Advertisement feature in association with Samsung SmartThings Energy

A few months ago I had an email from my energy providers to inform me that my monthly direct debit would be going up from £100 a month to £150 to allow for price increases. I felt a little aggrieved, because as much as I appreciate that costs are going up, I live in a two and a half bedroom semi, don’t have a dishwasher or tumble dryer, and I only have three radiators switched on, so really how much energy am I even using?

Still, there we were. I’m not the only one I know, people everywhere are feeling the impact, and I’m grateful that I am able to absorb it at least. It’s horrendously sad reading about the families spending their evenings in McDonalds sharing a Happy Meal because it’s cheaper to stay warm and use the WiFi there to watch TV than it is to be at home.

Even so, £150 a month feels like a huge amount to be paying and I am always keen to save money on my energy bills if I can. I’m forever turning off lights and telling Belle to turn the TV off – she has an annoying habit of just pausing it for hours at a time while she’s watching TikTok videos instead – but it’s hard to get a sense of what really makes a difference.

I have a smart meter at home and I have the little gadget on the windowsill, but to be honest I don’t really look at it and sometimes just switch it off because all it does it scare me, it doesn’t help.

Samsung energy app

Maybe if it could give me some tips or help me manage my appliances better, that would be useful?

What is Samsung SmartThings Energy?

SmartThings Energy is a completely free app from Samsung, available on iOS or Android, that connects to your smart meter, whoever your energy provider. It not only monitors your energy usage, but actually offers practical tips and solutions to help you save money. So basically like the smart meter gadget, only better. View Post

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Despite being a parent now for nearly 27 years – *gulps* – it took me until my kids were 16 and 9 to get around to buying life insurance. (Even worse, they were 19 and 12 before I made a will, but let’s not talk about that.)

I don’t know what it was about the life insurance, but somehow for 16 years it just kept slipping further and further down the never ending list of Important Things To Do. In my head I think it was super complicated, and possibly involved me doing some kind of invasive medical exam, and so I shoved it to one side and tried not to think about death.

Time passed though, relationships ended, and I came to realise that if I died, that was that, there wasn’t going to be a wealthy family to step in, my kids would be on their own. I did the briefest of research, took out a very cheap and basic ten year policy, and imagined that by the time that finished and Belle was 19, they would both have left home and be completely financially independent. Also we might all get about on hoverboards.

But wait a minute, what’s that you say? Belle IS 19 and we AREN’T all on hoverboards??

So here we are, it’s ten years later, my life insurance has expired but somehow both of my children are still in some way financially supported by me, plus now I own a house with 25 years left on the mortgage and I have four pets.

If I were to die tomorrow, who’s keeping the dog in luxury treats?? Now more than ever it turns out, I need to know that everyone is going to be taken care of financially if I die.

life insurance for parents

I’ve even become a Granny, which was something I wasn’t expecting. I chip in for a couple of things for Joey every month and so now it’s not even just my own children that I need to think about, now there’s this little cutie too. View Post

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Advertisement feature in association with HyperJar

I’ve never been very good at pocket money. When my kids were younger I would start off with great intentions, and then I’d have a day where I’d feel all carefree and expansive and like nothing really mattered, so I might as well buy them treats.

My children quickly cottoned onto these moods and called them ‘put anything in the trolley’ days. With Belle now, even though she’s 19 and earns her own money, it still happens. In Tesco just last week I somehow ended up buying her the official Taylor Swift magazine. Guilt I suspect, for the fact that I was going away. She saw weakness and she made the most of it. Good for her.

When Belle was younger we did have a brief fling with a pocket money app where kids could get their own card. Belle loved this, because she’s always very much doing things like pressing the buttons for me at cashpoints, but the fees for it made it seem a bit silly – why was I spending twice as much as I needed every month, just for the sake of a few pounds on a card? Surely it made more sense to just let Belle have it all in cash? I think we ended up actually opening a full blown bank account in the end, just because it was cheaper.

If your kids aren’t old or wise enough to have their own bank account or debit card but you still like the idea of teaching them about money and how to save and spend it, then HyperJar could be the answer.

HyperJar is a totally free money app that adults can use to budget, save for specific items and events, and even earn bonuses on spending. It works very visually by allocating money to different jars, which you create according to how you want to spend your money. I know finances can be daunting and that many people, including Belle, find something visual much easier to understand than spreadsheets.

