In the run up to November’s Talk Money Talk Pensions week, our Financial Capability team tell us about their worst and best financial decisions, their plans, and why it’s important to know what you’re doing with your money.
Here, Chris Hampson – our Financial Capability Relationship Manager for North (West and Central) England and North Wales – tells us about planning ahead and shopping around.
Worst financial decision?
Having a fixed rate mortgage is a good idea when buying your first house or when buying a larger house.
Sadly, I bought my larger house in 2007, just before the financial crisis, and took a five-year fixed rate mortgage.
When this finished in 2012, the interest rate had dropped significantly. When the deal ended, I was paying £400 per month less each month.
Best financial decision?
To always shop around and negotiate.
When my mobile contract was up, I negotiated a new contract. Using the word of the telephone operator, as I am such a “valued customer”, I knocked £10 per month off the contract I was offered for my new phone.
If this doesn’t work, ask for your PAC code so you can leave and take your number elsewhere. They have a special team for retaining customers[JC2] .
Why is Financial Capability important to you personally?
I, like many adults, have made some financial mistakes, especially when I first had a job after university.
Most of my mistakes have come from a lack of knowledge about what I was doing. I don’t want others to make the same mistakes – especially as credit is so much more readily available now.
What age are you planning on retiring or semi retiring?
55. My youngest will be 18 and off to university. The other kids will have to leave by then!
I would like to semi-retire and live in another country for a year or longer – fully experience another country’s culture, which I wished I had done before settling down to have a family.
What is your next financial goal?
I have a debt to clear – collateral damage from a previous relationship!
Which money decision, each week or month, makes you feel good?
Always shopping around and planning ahead.
Black Friday is coming up – a time when I purchase most of my Christmas shopping, if it is a good deal.
My son wanted a new Xbox One. By shopping around, I got it for £169 from Argos in a Black Friday deal. Prices in most shops were £250–£300 for the 1TB version I bought.
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