Hands up if you think financial advice is solely for the wealthy. If you’re nodding your head as you read this, you’re not alone.
Until a year or so ago, I assumed that I’d only need a financial advisor if I had my own business, inherited a ton of money or won the lottery. But as it turns out, a financial advisor can help you no matter what stage you’re at with your finances. Whether you want to save a deposit, become self-employed or you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to save for retirement when you have so many other expenses to take into account, a financial advisor will rake through your finances with a fine tooth comb before helping you get where you want to be in life.
Before you jump right in and pay an advisor for their services, don’t be afraid to ask a few questions. Financial advisors are a bit like driving instructors, babysitters and boyfriends; you want to make sure you’ve found the right one before really making a commitment. To help you find your perfect match, I’m about to share 7 questions to ask before choosing your financial advisor. Make sure you read to the end of the post because at the bottom you’ll find out how to book yourself a free hour-long consultation with a financial planner. Continue Reading
Over the last few days, journalists, economists, politicians and property experts have been going crazy at the news that home ownership in England has fallen to a 30 year low. I find it funny how so many experts are acting surprised at this news when those on the ground, in the trenches, are a bit like “no shit? My rent is fucking ridiculous and I live in a cupboard under the stairs as if I’m Harry Potter.”
Although I’ve spent a considerable portion of the last couple of years with my mind set on buying my own place asap, I’ve kinda gotten to a stage now where I just can’t be arsed. House prices are so monumentally fucked (I know you’re reading this, mum, and you’re going to have to let me express myself) that I just don’t want to be involved. I don’t want to be involved in the shit show that is the UK’s property market. I’ll sit this one out and I’ll return when everyone’s got their shit together and they’re ready to be a bit more inclusive. Let’s take a look at the 5 key reasons I’m no longer in a hurry to buy my own home.
Because I’ve saved so much money in the last couple of years, I’ve gained a real sense of freedom and empowerment. I have my own savings spreadsheet which I update every few days and I like to stare lovingly at the figures in front of me while stroking the screen tenderly and gently whispering “never leave me”. Picture Gollum in your head and that’s me.
This savings fund gives me the opportunity to make life changing decisions if I wish. If I was made redundant tomorrow, I’d survive financially. If I wanted to drop everything and travel the world, I could. If I came up with an amazing business idea, I’d have money set aside to invest in it.
But if I was to buy a home, all that money that’s giving me comfort and peace of mind would be spent on extortionate fees and stressful decorating costs. My money would be gone. It’d be tied up in one giant investment that might not even pay off. Sure, the property’s value could increase over time but there’s also a risk that it might not.
2. The property market, in its current state, is unsustainable
Many of our home owning parents and grandparents really did hit the jackpot in terms of property. In most cases, our elders’ homes have snowballed in value.
Looking at the current property market, it’s unclear how long this trend is going to last. On the one hand, we want property prices to fall so we can actually buy homes using our average salaries. On the other hand, imagine if prices fall after you’ve bought your own place! I don’t know about you but I just don’t want to be involved in this B.S right now.
I don’t want to be involved in the shit show that is the UK’s property market. I’ll sit this one out and I’ll return when everyone’s got their shit together and they’re ready to be a bit more inclusive.
3. Renting gives me freedom to travel
Okay, I’m no globe trotting digital nomad but, having thoroughly stalked my brother’s Facebook photos over the last 6 months showing all the beautiful places he’s visited while travelling around Europe, I am filled with a bit of wanderlust. A few months ago, I kinda thought I’d always be content living in Manchester and just going on lots of little holidays. Now though, I’m not sure. I’m pretty fickle and indecisive like that.
Since I’m renting right now rather than living in a home of my own, I’ve got freedom to drop everything and travel the world if I want to.
If I was offered a £50,000 job in Edinburgh or York or Brighton, I could go. LOL. 50 grand. I’ve got high hopes.
I wouldn’t have to worry about selling my home in Manchester or becoming an accidental landlord. I could just up sticks and move. Obviously I’d have to take my tenancy period into account but that’s much more flexible than a mortgage.
4. Renting means I don’t need money for maintenance costs
Jake and I are having a slight maintenance issue with our flat at the moment. An odd smell keeps flooding into our bathroom through an air vent and we just can’t handle it anymore. We reported this to the building’s manager a couple of days ago and the following day he knocked on our door to let us know he’d been investigating and had found the source of the problem. He reassured us that an expert will come to check it out this week. If we were home owners and had a strange issue with the property, we’d have to find people to diagnose the problem, fix the problem and then we’d have to pay them using our own hard earned cash. If we didn’t have an emergency fund, we’d have an even bigger issue on our hands.
Obviously not every landlord is like this. In the last rented flat I lived in, I had to put up with a mouldy bedroom and a bathroom without a ceiling and no hot water in the sink. When I was a student, we had a serious mouse problem and every time we complained, we were told it was our own fault because we didn’t wash our dishes straight away. Basically, landlords can be arseholes.
Just because the media’s encouraging us to panic-buy the first house we can get our hands on, doesn’t mean we should. Panic buying anything is never a good idea and if you’re panic buying something that costs £120,000+, you should probably expect a rocky road ahead.
5. Renting lets you live in a nicer area you can afford to buy
I’m currently renting a flat in lovely leafy Sale, south Manchester. Although it’s not as trendy as Didsbury, Chorlton or Prestwich, houses round here aren’t exactly within my price range. But although I can’t afford to buy a house here, I can afford to rent here. The property market is so weird.
