Starting the New Year with Financial Goals & me&mymoney App
My first post of the year earlier this week, was a post all about a new year finance overhaul, packed full of simple ideas to save you money and to make you money. The big objective of this exercise being to free up more cash to pay off any debts that you have or to save, save, SAVE! I am on a real mission to save this year. A tool that can help both you and I is the new me&mymoney app from evestor.co.uk
I have some debt, but thankfully it’s all on 0% cards and I have a clear repayment plan to have it all repaid by the end of 2018. In addition to the debt repayment I also have a savings plan. Six months ago, I was in a position of only being able to afford repayment of debt, with no savings and it felt awful, scary and unprotected. Now, as well as money each month going into debt repayment it also goes into savings.
My Savings Aims
I have two aims with savings. Firstly, to build up an easy to access emergency fund and secondly to invest into a stocks and shares ISA. I am aiming for a £5k balance in the easy to access emergency fund. This can be dipped into for things like unexpected car repairs (four new tyres needed recently), unexpected football expenses (2 Germany tours costing £350 for eldest son). I am in the process of setting up a stocks and shares ISA with evestor. I have always had a stocks and shares ISA until 12 months ago when I shut it down needing the money. Now is the time to open a new one, let’s see if I can invest £20k per year as per the limits!
I was excited to give the app meandmymoney app a good test run. It’s going to help me with all my above goals and help me to understand where my money is going. I have always been very good at knowing how much money is coming in, always knowing my bank balance every day, knowing what money is coming in and when. But when it comes to expenses I’m not so great at the self-control and knowledge. An easy to access app like this will resolve this for me.
The first thing you need to do is to link up your bank accounts, credit cards and savings. I added my first direct accounts and credit cards that are used for all regular household and monthly personal expenses very simply by using my online logins. Security is taken very seriously and they use 256-bit TLS encryption in all online process to keep all data secure and safe. The systems have been tried and tested by security experts.
Every time I log in I can see all my balances. The Analysis tool breaks all my spending down into categories and shows current month versus previous month across utilities, entertainment, groceries plus more. A useful summary that you can click into to see the detail. Just on utilities alone (Mobile, Broadband, TV, Energy and Water) we spend £260 each month!! You can go into the detail and change tagging of expenses if anything has gone into a bizarre category.
There is a planning section to help create targets for savings goals, budgets for monthly spending and debt repayment. I have added my savings goals and can see that I am already 60% of the way the way there to reaching my emergency fund savings target, woohoo. Adding the credit card details has given me a debt target to aim for. Seeing it on a slider is a positive aim and having it easily to hand on my phone will be a huge driver to hit that target. Plus, you can set budgets for the monthly spends, for example travel should never exceed £200 or groceries should be budgeted to £600.
Advice on Investments
The other brilliant thing you can do is to start an advice process and set up investment products including a stocks and shares ISA, pensions or GIA. They pride themselves on having very accessible products, you can start investing from as little as £1 with no set up fees and annual fees are less than 0.5%. I have gone through the ISA set up process which was very simple and intuitive. You enter the monthly amount to invest, you chose a risk level of plan (clearly explained in three levels), you can select a starting balance or amount to transfer from elsewhere. It clearly states the fees of the account, with an assumed interest rate and shows what your balance could be in the future. Investment can go down as well as up, so be sure to choose the risk level appropriate for your situation. Once set up your product can be viewed at any time online or via this app.
Please be aware that any form of investment can go up and down and you may want to consider advice from a qualified IFA. Just make sure they are recommended by a trusted friend and check their investment levels as some will only work with clients with an investment level of at least £150k. This post was written in collaboration with evestor.co.uk