How 2014 could be the year of dreams...

Girl with credit cards and piggy bank

Do you have any special targets for the year ahead? Fifty percent of Britons are aiming to make 2014 the year to take a dream holiday or go travelling , according to new research from Experian CreditExpert.

After that, the next most popular targets were closer to home, with home improvements (46%), reducing debts (35%) and buying a new car (32%) next on the list. More than a quarter (28%) of respondents are also hoping to buy a house this year, 9% to start a business, and 6% are planning to get married.

A third (33%) said that they are feeling confident about their financial situation heading into the new year, though 41% were unsure - feeling neither positive nor negative - while the remaining 26% said they were not feeling positive.

The research found that half (56%) of respondents said money and costs were the main barriers to them fulfilling their New Year dreams, the most notable concerns being the overall cost of living (60%) along with a lack of savings (55%). Having a poor credit history (9%) and an inability to borrow money (9%) were also highlighted.

So many of us begin the new year with goals, targets and of course resolutions. Understanding your financial situation is a key step towards that, and this means not only budgeting the money you have now but also reviewing any outstanding money you owe and planning ahead to be able to secure any credit you may need into the future.

If you do find that your financial situation or credit history is getting in the way of achieving your 2014 dream, the most important thing is to deal with it as soon as possible. Your Experian credit report can give you an invaluable insight into your credit management over the last six years, highlighting the positive and the negative influences affecting your credit rating.

Experian CreditExpert has some simple tips to help you take control of your finances, and make the most of 2014:

1. ...Plan ahead.
This is the first step to successful budgeting and particularly important in being able to afford big spends such as holidays, home improvements and even getting married. Shopping around and booking early could really pay off and you will also be able to understand how much savings you will be able to put aside within the available timeframe.

2. ...Manage the credit you have.
Credit includes everything from mobile phone accounts, credit cards, store cards, overdrafts and even mortgages and how you manage the credit you have now could directly impact on future credit applications. Stay within the agreed credit limits and always make your repayments on time, paying more than the minimum off your credit cards each month if you can, as this could help pay off your debts quicker. Missed payments stay on your credit report for at least six years. You can explain any missed payments by adding a "notice of correction", which is a statement of up to 200 words.

3. ...Understand how you might be viewed by lenders.
Lenders use the information contained in your credit report along with the information on your application, to calculate a credit score which will be used to decide if you will be successful in any new credit applications you make. If you are thinking of borrowing this year, you can review your Experian credit report and score to help you understand how lenders will view you and ways in which you can improve your credit rating to get the credit you need.

4. ...Don't be afraid to ask for help.
Even if you're a bit short, don't skip a repayment or it will be noted on your credit report for at least 6 years. Instead, get in touch with the lender and explain what's happening – they will try work with you to try and find a solution. If you are struggling with debts you can get free, confidential advice from organisations such as Citizens Advice at, the Consumer Credit Counselling Service at or National Debtline at

- This advertorial content has been provided by Experian as part of a partnership.

[1] Research was carried out online by Research Now on behalf of Experian CreditExpert among a representative panel of 2123 UK adults in December of 2013.

[1] New members only. Monthly fee applies after free trial. Free trial period starts on registration – further ID verification may be required to access full service, which may take up to five days.
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