6 steps to a financially happier you

As a school leader you play a vital role in developing the next generation. It’s no secret that it can at times be a demanding job – it’s even been listed in the UK’s top five most stressful jobs[1].

It’s therefore vital to think about yourself and your wellbeing every now and then. A significant part of this is your financial wellbeing. Happy finances can mean a happier you. So, what steps can you take to be at peace with your money?

1. Be money mindful

A good place to start is by becoming more in control of your money. Take some time to look at the bigger picture of your accounts and outgoings. By assessing how much you’re spending – and on what each month – you may be able to fine-tune your finances. Where possible, make sure you have access to online banking. This way it’s easier to monitor what you’re spending your money on.

You could even shop around for better deals on products such as energy, broadband and insurance services. Research by Portafina found that 41 per cent of us avoid finding cheaper providers for our energy needs, despite the fact that doing so could save you a considerable amount[2]. Comparison websites are useful for bringing service providers together in one place.

2. Expect the unexpected

It’s a good idea to have a certain amount of money stored away in an easily-accessible savings account – which should only be used in times of need. Urgent car or house repairs, illness and sudden changes in circumstance can all make an unwelcome dent in your bank balance.

By simply having a rainy day fund set to one side you can help to reduce the stress during those unsolicited turn of events.

3. Future you matters

An important part of your role is teaching the next generations to be prepared for their future. You should also be doing this for yourself. Identify your future goals and needs and create a road map of how you’d like to achieve them – such as investing or saving into a pension. Having objectives to work towards can help you maintain a healthy financial discipline.

It can even help to visualise your goals – for example, a postcard of that once in a lifetime holiday destination on the fridge. Or if you want to leave a legacy for your loved ones, put a picture of them on your desk. This way you’re constantly reminded of what it is you’re aiming for during your daily life.

You already know how effective planning can be – the same goes for planning your finances. Take time out to set your goals and when you want to achieve them. Make sure these goals are realistic and things you care about.

Next, think about the best way for saving towards these goals. Opting to invest your money for a longer-period of time could enhance your future. In the current climate of low interest rates, it could even produce stronger returns than your savings account would provide you with. Although you do need to appreciate that your capital is at risk and you could get back less than you originally invested.

4. Save, save and save into your pension

Retirement is an important chapter in your life. So no matter how close or far away it is, you should be considering how much you’re currently saving towards retirement and whether that’s enough. Think about any big changes you’d like to make during retirement, and how you’d like your day-to-day life to look in general. This way you can start to build a picture of how much you’re going to need to fulfil your retirement goals.

5. Talk openly about your finances

You’ll no doubt encourage your students to talk openly about the important matters in their lives. Yet as adults, we’re not always good at practicing what we preach. A recent study by Lloyds Bank has shown that 44% of UK adults have avoided discussions about money with their loved ones[3].

It’s important to find the time to discuss your shared goals and feelings on finances. If you’re not actually talking about important long-term goals such as family, career goals and retirement – how will you make them happen? Most importantly, it can avoid unnecessary stress on your relationship.

Ideally you should both attend any appointments about your finances together. It can prove difficult to find a time both of you can make, especially during term time – but there are options available. Our financial advice partner, Skipton Building Society, offer an award-winning video link service. Through this you receive all the benefits of an in branch appointment, but from the comfort of your own home and at a time suitable to you.

6. Speak to an expert

We want our members to feel positive over their finances. This way you can spend time enjoying your career, rather than being distracted by money. That’s why the NAHT has been partnered with Skipton Building Society since 2005. They’re on a mission to help as many people as possible make better financial decisions, and they want to help you too.

Skipton have advisers across the country that can help to de-mystify your money worries, give your finances a health check and help devise a personalised plan. For peace of mind, you should know there’s no pressure to act on our advice, so it could prove worthwhile finding out if Skipton could support your financial well-being.

[1] HRnews (2019) The most and least stressful jobs

[2] Portafina (2019) ’10 commandments of managing money’

[3] Lloyds Banking Group (2019) ‘The M word is Britain’s biggest taboo.’