Setting your Intentions for 2019

It’s that time of year again.

Have your New Year’s resolutions fallen by the wayside already? We all mean to do better about eating healthily, drinking less and exercising more as the year turns over a new page. But it’s not easy to maintain the lifestyle changes that fulfilling these resolutions often takes, especially in these short, dark days.

Thinking about your intentions rather than resolutions can be a more helpful approach. And to try to look beyond the short-term goals to longer term outcomes to boost the likelihood of sticking to them.

Here are four simple financial New Year’s resolutions which only require one-off actions, not sustained effort. And they could provide long term benefits:

  1. Make a will. If you don’t have a will, you have no say in how your estate is distributed. That may not matter if the laws of intestacy match your wishes, but often the two diverge considerably, leaving difficult issues for your dependants. If you have made a will, you are not completely off the hook: resolve to look at it and make sure it is still the right will for your current circumstances.
  2. Set up lasting powers of attorney. Who would make decisions about your finances and medical treatment if you were unable to do so? Just as with a will, a lasting power of attorney lets you decide the answer rather than falling back on what the state determines or leaving your family without the ability to really help you.
  3. Check your credit rating. If you have plans for 2019 that might require a loan, or you are applying for any kind of finance, your credit rating is important. You can easily check your credit score at one of the three credit reference agencies – Experian, Equifax or Transunion – and get a copy for just £2.
  4. Check your state pension entitlement. This is easy to do online (https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension) and shows both what you should receive based on current rates and when you should start to receive it. The projection will also indicate any scope you have for increasing your state pension.
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