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Can someone help me understand what to do with my money please?

(10 Posts)
Inselaffe Tue 18-Feb-14 20:30:21

I have two issues: current account and savings.

Current Account

I was with a local building society so when I moved I changed to Barclays. I hated them, moved to the Co-Op as an 'ethical bank'. Their customer service is some of the worst I've ever experienced - I've currently been without access to my current account for two weeks because they refused to believe my card wasn't working and wouldn't send a new one until I argued with them. I am desperate to change but don't know to who - my income is over £1,500/month if that makes a difference to accounts.

I need: Internet banking, nationwide branches (travel a lot for work). Used for personal bills and salary.

Savings

I can save £1,080 per month (well paid job, no kids, stingy on outgoings) and am 26 (don't know if age is relevant?).

We are getting married next year, paying half each and my share is £7.5k. I would also like to save up at least £10k for maternity leave within the next two years, so can't lock any money away forever. I don't have any money in an ISA (have been paying debt back) for the current tax year.

By June next year I should have saved the lot (allowing for holidays).

What kind of savings account is sensible? Should I lock half away and save up more slowly?

I have heard about companies like (I think) Hargreaves and Lansdowne where you deposit a sum every month and they pay you return on investments they make? Is that wise? - I am wary of the stock market.

I have a work pension but my accountant friend says I shouldn't rely on it and it's just as risky as shares.

Can anyone offer advice please? I have been on MSE but it seems to be set up for people who want freebies like insurance or who are in debt and want to get out.

Inselaffe Tue 18-Feb-14 20:32:28

Should add - these are really stupid questions but until this year I have worked in min wage jobs so have never needed to do anything other than pay my student debt back, which every penny went on.

DP and I also have joint finances for joint expenditure but separate for personal - maternity leave money is my OFRS just-in-case money (spent too much time reading the relationships board!).

MsDeerheart Tue 18-Feb-14 20:49:52

not an expect but a few thougth hi I know you said you have been on moneysaving expert but it is very good on best buys for saving accounts and bank accounts -I think First Direct is very well thought of and there are regular saving accounts

www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/

I wouldn't go for anything but cash in those time scales - also bare in mind you when DCs come along child care and any reduction in working hours (which many women do at this stage) will have a big impact on your finances.

re pension - is a final salery or is it which is more likely a set amount that is invested - again this is very useful
www.moneysavingexpert.com/savings/discount-pensions

Also do you own a house yet - I woudl do that before DCs if you don't

LordEmsworth Tue 18-Feb-14 21:05:59

Why do you need branches? I am with first direct, use HSBC branches to pay cheques in and get cash out - possibly once every 6 months if that.

Savings - Hargreaves Lansdown is investments, and pensions are investments too. So they are not the same as savings - there is a risk you might lose some money, but much more potential to gain more compared to savings. But, most investments are not suited to two years - more like 5 years minimum. Pensions (mostly) work because they're over such a long term - i.e. if it loses money in the early years, there's a chance to make it up later.

Money Advice Service can explain the difference between savings and investments, you could spend weeks reading up on there (if you wanted!)

specialsubject Tue 18-Feb-14 21:43:18

just a thought; the best interest rates on savings at the moment are on current accounts. 3% on Lloyds, TSB and Bank of Scotland, no fees, just move £1000 into each account each month. That's the same £1000 going round by standing order.

you can have up to three accounts with each.

pension is a long, long term investment, stuff it as full as you can when you can. yes, it runs on shares but over decades you should win out. Big tax benefits too. Ignore colleague.

joanofarchitrave Tue 18-Feb-14 21:53:10

I am not usually an advocate for the bank called something like Flloids as I think their ethical policies are far from best in a poor market, but as a customer of 29 years' standing I can honestly say I have never had any real customer service issues with them at all. I've also worked for a financial complaints org in the past (in an unbelievably lowly role) and my observation was that Flloids had very few complaints, but those they had seemed to go on forever with very thick files. A bank named something near to SatNorth was very good at dealing with complaints, perhaps partly because they had lots of them. You pays your money...

I would always say with savings, start with an ISA first. You haven't built up a six-months-outgoings slush fund yet and personally I would keep that in an ISA. I would also look at buying Additional Voluntary Contributions to your pension, if you can (am not an expert). I do think pensions have risks, at the moment people are having to buy annuities at awful prices, but I think not having one is the biggest risk of all.

IMO most people who do investments (beyond unit trusts and pensions) have quite a bit of liquid savings first.

Inselaffe Tue 18-Feb-14 22:12:21

Thank you all very much for your advice. special that's the sort of thing I'm clueless on - moving money around to get extra interest. I can certainly do that one (I had seen the £1000 accounts on MSE but not thought to keep the same money floating around).

So I think the actions look like:

Get 3x £1000 accounts and set up standing orders
Fill this year and next year's ISAs first
See if I can top up my pension (it's contributions based)
Investigate what First Direct is!

joan Funnily enough our joint account is with Flloids (DP is a long-standing customer: they were the only bank who would let him create an account when he moved to the UK) and they have been brilliant, but I am very twitchy about their ethics.

Splatt34 Tue 18-Feb-14 22:16:46

I'd go for first direct bank account and then open their regular saver (max �300 per month 6% fixed for a year). Any other savings into a cash isa.

Martin Lewis was talking about savings on This Morning yesterday, may be able to find it on their website

Splatt34 Tue 18-Feb-14 22:16:53

I'd go for first direct bank account and then open their regular saver (max �300 per month 6% fixed for a year). Any other savings into a cash isa.

Martin Lewis was talking about savings on This Morning yesterday, may be able to find it on their website

TeacupDrama Sun 23-Feb-14 15:53:22

first direct is excellent for current account

6% at 300 a month actually equates to about 3.2% for the 3,600 over the whole year which is not bad but not as good as headline rate of 6% sounds

because only £300 for the first month gets 6% the 2nd £300 gets 11/12 of 6% until last month which gets 1/12 x 6%

I would put money in Cash ISAs as will be needed soon

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