It’s January, it’s cold, it’s gloomy and frankly it’s turning into a bit of a slog already. The festive season is well and truly over, your day-to-day finances might well be heaving under the strain of all that Christmas excess. And despite all your best intentions, those new year resolutions are starting to rankle with you. And we’re only a few weeks in!
But don’t worry, you are not alone. Dubbed ‘Blue Monday’, the third Monday of the year, which is 20 January this year, is also known as the most depressing day of the year.
There isn’t much science behind it. Blue Monday was a stunt dreamed up by a life coach back in 2005 and its ‘formula’ takes into consideration all sorts of factors from the weather and levels of debt, to the amount of time elapsed since Christmas and general feelings of low motivation. But, having said that, it’s probably something we can all relate to.
Of course, January doesn’t have to be a time of doom and gloom. For many it is instead an opportunity to kick-start good habits, set new plans into action and make a fresh start.
Rather than letting the new year blues get to you, take one positive step today and kick Blue Monday into touch with three new year resolutions for 2020 that we can all manage.
1. Pay yourself first
Whether it’s saving more into your pension, or starting a regular investment, make a commitment to set some of your hard-earned money aside for you. While we can each save up to £20,000 into an ISA in the current tax year, start small, but keep your savings regular and it will pay off in the long run.
ISAs aren’t the only tax-efficient way to save. You can pay up to £40,000 in each tax year into your pension pot, including employer contributions (this figure does not include any transfers you wish to make from other pension providers; there is no limit to how much you can transfer). If you pay in more than this you could end up paying up to 45% tax. However, you can use unused annual allowances from the previous three tax years. So, if you haven’t made any payments into a pension over the past three years, you could potentially pay in up to £155,000 this year, without incurring any tax charges.
2. Simplify your finances
Whether you’re trying to keep track of a number of pensions with previous employers, or you’ve got three different ISA accounts or too many funds in your investment portfolio, it’s time to simplify things.
Consolidating your various pensions into one will make checking you’re on target easier and could save you money. Similarly, switching to one ISA can make it easier to see how your overall portfolio is growing.
3. Save and invest without sacrifice
How many times do you really use that gym membership? Is your TV package really worth the monthly cost? Could you really taste the difference if you opted for supermarket own-brand rather than the household names you usually go for in your weekly shop?
Make a resolution to make a saving on one thing you’re frittering money on unnecessarily and then invest the money instead. Whether you’re saving for a rainy day, planning to start your own business, have a big life event coming up in 2020, such as a wedding, the arrival of a new baby or a big house move, or maybe your priority is simply to look after your future financial security, then setting up a savings habit that doesn’t require sacrifice means you’re more likely to stick to it and keep going.
So whatever plans you have for 2020 and beyond, make this the year you really take charge of your finances.
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Important Information: The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up, so you may not get back what you invest. This information does not constitute investment advice and should not be used as the basis for any investment decision nor should it be treated as a recommendation for any investment or action. Eligibility to invest into an ISA and the value of tax savings depends on personal circumstances and all tax rules may change. Withdrawals from a pension product will not normally be possible until you reach age 55. You should regularly review your investment objectives and choices and if you are unsure whether an investment is suitable for you, you should contact an authorised financial adviser.