Managing your finances

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and six pence, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

~ Mr Micawber in David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Are you comfortable? Or do you have some financial worries you’d like to address?

Like most of life, worries are best dealt with head on and often the worst course of action is to pretend nothing is wrong and hope for a miracle. It will work for a few people each year, but the odds of it working for you are very long indeed.

Jars with different level of coins

Taking a snapshot of where you are and comparing it with where you want to be can be really useful. The moneyadviceservice.org.uk have a great online budget planner which can help you to compare your income and expenditure to see whether in Mr Micawber’s words you’re on track for happiness or misery.

There are two sides to improving your financial situation. The first is to ensure that you are getting the best from your assets and that they are generating enough income to cover your activities both now and in the future. The second is to review your spending to see whether you can save a few pounds by shopping around.

Getting the most from what you have

Maximising returns from your financial assets can be complex. There are so many options available that ‘doing it yourself’ can be really tricky. The Money Advice Service is a great place to start for a wealth of information about what is available for your hard-earned money, and who you might get to assist you in making decisions. They also have some excellent advice on how to avoid those who will seek to separate you from your money. Click our shortlink to visit their webpage acticheck.com/findadvisor.

Claim what is rightfully yours

Many people do not claim all they can in the form of benefits: do not be shy, you’ve earned your retirement income, every penny, and there may be a few more pounds available if you look. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) should be up to date regarding your options and be able to tell you about any local initiatives in place to help as well as any national ones.

One thing which can really help is if you can benefit from discounts related to your age or health many organisations will offer a discount if you only go at a certain time, whether it’s your local gym, or travelling by rail or bus. Even local shops will often offer discounts to certain groups, including the retired, as they want your business. Make them earn it!

The next section gives tips on how to get the best value from your money and what to do if you still can’t make ends meet.

Healthy Active Ageing

This blog post is an excerpt from Healthy Active Ageing, a series of mini-guides that together cover most of what we can do as human beings to make the later stages of our lives as positive as they can be.
If you complete the details below we’ll email you one of the guides every until you have the full set. You will know a lot of the information but there is nothing wrong with a reminder every now and then; and there may even be some information which is new to you.

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If you know something is wrong then please contact an expert immediately.

Your doctor can help with medical problems, or if you are in an emotional crisis you could contact the Samaritans. You can call them free from any phone on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org or you may have a branch near you that you can visit (see www.samaritans.org/branches).

If the cause of your crisis is feeling overwhelmed by a financial or legal issue then they may suggest a local legal centre or the Citizens Advice Bureau as a good first step to solving your issues.

There is a Spanish phrase that says ‘Where there is a will, there are many ways’. Just because what you have tried so far has not worked does not mean there is nothing else to try and these people are expert at finding the right solution in a crisis, and they care.