￼￼Some people are good savers. Regardless of how much they earn they always seem to have money set aside for special occasions and rainy days. Others, even when they have a good income, seem to be permanently broke and waiting for the next pay cheque. You probably recognise which you are.
While December is a month of splurging, January is typically associated with cutting back – whether that’s on food, alcohol, or spending.
If one aim this year is to improve your financial situation, increasing income is just as important as reducing spending. One area often overlooked is finding ways to claim everything you’re entitled to. This is especially important if you’re one of more than 10 million people completing their self-assessment tax return ahead of the 31 January deadline.
Self-assessment is a system used by HMRC to collect tax. If you’re an employee, tax is usually collected automatically from your monthly salary and shows up on your payslip. But if you’re self employed, or have additional sources of income such as savings interest or rental income, you have to declare your income to HMRC and offset against that any expenses that attract tax relief. The more tax relievable expenses, the less tax you have to pay, which means more money in your pocket.
So when you’re completing your tax return it pays to make sure you’re claiming all the tax relief you’re entitled to.
Flic Everett, 46, is in debt, has no pension and does not own her own property, so she put her trust in me to help her get a grip on her finances, and to improve her relationship to money.
This article in the FeMail gives you Flic’s account of what she got out of our sessions and from the work she prepared in advance of us meeting. It also gives you insight into what goes on in a coaching session and some of the exercises I use.
This month our inboxes are overloaded with motivational messages, pinging at you like a hyperactive personal trainer: Lose weight! Get fit! Stop smoking! Start training! Write that book! Sort out your money! I'm advocating a calmer, gentler approach to achieving your financial goals; scaling down intentions to a manageable level. If you set yourself up to succeed, you'll be rewarded with an upward spiral of belief and trust in yourself.
The process of divorce or separation forces you to make big financial decisions at a time of intense emotional upheaval. There is an urgent need for clarity, understanding and clear planning to ensure those decisions are made well, as they could have a big impact on your future.
The financial side of divorce can be a daunting process, especially as many of us struggle to understand where our money goes at the best of times. There may be financial issues – such as pensions, investments, debts or a family business – that you have never really understood, and now decisions need to be made about how to share these. Even apparently straightforward questions, such as ‘how much do you need to live on?’ are complex when on the cusp of a big life change.
Financial coaching provides support and guidance in understanding money, and so can be particularly helpful for navigating the financial aspects of divorce and facilitating discussions between couples.
Are you getting pulled in by all this Black Friday hype?
Ant Bullock from Do Something Different - the company inspiring millions of people to do something different one Do at a time - interviewed me to ask why we're so likely to be pulled in by Back Friday and what we can do to resist. Here's an extract of our conversation:
I was chatting to my hairdresser the other day, having the conversation we’re all having at this time of year: “You all set for Christmas? Done your shopping yet?” She said she was all ready, excited for her young children aged 7 and 10, and revealed that her budget was £500 per child.
I left the hairdresser reeling a bit from this figure, and the wider implications of that kind of spend. It set me thinking about what we’re actually giving our children at Christmas. Every parcel under the Christmas tree is wrapped not just in sparkly paper and ribbons, but in many layers of belief and attitudes and values. While the actual presents may soon be forgotten, these extra layers often stay with people for their whole lives – affecting how they deal with money, love and giving in adulthood.
It's these beliefs and attitudes...
We can learn a lot from other people's experiences. Here's some recent money lessons that clients have shared:
Behavioural economics explores why people sometimes make irrational decisions. Laurie's TED Talk shows how monkeys make the same mistakes as we do when it comes to money.
Read on for some other interesting TED talks on the topic of our relationship with money...
By Marianne Curphey
Published: 15 April 2014
Think about the last time you went shopping for no particular reason. Perhaps it was a sunny Saturday afternoon, maybe just after hearing some excellent news. Or maybe it was a rainy, cold day, and you had just been through a breakup. Whether you're fuelling your good disposition or aiming to make yourself feel better, your mood has more impact on your spending than you may think. But there are ways to fight the urge to splurge.
Suddenly it’s December again and Christmas is coming hurtling towards us in a blur of sparkly lights and parties and last minute shopping, making excessive demands on our budgets. That’s how it often feels – to have come suddenly at us, even though December follows November each and every year.
One of my clients, Anna, is taking Advanced Driving lessons and her instructor had said that the most common word in accident reports was ‘suddenly’: ‘suddenly the van came hurtling round the corner’; ‘the car ahead braked suddenly’. Anna was learning that Advanced driving skills are all about anticipation - looking well ahead, adjusting your behaviour to ensure a smooth ride. Things rarely happen ‘suddenly’ if you’re anticipating well. She realised that ...
After two years of fun writing, we're excited to say that Sheconomics, is finally on the bookshelves! We were lucky enough to get a double page spread in The Times about the book, written by Carol Midgley.
If you don't subscribe to The Times you won't be able to read the article in full, so here it is...