How HyperJar works

For the grown ups, HyperJar works like this:

  • You transfer money into your HyperJar account. (This money is held by the Bank of England, not HyperJar, so it’s quite safe.)
  • You set up jars for different areas of spending, like food shopping, treats, or long term savings like holidays.
  • When you want to spend money from your jars, just link the jar to your HyperJar card, (this can be real or virtual), and spend directly from the jar.
  • You can cut out the pre-transaction linking part by setting up retailers to automatically link to a particular jar. For example you could link Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Aldi to your food jar and anytime you spend money with one of them it will automatically come from that jar.

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In collaboration with Car Guide

How confident do you feel when it comes to buying a new car? Are you the sort of person who spends hours researching and comparing running costs, doing a thorough car check and looking into the MOT history of each potential purchase? Or maybe you just buy the first one you see in a blind panic and hope for the best?

I’ve spent most of my life in the second category.

I’ve essentially just applied my principle of second crappest and kept my fingers crossed. Sometimes I’ve not even done that, like the time I bought a 20 year old metro on eBay, unseen, for £87. Or there was that time with the satsuma, which it’s best we don’t dwell on.

Basically when it comes to buying new cars, I’m scared. I know nothing about cars or what I’m meant to be looking for in a new car, and so I bury my head in the sand. ‘Do you not even get a free HPI check?’ you may ask. No, no I do not. Honestly, I’d not even heard of an HPI check until I wrote this post. I can just about manage an MOT check for dates, (mainly because I forget for my own car’s and have got good at checking), but I have no idea how to check car history, what questions I’m meant to ask a seller, what repairs to expect at different points in a car’s life – nothing.

I WANT to feel more confident buying a new car though. I do so many other things completely on my own, I feel like I’m letting myself down when it comes to cars. I feel like I’m letting WOMANKIND down. It’s just a car, I need to pull myself together and get some SKILLS, especially if I’m going to realise my midlife crisis dream of buying and renovating my own campervan. (I may not have mentioned this yet. Let’s save this as a story for another day.)

If your feel the same way as me about buying a new car then BUCKLE UP – I’m about to take you on a rollercoaster of a ride around the world of car checks.

Why should I use a car checker?

An excellent first question! Why is it important to get a car check? Doing a car check is a really simple way to boost your car confidence and should be a first step when you’re thinking about buying a new car. A free car check can quickly highlight serious issues like whether or not the car has had a plate or colour change, been exported, might be an ex-taxi – all the classic red flag stuff that you want to avoid when buying a new car.

Doing a quick car check online can help rule out the real bloopers. (Wouldn’t it be good if you could do an online check for potential new partners? Pop in a few basic details and find out if they’re secretly married, have a history of being an absolute loon, that sort of thing. I might write that down as a business idea.)

Can’t I just Google a cheap HPI check?

Well I can’t stop you, obviously, I’m not your mother, (unless this is you reading Bee, in which case I am, but still can’t stop you.) Keep in mind though that not all car checks are created equally. So how do you find the best car checker?

Obviously I can’t claim to have tested every single car check service, but I HAVE had a lovely long chat with the founders of Car Guide and found out all about what makes their car checker different from a lot of the others. I was impressed, not least because Mima, one of the founders of Car Guide, has three cats just like me, AND I got to meet one of them – Tabitha – on our Zoom chat. I find it very hard not to trust someone with three cats. View Post

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Advertisement feature in association with Portify – the app that could help improve your credit score

We flew to Ireland a couple of weeks ago to see my sister and to celebrate my mum’s 70th birthday and before we went we all had to do PCR tests. Completing the tests and waiting on the results made me incredibly anxious. I couldn’t figure out why, but then I realised it made me feel exactly the same way I used to feel having credit checks done.

I read the test instructions carefully over and over, filled out all the forms, and sent them off. I nervously awaited the results, knowing it was completely outside of my control and yet at the same time worrying irrationally, as though the results would somehow be a reflection on my very worth as a human being.

If you’ve ever been in debt or had a bad credit rating then you can probably relate. I’ve talked a bit before about getting into debt as a single parent in my teens and early twenties. Doing your degree as a single mum at a university 50 miles away from where you live is never going to be exactly cost effective, and I lived with the consequences of that for quite a long time. Every time I moved house and had to complete credit checks through an agency I would feel that potent mix of dread and shame. I felt judged for my poor credit score, even though I knew the test were probably being done automatically by a computer. I felt the computer judging me.

