Map out your money goals for the year ahead
4 min | 9 January 2023
Your new year’s resolutions around money may touch on the usual suspects such as boosting savings, and conquering debt. However, if the past six months of announcements have made it harder to predict your cashflow – when you consider interest rates, tax changes and energy rebates – here are some ways to try and take back control.
Now’s a good time to take stock of your income, outgoings and hopes for the year ahead.
Make the most of your annual tax-free allowances
One of the easiest things you can do is review your allowances and make sure you’re using those that are available to you. These allowances are the maximum amount of money you can hold or receive before tax is applied and are valid through the end of the current tax year, 5 April 2023.
Personal allowance: the standard personal allowance is £12,570 – which is the amount of income you can earn without having to pay tax on it.
Marriage allowance: lets one half of a couple who earns less than the income tax threshold (which is £12,570) transfer up to £1,260, tax-free, to their spouse – who must be a basic-rate taxpayer.
ISA allowance: you have until 5 April 2023 to put up to £20,000 into your ISAs if you’ve not already used up some of this allowance during the current tax year.
Capital gains allowances: if you’re planning to sell a high-value item before April 2023, your profits will be exempt from tax up to the annual allowance of £12,300. After April 2023, this is being halved to £6,000, and from April 2024, it will be £3,000.
Pension allowance: lets you contribute up to £40,000 to your pension, tax-free. It can be lower for higher earners or if you’ve already accessed your pension savings.
Confront your debts (but don’t forget about the fun stuff)
A new year tends to signal a clean slate, and paying down debt is generally a good place to start. Whether it’s your credit card or a student loan, assess your debts and make a plan to tackle them.
Your budget is an important part of this process, too. Did you veer off target last year? Maybe it’s time to revisit your monthly incomings and outgoings and try and spot any areas of improvement.
This could then free up some time for you to focus on more uplifting goals for your year ahead, including:
Saving for big events: dedicate a savings account to things such as holidays, festivals or weddings.
Personal growth: you might be thinking about completing a course or a formal qualification to boost your career or development. Setting up an account dedicated to it will help fund this path.
Wellness: keen to concentrate more on... yourself? Set your goal, such as a yoga break or a gym membership, then put aside money every month to make it happen.
Investing: is 2023 the year you open your first stocks and shares ISA? Do you want to invest more? A financial adviser can help walk you through options that are best for your situation and goals. A reminder that as with all investments, the value of your investment can go down as well as up, and you may not get back the money you invested.
With pretty much everything being paperless these days, we often underestimate the power of visual reminders to motivate us. It might be a bunch of sticky notes in your kitchen displaying your goals or a colourful poster listing the debts you’re determined to tackle – ready to be crossed through once you’ve paid them.
Other points to note in your new-year check-up
Three final ways that can help you get set for a strong financial future:
- Estate planning: if you have dependents, have you written your will or thought about how you’d like to pass on your assets?
- Emergency fund: how’s yours looking? Is it in good shape?
- Overpaying on your mortgage: once you’ve refreshed your budget, do you have any room to make mortgage overpayments? Check with your lender first, but if you’re allowed to overpay, it could help bring down your overall mortgage amount – which means you’d be paying less interest on it, too.
Working out your money goals for the coming new year is easier once you know where you stand with your income and expenses. And spending a little time getting organised means you’re better positioned to put your money to work and enjoy the year ahead.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and does not constitute financial advice. Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.