So, March 2020. The time when many “New year, new me” changes may have faded into memory.  So many great intentions of life improvements were planned: get healthier, spend more wisely, have more money, relax more, stress less, start a new hobby. All noble intentions, with one thing in common – they require you to make some changes and make time for those changes. For some aspects, this is easier than it is for others. Relax a bit more? Sure. Spend some “Me Time” in the gym? Absolutely. Do some work on planning the finances? “Errrrr…maybe I’ll start on that next week”! Without realising it, many people subconsciously view dealing with financial planning as “negative”. Understandably, who wants to sit discussing the potential loss in the event of a fatality, or a serious illness, or not being able to work, or thinking forward to the last third of your adult life? The reality is, for many, these events occur, whether or not you have planned for them. There are 40,000 new cancer cases diagnosed in Ireland every year, and yet many still think “it’ll never happen to me”. If any of these type of events would cause a financial loss to you or those dependent on you, making some time to at least establish what options are available, is the least you should consider.

There are so many other benefits to reviewing your finances, not least of which, it can leave you with more money! Two of the tips I constantly tell people is to examine 3 months’ bank statements and to do a monthly spending exercise. Going through the bank statements can help identify things that maybe you should no longer be paying for, or that you are duplicating. Keeping a spending diary for a month will give you a clear picture of detailed outgoings, allowing you to identify spending that you could possibly do more efficiently and permit you to make any changes necessary.

The end result of making the time for such an important topic, will not only usually leave you better off financially, but put you more in control of your finances, thereby reducing the stress/anxiety often associated with money. If it’s something you’re considering, set a reminder alarm for a month away, and if it goes off and you still haven’t done anything, it’s time to act. One hour is 4% of your day. Spending this once or twice per year can be hugely beneficial.

Dave Kavanagh QFA has been advising people financially for over 25 years. For quotes or information (with no cost or obligation) he can be contacted by emailing info@financialcompanion.ie or use the contact form here https://financialcompanion.ie/contact-us/ Combined with his previous role of gym/nutrition adviser, he regularly gives talks and workshops at seminars and events for groups, companies and government departments on financial wellbeing, positivity and motivation.  As heard on RTE 2FM and TV3.

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