Important information - the value of investments and the income from them, can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest.

ASK most people what their hopes and dreams are, then dig a bit deeper and question what’s stopping them from achieving them and, odds are, money will come up. It doesn’t matter if those hopes and dreams involve having kids, buying a property, starting a business or retiring early, most start and end with talk of money.

Phrases like “I can’t afford to right now” or “when I’ve got enough money” or “as soon as I’ve stopped paying for x” trip off our tongues and that’s usually the end of the conversation.

Because without money it all feels like mission impossible. That is, until you learn how to set and follow a set of goals that will help you get to where you want to go.

In this video I talk you through how to effectively set and follow your goals. I look at what might be stopping you reach your goals and how to identify and overcome any obstacles that get in your way.

As we’re at the half-year stage, it’s a very good time to check-in on your financial position.

Here’s how:

1. Budget for higher living costs

Higher living costs are now here and unfortunately show little sign of falling significantly any time soon. Inflation is proving to be as stubborn as they come.

Savers and investors have a tough task on their hands if they want their money to keep up with inflation. Don’t be fooled into thinking that cash is king, because now you can at least get a return on your money. Even if we see further rate rises - and there is now talk of the Bank of England base rate hitting 5.75% before the year is out - the gains are still likely to be too small to balance out the impact of inflation. Instead, you need to look at the stock market to really have a chance to make your money grow.

2. Be honest about what you’ve got

Be honest with yourself about how much you earn, what you owe and where your money goes. Make a note of your take-home pay then offset that against your regular outgoings. Include variables such as food, drink, holidays, Christmas and birthdays. And don’t forget credit cards and loans. You will soon get a good idea of whether you’re spending within or way beyond your means.

3. Check your investments are doing their job

While you don’t want to tinker with your investments for the sake of it, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye on how they are doing. Markets move and times change and making sure that you are still on track is better done as you go along. Just a quick review of your portfolio, a check to see whether you are on track, is a good idea. 

Investing in a range of stocks or funds and keeping some cash in the bank for that proverbial ‘rainy day’ also keeps anxiety around your finances in check and ensures you have access to money tomorrow, should you need it, while also keeping a step ahead when it comes to looking after your financial future.

4. Make life easy by automating your savings and investments

Setting up a regular monthly investment that won’t leave a gaping hole in your cashflow, is the best way to stay focused and on track. With a Fidelity Stocks and Shares ISA you can save from £25 a month. If you invest in our Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) you can top it up by as little as £20 a month.

Just by adopting a positive savings habit, where you invest a small sum on a regular basis, you remove some of the worry about not saving enough (or at all) and remove the anxiety that inevitably comes with picking the ‘right’ moment to invest a larger amount.

5. Keep an eye on the road ahead

Living for today is one thing but you also have to keep an eye on the future. Are you saving enough for yours? Will you be able to afford the cost of care or supporting loved ones financially?

Make time to look at your retirement goals and map these against your income and current job security, so you have a better idea of where you are today and where you need to get to. You can then use that to draw up a financial plan to do what you need to, to boost your retirement savings in 2023.

Are you saving enough for your future?

Important information - investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and all tax rules may change in the future. Withdrawals from a pension product will not be possible until you reach age 55 (57 from 2028). This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice.

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