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Now we’ve kicked off the new financial year, the time is right to do a spot of spring cleaning for your wallet. Too many people don’t take the time to give themselves a financial M.O.T every year, and as a result, they are losing out in areas where it’s incredibly simple to stay ahead. So, we’ve put together a guide that will help you identify the places you might be wasting cash and how to put money back into your pocket.

Credit Cards

If you’ve got credit card debt, take the time to investigate how much you are paying in interest. With the huge amount of 0% balance transfer deals on the market, there is no reason to be paying exorbitant rates on what you owe. On the flip side, if you have a credit card that you no longer use, be sure to cancel it. There are three good reasons to do so: firstly, cancelling means you’ll be eligible for new customer offers from those providers after a time, and secondly, you decrease the risk of fraud on the account. Lastly, an unused balance could effect what you can borrow on a mortgage. A lender will calculate your borrowing potential, but they may also take into consideration that you have this further amount available to you on a credit card.  Your capability of ‘combined borrowing’ may make your mortgage less affordable, and consequently, they may offer you less.

Direct Debits

We all set up direct debits to pay bills etc. but it’s important to check those still active on your account. Take time to go through the list on your online banking and make sure that no money is being debited from your account for services or goods you no longer use. Often a rogue subscription or wine club plan may be still active when you no longer want it to be. These companies rely on you being apathetic about small amounts going out and failing to cancel them, but all these add up.

Mortgages

The mortgage market is as competitive as it’s ever been, and the low-interest rates mean that providers are offering great deals to win your business. It’s important to start looking for a new mortgage deal around three to six months ahead of your renewal date with your current mortgage provider and see what offers are out there. Keeping an eye on the products and interest rates in the build up to your mortgage renewal date will help give you an idea on value, allowing you to judge what is competitive.

Insurance

Making sure you’ve got adequate protection is vital. Three of the key areas for insurance are life assurance, critical illness, and income protection. It’s sensible to shop around for all three, and we feel this is a much more complex than mortgage work.  With this in mind,  it’s prudent to get expert advice on the right cover for you, as many of the insurance deals out there come with all kinds of rules and clauses. If something bad happens to put you out of action at work, you’ll want to be sure that you can continue to have a good standard of income courtesy of your insurance provider. The protection team at Moyes Investments can advise you on which insurers offer the cover that you require.

Pensions / Investments

The biggest rule is not to leave your money in underperforming funds, and it’s important to periodically monitor all the funds to check their performance. All funds, but particularly poorer performing ones, need to be monitored and if required removed and replaced. While you are looking at your investments, make sure that you are aware of any overlaps as this can be minimised with a well-designed and managed portfolio, which should also offer diversity. A way to manage diversity is to ensure you have a balance of bonds and stocks offering market opportunities while also smoothing out the volatility. At Moyes Investments, we’re able to shoulder much of that hard work thanks to our Discretionary Fund Management status, which allows us to see where your portfolio could be improved and move the funds for you. This agile approach means you can be sure you’re not missing out on great investment opportunities where as you’re more conventional financial adviser has restrictions and can’t necessarily act with the same speed.

If you’d like any help or advice in giving your finances a spring clean, get in touch. The team at Moyes Investments are ready to help on 01638 429975 or at [email protected]