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There are few people that look forward to and enjoy financial planning, but it is important to help your future self as best as you can. Indeed, recent research shows it is as popular as putting out the bins, but it's also just as crucial.
In Lemonade Money's recent 'spring clean' online poll, it was revealed that sorting out personal finances was not even on many people's radars, as only 4% of the 73% who had chosen one major job to do at the start of spring had picked it, compared with 18% who had picked sprucing up the garden and 16% who were planning to de-clutter the house or clean the windows. The only things less popular were re-seeding the lawn and cleaning out the pond (1% each).
In slightly better news, finances didn't come out on top as the most dreaded chore. That honour was reserved for deep cleaning the bathroom, which 36% dreaded the most. In second place came ironing (25%), while sorting out personal finances came joint-third with dusting and putting out the rubbish bins (8% each). Luckily for those who were planning to tackle the garden, this was the least dreaded chore on the list.
So, the above shows that people are reluctant to sort out their finances, and many may not even be aware they need sorting. You may be thinking that if you're not self-employed and therefore probably don't need to file taxes yourself, there's nothing you need to do. However, there are certainly questions worth asking, such as: Have you any savings? If you have a savings account, is the rate competitive enough or could you do better? Could you save on any of your regular outgoings? Have you any outstanding debts? Are you doing all you can to repay your loans?
While everyone's situation is unique, the top financial concern from the survey was not having enough savings to fall back on (24%), followed by not having enough for retirement (20%), not being able to save on a regular basis (18%) and not having enough money to live on each month (16%). These are all valid reasons to take a close look at your finances and try to improve things.
But where do you start? More than a third (37%) of respondents struggled to know what to tackle first, with most (37% overall) turning to financial websites for help, and 36% turning to their family or friends first of all. Only 8% thought to go to a financial adviser with their financial concerns.
In general, it's important to tackle debts before you can start to think about savings, and there are plenty of debt charities willing to advise those struggling to stay afloat. If you're not sure what to do, our guides can be a good starting point, particularly our 12 steps to get debt-free.
If debt isn't your concern, but you are finding it hard to form a savings habit, you could start nice and easy with either an easy access account or a regular savings account. The former will give you plenty of access for a rainy-day fund, while the latter will help you save a little bit each month, getting you into the habit. Each type will have different advantages and disadvantages, and you might even decide you want both. Whatever you do, don't forget to compare products on all their features so you can find the perfect Best Buy for your needs.
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