6 things you can do from home to organise your finances

Struggling to keep yourself busy? Here’s a list of six activities you can do from your household office that will help you conquer your investments and financial plans
17 April 2020

These long lockdown days are encouraging many people to tackle financial life admin.

For some they’ve at last got the time, while for others it’s out of boredom. We’re also hearing from people who are feeling a strong sense that they should get their house in order. Whatever the reason, we’ve put together a list to help you conquer your investments and financial plans.

 

1. Review your pensions

                 

In normal times this old favourite never quite makes it to the top of the to-do list. Embrace it now and you’ll realise that it’s not as painful as you may think. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Find your paperwork (possibly the most challenging part) or reset those pesky passwords to look at everything online.
  • Could you afford to pay more into your pension? Every little adds up and, if retirement is still some way off, it can make a really big difference because of compounding.
  • Check how much you’re paying in charges. The more you pay in charges, the less money you have left to save for the future. But do remember that, as with most things in life (think shoes or batteries), cheapest isn’t always best. And, for most people, getting it right with pensions is a lot more important than making good shoe choices – did you know that for many people, a pension becomes their biggest asset, worth even more than their home?!
  • Are you happy with your pension investments? OK, it’s not the best time to ask this question with the world as it is and stock markets all over the place. But not all investments are equal (see Spot the Dog for context) and when markets rise – which historically they always do –having your future life savings in decent investments can make a huge difference to how much you’ll have to live on or even when you can pack in work altogether.
  • By this point you may well be asking how you can judge your pension without knowing how others shape up. You have two options: (1) get Googling and comparing and (2) book a free pension check-up with Bestinvest – we’re here, working away from home and love nothing more than a good chat about pensions. Really! Try us.
  • If you’re not happy with any or all of the above, you don’t have to suffer in silence. You’re free to transfer your pension to another provider (although sometimes this can be a big mistake so be sure to read our notes below). Again, if you want to chat this through, get in touch and if you’re looking for a new home for your pension, we’ve got a multi-award winning SIPP* that could be an option.

 

2. Consider consolidating your pensions, ISAs or other investments

Your investments under one roof 

Looking after investments while they’re in lots of different places is much like herding cats. It’s nigh on impossible to keep track of them, let alone establish if they’re all healthy and doing what they should be doing.

To get a better grip and, for sanity’s sake, many people choose to keep their investments under one roof – or as financial people say, ‘consolidate’.

Before you say, ‘but I should never put all my eggs in one basket’, it’s different with pensions or ISAs. You can still keep your investments ‘diversified’ to spread you risk, you’re just corralling them under one roof – you can learn more about diversification and asset allocation with our lessons. It’s also good to know that with investment companies that look after pensions and bigger sums of money, your money is held with a separate custodian, which deposits it in a nominee account. Your money is ring-fenced from the other assets of the custodian and the investment company so you won’t lose out if either stops trading.

 

Get investments working harder for you 

Often, consolidating pensions, ISAs or other investments is an excellent way to breathe new life into them, getting them working harder for you, even if you can’t afford to add any new money at the moment.

 

Keeping investing costs to a minimum 

Consolidating investments in one place may also help you cut down on the fees you pay to investment providers, meaning more of your hard earned money goes into investments.

 

Quick transfers 

Transferring used to be slow but digital transfers have made the whole thing really quite simple and definitely a task you can crack on with from home. Unless you’re transferring from a provider that is wedded to old-fashioned paperwork, you can have the whole thing wrapped up in a couple of weeks.

Find out more about transferring to Bestinvest and how we pay up to £500 towards any exit fees charged by your existing providers (terms and conditions apply**). 

 

3. Look into monthly investing

Watching stock markets tumble and yo-yo in recent weeks is terrifying if most of your life savings are tied to them. But history does show us that markets do recover and, while we’re not fans of trying to time the market because most people fail abysmally at this, buying during lows does mean you get more for your money.

 

Pound cost averaging

Instead of timing the market, we’re big fans of regular, monthly investing. Drip feeding money into investments rather than paying it all in in one go can smooth out the highs and lows of the markets – this is what’s known as pound cost averaging. If markets are down one month, you’ll get more for your money and when they’re up, you get less.

 

Good investing habits

Investing regularly is also a great habit to get into and one that can help you build up money for the long term. And, because you only need to set up a Direct Debit to sort this one out, it’s another easy job to do from home. Bestinvest clients just need to log in to set up monthly savings while if you’re new to us, you’ll need to open an account first.  

 

4. Review and organise your investments

 

 

This one is counterintuitive for many who are choosing to look the other way while markets are ravaging investments. But our mantra is always that investing is for the long term and, historically, markets have always recovered. There’s actually plenty you can do right now from home to get your investments organised and in the best possible shape to work hard for you.

 

Background reading

Our infamous guide Spot the Dog is sound background reading on the ravages of bad-quality investments and can help you spot any culprits among your own investments.

Likewise, Our Top-rated Funds features the funds that our research team has real conviction in. We also have a guide, How to Choose and Manager your Own Investments that you may find useful.

 

Have an investment check-up

If you’d rather not review your investments alone, we offer free investment check-ups. Just book online and one of our team will be in touch.

Book an investment check-up

 

Try a Ready-made Portfolio

How about a Ready-made Portfolio as a way to take the emotion out of investing and get a pro to do the hard work for you? Our Ready-made Portfolios are built and managed by the investment team at our sister company Tilney. They spend all day, every day obsessing over these portfolios so you don’t have to.

Just choose the Ready-made Portfolio you want – or get a recommendation from us on which one to choose – and then sit back, safe in the knowledge that you’ve got an entire team of pros looking after your investments for you.

Get started

 

5. Open an ISA, Junior ISA, SIPP or investment account

This is a really simple one. If you’ve got new money to invest or could be using more of your tax allowances, it’s quick and easy to set up new accounts from home. At Bestinvest we have an award-winning range of accounts for adults and kids. Remember, investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the amount invested so make sure you are aware of all the risks before investing. 

Find out more

 

6. Tick the ‘Charity’ box

 

 

These last few weeks have seen a surge in charitable and other giving, so this is a reminder to tick the Gift Aid box when giving money charity. It won’t cost you anything more but means the charity can claim an extra 25p from the Government for every £1 you give. We have a guide, Making Financial Gifts, which has lots of information on how best to give money to others.

 

Got any questions?

If you’ve got any questions, please do give us a call on 020 7189 2400. We’re here to help you.

 

 

*SIPPs are not suitable for everyone.  If you don’t want to invest across different asset classes or don’t think you will make use of the investment choices that SIPPs give you, then a SIPP might not be right for you. Please contact us for guidance or advice if you are unsure.

**Before you consider transferring a pension, it is important to ask yourself: Will I lose any valuable benefits or features from my existing pension plan? Will I incur any penalties on my existing pension if I transfer? Is it an occupational final salary pension scheme? (in which case it is very unlikely to be advisable to transfer) Have I considered the charges on my current plan? (a new arrangement may be more expensive – especially if you have a stakeholder pension).