Facing up to those debts and feeling like I’ve reached a financially secure place in my life is something I’m really proud of. I was pregnant aged 16 and have been a single mum on and off for 25 years. I’ve had very little financial support from ex-partners and honestly, raising a family alone isn’t cheap – the cost of single parenting is high. I’ve also been self-employed as a writer for 12 years, and didn’t necessarily give that a huge amount of thought before I jumped in and bought a second hand desk on eBay*, so finally being able to do things like buy a house feels amazing.

It’s a small house, sure, but it’s mine. I made it happen, no one else. I also finally feel like I have the freedom to start thinking about what I might like to save for in the future. I would absolutely LOVE to have a campervan for instance, and drive around having adventures and ideally solving mysteries.

Why is your credit score important?

Does it really matter if you have a bad credit score? Yes is the short answer. Your credit score not only impacts your ability to borrow money, (including basic things like getting mobile phone contracts), but it also effects how much it costs you to borrow money. If your credit score is poor then lenders will consider you a riskier proposition that someone with a good credit score and so will allow for that by charging you higher rates of interest.

This means that you could end up paying a lot more than someone else for borrowing the same amount of money. This is particularly noticeable for large, long term borrowing like a mortgage. Being charged just a percentage point or two more interest can add up to tens of thousands of pounds over the term of your mortgage. Try the Portify calculator now to see how much money you could save by improving your credit rating from ‘fair’ to ‘excellent’.

How can I improve my credit score?

It takes time to improve your credit score, but the good news is that there are a lot of things you can do to help it along the way. Simple things like making sure you’re on the electoral register, finding out your current score and checking your file for mistakes or erroneous links to other people can all have an impact.

If you long to improve your credit score and lose that shame around debt then I’ve picked out four key ways to improve your credit rating, including one that you might not even know about.

1. Face up to your financial problems

This sounds so easy but being in debt and having a bad credit rating is scary. I understand, I really do. You want to pretend it’s not there, ignore the letters, maybe even try to make yourself feel better about the shame by spending more money. You’re human, it’s normal to want to run away from something scary.

It’s not going to work though. Sorry. Debt isn’t going to go away. Your credit score isn’t going to miraculously improve if you ignore it. Moving house is only delaying the inevitable – debt catches up to you and it’s far better to turn and face it head on than to constantly feel like you’re running. Wouldn’t it feel good to not feel like you’re hiding?

What I learned from being in debt is that most companies are happy enough as long as you are honest. Stuff happens, money gets out of control, it’s okay, you just have to own that and deal with it. Take stock of your finances and write down exactly what you have going in and out. Get in touch with the people you are struggling to pay and lay it out for them. Make them a realistic offer – not a huge amount that you think will please them but that isn’t sustainable – something you can stick to.

Take charge. Be the boss of your credit score.

2. Do not miss payments

Well dur. This might seem obvious, but it’s absolutely key. Missed payments are one of the most significant things that effect your credit score and so making sure you pay all of your bills on time, from your broadband to your mortgage, is vital.

Making all of your payments on time is one of the most important ways to prove to credit agencies that you’re trustworthy and reliable, and it ties into the first point too – taking control, monitoring your expenditure and generally just not burying your head in the sand can help to make sure you don’t miss payment dates.

3. Consider a service like Portify

This is the sort of help that wasn’t around when I was in debt, but it’s something that you might want to consider if you’re serious about building up your credit score. The Portify app works in several ways to help you manage your credit rating, through free and paid for packages, and you can sign up in just three minutes.

Improve credit score Portify review

At the free level, Portify empowers you to feel more in control of your money by tracking your income and expenses, and will alert you to bills that could impact your credit score. Through Open Banking, the app identifies your subscriptions and recurring payments and then sends you smart reminders to help you make payments on time. The app also has a handy expense predictor that will learn your financial behaviour and predict if any upcoming bills may push you into your overdraft.

Portify also offers a Lite and a Plus membership, based on flat monthly fees of just £5 or £9 and with no hard credit checks. These memberships could improve your credit score with the big credit agencies – Experian at the Lite level, plus TransUnion (Credit Karma) and Equifax (ClearScore) at the Plus level – and users typically start to see improvements after around three to four months. Building a good credit score takes time and consistency and you need a while to build up a positive payment history.

Portify is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and the app currently has an ‘excellent’ rating on Trustpilot, based on 752 reviews. Users should maintain good financial behaviour when using the app to get the best results. Results may vary, visit Portify.co for more information!

