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When markets falter and uncertainty lies ahead, feeling in control is tough to master. But sometimes it's as simple as the mindset you apply – and taking some simple, practical steps.

Given our current economic uncertainties, it's understandable to feel worried, panicked and that you have little control over your financial health. But here's something you can control: maintain perspective; let rational thinking and your long-term financial goals be your guide. Start with these 5 steps to staying on track:

1. Reset your goals – and make them crystal clear

Having clear savings goals helps you to stay focused on the long-term prize, and not to be swayed by short-term changes or fears. Your goals may include saving for your retirement, your children's education, a dream holiday or more. Once you know what you're saving towards, you'll know how to prioritise your resources and make spending decisions in line with your goals.

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn have been a social and psychological shock for many of us; and your perspectives on life and what means the most to you may have changed. So, you may also need to re-evaluate your goals and rethink how you prioritise these.

2. You go to an expert when you're sick… so go to an expert when you're worried about the health of your finances, too

We all need expert support when things get tough, whether with our health, our career or our wealth. A qualified financial planner has the knowledge and tools to help you navigate tough economic times. They'll also follow a structured process that can help provide a clear line of sight at a time when short-term market volatility and global economic fears can feel overwhelming and difficult to see past.

An expert planner will also ensure your savings and investment include appropriate diversity, a longer-term strategy that's more resilient against short-term market fluctuations, and an understanding of local and offshore exposure.

All of these are tools you can use to get a grip on your finances during uncertain times.

“If you're approaching retirement a little sooner, an expert planner can formulate a plan for your needs, and advise on options like delaying retirement or finding other sources of income, so that you don't have to dip into retirement savings in the short term.”

3. Control what you spend

Something you certainly have immediate control over, whatever's happening in the markets, is what you spend now. The more you can reduce your current expenses, the better position you'll be in financially. Give yourself as much financial room to breathe as you can by reducing where you can.

4. Plan for an emergency fund

In times of uncertainty, having an emergency fund will offer you some peace of mind and sense of control. Try to build up a fund of around 3 to 6 months' expenses, as a cushion should you lose your job, have to take a pay cut or encounter some other kind of emergency.

5. Don't give up on your dreams

The things that keep you excited and feeling alive – that dream of a road trip around America one day, or to own your own home, bond-free – are the financial dreams that will keep you focused, today.

Stay focused with simple actions, like sticking up a beautiful picture of your dream holiday location, or a reminder on your mirror of what you're saving towards. Amongst other things, it'll remind you that these uncertain times will pass… and that keeping calm and carrying on were some of the smartest moves you made for your future.

Please consult with a financial planner before you take any action regarding your savings and investments

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