The days are getting longer, Easter is just around the corner and now summer does not seem quite as far away. As well as a break for spending time with family, the Easter Bank Holiday is used by many as a chance to do some DIY, catch up on some odd jobs or get out in the garden (if it isn’t raining – fat chance!).

The 5th April also signals the last day of the 2016/17 tax year. If it is raining and you’re stuck in for a couple of hours, it is well worth having a quick “spring-clean” of your personal finances.

As well as ensuring that your business and personal tax affairs are structured in an efficient manner, it is also the perfect time to review your household expenditure to start the tax year on the right foot.

Here are just a few things to consider and how A4G will be able to help:

 


 

Personal cash flow forecast: Many of our clients see this as essential for their business but don’t consider it for their personal finances. This is the first step to identifying any potential issues on the horizon and what income you may need to draw from your business. Please ask your client manager for a copy of our personal cash flow forecast spreadsheet.

Switch utilities: Loyalty is seldom rewarded and the UK public are notoriously bad at switching utility providers. Unless you are locked into a deal, you should always complete a price comparison or at the very least contact your current service provider and ensure you’re on the best tariff for your circumstances. A4G Growth can conduct a free cost audit – please contact your client manager for further details.

Review direct debits: If you haven’t done this for a while it is well recommended as you may just find some direct debits that you’ve forgotten about or are no longer necessary. Remember to contact the business before cancelling, to avoid any charges or penalties.

Cancel unused credit cards: If you have any credit cards which you no longer use you should consider cancelling them as it can potentially harm your credit rating if the credit card company deem they aren’t going to make any money from you.

Review your credit report: Check that all of your details are correct and there are no mistakes on your report which could hamper your chances of obtaining credit. If you haven’t used a credit referencing agency before, such as Experian or Equifax, you can often get an initial free trial period which is worth using.

Managing debt: If you have debt then try to have a plan in place that enables you to meet your repayment commitments and minimises the interest charges. This generally means paying off debts with the highest interest rate first or moving debt. If you have any concerns, there are free debt advice services available but please also give your Principal Adviser a call.

Getting the best credit: If you do need to use credit facilities, look at cost effective methods such as cashback credit cards. Depending on what credit you’re obtaining, you may need to supply your latest income figures or accounts. If you are likely to need these, please liaise with your client manager as early as possible to avoid any delays.

De-clutter: “I decided to sell my Hoover… well it was just collecting dust.” (Time Vine). If you have possessions lying around and haven’t used them for a year, the chances are you may never so consider trying to sell and realising some cash.

Life changes: Ensure that you have an up to date will, a power of attorney and sufficient insurances in places such as life insurance and critical illness. Although no one likes to think about it, we’ve had many clients and families over the years that have been grateful to have had this in place. A4G Wealth can conduct a financial health review with you – please contact your client manager for further details.

Make the most of your cash: Interest rates remain at rock bottom but you should still shop around for the best savings rate possible. You may also like to consider alternative uses for your cash, such as investments and pensions. You should speak to an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). If you do not have an IFA, please speak to your Principal Adviser who will be happy to put you in touch with A4G Wealth.

Educate your children: The cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 21 is now estimated at £230,000 (2015) so financial education from an early age can be a significant benefit to you and your children! HMRC have released some short YouTube videoswhich contain tax facts aimed at young adults and children.

Self-assessment, get it out the way early! The tax may not be due until 31st July and/or 31st January but knowing now what you will need to pay will give you a chance to plan. Read about the A4G Personal Tax Return Service and our 13 steps to tax return success.

Your ‘real’ breakeven point: Now you know what your outgoings will be, having considered how you can reduce them, what profit does your business need to make in order to support the lifestyle you want? Not sure? Please ask your client manager for help identifying your real breakeven point.

Many of our clients now meet with their Principal Adviser at least once a year to discuss a wide variety of business, finance, growth and wealth issues. If you’re not doing this then perhaps you should be. Our number is 01474 853 856.

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