Making Cents with Liam Croke: Your second six months of financial targets for 2020

Liam Croke

Reporter:

Liam Croke

Email:

liam@harmonics.ie

Making Cents with Liam Croke: Your second six months of financial targets for 2020

Get online and compare prices for your various insurances. You could save a packet

As promised last week, my final instalment of things to do in the second half of 2020.

And, the goal of having something to do each month is to create triggers that remind you about what you should consider doing in a particular month. Having one task to complete in a month is much better than being overwhelmed and trying to complete four or five. They also keep you motivated because there’s nothing better than saying okay, task completed this month, and that wasn’t so bad, what do I have to do next month?

July

This month I want you to review your insurances.

Reshopping your car, home, life and health insurance every year could save you a lot in premiums over the long run, so I would suggest you use online comparison websites to review costs.

And when it comes to life and income protection cover, in particular, some don’t see its value right now because they may not get benefit from it for years or maybe never. As a result they lose sight of how important insurance cover actually is.

And when the need arises and they need that cover, they can’t just buy it then, it’s too late.

Don’t let that happen to you.

August

I want you to review your pension portfolio this month to make sure the asset allocation assigned, continues to be aligned to your personal risk profile.

You may not have checked up on your investments in a while so now is a good time to do so.

And yes, it might be a boring task to complete, but it’s very important because research has shown that choosing among asset classes has a greater impact on your investment returns than the specific investments you select or how well you time the market.

Markets have performed well in the past number of years but the bear will come out of hibernation at some point and when it does, you want to make sure your asset allocation is right for you and will continue to reflect your appetite for risk during those months when things get a little bit more choppy.

September

This month I want you to put your estate in order.

And that begins with making a will if you haven’t one in place already, or updating the one you have.

Ask anyone who’s experienced the death of a family member who hadn’t made a will and the difficulty with trying to locate accounts, the time involved going through the grant of probate process, the conflict it can create with other members of the family and so on.

It’s quite inexpensive to engage with a solicitor who will draft a legal will for you, and I would recommend you reach out and get expert advice when doing this. You could do it yourself, but you want to be 100% sure that what you have in place is correct and legal and would stand up in a court of law if ever challenged.

October

This month I want you to bump up your regular pension contributions or make lump sum lodgements to it, by way of AVC contributions.

Rule Number One, when joining an employer-sponsored pension scheme, is to contribute enough that will at least capture any match your employer is promising.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t contribute more than that, and the chances are good you’re probably not contributing as much as you can. And if you’re not maxing out the amount you’re allowed to, now is the time to at least increase the amount you’re currently contributing.

November

Hopefully an end of year bonus is just a month away and regardless of its size, finding what the best return for it is, and what type of account suits you, is something I would spend some time investigating this month.

Is the best return on investment paying down debt? Should you use some if to top up your pension fund? If making an investment, what term can you commit to? What capital guarantees do you need if any?

You need to find the answers to these questions in advance of making any decision and if you’re not sure or trust yourself in finding out what’s best for you, reach out and get help.

December

This month your task is to reflect on how things went during the year.

It’s a busy time of the year, and time to take a break from your finances for a month. But I would suggest you set some time aside during your Xmas break to review what you accomplished during the year. How many of the tasks you set yourself did you follow through on? And the ones you didn’t make progress on, why was that?

Doing this, you’re getting a jump start in the New Year and your hitting the ground running so to speak in January. You’ve done your reflection, and you’re ready to get things moving quicker.

I hope you found these monthly tasks helpful. And as I said last week, please feel free to switch the order in which I suggested them to suit you, and or include other tasks I haven’t mentioned like planning for your summer holidays, setting up a new regular savings account for your child’s future educational costs, claiming back tax reliefs, overpaying on your mortgage, reviewing your net worth, getting ready for a new mortgage application, buying a car etc.