Important information - the value of investments and the income from them, can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest.

Granny knows best, or so they say. Here are six good old-fashioned lessons about money that are just as appropriate today.

Words of wisdom from older generations are still valued by many of us, with one in seven people admitting they ask a family member for advice before making any major financial decisions.

It would seem that Granny does know best and although some of what she says may sound like hackneyed clichés, these homespun pearls have a lot of truth in them.

You may even find them tripping off your own tongue now and again – especially if you have children or grandchildren of your own.

Here are half a dozen old-fashioned lessons to get you started.

1. A fool and his money are oft parted

We all know how easy it is to let money flitter through our fingers. So Granny’s words of wisdom are still very appropriate today - probably more so than ever. In a nutshell, if you’re not careful with your money, you won’t have it for long.

A good way to keep a grip on your money is to use your annual ISA allowance. ISAs are a tax-efficient way to get your money growing; ensuring more profits go into your pockets.  You can invest in a range of funds within your ISA, so whether you want to keep your money in bonds, dip into emerging markets or take a truly global approach, check out our Select 50 for fund ideas.

And when it comes to spending, be equally as shrewd. You work hard for your money, so make sure you look after it. Spending is the biggest potential pitfall, so make sure you spend wisely. Do your homework and shop around. And if a deal sounds too good to be true – to quote yet another old saying – it probably is.

2. Money doesn’t grow on trees

An oldie and a goody. As anyone who’s ever been short of a few quid will tell you, this one makes as much sense today as ever.

Being short of cash is no fun, so make sure that your ‘rainy day’ fund is topped up. Because none of us knows what is around the corner.

One of the biggest areas of regret is when it comes to pension planning. As anyone going into retirement unprepared will discover to their cost, money really doesn’t grow on trees.

Just look at any survey ever taken on the financial regrets of the over 55s and you’ll see the same answer, time and again - not starting to save earlier in life is usually their single biggest financial regret.

Make sure you have your own plans in place. Pensions are arguably one of the most tax-efficient ways to save for your retirement. With a Fidelity Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) you can save as little as £20 a month, which will be topped up to £25 by the government thanks to tax relief.  And remember that the younger you start, the better, as the longer that money has to grow, the better off you’ll be.

3. Riches have wings

And they can fly away pretty quickly if you’re not careful with them. This old saying sounds cryptic, but really it’s in a similar vein to ‘a fool and his money’.

Wealth can come and go, it’s all down to how you manage your money. So these wise words are another reminder to pin down what you’ve got and look after it wisely. And certainly don’t forget your future. A short-term view is a dangerous way to protect your finances. Invest for the longer-term and make sure you review your savings and investments to ensure you’re on track. If you need some inspiration our Select 50 covers our analysts’ pick of fund ideas.

4. Never a borrower nor a lender be

Heading back to old-school practices this is one classic that still makes sense today. But it’s one that seems to have got lost along the way.

We, as a nation, seen to have come to rely on borrowing as a way of funding our day-to-day lives, credit is still relatively easily available for most of us and the habit of saving up for anything seems to have gone out of the window. Instead we borrow and spend - especially as the cost of living has gone up and up.

One study1 shows that three in five (60%) of UK adults have borrowed money from friends or family at some point. Of this group, 37% did so because they needed the money to pay a bill and 26% needed it to buy food at the supermarket.

And this is something the younger generations are likely to do more and more. Roughly four-fifths of Generation Z (82% of ages 18 to 26) and millennials (80% of ages 27 to 42) say they have asked to borrow money from friends or relatives, compared with 68% of Generation X (ages 43 to 58) and 32% of baby boomers (ages 59 to 77).

Rather than relying on borrowing it’s better to have savings or investments that you can use when you need them. Setting up regular savings, of even a few pounds a month, which you’ll find will soon build nicely, will give you at least a small cash buffer to rely on, should you need it.

5. Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves

You work, you earn. You play, you spend. And before you know it your bank balance is back down to zero and you’re waiting for payday. So what cash, you whine, have you got to set up that rainy day savings pot? Well, it’s actually simpler than you think.

Set up a standing order that goes out of your account on payday and that £10 or £20 a month that you won’t even notice going out will soon build into a nice pot of money that you can invest.

Once you’ve got £50 pop it into your stocks and shares ISA, where it has a chance to grow nicely. OK, so we’re not actually talking pennies here, but you’ve got to start somewhere. And here is as good a place as any. Just ask Granny.

6. Money makes money

Doesn’t it always seem that way? The rich and famous seem to be handed opportunities that the rest of us mere mortals never get anywhere near. But that’s not to say that you don’t have as fair a chance as anyone else of making your money make more money for you. It’s all down to how you handle it.

If you’ve already followed the advice in number one (a fool and his money) then you should be in good shape to make the most of what you’ve got. Now you’ve got to put that money to work.

Before you start, get to grips with your current financial situation, bearing in mind your goals, plans and any expenses you have coming up in the not-too-distant future. Make sure to keep in mind your own appetite for risk, the potential need for easy access to your money and the amount of time you have available to look after your savings and investments. Then get started.

Investing in actively managed funds is a good way to help your money make more money. They are a relatively cheap and very effective way of tapping into true expertise. You see, you don’t need millions to make money, just access to the Select 50 – which you can have inside your ISA or SIPP.

What are you waiting for? Get that money working today. Granny would be proud of you.


NerdWallet survey conducted by The Harris Poll, 29 June to 10 July 2023, among 156 Gen Z adults, 294 Millennials adults, 283 Gen X adults, and 335 Baby Boomer adults in the UK.

Important information - investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and all tax rules may change in the future. Withdrawals from a pension product will not be possible until you reach age 55 (57 from 2028). Select 50 is not a personal recommendation to buy or sell a fund. This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice.

Share this article

Latest articles

What funds have investors been buying this year?

The most popular funds with our investors this year

Graham Smith

Graham Smith

Investment writer

Why the UK is the holy grail for investors

Britain is among the most undervalued stock markets in the world

Tom Stevenson

Tom Stevenson

Fidelity International

The key market moments to come this year

Key dates and events that will set the agenda for the next six months.

Ed Monk

Ed Monk

Fidelity International