Improve credit score Portify

4. Keep your credit utilisation rate low

Credit utilisation rate basically means how much of your available credit you’re using, and is another significant factor in how credit scores are calculated – a low credit utilisation rate is better than a higher one.

For example, if you have a credit limit of £1,000 on a credit card but a balance of £100, your credit utilisation rate is only 10%. You can improve your credit score therefore by avoiding maxing out on credit cards and paying balances off in full every month if possible. By doing this you’re effectively showing credit agencies that just because you have access to credit, you’re not rushing out and spending, you’re using that credit line responsibly.

Improving your credit score is a long game and it does take patience and determination, but it’s absolutely possible. Taking back control of your finances is such an empowering experience too, and getting to a place of financial freedom and security is wonderful.

So what are you waiting for? Take your head out of the sand, start taking positive steps to improve your credit score and you’ll be solving mysteries in your campervan in no time.

vintage vw camper

*Everyone knows that all you need to become a writer is a desk right? Like I said, not a great deal of thought…

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Homesense finds

Home improvements are an extremely popular industry in the current day and age. In the past year, people have been spending more time in their homes, prompting many of them to want to improve its appearance, quality and condition. Therefore, now is an excellent time to invest in a home improvement franchise, considering the soaring demand.

There are many different types of home improvement franchises UK and globally. So, whatever your business ambitions, a global franchise directory could help you to find the type of franchise that will provide you with a rewarding and stable investment.

What are home improvement franchises?

Home improvement franchises encompass a wide range of different businesses. They can include construction, cleaning, damp mitigation, pest control, and several other types of business that provide services to improve people’s domestic environments. In some cases, this can include extending their homes, while in other cases it can simply entail making the environment cleaner and healthier. Here is an insight into what is available.

Construction

The construction industry has experienced a surge in demand over the past year. People are looking to extend their homes or refurbish them. Many people are considering loft conversions or simply want to improve their house with a new garage or a conservatory. Construction franchises are therefore a fantastic investment for any investors who want to ensure that their profits can continue to grow.

Some of the most popular types of construction franchises include:

  • Loft conversion, insulation or boarding
  • Home renovations
  • Extensions

Experts predict that the global construction industry will increase in size to 8 trillion US dollars by 2030showing how much potential for profit there is in a home improvement franchise.

Cleaning

Cleaning and home maintenance franchises are an exceptionally popular choice as more people value high standards of hygiene in their homes. With so many people turning to professionals to keep their homes clean and tidy, now is a great time to invest in a domestic cleaning franchise.

Damp mitigation

Damp and mould can be extremely unpleasant to live with and they can also pose serious health risks to a home’s inhabitants. Damp is often linked to severe respiratory diseases and other health conditions. These can affect children even more seriously than adults.

As a result, buying a damp mitigation franchise not only offers excellent scope to generate custom but also provides a rewarding and helpful service. When you are running this kind of franchise, you can enjoy job satisfaction from knowing that you are helping people and may even be improving their health thanks to your company’s services.

Pest control

Rats, cockroaches and other pests affect many homes across the world. They often spread disease and can be a horrible housemate to have. As many pests often seek warmth and shelter inside people’s homes, there is always a constant demand for pest control services. This means that if you choose to invest in a pest control business, then you will be assured of regular business and continual profits.

Pest control franchises are a low-risk investment. In some cases, they can also be run from anywhere, including your home. That means that you would be able to cut your overheads as you would not need to pay rent on business premises. In the end, that can result in a larger profit margin and better returns on your initial investment.

Aesthetic improvements

There is a large industry for people to improve the look of their homes and these kinds of franchises can be extremely popular. For example, there are many different franchises that specialise in blinds. Not only can this be a great option for modernising a room, but it also gives people improved levels of privacy and a feeling of safety and security in their homes.

Therefore, it is no surprise that these are extremely popular when it comes to home improvements across the world. People want to live in trendy and fashionable homes. As trends are always changing and updating, this is great for your investment potential because you will always find new customers who want to keep up with the latest fashions in home appearances.

What are the benefits of a home improvement franchise investment?

Franchises can be highly profitable, low-risk investments. They are a long-term investment that can provide you with a secure and stable income to support yourself and your family. They are extremely flexible with a variety of different levels of investment available. They also provide flexibility once you have invested because you can often work from home or vary your hours around other commitments.

