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What’s your 2020 vision?

Are you one for making New Year’s resolutions? Personally, I struggle to remember the ones I made last year or whether I kept any of them.

I suspect those I did make may have had some sort of rider attached to them – like my best friend who last year was told his blood pressure was on the high side. He resolved to try and reduce his stress levels by dialling down his road rage provided he could still allow himself the odd ‘stern word’ with his neighbour who needlessly parks his over-sized 4×4 with tyres resting on the pavement.

Resolutions are generally something we know we should do, but all too often find excuses not to. Take exercise for example. At some point in time you’ve probably resolved to look after your body better due to a nagging worry or realisation – perhaps an unflattering photo or your favourite jeans having seemingly ‘shrunk’.

You sign up for an expensive gym membership and eat your five-a-day in an attempt to lose weight and improve your health. For a few weeks or even months, you make some positive progress and you rightly feel proud of what you’ve achieved.

After a while, you begin to reward yourself with ‘treats’ more often and it becomes harder to maintain that initial focus. Soon enough, your results and motivation start to slip and every time you see those ultra-tight compression shorts winking at you from the airing cupboard, you feel the guilt twinge as you’re reminded of your goal to achieve an Instagram-worthy body by the Spring.

Another common resolution is to get to grips with your finances. A bit like the reluctant exerciser, you may have some concerns nagging away at you:

How do I achieve better returns on my savings and investments?

How can I simplify my financial affairs, or pay less tax?

Have I put enough away to maintain my standard of living in the future?

What’s the best way to draw an income from my various funds, pensions and ISAs?

All great questions worth addressing but you may have given yourself an excuse not to act.

Perhaps you’re waiting for life to be a little less busy, so you can devote some headspace to making decisions. It may be that you made some financial decisions in the past that you regret and want to avoid a repeat. Perhaps the prospect of discussing your plans with a financial advisor is on par with a trip to the dentist. Or the most popular reason to do nothing at the moment is of course ‘I’ll wait until Brexit is resolved’.

While your caveat remains, so will your concerns.

Don’t let procrastination or fear of failure interfere with your good intentions. While no-one can predict the future, one thing is an absolute certainty – great financial planning will put you in the best possible position to meet whatever fate has in store.

That means there can be no real excuse to put off that very satisfying feeling of having clear and meaningful goals for your money (and life) along with the reassurance that your affairs are in the very best possible order. You’ll turn your resolution into a revelation.

And you’ll be able to relax, spend time on the important things and finally get round to those little jobs you’ve been putting off for ages – like clearing out those clothes you never wear from the airing cupboard. Or painting double yellow lines under the neighbour’s 4×4.

With very best wishes to you all for a healthy and prosperous 2020.

Simon