For some, the end of January means only one thing: filing a tax return. If you’re not helped by an accountant or tax adviser, or you don’t have the regular support of a financial adviser, it can make for a stressful start to the year.
Whether you completed the form yourself or not, the annual return provides an important opportunity to reflect. It’s a single snapshot of all your incomings and outgoings. And there’s nothing like a tax bill to make you reconsider what you’re holding and why.
The dreaded tax return can make for a stressful start to the year
You could file away your return and think nothing more of it until next year. Or, you could use it as the spur to ask yourself some important questions. Are my finances where I want them to be? Am I paying more in tax than I could? Am I heading in the right direction? Could I use some help?
You’ve self-assessed. Now why not get a health check?
If those questions fill you with a sense of doubt, unease or curiosity, then it’s worth adding a new tradition to the annual ritual. Set yourself a new year’s resolution and make the moment your return is submitted the beginning, not the end, of your self-assessment. Give yourself a financial health check to see if your affairs could do with a bit of fine tuning.
Because however carefully you keep an eye on your assets, all portfolios need a spring clean from time to time. You need to track how much is going into your pension, to see if you are under or over-paying for the long term. You should reassess your investments, to make sure they’re aligned with your current situation (for example if you’re retiring soon). And you should always take care to ensure your portfolio’s appropriately balanced – with enough cash to draw on in an emergency, without damaging your longer-term returns.
A financial adviser: there to support you all-year round
That’s a lot of work on top of everything else on your plate. Which is why this might also be the time to get some year-round help.
This is where financial advisers come into the picture. In basic terms, advisers support clients in planning and manage their money, helping them select appropriate investments, build a diversified portfolio of assets and make the most of available tax wrappers. A financial adviser will work with you to ensure your money’s working hard to prepare you for the life you want.
A financial adviser will work with you to ensure your money’s working hard to prepare you for the life you want.
Indeed, although financial advisers will help you better manage your money, their role goes well beyond that. A good financial adviser understands your goals and ambitions as much as your pension plan. They’re a professional, objective third-party who can make recommendations to help you achieve the things you want.
Whether you’re thinking about how to plan for retirement, build a legacy for your children, or fund something from your bucket list, a financial adviser can help you to put the financial foundations in place.
So, if you’re getting ready to put your finances on the back-burner with tax season behind you, consider thinking again. This could be just the moment to start doing more – taking the same professional approach to managing your finances as you do to paying your taxes.
To find out more about financial advice and how it could help, why not take a read of our guide?