Many of this year’s money decisions were driven by the impact of the pandemic and we know a lot of plans had to be put on hold. There will be lessons we can all learn about how we save and invest for the future and there may be more disruption to come. But there’s also optimism for 2021, and now could be the perfect time to get your plans back on track.
1. Your 2021 money goals – and how to achieve them
What are your savings goals? Maybe the last year has taught you the importance of having a healthy rainy day fund, or perhaps you’re dreaming again of a big holiday. Maybe even saving for a home or a family wedding is back on the agenda.
The simple and practical steps in Setting savings goals. And how to achieve them show how budgeting, saving, investing and taking a long-term view can help.
If you’ve got short and long-term goals, having the right mix of savings, pensions and investments can make all the difference. Pension or savings? Getting the right mix for you explains how you can find that flexibility in your savings.
A little planning and preparation now could give your saving some real momentum going into the new year.
2. Still time to make the most of this year’s ISA allowances
Once we’re into the new year, the new tax year won’t be far behind. So, if you’ve set your saving goals, now is a good time to check any ISA (Individual Savings Account) savings, make sure you understand your options, and consider whether saving more and using any remaining tax-free allowances is right for you. Each year’s ISA allowance is on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis. You can’t carry it forward to a future year.
Making the most of your ISA allowance explains the generous tax benefits ISAs offer, including your annual allowances, and also offers some tips to help you choose the best investments for you.
Remember that the value of investments can go down as well as up and may be worth less than what was paid in.
3. The gift of plain speaking
If 2021 is the year you’ve vowed to get on top of your finances and if getting more involved in investing is part of that plan, a crash course in investment language can be a great starting point.
Try this Simple guide to investment jargon to take some of the confusion out of making the right choices for your future. Common terms we’ve explained include the difference between saving and investing, investment risk, asset classes, equities, bonds and diversification. Taking some of the mystery out of the language can help you work towards your money goals with a bit more confidence.
4. All I want for Christmas is … to retire early
If you’re dreaming of putting the rat race behind you and enjoying a comfortable early retirement you’re not alone. One of our most-read stories this year was about retiring early – how to go about it and how much you might need to save to make it happen.
So you want to retire early – when and how? outlines some typical costs for whatever lifestyle you’d like to enjoy and explains how a mix of savings could help you make it a reality.
5. Investment lessons from a turbulent year
There’s no escaping that this year’s been dominated by the impact of coronavirus. While there has been very promising news about vaccines, we can still expect more disruption to economies. And that could also mean more turbulence in financial markets.
One of our best-read stories this year – viewed more than 40,000 times – was Coronavirus, market falls and your investments – what you need to consider. And another piece by Holly Mackay from Boring Money explains Why a Stocks & Shares ISA can still make sense in volatile markets.
They both offer tips for keeping a close eye on your investments and what you can do with your money when markets are volatile, which could still be just as useful as we navigate our way out of the crisis.
The information here is based on our understanding in December 2020 and shouldn’t be taken as financial advice.