Whatever stage you are at with your financial planning, there is always room for improvement. There are seven key elements to a sound financial plan. Why not make it your goal to tackle all of them in 2023?
1. Learn to budget
Your household finances should be run like a business with income and expenditure tracked to ensure that you earn more than you spend.
That means budgeting to live within your means. If you’re going into the red every month, you either need to increase the amount that is coming in or reduce the amount you are spending.
Learning to budget properly is the first step in taking control of your finances and you’ll be amazed at how liberating an in-depth knowledge of your financial dealings can be. You’ll start to think more carefully about what you spend and be less likely to squander hard-earned cash on unnecessary purchases.
Start by making a list of your income and regular outgoings and if there is an imbalance, address it. Make sure you set aside an amount for saving or debt repayment each month.
2. Pay off bad debts
If you have ‘bad’ debts, make it a priority to get them paid off. ‘Bad’ debts are loans accrued to purchase things that you don’t really need and can’t afford, as opposed to ‘good’ debts which are those loans that have been taken out for important, life-changing and necessary items such as a house or car.
The difference is usually that so-called good debts will be properly structured with attractive interest rates and an affordable repayment schedule whereas bad debts, such as credit cards or payday loans, will have high-interest rates. There is no place for bad debt in a sound financial plan.
3. Acquire an emergency fund
Once you are ‘bad’ debt-free, concentrate on saving a contingency fund to tide you over when unexpected expenses occur in your life. An unexpected expense could be caused by something as simple as a leaking roof or something as devastating as a cancer diagnosis which leaves you unable to work for an extended period.
We usually recommend that an emergency fund equates to six months of living expenses. Accessibility is more important that the ability to earn interest on this element of a financial plan. Ensure it is kept somewhere it can be withdrawn easily at short notice.
4. Start saving for retirement
The days of being able to get by on a state pension are long gone. We all need to assume the responsibility of accumulating a nest egg that we will be able to live off once we stop working. If you have a workplace pension, you should sign up for it, but chances are that it won’t be sufficient for your needs. You’ll probably need to supplement it with income from private investments.
An independent financial adviser can help you define your retirement goals and devise a comprehensive financial plan to achieve them. Infinity offers a bespoke pension planning service for expats in Asia looking to secure financial freedom in retirement.
5. Protect your dependents with life insurance
The financial security of your loved ones is an important concern. Protect them against the financial consequences of you dying unexpectedly by taking out life insurance.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are healthy and can do without life insurance – none of us can predict what life has in store. Life insurance gives you peace of mind that your family will receive a lump sum payment to cover their expenditure, at least in the short term, if you pass away. If you’d like more information, have a chat with one of our consultants.
6. Ensure you have comprehensive health insurance
Similarly, life can throw some unpredictable curve balls your way health-wise. Life-changing illnesses such as cancer can happen to anyone at any time, and expats should take out cover to transfer the financial risk of becoming seriously ill to an insurer. Infinity works with all the best international insurers but is tied to none so we can scour the market for the best deals to suit your circumstances.
7. Do some estate planning
The only way to ensure that your assets go to the people you want them to after your death is to write a will, and yet so many people don’t have one. You should also consider guardianship of your children and any potential inheritance tax burden, particularly if you are British but your spouse is not. For assistance with the essential task of estate planning, get in touch with our experienced team.
When it comes to finance, procrastination will only cost you money. Take the bull by the horns this year and get at least some of the above boxes ticked in 2023.
Infinity’s team across Asia are experts in retirement planning, life and health insurance and estate planning for expats. We have helped hundreds of clients take control of their finances and we can do the same for you.
Kick off 2023 positively by contacting us for a free, initial consultation to discuss your financial planning.
A leading provider of expat financial services and wealth management services across Asia.