2 minutes reading time (331 words)

Good housekeeping? Try good bookkeeping.

retro 1291608 640I’m sure you saw the story this week in which Good Housekeeping magazine named the household tasks you should do and at what frequencies: so, wash up every day, clean the bath once a week etc. There have been plenty of predictable comments – along the line of ‘I’m too busy/bohemian/intellectual to be bothered to clean the bath/wash the windows’. Frankly, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to make the beds every day – it’s hardly as if shaking a duvet cover out is hard work or beyond the abilities of a reasonably sensible child. Nor is it too much to expect to do the laundry once a week, although I seem to be doing it most days. I’m not going to start washing the doormat once a month (haven’t got one) nor am I going to wipe lightbulbs or empty gutters even if it’s only a once a year job.

But it did get me thinking that actually this idea would work for finances. For example, I check my bank account every day – even if it is depressing reading. How else do you spot if there’s a rogue transaction on your account, or prevent yourself from racking up huge overdraft fees because you haven’t spotted you’re in the red? Similarly, I check how my Sipp (my personal pension) is performing at least weekly – as I do my share Isa. Otherwise you don’t spot underperformance which could affect your retirement if you don’t do something about it. Monthly checks include scrutinising your credit card bills (and making sure the direct debit goes through for payment) and also interest rates on any savings accounts. Yearly tasks are insurance – obviously enough, because you buy household and car insurance once a year. There is one yearly task I’ve not yet started on, but should – and that’s checking out my state pension forecast. Hell, I’d rather clean the cooker than do that....

See our guide, Ten Steps to your State Pension, here.

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Saturday, 20 April 2019