Many home improvement franchises also provide essential services to your customers, allowing them to live in better conditions and to enjoy an improved quality of life.

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This is a paid advertorial with Tesco

Today I’m talking about Tesco Clubcard Plus, giving you a three month update on my post from August. With Tesco Clubcard Plus you can save 10% off 2 in-store shops per month up to £200 each, so up to £40 every month* on your in-store grocery shop and 10% on selected Tesco brands, including clothing and homeware, but is Tesco Clubcard Plus worth it? Am I still using it and saving money? Read on to find out…

 

Being an ‘influencer’ is a funny old job, not least because a lot of the time you have no idea whether or not you’re any good at it.

I know I can write of course, I don’t suppose Penguin would have asked me to write my book if they thought I was rubbish at that bit, but I don’t always know the power of my words. Just because I write about something, does that actually influence people’s decision making? Do my words impact people’s choices?

I like to think yes, but it’s always nice to get feedback, like these Instagram messages I got after I posted this slow cooker pulled pork recipe.

how to be an influencer

That’s reassuring isn’t it? You know the power is in your hands if someone buys three pork shoulders on your say so. You can see what I did there though – lured him in with the cats and then boom, sold him the pork.

One of the easiest ways to tell though whether or not I’m an effective influencer is how much I influence MYSELF. I’ve worked with loads of brands and businesses over the years where I’ve tried a product or service and loved it so much that I’ve never gone back. It’s quite exciting actually, because since I started blogging I’ve got to try so many new things that I might not otherwise have known about, and hopefully that’s where I come in handy for you – testing things out so that you don’t have to.

One of the most recent things I’ve converted myself to is Tesco Clubcard Plus.

I’ll be honest, when Tesco first asked me to give Tesco Clubcard Plus a whirl back in August I was cautious – it’s £7.99 a month and although you’re free to cancel at any time I was wary of signing up for another monthly commitment. In fact, even though I could absolutely see the value in it when I tried it, I did initially cancel after my first month because I was worried about forgetting to use it.

I know, not the best advert right?

BUT…

Then I RESUBCRIBED. View Post

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When you read the words ‘protection products during coronavirus’ you probably think face masks right? Or maybe one of those snazzy plastic visors that makes you look like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance? (The welding bits, not the exotic dancing.)

That’s not what I’m talking about today.

(Sorry Flashdance fans.)

I’m talking about financial protection products like life insurance, critical illness cover, that sort of thing – insurance products that protect you financially when the worst happens. I mean I guess you could print out a copy of your insurance certificate and try and fashion it into some kind of face covering but it’s really not the same thing.

Can I get life insurance to cover coronavirus

Pretty sure Jennifer Beals didn’t have a beard but you get the idea

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I’ve got Jon from The Money Shed here again today blabbering on about Bonus Accumulator. I honestly don’t know what he talks about most of the time but I know a lot of people find his articles on matched betting and earning money online really useful, plus he’s stuck at home without his usual time out with a bottomless coffee in Wetherspoons, feeling sorry for himself, so here he is.

If youve been working from home or earning on the side for a while, then youve probably heard of matched betting. If not, matched betting is a risk-free strategy that allows you to turn bookmaker bonuses into withdrawable cash.

Matched betting has been around for years but received mainstream attention when Sam Stoffel released a membership-based service called Profit Accumulator. For a small monthly subscription fee, users were able to log in and be told exactly what bookmaker bonuses were available at any given time and given a step-by-step guide to guaranteeing a profit from them.

Profit Accumulator is still going strong but what theyre best known for is making the whole process easy for anyone to take part in.

The exciting news for long-term matched bettors and newcomers looking to make money online from home is that Sam Stoffel is back with a new product called Bonus Accumulator thats sure to keep the profit rolling in on a monthly basis.

What is Bonus Accumulator?

Bonus Accumulator is different to Profit Accumulator because it focuses on casino and bingo promotions as opposed to sports betting. View Post

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Advertisement feature in association with Widilo

Question: do you like getting FREE MONEY?

What do you mean no? Hush. You’re just being awkward because you know it’s a leading question. Nobody actually wants to go out of their way to spend more money than they need to do they? If you could get exactly the same product and it cost you £100 or £90 then you’d go for the £90 wouldn’t you?

Right. Thank you.

That’s essentially what cashback is – getting the exact same product you were going to buy anyway, but getting some money back when you buy it.

