How to clear all your debts in 2018

Millions of Brits overspend at Christmas, leaving them in financial difficulty come the New Year.

In fact, a whopping 7.9 million people in the UK will struggle to pay their bills this month after an excessive festive period, according to the debt charity Money Advice Trust (MAT).

Severe debt isn’t just a financial problem either. The stress of owing money can lead to mental health issues and relationship breakdowns, according to charity Mind.

If your new year’s resolution is to be better with money in 2018, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis can help you alleviate your debt.

The 45-year-old has already revealed the best bank accounts for interest rates on savings, but in his most recent Money Tips newsletter he revealed some key tips for cutting the cost of debt this year.

Here are five simple steps to help you pay off your debt quicker:

1. Stop borrowing money

It can be easy to get into a downward spiral with debt, but you need to stop borrowing money.

Only pay back what you can affor…

3 obstacles that stand in the way of retirement savings

One in three American adults has nothing saved for retirement — here's how to change that.
Would you rather have one marshmallow now — or two marshmallows later? It's an iconic scenario made famous by psychologist Walter Mischel, the administrator of the 1960s "marshmallow test" measuring self-control and instant gratification. Most people go for the here and now. Swap out marshmallows with money, and you've got an all-too-common problem for the modern-day: People everywhere feel behind on saving for retirement. In fact, one in three American adults has nothing at all socked away, according to a survey by GOBankingRates. If that hits close to home, never fear. We've laid out some of the biggest obstacles we put in our own way when it comes to retirement saving — plus, how to get past them.
Obstacle: Being too optimistic about the future 
Why we do it: It's an ego thing. We tend to think we're different; we're special and that nothing bad will ever …

8 top tips to tackle your finances in 2018

Many of us enter January financially stretched. Lots of people overspend at Christmas and those paid monthly have to wait five weeks to be paid. Here are some tips for tackling your finances in 2018:
1. Draw up a monthly budget. You need to include all your income and expenses, and try your best to stick to it.
If you can manage to put some money into savings each month, then that's even better.
2. If you have long-standing credit card debt that you are finding hard to shift, think about switching to a card with a 0pc balance transfer offer, making sure to pay the balance off within the interest-free period.
It is little use having a savings account if you are also paying off credit card debt at a rate of 22pc.
3. Ensure you are not paying more than you need to for your household essentials. If you have not switched your energy, broadband or phone plan in some time, make it one of your new year's resolutions to do this.
You will be amazed at the savings you can make, with some s…

7 Investing Moves You Need to Make by December 31

Whenever things are going really well — as is the case right now on Wall Street and probably in your retirement portfolio — it's only natural to want to leave things be. Why try to fix what's not broken? But even the most patient buy-and-hold investors understand that you must revisit your strategy from time to time to make sure things are unfolding as you originally envisioned. The end of the year, when your thoughts are naturally focused on family, the coming year, and to-do lists, is a perfect time to do just that. To make this process easier, MONEY has put together a checklist of seven important steps to take now before the year ends to set your investment portfolio up for 2018 and beyond.
1. Remember to give yourself a raise.
Chances are, you got a slight bump in pay this year—perhaps a modest cost-of-living adjustment or a merit raise. Average pay for American workers rose a little over 2% over the past 12 months.
If you can, boost your 401(k) savings rate by that amount…

3 costs that can destroy retirement

Retirement security is a holy grail that many investors chase. A recent AARP survey revealed that 74 percent of private sector workers are anxious about having enough money to live comfortably in retirement.
Although increasing savings may seem like the answer, creating a sustainable retirement strategy is a bit more complex. Investors must also plan for costs that can detract from their portfolio's growth. "Taxes, long-term care and inflation all have the potential to eat away at your retirement savings," says Marcy Keckler, vice president of financial advice strategy at Ameriprise Financial in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area. "Not planning properly could result in a substantial blow to your portfolio from a sudden need for extended care, or inflation could slowly chip away at your nest egg."
Health care may be the biggest threat. Long-term care poses two problems for retirees. First, the cost can be staggering. Genworth Financial puts the average annual…

Why You Should Always Keep Investing Simple

A friend recently asked if I would invest $10,000 for him. I shrugged it off but he proceeded to tell me that he needed to make a quick buck to pay for some medical expenses he was about to incur...
Many people view the stock market as a "get rich quick scheme" -- you just need to know how to play the game.
This wasn't the first time I've been asked by someone to invest their money to make some fast cash. I know it won't be the last, either.
In these sorts of situations, I try to tamper their expectations by letting them know that it's really not that simple (or easy). I tell them that even if I were to generate a "quick" 10% annual return on their investment, it doesn't really add up to much in the short term. After all, a 10% return on $10,000 is only $1,000... And that's over the course of 12 months. It's most definitely not going to be enough to cover any major medical bills.
Unfortunately, stories like this are common. The thinking …

Top 6 Things No One Tells You about Retiring

To make your retirement years truly golden, understand what may be coming your way.
Many of us look forward to retirement as the reward for a lifetime of hard work. While the post-work years can truly be golden for those who plan for them, many retirees are caught off guard by the facts of their new life. Here are six things you should know about before you leave the working world for good.
1. Required minimum distributions can seriously raise your costs
Once you reach age 70 1/2, you're typically required to take money out of your traditional IRA and your traditional 401(k) plan each year. While those distributions start relatively small, they increase as a percentage of your account balance each year after that until you reach age 115. 
Withdrawals from these account types are treated as taxable income, which means you'll owe income tax on the amount distributed. This increase in your taxable income may expose your Social Security benefits to taxation as well. As if that wer…