Stressful financial times ahead? How to navigate choppy waters with serenity

The website has a wonderful resource called "Life Stages": for each stage of life, it offers a straightforward, complete checklist of what to look out for. No need to worry whether you''re forgetting anything: simply refer back to each l

What will be involved? How much will it cost? Can I afford it? Am I sure I haven't forgotten anything?


When you're making decisions about your future, all the uncertainties feel daunting. Recognising that, the "Life Stages" section does an excellent job of letting you know what to watch out for.


This is the second part of the article about the free resources at the website. Read the first part about the online calculators that will turn your finances around.



2. The "Life Stages" section



This section is tremendously helpful. After all, the big milestones in our lives are big precisely because they involve a lot of moving parts and momentous decisions to make. And many of these decisions have to do with money, which can be stressful in and of itself.


What's more, you have to make all those decisions about money when you'd rather be thinking about other things: going to college, getting married, welcoming a new baby - these huge life steps shouldn't be about money only, but about love and the excitement of a new life. And it's the same for the unfortunate sad events: losing your job or planning a funeral for example are times when money worries can be just too much to cope.


Wouldn't it be amazing to find a detailed roadmap that alerts you and lets you know well in advance what to look out for?


That's exactly what you will find on the CCPC website: all the steps laid out for big life changes. After all, as the Chinese proverb says, "If you want to know the road ahead, ask those coming back".


The Life Stages section of the website is found under "Budgeting", and the other two sections in that category, "Managing your money" and "Money saving tips", are also very much worth a look.



What will you find in the Life Stages section?



These are the different stages on the website:



How to use the "Life Stages" pages



For each life stage, the CCPC website does a great job of spelling out what questions to ask and what to look out for. Each page also includes useful links to other government websites and service comparison websites. It's a great way into the CCPC website itself: each life stage page references other pages and tools on the same website, so that you have everything in one place, in the order that you need it.


Women at computer


From insurance to tax, everything you need to know is there, in a convenient format that gives you a checklist of sorts: have you forgotten anything? The "Life Stage" section will let you double-check, and will also tell you where to find the information you need.


As in the case of the calculators section, it's a good idea to have a look at each life stage before you need to, so that you know what's coming. This will be particularly useful when some things need to be set up well in advance of an event happening.


For example, did you know that having children can affect your pension? When you've just had the result of your pregnancy test, your retirement might be the thing furthest away from your mind. And still, with just a couple hours' work, you could set things up so that you never need to worry about it.


(Read more about taking effective steps to provide for your pension once and for all here and here)


Once that's out of the way, you can focus on all the joys and surprises of having a baby - and goodness knows you'll need all your energy and focus for that!


Having a look at the life stages early on is also great because it gives you an idea of what to watch out for. Then, once you are actually at that life stage and you have a million things on your mind, refer back to the web page: it will be there for you, like a knowledgeable friend that has just the information you were looking for, right when you are looking for it.


Over the years, I've pointed out the value of the CCPC site to many, many people. It's an absolutely fantastic resource for every single person in Ireland. Our taxes have already paid for it and so, please use it to maximum effect. It's like a dependable, dynamic personal financial assistant who undertakes all the research for you. After that, it's up to you to act, optimise your finances and get on with living your life!


Read the first part of this article, about the online calculators that will turn your finances around.



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