Top financial tips for 2012

Money matters

With the new year in its infancy, this time provides an ideal opportunity to get finances in order. In light of record low interest rates, soaring inflation and increasing costs for essentials, it is more important now than ever for people to make the most of their money.

So to that end, our social enterprise, Age Scotland Enterprises, have put together some top tips to get in the best possible financial shape for the new year:

•  Get to know your finances. Ensure that you are aware of when items such as car insurance need renewing so that you can budget accordingly.

•  Before renewing or buying any financial products, shop around and fully review all the options available so that you buy the best product for your individual needs.

•  Read the small print when buying insurance or other financial products. The cheapest offer might not always provide best value. Look out for cancellation fees and take advantage of companies offering interest free direct debit payments – it helps you budget monthly and doesn’t cost a penny more.

•  Seek impartial advice and clarify complex financial information before making any decisions.

•  Consider all your financial options. If you’re a homeowner and faced with less income than expected, equity release may be an option to boost your income. While not right for everyone, it is one way of ending a scenario where you are asset rich but cash poor in your later years.

•  Maximise your retirement income. About four million older people are entitled to pension credit, yet about one in three of those eligible are still not claiming it. If you’re one of them, you could be missing out on hundreds or even thousands of pounds a year. Even if you are only entitled to a small amount it’s still worth claiming pension credit, as it can help you qualify for other benefits.

•  Don’t put off important decisions. Do you have an up to date will? Not having a will means you have no control over your possessions when you’re gone, which can cause additional distress for your loved ones during a difficult time.

•  Think ahead. Have you ever thought of purchasing a funeral plan? A good funeral plan enables people in later life to fix the cost of their funeral at today’s prices and remove the worry about future price increases and rising inflation, offering peace of mind to family and friends.

•  Keep your family informed of any changes you make to your financial affairs. Make sure you keep a complete record of your finances which can be accessed by family members or relatives in case of an emergency. Our sister charity, Age UK, offers a free LifeBook which can help you organise important financial and personal information. If you would like to order a free LifeBook call 0845 685 1061.

We hope these points will help you with your financial planning in 2012. Do you have any more top tips for helping out with finances over the course of the year? If so, we’d love to hear them. Just pop your ideas in the comments section below.

Meet Age Scotland Enterprises

Our social enterprise, Age Scotland Enterprises, has recently been awarded for their work with older people in Edinburgh and attended The 50+ Show a few weeks ago. They’ve certainly been getting out and about.

However, despite their recent endeavours, many people are still unaware of them! We’ve put together a short YouTube video so people can get a bit more of an idea about what they do.

Age Scotland Enterprises has Get Up and Go!

We are very proud to announce that our social enterprise, Age Scotland Enterprises, has just been awarded a commendation by the Get Up and Go Awards. The awards recognise the organisations and individuals in Edinburgh that make a positive difference to older people in the city.

Age Scotland Enterprises staff

Age Scotland Enterprises staff with their award and big smiles!

Age Scotland Enterprises provides a range of products and services specifically for older people in Scotland, including travel (including cover for some pre-existing medical conditions), car and home insurance, energy packages and a funeral plan. Their offices are based in Edinburgh (in the same head office as the charity), so the team decided to enter the Get Up and Go Awards to show their commitment to older people in the city and around Scotland.

Enterprises’ philosophy is to offer the best value money products and to be as inclusive as possible to help overcome the prejudice that exists in parts of the insurance market towards older people. The social enterprise has a unique aspect – they have no upper age limit on their products. This means that older people in Scotland can get insured for a wide range of services without the age prejudices so many alternative providers have.

Being a social enterprise, the profits that the team make are ploughed back into the charitable aims of Age Scotland. To the year ending 31st March 2011, approximately £625,000 was invested to realise these aims. The money contributed towards providing grants for older people’s groups and funding lobbying of the Scottish Government for the provision of personal care and raising the age of jury service.

The team have a combined experience of over 50 years in dealing with older people and were incredibly pleased to receive their commendation. Congratulations to all at Age Scotland Enterprises, and keep up the good work!