It’s Halloween, a time for witches, ghosts and ghouls although most of us are way past the stage of finding Halloween scary. If only we could say the same about financial fears. Far too many people are frightened by their finances, spooked by their spending or petrified of their pension.
Being haunted by financial fears is no fun at all but with a little effort and knowledge you can tackle the things that frighten you so that instead of feeling scared, you feel in control. With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of three of the things that most frighten people about finance and how to tackle them.
1. Not having enough to live comfortably when you retire
If this is a big worry of yours and you haven’t started saving for retirement then you are right to be concerned. A 2017 survey by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK found that 31% of UK adults have no private pension provision at all. That means that they will be reliant on the state pension (currently £168.60 per week) when they retire, and the full amount is only for those who have a complete record of national insurance contributions. It’s a similar story in other countries around the world.
Could you afford to live off £159.55 per week? It’s a big ask and certainly won’t see you living life to the full once you stop working if that is your sole source of income. You’ll be in survival mode at best, covering bills and food with little left over for fun.
Which is why in these financially precarious times absolutely everyone, from 20 something career starters to 50 somethings approaching retirement, should have their own pension provision to top up any state retirement benefits they will receive. If you haven’t started a pension fund, now is the time to do it.
That might mean taking a close look at your spending habits in order to free up money for saving. And obviously you will need to look carefully into the best options for you to ensure that your savings are working as hard as they possibly can be to provide a return that is building your wealth. That will almost certainly involve speaking to a financial adviser and we highly recommend that you do.
2. Becoming too ill or injured to work
When you have responsibilities in the form of a partner and/or dependents who are relying on your income for their every need, it’s understandable that this concern will raise its ugly head every now and then. A couple of days off ill can send your mind spiralling into ‘what if’ scenarios imagining how your family would cope if a period of illness extended into months, or even years.
Fortunately, this is something that you can protect against with critical illness insurance cover. In the event that you are diagnosed with an illness which is covered by the policy (and most cover a long list of conditions from cancer, strokes and heart attacks to debilitating illnesses such as multiple scelorisis and accidental injuries) you make a claim and receive a one-off lump sum to help cover costs during your recovery. That provides security that you can continue to pay any ongoing household costs as well as any costs related to your illness or injury.
3. Dying prematurely and leaving your family in difficulty
Again, leaving your dependents high and dry financially if you were to die is a fear that flits across most people’s minds once in a while. It’s life insurance that can help in this situation. With life insurance in place, if you come to a premature end your family receive a lump sum to mitigate the financial impact of your passing away. This will help them maintain financial stability and ensure that they can continue to cover their regular outgoings. If you don’t have life insurance, talk to a financial adviser and get some in place as soon as possible.
The other thing to tackle to put your mind at rest on this one is estate planning. A will is the only way to ensure that assets go to the people you want them to when the Grim Reaper comes calling, leaving no potential for misunderstanding which can lead to family strife. Be sure to take professional advice on your will and inheritance tax planning and ask about any legal tools available to you to reduce the inheritance tax burden on your loved ones.
If any of these fears resonate with you, we’d be delighted to help you face up to them by putting together a financial plan which protects you and your family against any difficulties life throws in your path. It is our fundamental belief that financial planning makes life less scary and our financial consultants have extensive experience in every facet of financial planning and wealth management, including life and general insurance, property funds management and other services. Why not get in touch?
A leading provider of expat financial services and wealth management services across Asia.