2016 was an interesting year to say the least. Personally, it was a fairly decent year for me, unlike the wider world. Despite turning 25, and feeling increasingly older, many things happened, or progressed, over the course of the year. That said, the changing face of home and work life has led to a changing view on the world, and has also led to a major change in finances. I make more money than I ever had, but I have more outgoings, and more things that are vital to survive to pay for.
The company I work for offers a financial advice service, which includes free meetings with a financial adviser if you want or need one. I’ve never seen a financial adviser, probably because I have never needed to see one, but I thought it would be interesting to have a meeting. I say interesting, I do more mean useful and informative.
The pensions scheme at work had been interesting to navigate, and as I discusses in my last post (found here), there is a lot to consider when taking it out. This, combined with the realisation I would have regular, necessary out goings that I was responsible for on my own, and the forever payment of National Insurance, Tax, and Student loans, meant I had to learn to keep a better check of my finances, and learn to manage them efficiently.
I decided that the meeting was importantly, and after half an hour, I left with a slightly more rounded, if jaded, knowledge of the financial world. I decided to opt into the pension sacrifice scheme, as it made most financial sense given my current situation. I also decided to take his, and and everyone’s advice, to opt into a higher amount. I probably could have afforded more, but I decided that I wanted to strike a balance between saving for retirement, and saving for now.
He also highlighted the importance of tracking finances, including student loan repayments. Now as I live with someone else, my bills are less of a shock each month than when I lived alone, but the advice to keep a track of how much I have outgoing and when it leaves my accounts has been useful and important. It’s also opening my mind to how much it costs to live outside of the parental bubble. Factor in car costs, commuting, and accidental amazon splurges, and money disappears quickly.
I have heard many horror stories about the payment of student loans, of mis-paying, over paying, charges and alike, so I have taken the advice he and others have given and monitored the amount I pay each month. I don’t feel like it will ever be paid off at the rate I am going!!
One thing that the financial adviser, and others in my life highlighted was the importance of a good credit score. I have been looking into this more and more recently, and I am actually writing a post on the very topic soon, but it has opened a new world into finance that I barely knew existed. It’s made me realise how much I neglected looking into the world of my financial record.
I feel like post made little, or no sense, and probably shows just how clueless I am when it comes to the complicated world of finances. I am trying to save regularly, think carefully when I spend big, and think do I need it when I spend every day. I am keeping a closer eye on how much I spend on bills, and how much disappears from my wage slip (and to who) before money even enters my bank.