As we approach the start of the Christmas season, now is a good time to reflect on our finances as they are right now and make some changes.

Doing this before our flexible friend and the like take hold and knock the stuffing out of our financial plans and hopes for 2020 will make sure you stay on track in the new year.

Here are some financial do's and some don'ts to ponder on.

10 Do's

1. Plan your finances – be positive.

2. Put two hours in every month to sorting out your money issues.

3. Claim all your tax reliefs and allowances (medical expenses, pension relief, EIIS relief etc).

4. Ensure you have a Rainy Day Fund (3-6 months annual income in an accessible and best interest-bearing account) and at best interest rates.

5. If you have dependents – older or younger – protect them by protecting your life and income.

6. Make sure you are providing for your retirement outside of the €248.30 weekly State Pension you can look forward to at up to age 68 – depending on your age now.

7. Cut down your banking bills – avoid overdrafts, never have a cheque returned, keep your current account in credit and receive interest rather than pay it.

8. Use the internet for your accounts – you’ll never have to visit your bank branch!

9. Check and recheck all your interest rates on a regular basis both for borrowings and savings.

10. Diversify any surplus cash or savings across the different sectors.

10 Don’ts

1. Do not presume your institution is loyal to you – yesterday you were a prospect, today you are a client.

2. Don’t leave your surplus cash in a current account or low interest-bearing deposit account. Email me for a free fact sheet on best investment options.

3. Don’t exceed overdrafts – in fact, avoid overdrafts if at all possible.

4. Don’t exceed your credit card limit (and remember to pay on time, never take cash on the card and be careful using the card in non-EU countries – it will cost you. Use your credit card like a charge card) or switch to another provider. The current best is An Post Money – 12 months at 0% on balance transfers.

5. Don’t wait for your lender to call you in if you cannot honour the agreement – face any issues full-on and enter into an agreement.

6. Don’t fall prey to the three reasons we neglect our finances: apathy, ignorance or lack of time.

7. Don’t ignore your responsibilities or core values, respect for the commitments you undertook being right up there.

8. Don’t pay tax needlessly – know your rights.

9. Don’t follow the herd – just because the Jones’ next door have bought an apartment in the south of France doesn’t mean you have to.

10. Don’t invest in a project if you do not understand what it is you are investing in or it’s too good to be true.

Now you know. It’s up to you – have a happy season!

For more financial information click on John Lowe's profile above or on his website.