A woman kissing a man

Easier tomorrows

Planning for the future can make things much easier

We share some handy tips to help you and your family look ahead.

Here’s the good news: today, many of us are living longer, staying healthier and leading fuller lives until we’re well into our 80s.

The bad news? It can of course all change in the blink of an eye – and those tantalising tomorrows suddenly turn into tough mental and physical challenges.

It’s not just fading health: it’s our change in pace that can have an impact on our ability to get out and about and keep on top of finances and family affairs.

Yet plan now and it can help you be better placed if the worst happens. Here’s our guide to help reduce the risk from the ‘What ifs…?’

What if you couldn’t get to the bank tomorrow?

You may have used the same branch for years, trust its staff and enjoy popping in to withdraw cash. But whether you’re prevented by poor weather or public transport, deteriorating health or driving difficulties, you now have many alternatives.

If you feel most comfortable talking face to face, video banking lets you talk in person over your mobile phone screen or tablet – and you can ask questions about any of your everyday bank account services. You’ll need a good network connection, over wired broadband, Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G. It's free to use, but you may be charged for data use if using your phone without Wi-Fi. The first time you use the video service, you’ll need to be logged in to our app and then follow the instructions to set up the right software for you.

Ask a family member or friend to help set it up for you if you’re not used to the technology or installing apps, or get help from a Barclays Digital Eagle who can help you build your confidence with a range of online services.

If that’s a technological step too far – for now at least! – why not sign up for telephone banking? It’s available 24 hours a day and allows you do everything from pay a bill to check your balance, and change address to open a new savings account. 

What if I couldn’t get to the shops tomorrow?

It isn’t just a bank that most of us rely on to run our everyday lives – what about being able to get to the shops in the same scenarios?

In the first instance, you can of course sign up to an online grocery delivery service but there is usually a minimum spend.

Instead, many will prefer to rely on family, friends and neighbours to run errands and pick up essentials, and happily hand over a debit or credit card to pay for goods.

However, this carries a risk. If your helper falls victim to fraud using your card, you won’t be covered to get your money back.

What if I’m struggling to keep track of my account or use it the way I used to?

Age can creep up on every aspect of our life, and none more so than on our body – when we struggle to see, hear or move, basic tasks we once took for granted can become tricky.

To ensure you keep on top of your banking, we have a full range of free tools to help you both in and out of home.

For example, we have cash machines that talk to you via a headphone plug or if you’re struggling to see the screen at home in front of you, you can change your settings to make it easy to read.

With hearing difficulties, our live chat service – available in our app and online banking might be a helpful option, and all of our branches are equipped with induction loops to support our thousands of customers who use hearing aids. Or, with physical difficulties such as pushing small buttons, you can order a larger PINsentry for security when online. You can find out more about all the tools available at https://www.barclays.co.uk/accessibility/

And don’t forget, if you’re able to fully use your mobile phone, our app is packed with features to make your life easier. These include being able to ask for a temporary card freeze (if you think you’ve forgotten where you’ve left it, say) or requesting a PIN reminder. You can also phone our call centre with just a few taps of your smartphone.

What if something happened to my partner tomorrow?

After the shock and setback of seeing a partner fall seriously ill or go to hospital, sorting out your finances can seem an unimportant distraction.  

But if your loved one is in charge of the household bank account, it can add a lot of stress to your situation. This can be particularly acute when you lose a partner.

Having a joint account can make life a lot easier in such circumstances, yet today only roughly one in three couples have their income and bills going through a joint account where both can check and run it. You can switch to a Barclays joint account using the current account switching service or simply add your partner to an existing account.

What if something happens to me – how can I make it clear and easy for my family?

While nobody wants to plan for their own passing, it could make a huge difference in helping your family cope afterwards.

We’ve five reasons to explain why a will is a vital step to ensure your wealth is handed down properly.

And our guide on setting up a power of attorney shows the benefits of giving control of your money and accounts to another person in case you deteriorate too quickly.

More immediately, use our online safety box called Barclays Cloud It to keep copies of important documents secure – you can upload and order them in terms of importance, and include key bank statements too.

Independent Age provides a free guide1 called Planning for the end of life. It has practical advice on talking to your family about your wishes for your health and care, as well your finances.