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Posted on: 14 Sep, 20

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak has affected people in various ways. However, this has undoubtedly been a time for contemplation surrounding our personal finances. Many have taken the new-found time at home to conduct a review of their finances, to assess necessary and unnecessary expenditure. While uncertainty with the job market continues, a tighter grip on finances is key.

Even if you have a solid financial plan in place, it still needs to be updated regularly to ensure it reflects any life changes. But what should your priorities focus on now? Is it time to turn your attention to your pension, ISA or your mortgage, or something else? Should you be thinking about investing more for your children’s education or putting an estate plan in place? And then there are those previous company pension schemes to review – is it three, four…or was it five? If you’re unsure what diagnosis to give your current money situation, maybe it’s time to consider a Financial health check. But where do you start?

1. Consolidate and manage debt

You need to know exactly how much you owe, how much interest you are paying, and to whom. Once you have added up all the debt, work out how much you can reasonably afford to pay off each month. A debt consolidation loan could be a way to lower your monthly payments, reduce the number of creditors you owe and shorten the time it takes to pay off your debt. Debt consolidation is a method of taking out a new loan to pay off the high-interest debt in an effort to streamline monthly payments and save money over time. Personal loans, low-interest credit card balance transfers, or debt management plans are just a few of the different options to consider and will depend on your specific situation.

If your Finances have been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak don’t forget you can apply for up to a six month payment holiday on your mortgage. If you haven’t yet applied you have until 31 October 2020 to do so. "e same applies to credit and store cards and personal loans. You can also ask your bank to make the first £500 of your overdraft interest-free for at least three months. If your overdraft limit is less than £500, you can ask for the whole of your overdraft to be interest-free. You have until 31 October to ask. Up to a three-month payment holiday can be requested on car finance, but this must be requested by 31 October and if you’re already on a car finance payment holiday, you can ask for an extension of up to six months.

Tracking your finances gives you a baseline to help track your progress and helps you to see spending mistakes before they become disastrous personal finance problems

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