanding debts aside from our mortgage.  However, for the reasons listed above, I can not become complacent about our future. Today's economy is causing us all to feel the pinch, and supporting grown-up kids who are struggling to make their own way in the world is eating up our nest egg. 

The best advice is to balance the incomings and outgoings.  Our income is generally pretty static, but there is lots of maneuverability with what we spend.  Obviously there are the utility bills, mortgage, council tax etc but other expenditure can be cut resulting in big savings.  Keeping a budget plan can really help keep the finances in check.  It is a real eye opener to see where your money goes each month.

Keep an eye on your spending

Living today is expensive, but things we think of as essentials really are not!  Sky TV packages, eating out, takeaways, Starbuck's coffees, top of the range gadgets with high end contracts - these are all luxuries!  There is always room to cut down on your outgoings and spend less on life's incidentals.  Cutting down can save a small fortune every month.  This money can be set aside.

My parents always advocated "saving for a rainy day" and I have followed in their footsteps to some extent.  As I've spent a good proportion of the last 20 years as a stay-at-home-mum, I have not got a retirement plan.  I was pleased to hear that you can make provision for your future through regular savings, you don't need an actual pension.  So I am less panicky about my future income and will be disciplined enough to put something aside for that purpose.

money, saving
Every penny counts

We currently pay out on a life insurance policy and also have an endowment policy from an old mortgage which we still pay into as a windfall for our future.  I often think that we could stop paying into them to save a few pounds and cash in the endowment, but that these are still sound investments.  However, we should consider some financial advice from a professional to make sure all our policies are still  the best for us now.  Circumstances constantly change and we are never sure what lies ahead, so regular financial check-ups can help keep our finances healthy.  Otherwise it's like buying a car and never servicing it!  We need to take care of our finances and professionals are best placed to advise us.

I hope my eldest children soon become financially independent, which will be a massive help to our finances.  However, we still have three other kids to raise and help to  teach the value of money.   In the short term, we will be having a family finance meeting to work out where we can all make savings and to ensure that we put something away every month to build up our savings giving us some financial protection for our futures.  This security is invaluable, because none of us now what tomorrow may bring.

Here is a link to a live financial advice clinic:

It gives plenty of helpful advice to anyone who wants to plan their finances for now and for the future.


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