Be prepared for these key money moments in the next 12 months

This year looks set to be volatile so it may be wise to think long-term. Photograph: PA
This year looks set to be volatile so it may be wise to think long-term. Photograph: PA
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As with any year, 2019 is bound to bring some unexpected surprises. But, looking ahead, there are some money moments you may be able to prepare for – even if some are more certain than others.

So what can you do to help get prepared? Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva. highlights some of 2019’s key money moments.

Get ready for the rising state pension age

In 2018, the state pension age for men and women was equalised, at 65. Men and women will now experience a state pension age rising in tandem. The state pension continues to represent most peoples’ biggest source of income in retirement. So, in 2019, it could be a good idea to request a free state pension forecast from the government to understand when you will be entitled to yours, and how much you may receive (gov.uk/check-state-pension).

Get ready for an increase in pension payments

Employers have duties to provide a workplace pension. Since 2012, this new system – called automatic enrolment – has introduced nearly ten million new savers across the UK to pensions. It’s been a great success. In April 2019, the minimum pension payment will increase from 5 per cent of your earnings to 8 per cent of your earnings. At least 3 per cent of this 8 per cent must come from your employer. A workplace pension can be a valuable way of saving for later life. So, in 2019 think about preparing for this increase in payments.

Get ready for potential interest rate increases

After a near decade of record low interest rates, 2018 saw the Bank of England increase its base rate to 0.75 per cent. Many commentators expect 2019 could see further small increases in the base rate, in a bid to ease rising price pressures. This would be good news for savers, but not so good for the millions of borrowers holding short-term loans and mortgages. So, in 2019, it would be a good idea to shop around for the best saving and borrowing rates. A small change could make a big difference.

Get ready for more people taking up pension freedoms

The new pension freedoms for over-55s have proven to be popular. More than £20 billion has been withdrawn from private pensions in new flexible payments. If you’re over 50 and considering your options, it would be a good idea to consult the government’s free Pension Wise service for guidance (pensionwise.gov.uk).

Get ready for more ways to manage your money online

Many of us go online to send emails, shop or catch up on social media. But using the internet to manage pensions and investments continues to be an afterthought for many. Most pension and investment providers offer free online services to help you manage your money. So, in 2019, consider taking advantage of these services so you can make the most of your money, whenever and wherever you want.

Get ready for the long game

2019 looks set to be a time of volatility. At times like these, it is helpful to remember that investments are typically designed to navigate at least a five-year horizon, or even up to 40 years if it’s our investment in our retirement. So, in 2019 it would be a good idea to remember those longer-term goals.