2017 is turning out to be a far more difficult and challenging year than was predicted in January. Whilst the Government continues with its Brexit plans, Britain unexpectedly posted its first budget surplus for any July since 2002 of £184 million pounds. This is compared with last year’s £308 million pound deficit and finally Making Tax Digital has been postponed for a few years.
However, there was other news that was not quite as positive, as a 10% rise in public borrowing was reported on this time last year, as was the news of an increase in inflation and related borrowing costs. This has led to slow growth and worrying times for the Government. The bad news doesn’t stop there, Sterling is at a two month low against the dollar and of course the pension age for women continues to rise.
If you are an avid reader of the daily newspapers, journalists and economic forecasters have been keen to share some pretty scary headlines recently, see below, which don’t exactly make people feel comfortable about their financial future:
- Analysts halve UK profit growth forecasts for 2018
- Property sales confirm static market says HMRC data
- Brexit fears slow Britain’s growth
- UK new car sales fall for fourth month in a row
- UK banks ordered to hold more capital as consumer debt surges
- Retire today and you’re 46% worse off than 10 years ago
- Parents start saving for university before their kids are even born
- 11 million people to downsize their homes within 20 years
So if uncertainty, instability and change are the norm, how can ordinary people make sure they are making the right decisions when it comes to their investments, mortgages, savings and pensions? Nicola Watts from Jane Smith Financial Planning seeks to reassure people about what to do about their personal finances.
“It’s important to remember that economies run through cycles and not to panic. Reviewing your own goal-based financial plan is a really useful way to prepare for any eventuality and of course essential to ensure that you are well placed to ride out any short term issues. However, the key to success is something that we always talk about – diversification. By spreading out savings and investments you will have the ability to offset any potential losses over the longer term.”
Nicola concludes. “There is also no substitute for clear and focused advice from a trusted and professional financial planner, where everything is explained in easy to understand language and you have ongoing access to help and support when you need it. Being well-informed and practising some caution are good for your finances, helping you to protect them for you and your families future benefit.”