When thinking about your future and that of your family, a little long-term planning can go a long way. Of course, modern life is so hectic that it can be very hard to find the time to think into the future, but time passes quickly and you don’t want to find yourself unprepared for what lies ahead.
If you are in your twenties or early thirties and still struggling with student debt, low-paid work and stress, you may be tempted to put off big, long-term decisions about your life until some unspecified point in the future. But there are some steps you can take early in your life to ensure that you and your loved ones are provided for in years to come.
Sort out your pension
If you are under thirty, chances are you haven’t given your pension much thought. Especially with the rollercoaster stock market over the last decade, it may seem like a dangerous time to put money into a fund that can’t guarantee a fixed payout in the future. The simple fact, however, is that you are much more likely to get a decent payout from your pension in the future if you start saving sooner.
The best pensions are usually those provided by an employer, so next time you receive information about a company pension be sure to look through it properly and decide if you want to invest.
Balance the books
Make a clear assessment of your incomings and outgoings each month. You may be surprised by what you find.
Nobody is suggesting that you need to live like a monk, but some expenses may surprise you, especially things like how much you spend on takeaway/restaurant food each month. What’s more, home-made food is not only cheaper but frequently healthier than restaurant food. If you are a smoker, cutting down or quitting is one of the best ways to save money and improve your health.
If you can cut $200 from your monthly spend, you can save $2400 each year, or $24,000 over a decade. The small savings add up!
Get life insurance
Especially if you have a family to provide for, a life insurance policy is a way to ensure that they will be looked-after should anything happen to you. It may be somewhat macabre to think about, but the consequences of not thinking about it are potentially much worse.
Life insurance policies can be relatively inexpensive but be sure to find the policy that is right for you. A policy that doesn’t cover activities that you regularly partake in would be poorly suited and would potentially not pay out, leaving your loved ones without provision. Read the small print and, if necessary, take independent advice from an expert.
Keep on learning
Studies have repeatedly shown that keeping your brain active through learning can play a major role in delaying the onset of mental illnesses. By maintaining interests and finding new ones, not only can you make your days more exciting but you will probably have more days to enjoy!
It is never too late to learn a foreign language, take up painting, learn a new game, find a new favorite author… stay stimulated!
Write your will
Writing your last will and testament is rather like that life insurance policy: it gives you peace of mind. With a valid last will and testament you can rest assured that your possessions will be divided as you wish in the event of your death, making a hard time easier for your loved ones.
Making your will does not have to be expensive and you have the option to make your own will, without input from a lawyer or estate practitioner. However, if you have a larger estate or complex wishes, the input that you can get from an expert may prove invaluable. For example, there are some techniques that can be used to alleviate inheritance tax liability.
For most people, however, a basic last will and testament is a great way to ensure that your loved ones are provided for should anything happen to you.
Andrew Hayes writes for MakeAWillOnline.co.uk, one of the UK’s leading online will writing services.