This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Personal finance - money management

In a new series on personal finance, Dr John Couch stresses the importance of astute money management

In a new series on personal finance, Dr John Couch stresses the importance of astute money management

There is no sharp division between medical and personal finance. Like it or not, healthy finance is a major factor towards a contented and secure life. It seems sensible therefore to invest an appropriate amount of time and effort in getting this area right. We hope this series will help you achieve that aim.

Following a logical path we will cover these topics.

• Money management

• Tax planning

• Savings

• Expenditure and borrowing

• Investment and growth

• Insurance

• Pension and retirement planning

In order to ensure your finances are in order both now and for the future you must ensure good money management. This in not an area you can skimp or ignore. Some are natural mangers and some are not.

It is unlikely that many of us actually manage as well as we should and blind spots are inevitable. Therefore a review of your current systems is almost certain to help. Of course if you are one of the many who do not have any system, this process is a no brainer!

Planning and strategy

Use the headings above as a starting point and plan your strategy in each area. Review where you and your family are now and what you want and need to achieve both in the short, medium and long term. Write this down as a focal point.

Information and advice

You will make more effective decisions if you have good, clear information and this is kept up to date, just like your professional career. Most serious daily and Sunday newspapers have excellent financial sections.

If you read these regularly all the above headings will be covered in the course of time. Economic and legislative updates will also appear first in these sources. Specific topics can also be found on the internet via a good search engine.

You also need to be able to recognise when specialist advice is essential. Inheritance tax and mortgage planning are good examples. Always establish costs first.

Systems, discipline

Be methodical and organised. Check your finances regularly and use either paper or backed-up computer files for record keeping. Create a timetable so that you look at your accounts savings and investments monthly, insurance and pension annually and wills every two to three years.

Adaptability and changing needs

If your personal situation changes or financial news dictates, be ready to take action more quickly. It is certainly true that our financial needs change as we pass through the decades of our lives. Our children grow, become more expensive but eventually leave home.

Our fixed expenditure reduces as we get older and loans are paid up, but income falls at retirement. Your financial plan and actions need to take all this into account.

Despite above-average incomes it can be difficult to avoid ‘spending up' to whatever level we reach. We can overspend and we can get into debt just like anyone else. Good money management should allow you and your family to enjoy the fruits of your labour throughout your life. Can you afford not to?

Dr John Couch is a GP in Ashford, Middlesex

Dr John Couch: Good money management should allow you and your family to enjoy the fruits of your labour throughout your life. Dr John Couch: Good money management should allow you and your family to enjoy the fruits of your labour throughout your life.

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say