There are quite a few cashback opportunities around already, from cashback credit cards and offers through your bank account to dedicated websites curating cashback deals. It’s great to have options and you definitely don’t have to restrict yourself. You might use a cashback credit card when you go to the supermarket for instance, but then choose a cashback website like Widilo to look for offers before you shop online.

‘Widilo you say?’

Yep. Widilo is one of the new kids on the UK cashback block. They’ve been a leading cashback destination in France for a while already, and are now coming to the UK offering cashback offers and discounts across thousands of brands.

Widilo cashback offers View Post

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Today I have another post from Jon at The Money Shed, as his money saving and making blogs, like this one about how to make money online, are always popular. If you have any questions, leave a comment and Jon will get back to you.

There’s no doubt that online shopping is KING when it comes buying the products you want. There’s also no question that Amazon is the go to website for many people looking to buy things. With over 90% of UK Shoppers now using Amazon I don’t see things going back to how they used to be anymore!

I still remember in the late 90s when Amazon first appeared and had nothing but books for sale and even those took about 4-5 days to reach you!

Now you can buy anything from TVs and laptops to groceries and spa weekends! And with Amazon Prime available in most UK cities you can get whatever you need the very same day you order it!

But what can you do to help make things cheaper on Amazon for you?  Here are 3 top tips to make sure you are always getting what you want at the lowest price available on there!

Use a Discount Finder

Amazon is a website where you can spend a lot of time searching around and playing with filters to get the biggest discount on the products you want. But what if they could all be done before you head to the site, or better still, automatically!

There are some fantastic tools out there like The Money Shed’s Amazon Discount Finder which will let you choose which item you want and how much discount you are looking to get (the more the better!) and then will take you straight through to Amazon with those discounts already applied!

how to save money on Amazon

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Advertisement feature in association with CISI

Did you know that October 7-11th is Financial Planning Week? As part of the week, the CISI (Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment) is encouraging everyone to sign up for a FREE financial planning session.

Now before you switch off and think ‘oh that’s not for me because I don’t earn enough money’ then think again. Although typically financial planners do work with relatively wealthy clients, helping them manage their investments and savings, Financial Planning Week is for everybody. In fact, if you don’t currently have much in the way of savings or retirement plans then all the more reason to take up the offer of a free session.

I know that looking at your finances can be scary but financial planning is actually something I feel very strongly about as money has an impact on so many other areas of your life. In my twenties I spent a long time ignoring debts I had built up as a student and single parent, hoping they would go away, but you know what? They don’t. All that happens is that you get more and more stressed and worried about them. At some point you have to stare your finances right in the eye and remind them that YOU are in charge. Once you stop being afraid of money, that’s when you can start to feel more in control and make proper plans.

Feeling confident about your finances is incredibly empowering.

So how does the free financial planning session work and what can you expect?

The first step is looking at where you are right now. What plans do you already have in place? What savings or pensions, if any, do you have? This was covered in a few simple forms that I had to fill out before my session with Andrew and Sarah at Berry and Oak, so that they could have a picture of my situation before we spoke.

To be honest, even just this stage was really valuable as it forces you to take stock. I consider myself relatively well-prepared financially, but I still couldn’t tell you exactly what the terms are on my life assurance, or for how long my income protection insurance would pay out should I find myself unable to work. I wasn’t even completely on top of what my monthly income and expenditure was. Just taking an hour or so to fill out the forms gave me a much clearly idea of my current position, and made me feel much more confident, before I’d even spoken to Andrew and Sarah. I also checked my state pension online, which was much easier to do than I’d imagined and is really important as it tells you how much state pension you’re set to be entitled to.

TOP TIP from Andrew and Sarah: even if as a family you think you earn too much to be eligible for child benefit, claim it anyway and then pay it back as part of your tax return. If you’re a stay at home parent, your state pension only knows to take this into account by checking to see if you’ve been receiving child benefit, so if you stop claiming because your partner is earning too much, but you’re at home raising your family, then you could miss out.

Next you think about where you’d like to be, both in the short term and years down the line when you’re ready for retirement. It might seem like a long way away but the sooner you start thinking about it, the more you can get out of it. Because that’s the ultimate goal after all right? To be in a position to be able to spend more time doing what you love. Like taking amazing train journeys around the world. (I’ve never done this but always felt like I’d love it, especially if I had to solve a mystery on board.)

free financial planning session for financial planning week

Photo by Johannes Hofmann on Unsplash

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