BLUE Monday - January 21, 2013 - is set be the most depressing day of the year, according to experts...who blame bad weather, the need for Christmas detox, poor motivation and debt.
See The Star tomorrow for a full report.
Researchers claim that on the third Monday of January, the nation’s collective well-being will to sink to an all-year low.
But you can improve your personal finance with some quick and easy top tips, says Teresa Fritz, consumer finance expert at MoneyVista
She said: “A lot of people start January with the good intention of sorting out their finances but it’s often those who begin most enthusiastically that give up first.
“With money, a little planning and effort goes a long way but it works best if it’s a lifetime habit.
MoneyVista’s top tips for 2013 are:
* SET A HOUSEHOLD BUDGET
If you’ve not budgeted for the expensive Christmas period, it will feel an especially tight stretch from your early December payday until the end of January. However, budgeting shouldn’t just be for Christmas. Setting a clear budget can help you live within your means throughout the whole year, as well as being able to afford some treats along the way.
* SET ASIDE SOME MONEY FOR EMERGENCIES
If you do find you have a bit of extra cash each month, don’t be tempted to spend it all at once. We all need a bit of an emergency fund to buffer us against the day-to-day minor disasters such as the car or washing machine breaking down, or the odd burst pipe or two. A good idea is to aim to save the equivalent of between three to six months of your monthly salary. It also can make sense to use a Cash Isa to house your emergency fund – that
way you don’t pay any tax on the interest and you can use the amount you’ve saved on tax for a treat or two.
* THINK ABOUT PROTECTION INSURANCE
Especially if you have dependants, getting protection insurance should be high on your to-do list. There are different types of cover which will provide income for your family if you are diagnosed with a long-term illness and are unable to work, or even die. If you already have protection in place, then ensure you review your cover and are happy with the income it would provide.
* START A PENSION AND SEE HOW MUCH YOU NEED
2012 saw several major changes to pensions. You might be one of the first 600,000 people saving into the new workplace pensions launched under automatic enrolment last October. The TUC said it represents the beginning of a “major new deal” on pensions, but even if you have one, it might not be enough to provide the sort of retirement you expect.
* REVIEW YOUR INVESTMENTS AND YOUR RISK
Many people with investments don’t fully understand what they are investing in and what risk they are taking on. Take control of your investments this year and review your portfolio and the charges you’re paying.
* MoneyVista is a comprehensive online financial planning service that helps you create, manage and maintain a personal financial plan. By entering information about your income, outgoings, property, pensions and savings, you can create a financial plan in a matter of minutes and start taking control of your financial future.