Welcome to Money Matters: GLAMOUR’s new weekly dive into the world of finance – your finance. These uncertain times have reminded us just how much understanding our money matters and yet… how little we talk about it and how much it’s shrouded in secrecy.
This stops now.
Keen to break that money taboo, we’re chatting all things personal finance from daily budgets to ISAs and pensions. Each week, a woman in a unique situation will give us an honest breakdown of her finances, and our expert will tell her easy tips on exactly how to tackle it. So, grab a cuppa, take a seat, and let’s talk about money…
Natasha* is 31, lives in South London and is a PR Manager for a global tech firm, earning £60,000 a year. This is her money month…
I live in South London with my fiance, who worked in travel PR and was recently made redundant. Whilst I know my healthy salary is a great step forward for female empowerment and I’m very lucky to have a well-paying job right now, the responsibility of being the breadwinner weighs heavily on my shoulders as my boyfriend is really struggling to find any work.
We really want to buy a house together and probably start trying for a family soon, too, but I have concerns about how much maternity leave I’ll be able to take if my boyfriend can’t support us with his salary. My company’s maternity leave isn’t particularly generous and I want to be able to spend as much time as possible with my children in their first year.
We really want to start saving more for the long term but we’re struggling to do that now we’re planning a wedding and looking for a house; should we prioritise our ‘baby fund’ over our house fund? And are there any extra ways we can top up my boyfriend’s income? I’d love to understand more about investing money in ISAs, stocks and shares but I’m terrified of losing anything.
Current account: £1,160 (with a £2,141 Amex bill due to come out mid-way through next month)
Savings account: £1,000 in our wedding pot
Annual salary pre-tax: £60,000
Monthly wage: £5,000 pre-tax, £3,521 post-tax
Any other incoming payments: The occasional £100 a month for PR consultancy work I do for a start-up tech firm.
Bills: £120 on gas, council tax, electricity, Sky. Phone bill £70; Spotify, £6.56, Amazon Prime £7.99; Netflix £11.99
Splurges: I am obsessed with cooking so have spent around £200 on cooking utensils and tablewear. I also treated my sister to a day out for her birthday, costing me £100.
Weekly budget: I never budget, I just spend what I have and barely look at my bank statement because it freaks me out when I realise I’m barely saving!
What I spent this month: £2,141
MY MONEY MOOD
What I want to save for: My future – my wedding, a house with my fiance and start putting money away for a baby within the next two years.
How I want to plan my money for the future (pensions/investments etc): I want to learn about budgeting apps to stop my mindless splurging and I want to start investing more seriously, moving a bit to a higher risk portfolio so I can save for our future family and not necessarily have to return to work six months into my maternity leave.
My worst money habit: Food, drink and unnecessary kitchen appliances.
My biggest money worry: Not having adequate savings to provide for my family.
Current money mood: ???
WHAT THE EXPERT SAYS
Talk about money: No wonder you’re feeling the pressure – you’ve got huge plans for the next few years and for now, it’s on you to make them happen! On the other side of the coin; you’ve got your partner’s feelings and the very real emotional challenge of being out of work. Before launching into the practicalities of budgets and investing, it’s time for a proper conversation. Block out an evening to talk finances. Do what you’d do any other date night; make some delicious food, light some candles, pour yourself a glass, you get the picture.
Frame the conversation: This is an exciting and unifying convo, not an intervention! It might be helpful to have a loose agenda, perhaps starting with the big life plans (having children, the wedding and house buying) and then moving on to the here and now (job-seeking, creating a household budget, saving).
What do you really care about? We’ve been sold the unhelpful idea that we can have it all; the dream wedding, 3 bedroom semi, baby and a Bugaboo all before the age of 32. The reality is, that just isn’t going to be possible for most people, particularly today. A wedding, baby and buying a house are all big financial commitments so have an honest chat about what you do and don’t care about. Is a huge wedding a non-negotiable or is a house deposit your big goal? Do you want to start a family whilst renting or wait a few years? There’s no right or wrong answer. Ignore societal pressures, prioritise, budget and then save accordingly.
The here and now: Once you’re clear on your big goals, you can bring your attention to the present; what do you need to do today in order to make your plans a reality. A monthly budget is essential; know how much you need to save every month and do it as you get paid. To make your money work harder, you could look at investing; as a rule of thumb, it’s best to invest when you’ve got at least 5 years to play with. This gives you a chance to ride out the inevitable bumps in the market. To learn more, have a look at this investing masterclass. A stocks and shares Lifetime ISA could also help you to boost your house deposit; get a 25% government bonus on up to £4000 a year and use that cash towards a property under £450,000. You can compare Lifetime ISAs here.
Boost your income: Whilst on the topic of saving and spending, you may want to broach the subject of getting some extra help. Whilst your household income means that your fiance won’t be able to benefit from Universal Credit, he may be eligible for New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance which doesn’t consider a partner’s income. To be eligible you need to be unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week and to have paid Class 1 NI contributions in the last 2 to 3 years as an employee. It might not be much at up to £74.35 for the 25 and over but it’s certainly not one to miss or to feel any shame in claiming.
Love our Money Matters column? Feel worried about your finances? Or just want some expert help on how to achieve your financial goals? Get in touch with us at email@example.com to submit your own money diary to gain access to our expert-led advice, tailored to your finances! These submissions can be anonymous or not!