Your January Financial To-Do List

VIDEO: In this new series we look at which financial matters you need to focus on each month. Here's your financial to-do list for January

Holly Black 15 January, 2021 | 9:41AM
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Holly Black: Welcome to Morningstar. I'm Holly Black. Today, we're talking your January financial to-do list. This is a new monthly video series where we'll be looking each month at areas of your finances you need to be focusing on.

So, January isn't that fun anyway. The festivities are over, the nights are still dark. And now, there's someone talking to you telling you to sort out your finances. But I am here to help, I promise.

So, the first thing on your to-do list for January should be your tax return. If you are registered for self-assessment, you have until January 31st to get it filed or you might get a fine. Now, the government is allowing deferrals if you've been affected by Covid-19 this year and it's also waiving late fees for filing. But you will still be fined if you don't pay your taxes. So, it really is best to just get on with it. So, to do your self-assessment you'll need your government gateway code, your UTR, that's your unique taxpayer reference, and your National Insurance number to hand.

Number two on the to-do list is insurance. I don't know about you, but all of my insurances, the house, the car, the pet, all seem to come up for renewal in January. So, the key thing when looking at this is to shop around. Do not accept the renewal price from your current provider because there is probably a better deal to be had. Use comparison sites. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and query the price if it doesn't make sense to you and don't leave it till the last minute. If you apply a few weeks before the deadline then you'll probably get a better deal because the insurer thinks you're more responsible than someone who takes out insurance on the last day possible.

Third and final one for your January to-do list is credit cards. So, you've probably maybe got a bit of a festive spending hangover. A lot of us do the spending in December and forget about it until the bills arrive. The best thing with any credit card debt, of course, is to pay it off in full. That way you don't accrue interest charges. But if that's not possible for you, tackle the card with the highest interest rate first, because that's going to rack up the biggest charges. If you can, consider a not percent balance transfer card deal. That will mean you're not accruing interest while you're paying off that debt.

So, January's to-do list to recap – one, do your self-assessment tax return; two, sort out those insurances; three, get on top of that credit card debt. Sorted? We will see you next month.

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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Holly Black  is Senior Editor,


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