Listen to the podcast below to learn more about creating your black book. Then download the free black book template below which you will complete over the next week
An important step in understanding and improving your finances is to collect and write down all of your important financial information in one place which we call a "Black Book". This exercise will give you the detailed knowledge required to improve your finances and to identify anything that requires attention. It will also prove invaluable to an executor or your partner if you were to die.
Complete the "Bank Accounts & Overdrafts", "Credit Cards & Unsecured Loans" and "Mortgages & Secured Loans" sections of the black box spreadsheet / pdf. This may require you to register for online access to some of your accounts if you have not already.
In order to reduce debt with the ultimate goal of becoming debt free it is essential that you take ownership of your debts by listing them all out so you can build a plan to pay them off in the most efficient way possible.
Check your credit score for free by clicking on the article in the additional reading section below
One task everyone should perform once a year is to check their personal credit report. It is important to check your credit report so that you can rectify any issues ahead of applying for credit or a mortgage. You can also check that you have not become the victim of identity fraud.
Day 4 - Review your savings, pensions & investments
1 - Complete the "Savings Accounts" and "Investments & Pensions" sections of the black box spreadsheet / pdf. This may require you to register for online access to some of your accounts if you have not already. Include any old or current workplace pensions.
2- Go to the government's pension tracing service to track down the details of any pensions you think you might have. The article in the additional reading section below provides a detailed explanation of how to use this service to trace old pensions.
3- Check the earliest age at which you can start receiving a State Pension, by using the official tool. This will likely be different to the age at which you can receive any personal or workplace pension benefits.
In order to make an effective retirement plan and becoming financially independent it is important that you get an overview of your assets by listing them out and tracing any "lost" pensions.
Complete the "Personal Insurance" and "General Insurance" sections of the black box spreadsheet / pdf listing out all the personal and general insurances that you have including any work provided insurance benefits.
While a lot of people understand the importance of general insurance, such as home and car insurance, personal insurance such as life insurance, critical illness insurance and income protection insurance are often overlooked. It is important that to list out all your insurance products that you currently have (including those provided by your employer) so that you can assess their suitability in the days to come.
Listen to the podcast segment below which outlines how to approach achieving financial goals. Then start to think about what your own financial goals for the near and long term may be. For example it may be becoming debt-free, building an emergency fund, saving a deposit for your first home or starting to invest.
Once you have decided what your financial goals are it is important to break them down into smaller achievable steps that can be used as your guide to help make sure you achieve long term goals.
Click to play:
Day 7 - Rest day
Use today to finish off any Week 1 tasks that you may not have had time to complete this week.
Now that you have completed Week 1 of the 28 Day Financial Fitness Challenge, make sure to continue with Week 2.
At some stage in your life, you will likely need to engage the services of a financial adviser to help...
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