Well, we’ve made it through the recession; the next challenge will be surviving the recovery. Families must face up to the fact that their finances suffer more this year than they did last year, during the recession. The reason for this disheartening news is that the recovery stands to bring about inflation, increased interest rates, higher taxes and more expensive household bills. So, the message from financial analysts and debt advisors is clear; we’re not out of the woods yet.
Here are Harrington Brooks’s top ten tips on surviving the recovery.
1. Protect yourself against losing your job.
You should consider taking out some kind of redundancy protection. Unemployment has fallen a little but it’s smart to take out insurance against losing your job while you still have one.
2. Be prepared for a pay freeze.
Pay freezes are set to become more common and it’s likely to be down to firms controlling costs by freezing your pay. For a lot of people, the recovery is going to feel just like the recession.
3. Try to fix your mortgages while rates are low.
Avoid the rising interest rates by entering into a fixed rate deal in the next few months. However, the good news is that the number of mortgage deals will continue to increase.
4. Keep a close eye on your credit card limit.
Credit card companies are beginning to authorise higher credit limits, without actually asking their customers first. Although this may seem a great deal for if you’re struggling to pay bills, you’re just saving up the debt for later.
5. You shouldn’t bank on a rise in house prices.
Strangely, house prices ended up higher at the end of 2009 than at the start. However, the average house price in the UK is £169,000 and according to Halifax, it’s unlikely to climb much higher. Rising mortgage rates and growing unemployment will make it hard for many to move home.
6. Get advice about tax.
Tax can only go up. Some suggest that VAT could rise to 20 per cent after the election. Protect yourself by getting a good tax advisor.
7. Avoid tying your savings up for too long.
People who are heavily dependent on their savings should be careful about tying up their money for too long. What seems a great deal now, may not look so good in a few years.
8. Pay the maximum amount into your pension.
Since inflation eats into your savings, a set some of money will get you less at the end of the year than it did at the start. However, pensions tend track inflation because they invest in Government bonds.
9. Be sure to budget for an increase in household bills.
A fixed deal from your energy company might look more expensive now but will prove good value if tariffs climb. Wholesale energy markets will rise in line with an increased demand. So, your utility bills are likely to climb too.
10. Clear your existing debts now.
Freeing yourself from the burden of bad debt as quickly as possible will hopefully allow you to avoid rocketing rates of interest. Talk to a dedicated debt advisor about the best debt solution to suit your circumstances. Visit www.harringtonbrooks.co.uk and take the free, no obligation debt test to find out your best option.