If you’re in your 20’s you most probably know exactly how I feel about struggling with money. I thought after leaving education that life would get easier and that’s just totally not what happens at all!
You’re already trying to find the right career, have a social life and find independence, and it’s made so much more difficult because of the current economic climate. Despite how much the government pretends to support young adults, I don’t see any proof and sadly I don’t think it’ll change under the Conservatives.
I work damn hard, always pay my bills on time and after they come out my disposable income is pretty low. It’s so disheartening and after going out for a couple nice days out with friends or family my money is gone within the first week most of the time.
Unless you have wealthy parents who are willing and able to financially support you in terms of buying a property, paying bills when you aren’t able to or have saved money all of their lives for you, it feels like none of your aspirations will ever become a reality. I totally get it.
It drives me insane when I hear people who claim to be struggling with money, somehow manage to afford a big holiday or to buy a beautiful home, just out of thin air! It’s just not true that they worked hard and saved every penny. I’m not convinced anyway. It’s got to the point where I don’t even have to ask, I just assume that they most likely have had their parents financial support in being able to do achieve those things at my age. I can’t lie, it makes me feel jealous. I hate people that brag and don’t value money in the same way that I do.
When I was 22 and living with mum I was paid weekly which made it so easy for me to save I must admit. I would give my mum £50 per week, keep £50 for me and save the other £150 EVERY SINGLE WEEK. I still had a pretty good social life yet, after working for 4 months at that job I managed to save £2000. I have no idea how I did it but being paid weekly really worked and helped me easily manage my finances. I managed to pay off my overdraft and that felt fantastic.
Now, I get paid monthly and still try to save but it’s a challenge. I aim to put £100 in my savings each month but usually it’s back at 10p (that’s all interest) by the time the month has ended. This month I’ve tried hard to save and I have a little bit for the first time in 3 years which feels really great. However, I’m fully aware that pretty much every month there’s a hiccup and the money might need to be spent.
Nonetheless, I’ve been trying to remember the advice I gave myself with my first job after graduating in hopes to motivate myself and anyone else wanting to save –
- Plan a monthly budget – £200 on food shopping, £100 on social events etc
- Set a strict amount to add to your savings each month
- Create a Direct Debit to make life easier
- If you take money out make sure to put in back when you get paid
- Have a goal figure in mind
- Set up a joint savings account with your partner and make sure to add equal amount each
If you want to leave your family home in your 20s you’ll probably be renting unless you’re really really lucky. It feels like if you want to buy you’ll end up living with your parents til the end or time, or at least well into your 30s.
This wasn’t something I was prepared to do. I want to buy one day of course but, I love my boyfriend and living with either of our parents wasn’t an option. Thankfully at the time we chose to move I had saved a further £2000 and my boyfriend had redundancy money which meant that we could afford to move out, pay the deposit, estate agent fees and fully furnish our flat. But, it wasn’t cheap and anyone who’s living in rented accommodation will tell you the same.
If you live at home already you should be aware of what will be required of you once you’ve decided to fly the nest and rent. Your chosen estate agents will charge you first months rent and a deposit, which will usually total the cost of one months rent plus an extra £100. If like me, they might also charge you an additional amount to take secure the flat from any further viewings too, which cost me another £300. Oh, and don’t forget, they will also charge you for the cost of checking references.
It’s not cheap and hardly ever affordable but, I’m a strong believer that us young adults shouldn’t live at home until we’re half way through our adult lives. I know it’s tricky getting the finances together to rent and it sucks not owning the property itself but, it’s certainly nice to have independence.
Trying to feel positive about the many great aspects of living in my own flat makes it just about okay that I have no savings and, hopefully if you move out you’ll feel the same way too. If you’re lucky you’ll also find a nice enough landlord who will somewhat let you decorate the place too and, that’ll give you the freedom to feel like the place is yours.
I’ve always had a dream of owning a beautiful red brick property, with high ceilings and pretty fireplaces. Thinking about having an office of my own and a real workspace for my boyfriends IT company to take off. He could even have an amazing garage space to store his vintage cars and I could have an incredible white kitchen kitted out with every gadget imaginable.
That’s my big dream and goal in life. I want a happy home. The thought of having enough space to take all of our hobbies seriously and enjoy our free time together means everything to me.
At the moment for us both it feels like a distant dream.
I’m aware that the government and implemented Help to Buy schemes are various other ways for young adults to enter the property ladder but, it’s still something I certainly can’t afford. We hope that one day we save up that 10% required to purchase our first home together but it’s not easy. Banks and mortgage loans are so complicated. Purchasing a house should be fun but, thinking of the cost of estate agents and solicitor fees on top of the property itself makes me want to break down and cry.
It doesn’t matter if you are or aren’t in your dream job right this second. It’s all experience and will lead you to the career path that’s right for you whether you realise it or not.
Sometimes, working in a job that you hate can have it’s benefits too. It makes you not worry about work outside of the hours you’re there and it allows you to narrow down your next job search. Once you know what you don’t like you can think about the jobs that might be better suited and apply for those instead.
If you have found the right job for you, make sure it will still work in the long term. Make sure there’s progression, that the salary is acceptable and will grow when your skills grow and you’re promoted. Make sure they value you and that your relationships are good with senior management. Make sure that you have a pension, the option for flexible working and a good maternity/paternity package. Basically, make sure your employer isn’t demanding too much and giving too little in return. Read their policies and keep up to date with changes that may impact you. You should be able to access your companies policy or handbook by speaking with you manager or accessing internal systems, they might have even included a copy in your contract too.
Pensions & Retirement Age
I recently looked at my pension scheme with the People’s Pension and was horrified if I’m honest.
Legally every employer has to offer some sort of pension however, that doesn’t mean the pension is necessarily that amazing. I mean, I pay about £6 per month into mine, which is matched by my employer and over the past two years that’s added up to a very sad amount of money. According to the People’s Pension it means that I won’t be able to retire until I’m 68 years old at earliest.
I hate to break it to you but, unless you work for a major organisation like the NHS for example your pension probably sucks too.
Regardless, I think it’s still so important to be enrolled on a pension. You can choose to opt out if you want to but, in doing this you’re not investing in yourself or understanding that later in life you and your loved ones may need this money. It might not look like a life changing amount at the moment and you might resent putting whatever amount you put in every month but, you’ll be grateful when you do retire to have that bit of money behind you. That’s how I’m trying to feel about it anyway!
If you want to know the total amount your pension is at just contact your pension provider and request a statement. Alternatively, the amount you put in monthly should be on your payslip and you should be able to work out the total from there.
If you’re registered with the People’s Pension just visit their website and log in or activate as a new user with your NI number. They’ll breakdown everything you need to know about your pension and provide additional info too.
To sum up…
Life is hard! It’s always going to be difficult. Hopefully one day money won’t be a worry for any of us and I hope so badly that all of our aspirations come true.
In the short term, all we can do is try our best to focus on the good and plan for things that bring us joy. Don’t forget, it’s okay to treat ourselves too. I’m not saying we need to be strict or worried all of the time. We should all let our hair down, live in the moment and be spontaneous with the money we’ve worked bloody hard to earn too.
Think of the positive and plan for the future as best we can.