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How to improve your financial future

From making the most of your money to reducing stress, planning ahead can help you achieve your goals. But it's often the last things on our minds.

By thinking about the type of life you want and when, you can work out how much you'll need to save to give yourself the best chance of making it happen.

Why aren't we planning ahead?

It's human nature to want everything now

According to our research[@onepoll-survey], almost half of UK adults (49%) believe the modern world has given them a 'want it now' attitude – choosing instant gratification, over long-term satisfaction.

Born between 1980 and 2000, millennials are a good example of a 'have it now' generation. As the first generation of digital natives, they have access to all the information they need, including financial education. But they may also feel pressure to compare and compete with what they see on social media.

Following the global financial crisis – a time of low wages and very low interest rates – it's easy to see how this generation could be swayed to spend, rather than save. And they're certainly not the only ones.

Excuses can hold our finances back

It’s not always a lack of education, information or professional advice that holds us back – it can be easier to believe our own excuses rather than change the way we think.

Sharing thoughts and worries about money can be difficult. So it's easy to lose perspective and develop a skewed view of our finances. For example, you may feel:

  • ashamed – believing friends are happier, richer and more successful than you are
  • disconnected – thinking investing for the future is something other people do
  • afraid of change – finding new opportunities more threatening than exciting

Talking about money

Talking about money and thinking about your financial future has lots of benefits.

It can help you:

Reach your goals

Once you stop worrying about keeping up with everyone else’s life goals, you can focus on your own – whether that’s starting a business, or going on holiday.

If you're unsure where to start, speaking to a financial advisor can help you identify your goals and create a plan. Once you’ve worked out what you want, you can put the financial plan in place to make it happen.

Reduce stress

Bottling things up can cause stress and anxiety, especially when it's to do with your finances. But it's important to remember you're not alone.

Support is available, no matter what your financial situation looks like. Talking to someone you trust can help you take action.

Share the knowledge

You'll see plenty of saving and investing tips out there. And the more you open up to people you trust about money matters, the more you'll have to share, and learn about.

Investing isn't for everyone – there's fees involved and you may not get back what you put in. But despite that, it could give your money the greatest potential to grow.

Explore: Beginners guide to investing

Building a better financial future

It can feel awkward to make changes to your financial habits at first, but don't worry, your future self is cheering you on.

You could try:

1. Using online calculators

You'll find online calculators for everything from savings and investments, to retirement planning. They can be great for quickly working out your options.

Use our investment calculator to help estimate how much you need to invest to potentially reach your goals.

2. Making yourself a financial action plan

Creating a financial action plan can make things clearer. It can help you work out how well you're managing your money and how you could make it work harder.

Find out what you can do now to give yourself a head start.

3. Getting financial advice

If you’re not sure how and where to invest your money, a financial adviser could be a great place to start.

Whether you want to save enough for your children's education, your retirement or something different, a financial advisor can help you build a plan to reach your financial goals.

With HSBC Expat, you can get a free, no-obligation financial review. Eligibility criteria apply.

Explore more

Get your finances in shape with our retirement checklist.
Our guide to planning ahead so your future self can make the most of retirement.
Discover how much you need to put away to have the retirement you want.
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