Some things are easy to talk about.
Which actor is James Bond to you?
Janet: Oh Sean Connery all the way, that accent!
Dan: Pierce Brosnan, the Irishman
Jo: It has to be Roger Moore
Who is your greatest Wimbledon champion?
Janet: John McEnroe definitely
Dan: Oh it’s got to be Serena
Jo: Andre Agassi
What was the first single you bought?
Janet: Oh Sade, Your love is king, on vinyl, showing my age.
Dan: Mr Wazo, Flat beat from the Levi’s advert
Jo: A huge Madonna fan so True Blue
What are your financial goals?
Sometimes talking to others can help make things a little easier.
Dan: I’m 28 so my big goal at the minute is trying to get on the property ladder. I think a lot of people my age are in the same position. I’ve been renting for about 4-5 years so I’m really ready with my girlfriend to see if I can get a property and stop looking at these property websites and actually get one of them hopefully. It is quite tough and I think we do actually have it quite difficult as a generation, so I’m using a stocks and shares ISA to try and get there, not just stockpiling cash but trying to get a little bit more return, a little bit more than a cash ISA would give me, hopefully a lot more. But I don’t want to drain the whole thing as well. I just want enough for the deposit, but I want to keep it ticking over in the background, just to reach any medium-term goals after that that I have.
Jo: Dan, I didn’t really have the difficulties that you have in terms of property. I was kind of lucky. So I had a small flat when I was in my early twenties, not really realising what a gold mine that was in a way. When it came to sell that and buy my first grown-up house if you like, it made a really good profit in terms of being able to get me on the real property ladder but really my next challenge I guess was when it came to having my children. What I hadn’t thought about is you have this dream of having your children, being able to be at home a little bit more, maybe take an extra extended maternity leave, not even considering the impact that would have on my pension contributions so really what I’m doing now is really looking at the motherhood years and trying to make up for that time.
Dan: What about you Janet?
Janet: I think I was even luckier because I got a right-to-buy flat when I was young and I got my flat when I was 23 and then moved on to a larger property a few years later with a profit and so now my goal is to build my retirement because I aim to retire at sixty. I do have a final salary pension, a twenty year final salary pension but now my main focus is on my workplace pension that I have now, extra contributions, matching contributions from the company which is basically free money and aiming for that goal when I get to sixty to retire.
Dan: Well altogether very depressing that you’ve both sorted everything out apart from me. But Jo, how are you making up for those motherhood years?
Jo: Well my pension. I’m putting more in, using that free money to boost the lost time if you like, so that’s where my focus has been over the last few years especially as I’ve been back full-time working, but in addition to that having a teenage daughter now, she’s already thinking about her first car so you mentioned ISAs, I’ve just embarked on my first one, putting aside a certain amount each month so I’m not dipping into my savings account all the time. I’m a little bit more hip with the children now, having an ISA.
Dan: For me ISA was a go to. It was the first thing I thought of, the opposite to you really. I really need to start contributing more to the pension side of things. A lot of time you’re not able to as you have these short term goals but as you just said, free money, it doesn’t makes sense not to.
Janet: I’m going to take a leaf out of your book and open an ISA because my savings is just an online savings that’s going from current account to savings account not really making any money as such, but if I can commit to a stocks and shares ISA, that’s obviously a better way of saving than just on an online account, so it’s something I’ll definitely look into.
Dan: The thing for me, it was a go to for me because interest rates were so low and when I opened my ISA we were at the lowest point of interest rates in like 300 years so it didn’t make sense for me to do anything apart from open my ISA, especially a stocks and shares one which really helped.
Jo: So Janet you mentioned earlier about you having a savings that’s not ISA related, so I’ve kind of gone down the ISA route now but I also need to think about still having some of that money still in my savings account because what I don’t want to do is if something happens, go down the credit card route because it’s so easy, isn’t it, just to use your credit card with all the deals that they have. The temptations there so I’m trying to balance that ISA, think about my pension, but also those go to, easy access if I need to, to avoid the credit card.
Janet: Mine’s an emergency credit card, basically that’s what I use it for. If I’ve got an emergency I need to pay for something then I’ll use it but trying to avoid the debt situation at my age, what I’m aiming for I don’t really want to be in debt, so I just have it as a back-up plan, but not to use on a regular basis.
Dan: I think when we were talking about the terms of the goals between your first home and your retirement, that’s something that I hadn’t really anticipated because you’re so set on these two things because all I’m told is that I should be saving into both. Your ISA for your house and then your pension for your retirement. But there is this world in between, well I’d quite like to there to be a world in between, so I think having a little cash buffer just in case you’ve got these unexpected expenses to come up but also just the medium term savings and that’s why I don’t want to drain my ISA for the house deposit just have something that’s constantly building up.
OK, I mean the biggest thing for me really coming out of this is just to stay on top of debt. Just don’t get into it is the easiest way to avoid it or deal with it and just to keep plugging away at that ISA and pension. Pension in particular probably for me.
I think what you’re saying about the free money, I think those two words really stuck in my head.
Janet: I’m promoting pensions to all the young people in my family. Pay your contributions, don’t opt out.
Dan: What about you Jo?
Jo: You’ve really inspired me Janet actually to think about retirement in a much more exciting way. So I’m really thinking to give it some more thought about what I really want to achieve and have a focus and have something very exciting to work towards.
Dan: There we go, excellent.
Jo: Oh it’s so lovely to get the time to catch up and it’s been lovely to talk about it.
Dan: The thing is we’ve just been talking about money the whole time which you know as British people we never talk about that. It’s amazing how comfortable it actually is.
Janet: Exactly yeah.