This life admin checklist could help make you financially fitter in 2019
Life admin’s a barrel of laughs, right?
No. But neither is realising you haven’t done any of the life admin you’ve been planning to do for months.
The fact is, getting this sort of stuff done is surprisingly satisfying and will set you on the right path for the year ahead.
What stuff do I mean? Read on for the five life admin tasks I’ll be prioritising in January 2019.
1. Career and skills admin
Take the time to think about the skills or qualifications you’d like to gain in the year ahead or if you’d like to put yourself forward for a new position. This could mean:
- Updating your CV.
- Applying for a job or asking for a pay rise.
- Identifying gaps in knowledge or experience.
- Enrolling on a course.
- Registering for an event or to volunteer.
2. Tax admin
The chore that makes doing the washing up seem appealing! Tax is dull. There’s only one thing for it: get it out of the way so you can move on to something more fun. This could mean:
- Registering for self-assessment online if you’ve not done it before.
- Getting pay slip or P60 details from your employer if you have misplaced them.
- Filling out your self-assessment tax return before the January 31 deadline.
- Creating or updating a folder, app or spreadsheet with relevant receipts or earnings so you have them to hand when you need them.
3. Bills admin
Bills, bills, bills. Can you pay your bills? Do you OPEN your bills? One million households in the UK don’t open their bills, never mind read them, according to research by Santander. It really might pay to do some of this admin if that’s you:
- Making sure payments are up to date, including council tax.
- Checking you’re not making unnecessary payments, for example magazine subscriptions you no longer use.
- Switching utilities, insurance, current account or credit card provider to get a better deal.
- Notifying a change of address or changing banking details.
4. Debts admin
Check, if you have debts, that you’re happy with your progress paying them off. It helps to total all your debts and review your plan to tackle them. Maybe you could pay them off quicker. This could mean:
- Getting a free credit report.
- Overpaying your mortgage if you can afford it. This could save you money in interest in the long run.
- Cutting the cost of debts, for example with a balance transfer on a 0% credit card, while you pay them off. But be wary of deals with high rates and make a note of any cut off points. If you’re struggling, get advice.
5. Pensions, investments and future goals admin
There could hardly be a better time to review money goals and costs. Will you be putting money aside this year for a rainy day or something else? Think about what bigger expenses (a wedding, buying a house, a big holiday?) could be looming towards you and what you can do NOW to help you afford them. This could include:
- Checking your banked expenditure to see where you could cut back.
- If you’re not already, starting to budget with a spreadsheet, an app or on paper – whatever is going to help you check in regularly.
- Booking holidays, train tickets or season passes in advance.
- Assessing whether existing investments are meeting your objectives.
- If you are investing or about to, considering your risk appetite and asset allocation.
- Getting under the bonnet of your workplace pension. Should you contribute more or take control of how your savings are invested?
As my colleague Claire, a chartered financial planner, says in this article: Eight New Year’s Resolutions for personal finance in 2019: “Many people go on diets or exercise regimes in January and typically people start with lots of enthusiasm but then they quickly give up.”
She says: “Shaping up your finances is a similar challenge – it is about making this a habit and continuing throughout the year”.
Is there a topic you’d like to see covered on MoneyLens.com? Or do you have feedback or a suggestion for our jargon-buster? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or join the conversation on social media.
Read more: What can I invest in? Funds for beginners
Read more: Shares vs property: where do I invest?