The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all and most people have faced financial changes as a result. There’s a lot we can’t control at the moment, but there are steps you can take to plan your financial future.
Personally, the pandemic has made me realise how quickly things can change and it’s highlighted the importance of savings. Secure jobs can become insecure. Income streams can dry up. Savings can suddenly be needed. So taking stock of my finances and thinking about how I want my financial future to look is something I’ve spent a considerable amount of time doing.
Like many others, my financial situation has changed considerably this year. I was made redundant from a job (check out coping with redundancy: what to do when you lose your job), which I held for almost nine years and I now have two part-time jobs. This means that my income and my pension set-up has changed.
I had a pension with my previous employer and I recently received my pension statement, explaining exactly what I’d saved within that employment. This prompted me to give some serious thought to my financial future. How much do I need to save? How much will I have each month when I stop work?
Nothing beats independent financial advice, but there are free online tools, if you’re pondering things like your retirement pot. I used Pigly, which has a range of tools that enable you to number crunch and make wise financial choices.
The retirement calculator on Pigly made me see what kinds of numbers I’d need to be saving to retire at 55, which is a dream of mine, but isn’t something I’d seriously planned for. This calculator had a space for me to input my current age, the age I’d like to be when I retire and there was also a spot for my current pension balance.
I’m not alone
I know I’m not alone. A lot of people are trying to get their heads around government employment schemes and work out what they’re entitled to.
If you have money to save, then you’re probably trying to find the best place to place your cash. This is trickier than usual, as many banks and building societies have slashed interest rates.
What can you do?
Retirement isn’t the only thing you can consider either. You can use calculators to look at costs associated with your mortgage, credit cards, loans, vehicle and general debts.
We can’t change the financial climate and sadly we can’t influence interest rates or job security. But we can educate ourselves, we can give our financial future some thought and we can plan for our future.