We all lead busy lives, so it's unsurprising that we prioritise things in order to make our lives easier. However, this can mean important things like organising your finances get pushed to the bottom of that unwieldy 'to-do' list, which could cause unnecessary stress and problems in the future.
According to a survey carried out by Standard Life, 40% of those questioned find themselves putting off organising things like their day-to-day budget, while a worrying 10% admit that they don't review their finances at all. Even simple things, like knowing how much money is currently in the bank, seem to be shrouded in mystery for many people, with 43% of those surveyed confessing to having absolutely no idea how much money is in their current account.
If day-to-day money management gets stamped with a low priority tag, then it's perhaps not surprising that longer-term financial organisation is also wallowing at the bottom of the priority list; indeed, a staggering 58% of respondents said that they have never reviewed their pension savings. Of those who do, only four-and-a-half hours a year are spent perusing their retirement savings, compared with around seven hours spent sorting out music libraries. Talk about getting your priorities straight…
While sitting back and adopting a laissez-faire attitude towards your finances may save you some time in the short term and give you chance to sort out your favourite music tracks, over the long term it can cause stress and uncertainty. For instance, the survey found that those who had made the effort to get organised and sort out their pension savings felt more secure about their future (26%), happier (20%) and more motivated to save (17%). So, biting the bullet now and getting to grips with your finances could pay dividends for your peace of mind.
"It's easy to put off things you don't enjoy but keeping on top of both day-to-day budgeting and longer-term savings will help you relax, knowing that things are under control for the future," commented Jamie Jenkins of Standard Life. "More people than ever before have access to a pension through their workplace, and technology is making it easy for people to regularly review their savings online, so there's no better time than now to get organised."
If you're guilty of putting financial organisation on the backburner, now is the opportune moment to re-jig that priority list and get your short and long-term finances in order. If time is an issue, make sure you make the most of all the available apps and online platforms - many banks and building societies offer an online facility to keep track of your current account and savings, so check to see if your provider has this. If not, think about switching to a new current account or savings provider - you can check out our best buys to begin exploring your options. Once you're all set up, take note of your in-goings and out-goings and see if there is any way you can increase what you set aside to save.
More and more pension providers are also offering an online platform to help you review and manage your pension savings - check your paperwork to find out, or ring up your provider to see if there is a quick and easy way to keep track of what you're saving. Retirement planning can be complex, so don't be afraid to ask for help. Your pension provider will be able to answer your questions, and you could also think about talking to an independent financial adviser to get your retirement plans on track. Whatever you do, don't bury your head in the sand.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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