Take Care and Reap Handsome Dividends; Special Correspondent PETER AXON Concludes His Round-Up of Tips for the New Financial Year

Article excerpt

Be careful when renewing your car insurance. So-called cheaper policies may also incorporate large excesses, that is the amount you have to fork out on any claim before the policy kicks in.

Life assurance is often neglected when it comes to protecting your spouse, children, elderly parents or a business partner. But term assurance is the cheapest way of sheltering your dependents from the financial consequences of your death.

With this in mind, attention should also be channelled on mortgage protection (indemnity) plans. Again, this offers security concerning the roof over your head in the unfortunate event of illness, personal injury and unemployment.

More families are taking advantage of the strength of sterling on the foreign exchange, by choosing to have holidays abroad. You will certainly save money by buying a travel policy direct from an insurance firm or broker, instead of through a travel agent or tour operator.

Revamping your finances need not be a taxing experience, so do not let the taxman take too large a slice from your income during 2000.

No one pays income tax with a smile but you are allowed to pay the least legal amount. Make sure you are claiming all your allowances. Furthermore, keep on top of your tax coding and perhaps reap the benefit of a rebate cheque arriving on your doormat.

An important part of your financial checkings is to exploit scope and flexibility within the personal savings sector. At the end of the tax year, there is no shortage of people offering you advice about what to do with your money, and the stock market is awash with tempting fund management assets.

First, make a list of all your investments. It seems so obvious but it is amazing the number of people who rely on their memory to recall just exactly what they possess.

A comprehensive record will ensure that you not only will be able to review your own affairs more quickly and efficiently but, if you appoint a financial adviser, you will also be able to provide them with all the information they require straight away.

You will probably want to retain a small amount of money in an emergency instant-access bank or building society account. However, many savers leave money on deposit with their favourite institution and are unaware of the interest rate being paid to them. Yet these financial bodies are notorious for attracting investors in with high initial headline rates of return, only to reduce them to a lower rate.

Although an easy-access facility means the bottom tier of interest payable from a deposit provider, you should still undertake a comparative analysis because, as a general rule, the best rates within this sector came from accounts which are available either only by telephone, post or the Internet. …