Welcome to Money Matters: GLAMOUR’s 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 money saving tips 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…
Don’t forget to join GLAMOUR’s new Facebook group, Money Matters, for more exclusive finance content, and get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your own anonymous money diary.
Bola* is 33 and works as a communications manager in Kent. She struggles to manage her money, while juggling work and family, and worries she relies too much on her husband financially. This is her money diary.
I’ve been married for eight years and we have just bought our first home. I have two young daughters. I have been a civil servant for three years now, but just moved to this current role in February. It was incredibly stressful starting a new job and moving house in the same week!
My partner earns quite a bit, actually, the amount is a bit embarrassing compared to mine! He earns £700 per day as an IT contractor. He obviously saves quite a bit, but has spent a fair amount on the house, it would be nice for me to chip in but I just can’t manage my funds properly.
My new job involves some high profile work so it wasn’t something that I could turn down. It was also a grade higher, which meant more money, but as I am still learning it also means more time. I am hoping to go part-time soon and launch a side hustle as a wedding coordinator.
Working and homeschooling two young girls was an experience I never want to go through in my life again. There were tears, tantrums, hair pulling and that was just me!
I never have enough money at the end of the month and have to rely on my partner who is incredibly generous, but I grew up with a single mum, my dad passed away when I was 17 and I always think, if my partner passed away, how would I cope?
I am getting older and my mum is reaching pension age and I think it is making me think of the future quite a bit. How the heck can I save enough for my pension and just in general savings. From what I have read so far, saving accounts tend to be pretty useless right now and it’s all about investments but how much can/do you need to invest?
Current account: £60
Savings account: £150
Annual salary: £31,157.50 pre-tax; £22,358.62 post-tax
Monthly wage: £2,596.46 pre-tax; £1,863.22 post-tax
Any other incoming payments: I have just started the wedding business.
Rent/mortgage: £0 – My partner pays
Bills: same as above
TV license: £13.25
Advertising for side hustle: £150
Car finance: £235.68
Furniture on credit agreements: £200
TV subscription: £7.99
Council tax: £200
Weekly budget: I wish!
Credit cards: £954
Student loan: No idea but I pay £80 towards this, I attended university in 2012.
MY MONEY THOUGHTS
My worst money habit: I spend wayyyy too much on food, I am constantly called out by this as everyone complains I am always food shopping!
My biggest money worry: To retire and have nothing in my account, I know public sector pensions are good compared to the private sector, but the amount in the actual pension account looks fairly small.
My financial hopes for the future: To be able to draw on my savings whenever I need it.
Current money mood: 😭😩🙏
Beyond the pay check
The feeling of not being able to ‘chip in’ and contribute is an understandable one but remember that a partnership is just that; a joint effort or the dictionary definition: ‘a pair of people engaged together in the same activity’. We often overlook (and in my view, undervalue) the unpaid aspects of a partnership, from carrying and raising children to other forms of emotional and physical labour. Don’t forget to remind yourself of what you contribute, beyond the pay check.
All that being said, money matters. Funnily enough the two things we avoid talking about the most, also happen to be the most important when it comes to your financial future: getting old and death (awkward silence…). So, yes, we need to get thinking about your pension. Luckily for you, the civil service is pretty generous in this department. It’s a defined benefit’ pension (think Boomer pension), where civil servants get paid a retirement income based on the salary (yes please!) during their career. Your contributions will be pre-set depending on your salary band but it’s worth chatting to HR to get familiar with your particular scheme.
To get really morbid for a second…Nobody wants to think about their partner dying and certainly not before they do. If you’re reliant on your partner’s income, life Insurance is one option. It’s not for everyone (the industry could do a better job at communicating this…) but if you’d face a financial loss upon the death of your partner, particularly if you have kids, it might be worth checking out. Because your partner is a contractor, it’s unlikely this is part of his benefits package so do some digging.
A nice way to give your retirement savings a boost and to get invested is with a Stocks and Shares Lifetime ISA. It is by far the most under-utilised saving tool and a personal fave. I bang the Lifetime ISA drum in virtually every column and for good reason – you can literally get £1000 (a 25% bonus) a year, free from the government until you’re 50. You’ll need to put aside a maximum of £4000 a year to get the full £1000 bonus, but by 50 (if you start now), that’s £16,000 for FREE, plus £64000 of your own savings. That’s without factoring in any gains from your investments. To learn more, take a look at this totally free investing masterclass. For more on getting your finances organised, there’s loads of content over on GoFundYourself.
Girl gotta eat
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying food and spending money on it, but if you feel it’s a problem, then maybe it’s time to audit your spending in this department. Most importantly, ask yourself: what’s going to waste? What are you actually enjoying? and what could you switch up for a cheaper but equally tasty option? Ps. meal planning and making a shopping list are two great options but make sure you set yourself realistic goals you can actually stick to.
Alice Tapper is the author and founder of Go Fund Yourself. For more money guidance and tips, follow her @gofundyourself.
This column offers guidance, not financial advice. For personal investment advice, it’s always best to speak with a financial advisor.
*Name has been changed.