Talk Money Week encourages people to be open about personal finance and boost their financial wellbeing. We asked those who’ve studied and taught our qualifications – and are passionate about financial education – to share their top personal finance tips.
Darren Collins is the Vice Principal of Sixth Form at the Sittingbourne School. He was also Interactive Investor Financial Teacher of the Year 2020.
1. Improve your self-discipline
This gives you a foundation for starting to save money – and greater independence and financial freedom later in life.
2. Set some personal finance principles
In The richest man in Babylon, George Clason advised always saving 10% of anything that you ever earn.
3. Build your knowledge
As a young person, explore how saving, investing, and junior ISAs work. There are many accessible books on personal finance, which give you a better understanding on building your savings.
Binta Darboe studied our Financial Education qualifications at school and college and went on to achieve a degree in Finance, Investment and Risk (BSc) with us.
1. Get a part-time job
At university, I initially found it difficult to save because I was relying on student finance. That limited the amount of money which went away quickly, and I went into my overdraft.
But once I got a job, I figured out how to live on half of my monthly wages. I used the other half to pay off my overdraft. Once that was done I started saving the extra money, putting me in a good position.
2. Have separate bank accounts
I had an account which I spent from, and a separate account to put my savings in. This helped me ensure I had emergency funds and stick to a budget, as well as letting me know when I was overspending.
3. Spend within your means
As a student, you’ve got the rest of your life to spend more money on luxury items when you secure a great graduate job! But for the time being, make the most of those student discounts.
Louis Goacher studied both our CeMAP and DipFA qualifications and is now a financial and mortgage adviser.
1. Build a strong credit history
Before applying for a credit card, use an eligibility checker to get a percentage of the likeliness of your application being accepted.
This checker is conducted via a soft search, meaning it won’t affect your score. You’ll also get a good indication before your full credit application, where a hard search will be conducted.
2. Look beyond deposits
Property deposits allow you to learn about relevant financial products and how much you’d need to borrow for the rest of your mortgage. However, securing a deposit won’t guarantee a mortgage. You also must be within the lender’s affordability to be able to borrow your chosen amount, which is calculated off your annual earnings. One way to calculate affordability is to take your annual salary and multiply it by 4.49.
3. Contribute to your pension
Contributing towards a pension qualifies you to gain 20% on your contributions. For every £80 you deposit this is topped up to £100 by the government, gaining an extra £20. Where else can you guarantee this return?
Don’t think of pension contributions as lost money. View it as a ‘later life freedom fund.’
Helen Westwood has taught children about personal finance since 2004 and won the Moneywise 2019 Personal Finance Teacher of the Year (Secondary) Award.
1. Make a plan!
This could focus on your overall financial situation or a way to achieve a specific financial objective. Think about what you want to achieve and then take steps to make that happen!
2. Work on your financial goals
I started saving for my house deposit with £30 a month that grew as my salary increased. This started the momentum that ultimately achieved me my goal.
3. Use relevant personal finance resources
This could be books by certain authors, websites by financial experts, or other useful sources. However, be wary of anyone promising get-rich quick schemes surrounding investing, especially online!
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