Here’s an amazing fact: did you know that around 100 million COVID-19 viruses can fit on the head of a pin?
They are incredibly small, but despite that, Covid has changed just about every aspect of our lives during the last year, including our finances.
We’ve been forced to stay at home during three lockdowns (perhaps ‘lock-ins’ would be a better term), we’ve been unable to go to our workplaces, and many of us have been on furlough.
And yet, despite costing us money, the last year has saved many of us some money too.
We’ve been unable to go to pubs and restaurants, unable to use ‘close contact’ services such as hairdressers.
We’ve been unable to go out generally which has cut down on fuel or commuting costs and, of course, we have been unable to fly off for a sunny holiday.
In fact, a new report by the financial consultancy LCP, led by the former pensions minister Steve Webb, tells us that the past year has seen the creation of six million ‘accidental savers’ across the nation, many of whom have saved many thousands of pounds.
That said, once they switch the light at the end of the tunnel back on, and COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, our clients are telling us that their hopes and expectations have also changed.
For example, one client who had been planning a trip to Australia last year tells us that, amid all the uncertainty around international travel, he is now staying local and is planning a trip around Scotland instead.
What are your plans for after lockdown?
Are you planning a big blowout, perhaps a double holiday to make up for the one you missed? Or have you scaled back your expectations and reassessed what’s important, and what your new priorities are?
Who would have thought, at the beginning of 2020, that in a year’s time we would be considering a simple drink in a pub as a rare and exotic treat?
That little virus has changed our expectations.
It has also taught us an important lesson: our life today is not just about possessions, or how good a lifestyle we can afford (although that is of course important too) – it’s about being free of restrictions.
It’s about having freedom to choose
This is where we come back to earth and can talk about something that, thankfully, did not change last year, and never will.
Our ability to choose and fulfil our dreams – which is where good financial planning comes in.
It doesn’t matter whether you are planning for that blowout holiday or simply a modest, local week away, a good financial plan, formulated and put together with the help of quality financial advice, can adapt to any change in your outlook, and keep you on the path to success.
It can show you how any potential changes or new scenarios might affect your long-term financial position – early retirement, a year out, or a new extension for example.
You can find out where you stand without having to leave your armchair, without taking any risks or making rash decisions.
We can talk you through all these options and work out what’s right for you so that you can take action when you’re ready.
The crazy world we have been living in for the last year has changed things, socially and financially, but with our advice and help we can make sure that you feel positive about both, now and in the future.
Martyn Paterson is a Chartered Financial Planner at AAB Wealth.