It's Talk Money Talk Pensions Week! Our Financial Capability team have been telling 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, Sean Andrews – our Financial Capability Relationship Manager for Central England – gives us his top tips for negotiating utility bills at the end of contracts and adapting spending to fit with circumstances.
Worst financial decision
Buying a PC on buy-now pay-later when at university! I never was going to pay it off before I finished university.
It ended up costing hundreds of pounds more. I was still paying for it when it was obsolete, and ashamedly still paying for it when I bought another one!
Best financial decision
Negotiating all my utility bills at the end of contracts and threatening to leave unless they improve their deal!
The way I do it is to go onto the price comparison websites and look for the most competitive deal. Then if I can’t do it online I phone up my supplier, tell them about the better deal and threaten to leave.
The best one recently was my mobile phone. I’d been on the contract for a year when I decided to go sim only. Then I waited until Black Friday for a competitor’s deal.
I found a really good one, phoned up my supplier and said “This is the deal I want. Give me that deal or I’m going.” They said, “Yes okay.”
So I saved a fortune, got loads of data and free BT Sports.
What age are you planning on retiring or semi retiring?
No plans on an age yet! I love my job! I spent 20 years as a teacher which I did love but it was very different type of work , different challenges and I very much love what I’m doing.
Perhaps I’ll go for semi-retirement in my early 60s.
What is your next financial goal?
To secure a better deal on my mortgage and to overpay before I spend all my money on my children!
I have two children aged seven and nine. They have music lessons, sports clubs – all very fulfilling things. I used to be a music teacher, and music is important to my family. We all love playing! But when you add up the cost of all the extra-curricular activities, it gets pretty expensive.
Also because we both work, childcare can be expensive and at this stage we do need childcare.
As my children get older I will be able to start investing in my future and overpaying the mortgage. For me at this stage of my life, having a fixed mortgage means we can budget within our means so that there are no hidden surprises.
Which money decision, each week or month, makes you feel good?
Withdrawing cash from the bank and planning for monthly spends, for example, shopping, fuel costs, music lessons, school clubs.
Why is FC important to you personally?
Because there are far too many young people and adults who are not aware of the awful implications of debt and how to manage money effectively.
There is a lack of future planning. It concerns me that many adults are not planning for retirement and older age.
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