Last week I wrote about the plans we have to help our kids get on the property ladder. It’s a sad fact that many younger people, and lots of older ones, have no prospect of buying a house, and perhaps it’s time that our perspective on home ownership changed.
Times are changing and whilst we have become a society that embraces the ability to own a home, there’s no shame at all in renting a property. It’s all about perception and doing what’s right for you and your family at a particular time in your life.
I know there are lots of other factors that make renting troublesome – tricky landlords, lack of security etc. – and these need addressing, but without the responsibility of a mortgage it might be easier to actually save some money.
Shepherds Friendly has done a fair bit of research into the the state of UK savings habits and it makes for very interesting reading. They surveyed 2000 people looking at the ways in which they save their money and whilst the results are intriguing, they’re probably not too surprising.
How Many People Save Money?
Only 42% of people said they save money every month.
To be honest, I’m surprised it’s that high. I know that many people simply can’t afford to put money aside each month, even on a seemingly good income.
And it really doesn’t surprise me that 61% of people said they would only survive for a year without any income. How many of us have more than a year’s income saved in the bank? I know I don’t.
As for budgeting what you spend, 32% of people don’t bother. Of course, planning and being prepared for your monthly spending will help you succeed in saving money so why don’t we do this? Are we really a culture that has given up on savings and prefers to spend our money instead?
I suspect it’s a mixture of living more in the moment and knowing that we can’t ‘afford’ to save very much at all. But maybe there are ways around this?
What Do People Save Money For?
Well in the Shepherd’s Friendly survey it seems that most people save for a short-term goal like a holiday or a home renovation and much fewer of us are saving for the longer-term.
Around 30% are saving for a holiday (yes, my hand is up for that one) and 16% for doing up their home. About 6% want a new piece of technology and 27% are saving for nothing in particular.
I think I easily fall into this group of savers. I save for holidays, home renovations and generally nothing very much – it’s just the safety net of having some savings in the bank ‘just in case’.
But the scary reality is that I don’t have a pension or retirement fund. I’ve been self-employed (this time) for about 6 years and, to begin with, didn’t earn enough to afford a pension saving. Now, I just don’t know what to do so feel I need some help.
Why Bother Saving Money At All?
So what should I, and many others, consider if we are to invest in long-term saving?
Well firstly, it helps you reach a bigger goal. Long term saving may help you plan better for your retirement or buy that holiday home you’ve always dreamed of.
Secondly, there is more opportunity for your money to grow. If you save into a plan such as a stocks and shares ISA, there is the potential of a greater return than you would have with a cash ISA. Although your capital is at greater risk of course.
Thirdly, a long-term savings plan can help benefit your family. Saving into a fund like a Junior ISA could mean you can help your kids through university, contribute towards their wedding or help them get on the property ladder.
It all makes sense when you say it like that doesn’t it.
PIN FOR LATER:
Why not get some advice from an independent financial adviser. I did, and whilst I’m still mulling over the information and ideas he’s given me, it feels like a huge step in the right direction.
Do you save for short-term goals like house renovations or do you have longer-term saving plans?