Managing monthly bills and mortgage payments can be a very stressful task, and to make things worse, many Brits admit they don’t have a good grip on their finances. According to a YouGov survey commissioned by the homeless charity, Shelter, last year, more than a million Brits have been to see their GP over stress caused by concerns about paying rent. The survey also revealed that 54% of those in England are either struggling or falling behind with their rent.
A more recent survey released last month by the Financial Conduct Authority revealed that 24% of UK adults have lack confidence in their ability to manage their money, 46% of all UK adults report limited knowledge of money matters in general and 47% of renters would struggle to keep up payments if their rent increased by less than £100 per month.
With Financial Awareness Week starting on 13th November, Cheam-based award-winning mortgage brokers Monica Bradley Associates are keen to educate consumers on how to take control of their finances, and have these top tips on managing money and generating potentially significant savings on their mortgages:
Review your mortgage every two years
‘Even if you think you have a competitive interest rate, never assume you’re automatically getting the best deal out there,’ says MBA’s Managing Director Monica Bradley. ‘Taking the time to speak to your mortgage broker or shopping around could save you a lot of money.’
Know your mortgage rate
Make sure you know what your rate is and how it compares to other interest rates out there. Are you paying more than the existing rate? Ask around and do your research.
Make a note of when your interest rate may change
If you’re on a fixed rate mortgage and your interest rate is set to rise in a few years, make sure you know exactly when the change will occur so you don’t end up paying more than you need. ‘You know when your birthday is… the date of your mortgage rate change should be etched in your mind just as clearly,’ adds Monica. ‘Look into getting your mortgage switched at least three months before your existing deal is up.’
Seek expert help
Don’t struggle on your own. Talk to experts. Find a reputable and recommended mortgage broker and enlist their expert advice when it comes to reviewing your mortgage.
Save money by overpaying
If you can afford it, overpay on your monthly mortgage payments each month to reduce the term of your mortgage. ‘We have overpayment calculators at MBA that will show you how much any amount of extra money paid per month will take off the term of your mortgage,’ adds Monica.
Know your finances
Check your bank balance daily and know what you’re spending. ‘Do you know what every transaction is on your bank statement?’ asks Monica. ‘You should be checking what you spend and how you spend your money to keep on top of your spending.’
Spring clean your finances every year
Double check your bank statements and make sure you’re not splashing out on items or luxuries you don’t need or aren’t using, like gym memberships. According to research published in January this year, 22% of Brits only used their gym membership three timesin one year and one in ten said they hadn’t been to the gym for a whole year. Overall, £558m was wasted on gym memberships. Avoid signing up for long-term contracts and double check general insurance products like car insurance, healthcare and house insurance, which are often renewed automatically. Shop around for better deals before you renew.
Monica Bradley Associates is an award-winning mortgage broker based in Cheam, Surrey, founded by local businesswoman Monica Bradley. Monica has won 11 highly coveted industry awards, including Top Broker In A Network from the industry network and has been one of the network’s top consultants for the last ten years. The company works with over 90 lenders and offers over 11,000 mortgage products, as well as providing access to critical illness cover, life insurance and income protection.