Belfast Telegraph

69% don't plan finances more than a year in future

By Vicky Shaw

Just one in three people plan their finances more than a year ahead, according to research from Citizens Advice.

The charity, which is encouraging people to get on top of money matters, found just 31% of us think about the issue more than 12 months into the future.

The survey of more than 2,000 people also discovered that in the last two years, one in three people had not personally checked if they were on the best mobile phone contract, 33% had not checked if they had the most appropriate energy tariff and 34% had not looked at whether they were on the best broadband deal.

Citizens Advice said that in the last 12 months, it had helped with 1.8 million queries about debt and personal finances.

It is encouraging people to get their finances in order for the year ahead by reviewing where they can make savings and getting on top of any debts.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "Planning your finances ahead can keep you in the black.

"Looking at how you spend your money and where you can trim back will help you plan a budget that meets your daily costs.

It can also help you build up savings so that you're prepared for any sudden changes, from one-off expenses like replacing a washing machine to a change in your employment.

"It's also important to shop around so you get the best deal on your household bills. Energy, broadband and mobile phone tariffs all vary widely, and paying over the odds for lots of bills can all add up."

Citizens Advice suggested that in order to carry out a "financial health check", people should take steps such as getting a clear idea of their budget and putting dates for when contracts for services such as mobile phones and broadband are due to end in a diary as a reminder to shop around for a better deal.

People with debts should make a clear list of their creditors, how much they owe and when they need to pay it back, it added.

Meanwhile, the British Bankers' Association (BBA) has suggested five areas to help people improve their finances.

The organisation said that the public should be prepared for an interest rates rise that could impact on mortgage and loan repayments in 2016.

It suggested creating a rainy day fund for emergencies, paying back debts using direct debit, using mobile banking apps and shopping around for the best value current account.

Belfast Telegraph