Is a little knowledge a dangerous thing?

How much do you really know about your finances?

I imagine that this prompted a resigned sigh from many of you reading this, as you have probably had that question or similar ones fired at you many times in the past. Keep reading though, as you may decide that it’s a question you really need to ask yourself again and ask it regularly.

In an August 2013 survey, Step Change Debt Charity posed this question to a cross section of couples. The purpose was to get an insight into how much we really know about our most basic finances. The interesting results revealed who in each family is really in charge and how little we really know about our money!

Out of over 1,000 couples who were interviewed, over two thirds of men said they control money matters, which neatly contradicted the almost two thirds of women who said that that they do!

For those of us who are (or have been) married, it is perhaps no surprise that slightly less than one fifth of couples said it was a joint effort. Alarmingly, when couples were then asked how much money they had in the bank and how much they owed on their credit cards, only 44% of women and 33% of men could accurately provide the answer.

When you consider that many people’s current account and credit cards are the parts of their financial world with which they have the most intimate relationship, it would be interesting to find out how many people really know the following:

  • How much income will you receive in your retirement from your own savings and from the state?
  • How much would your family need to ensure they could really function if you or your spouse were to die?
  • Are you paying over the odds for your mortgage?
  • What would you need to live on if you were too sick to work, either temporarily or permanently? And how much would you get from your current arrangements, assuming you have any?

I really hope you know the answers to all these questions and can happily sit back and say, “Yes, I’m OK, I’ve got all that sorted out”.

If you can’t, or if you’re not sure of some of the answers, contact us and we may be able to help you turn a little knowledge into a confident plan.

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Armstrong Watson LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales, number OC415608. The registered office is 15 Victoria Place, Carlisle, CA1 1EW where a list of members is kept. Armstrong Watson Accountants, Business & Financial Advisers is a trading style of Armstrong Watson LLP. Armstrong Watson LLP is regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales for a range of investment business activities.

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Armstrong Watson Financial Planning Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm reference number 542122. Registered as a limited company in England and Wales No. 7208672. Armstrong Watson Financial Planning & Wealth Management is a trading name of Armstrong Watson Financial Planning Limited. Registered Office: 15 Victoria Place, Carlisle, CA1 1EW