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Sponsored: Self-isolating is the perfect time to plan for the future

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Planning your trajectory for your life and finances is rarely without benefit, but where to start?

Beginning with a single action, such as cutting minor bills, is a worthy choice that nevertheless is similar to pulling on a ball of string; there’s always another ‘Ah! I forgot about this’ task at the end, and while we don’t want to look down on any positive actions, it can leave your overall results a little haphazard. We can do things better.

Isolation as an opportunity

With coronavirus responses becoming firmer and more organised by the day, staying at home to protect ourselves and others from the spread of the virus is a responsible course of action. For many, this is a challenging shift in our lives; we have more time than before to ourselves, and there’s a fair need to fill that time productively.

Personal finance is always a subject worth investing that time into, and in a unique period in history where many busy adults find themselves at home and idle, it’s an opportunity to step back from our lives and incrementally plan our goals for the future.

Planning several years in incremental amounts helps to make sure the actions we perform now are going to push us towards our larger goals, whatever they may be. It helps us to save more money more easily, and that’s something all of us can get behind!

Thinking in increments

You can choose these increments as suits your preference, but in this example, we’ll be looking at increments of where we want to be in one month, six months, a year and three years from now.

Before that, though, we’ll produce a high-level brainstorm of our goals. For argument’s sake, let’s say we’ve come up with this:

  • I want to reskill into a new, more profitable profession
  • I’d like to relocate to an area that’s better for me and my family
  • Investing in a better car will save money long-term and will help me stay mobile

These are big tasks; let’s break them down and fit them into our plan. Putting deadlines on your larger goals first allows you to drill down into more granular detail, making the planning of your weeks and months ahead more focused and productive. Using the above, you might end up with a plan like this.

Now: I need to make a savings plan to make my longer-term plans possible. I’ll look at my income and expenses and cut down on bills where I can, and I’ll have a quick browse of training providers to get a ballpark of how much money I need to save over the next six months to begin my courses.

One month from now: I’ve stuck to my savings plan and I’ve identified the specific education I need to make my career move. In the months ahead, I can begin looking for the best possible provider of that education and look to begin my training.

Six months from now: At this point, my training courses and education should probably begin. The saving I’ve begun should now help me to be ready to buy that new car in the next six months.

A year from now: I’ve bought that new car and I’ve completed the education required to make my career swap happen, and I could be ready to job hunt. In the months ahead, landing that job will boost my income to where I can save more money in the next two years to rent in a new area and get closer to the amount I need to get a mortgage.

Three years from now: I’ve saved enough money from my new career to make moving a reality. I’m in a new area and I’m renting. In time, my savings will get to the amount I need to buy a house. I have a better job, live in a better area and have a great future ahead!

Tools to make planning easier

There’s a lot on the table in our plan, so anything we can do to make sticking to our plans easier is a big benefit.

Getting Things Done: This concept of planning in increments is covered in more detail in the famous book Getting Things Done by David Allen www.gettingthingsdone.com/. GTD is a way of organising yourself to be as productive as possible in life, and it’s known the world over for being an effective system.

Trello: The classic organisational tool www.trello.com. Trello is a great choice for people who prefer keeping things online, and it’s easy to sync between your browser and your smartphone so you’re always able to add tasks and goals as they come up.

Extra finances: It’s good to know that you can obtain extra money for when large purchases come up. When used responsibly, short-term loans such as from www.freshloan.co.uk can benefit you in the long-term by making important expenses possible sooner rather than later, such as buying a better car or paying for that training course when a discount deal is available. As always, be sure you can make repayments reliably and choose a trusted broker and lender.