Isn’t it strange how people buy expensive properties in fancy places because they just *love* the area but in order to afford a place in these nice areas, these people have to work really long hours, sometimes in jobs they hate? They work such long hours that they don’t even get to spend much time in their beautiful home and leafy surroundings! It’s madness.
Before Jake and I moved in together, he lived in a pretty rough area where the streets were often lined with dirty nappies and dead mice. Originally, I planned to buy a house in that area purely because it was cheap, close to Manchester city centre, and would allow me to get on the ladder. But I don’t know if that’s such a smart idea anymore.
I aint about to spend years paying off a mortgage on a house I might not even be able to sell in an area that makes me miserable. Just because the media’s encouraging us to panic-buy the first house we can get our hands on, doesn’t mean we should. Panic buying anything is never a good idea and if you’re panic buying something that costs £120,000+, you should probably expect a rocky road ahead.
But, despite all this, I would like to own a home one day…
Home ownership is still something I’d like to achieve. I would like to be able to decorate my home from top to toe, I don’t want to be worrying about being evicted when I’ve got kids, and I don’t want to be paying rent when I’m old.
But I just don’t think home ownership is necessarily a sensible option anymore. It’s just not realistic or achievable for the vast majority of young people.
Although people argue that renting is ‘dead money’ and I’ve even said this numerous times myself, I don’t think this is a good enough reason to buy a home anymore – not that we can afford to buy anyway!
I’m not going to give up on the idea of buying a home. I’m going to keep growing my wealth as much as I possibly can in the hope that one day, I’ll be in a position to buy. But I’m tired of reading news stories about how home ownership is at its lowest point in 30 years and feeling overcome with this sense of sheer panic.
I’m fed up of looking at homes I like on Zoopla before adjusting my settings to ones I could actually afford- and feeling depressed AF. I guess a murder house is an option?
I’m tired of working and side hustling24/7 because it seems like the only way I’ll ever be able to live the life I want.
The most ridiculous thing is that my hopes aren’t even that high.
We young people are called lazy and entitled and we’re told to make do with what we have. We’re told to stop acting like home ownership is a right. That’s rich coming from people who could afford a house, family, wedding, car and holidays without being branded unrealistic or ungrateful.
In recent months I’ve been reading numerous articles and listening to countless podcasts created by people who have achieved financial independence. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, here’s an explanation in a nutshell:
“Financial independence typically means having enough income to pay your living expenses for the rest of your life without having to work full time”
I don’t know about you but I love the idea of quitting the 9-5 and retiring early. I want to be able to spend my days doing whatever the hell I want without worrying about making more money.
There’s just one problem. As you could probably have guessed, financial independence doesn’t come easy.
The majority of people who achieve this incredible feat seem to have done so by investing their money in stocks, bonds, shares and property.
And with every article I’ve read and podcast I’ve listened to, I’ve found myself thinking the same thing over and over again:
“Shit. I’m a great position to start investing.”
I don’t have any debts
I’ve maxed out a number of high interest savings accounts
I have a healthy emergency fund
If I lost my job, I’d have enough money to keep me going for a long time – if living frugally
I’m able to lock a sum of money away for a long period of time
I can ‘afford’ to lose a bit of money – though I’d obviously rather not!
So what’s holding me back? Here are a few reasons I’m feeling reluctant to start investing…
The big boy’s club
For a long time, I guess I always associated the word ‘investing’ with rich white men in suits. I blame the movies.
Only in the last couple of years has it occurred to me just how important it is for people on more modest incomes (and women) to invest. And it’s only really been in the last 6 months or so that I’ve thought “Shit. Ishould be investing. I’m in a position to invest. These people are writing these articles and creating these podcasts for people like me.”
I don’t know where to start
I want to make educated investment choices so that I can grow my wealth with as little risk as possible but I don’t have the slightest idea where to start. Where do I put my money? Who will take my money and make it grow? How do I do it? And will the money I make from my investments be worth the hours and hours of research I put in.
I don’t know who to trust
I haven’t done *that* much specific research into the world of investing but I’ve read enough to confuse myself even more so than I was before. I’ve read a book here, an article there, and already I’m feeling incredibly conflicted.
I simply don’t know who to trust for advice and I’m reluctant to shell out hundreds of pounds for professional financial advice. Although perhaps that is the safest option to avoid devastating blunders.
I don’t feel smart enough
Oh, I’m such a typical woman. When I’m not putting myself down, apologising for existing, and feeling like an impostor, I’m telling myself I couldn’t possibly be smart enough to understand the world of investing. But do you know what? Deep down I know I can do this. It’s not my fault I’ve never received any formal financial education, but thousands of other people around the world have taught themselves how to invest and so can I!
In the coming months I’m hoping to do plenty of research into the investing world and so I’ll be sure to share my progress with you guys. Whether you’re thinking of investing your cash or you’re already kicking ass and building your personal wealth, I’d love to hear from you. Give me a shout in the comments below, say hello on Twitter or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
From renovating run down properties to investing in the stock market, there are so many ways to grow your wealth over time. However, if you’re looking for a rewarding long term investment minus the risks, why not invest in yourself?
Self improvement is something you can do at any stage in your life but by making a conscious effort to be the best possible version of yourself when you’re in your twenties, you can set yourself up for a really strong financial future. Continue Reading