Money Matters: The First Steps
Updated: Dec 23, 2019
In my opening article in this ‘Money Matters!’ series I asked a number of basic questions about personal finance that, in my opinion, everyone should be able to answer at least in general terms. For those of you that missed that, I asked if you had a will, what you know about your savings and your pension, what is your attitude to risk, and a few other things. I also accepted that many do not know the answers because they find the whole topic of money boring, but I gave some very compelling numbers that should have made the topic much more interesting.
This series of articles is not about trying to make you experts or understanding all the many complexities of financial management but rather it is about giving you that general working knowledge so that you can ask informed questions and get your money to do what you want for you.
The first and most important step when considering anything financial is what is your attitude to risk? Any Independent Financial Advisor now needs to assess this and grades their clients risk appetite and then matches any advice tailored around that.
You only have to look around a room full of people to see that we are each very different, and so it is with what we want from money. If you add into that mix that we each have different levels of income and necessary expenditure then it is very easy to see that the amount of disposable income also varies greatly from one person to the next. And even if we did all have the same then we would still spend – and save it - it very differently
But what is very worrying is that according to the Office for National Statistics 53% of people aged between 22 and 29 years old living in the UK have no savings whatsoever and, even worse, 10% of people aged 55 years old and above have no savings. Some of these would have no possibility of saving but many others would have the possibility but have chosen not to.
For those of us lucky enough to have a job and get paid, then it really should be a priority to set some money aside every month. According to research, the three most popular reasons for saving money are for:
A Rainy Day
In any of our lives we have unexpected events and it amazing how often that they entail having to pay an unexpected bill. And if we don’t have any rainy day savings then just how do we do this without going into debt and incurring interest and charges?
And whilst we all want to enjoy ourselves today it also has to be worth balancing this against the prospect of living in poverty when we retire. After all, if we are lucky we will have anything up to 25 years in retirement in which we need to live off our savings that we make today. And remember the magic of compounding that I mentioned last time, meaning that the sooner you save the more valuable it will be to you in retirement.
Again, I accept that when in your twenties it is easy to think that retirement is a very long time away and it can be ignored for now but it really should not be - trust me, the years race by quicker than you can ever imagine! Just as I know people with complicated family or financial lives that have not made a will ‘because I have no intention of dying yet’! Both, to be blunt, are irresponsible.
Having established that we all should really be understanding our money better, and that we should be taking responsibility for it and saving in some form, we will look over the coming weeks at what some of the obvious options are. So, get ready to take notes and see you again in two weeks’ time.
Kevin R Smith, Kevin R Smith, CEO at BOOM & Partners is an entrepreneur and a business and finance consultant with over 35 years’ experience in helping entrepreneurs and directors to grow their businesses. He is a Mentor at the UKs largest Entrepreneur Accelerator and has broad experience in all sectors, and has particular strengths in Women in Business, and Fintech, and partners business owners on their journeys. Nothing in the above article is intended as a recommendation but simply his opinion on what readers should be thinking about.