Just wondering if/how others save. Do you contribute to a pension? Buy stocks/shares? Have an ISA? Save for your children's education? Invest in other ways? Any savvy investment tips?
I tend to think I'm doing well if I live within my means (ie, only debt is mortgage), but fear I'm not actively doing enough to plan for my future financially. Do you expect that your house/flat will appreciate enough to guarantee your financial future? Would love to how others manage, so that I might consider revamping my long term planning.
The Motley Fool and Moneysaving Expert.
The FSA website is also good on specific things (stakeholder pensions for example)
Pension : I am fortunate to have a company final salary scheme.
Stocks and shares: Sharesave scheme at work, plus an Index-linked Tracker.
ISA: we have a monthly savings to a stocks and shares maxi ISA. I am in the process of stopping mine so that I can put 3000 into a mini cash ISA this next tax year.
Children: Just a building society account at present, but looking at an index-linked tracker in a trust fund.
Main advice I always seem to pick up from articles/ websites is:
pay off credit card and loan debts before you start to save or invest.
You could consider discussiingg things with an IFA (independent Financial Advisor) but make sure you know how they charge before hand, and are not paying for their hefty commissions on products they sell you.
I've gone through phases of being a bit of a savings anorak, sadly. Plus I'm self-employed, so I've had to take fairly serious advice re. financial security and follow it.
I really really recommend The Motley Fool website. They have a refreshingly low-tech, cut-the-bullshit school of financial advice. Essentially you need to make savings/finance easy for yourself, by setting up automatic contributions to savings/investment plans via direct debits/standing orders.
FWIW, I have one standing order going into a cash savings account, another going into an investment plan (tracker ISA with M&G) and another into a pension. That way the money leaves your account before you have a chance to spend it. 10% of gross income seems to be considered a reasonable amount to aim for.
To work out how much you can save it might help to do an excel spreadsheet and track every single thing you spend for a month. That way you can see where it's all going.
My main advide would be to spread things out.
ie some money in ISAs, some in pension, some in cash, etc.
Also, don't forget overpaying your mortgage as a good long term saving tool. You have to earn very good rates of saving interest to make it more worthwhile to save cash than to pay off your mortgage early.
If you want the money for ds/dd then adding money to the csa thing may be a good idea.
Agree with everything you say Tokenbloke apart from adding to the CTF. Problem with the CTF thing is that once the child is 18, the money goes directly to them and you then can't stop them spending it on whatever they want.
Imagine saving up via this route for years, so that you've got enough to help them with a deposit on a house - only to find that at 18, all they want to do is go on a flash holiday or splurge out on clothes, etc. Not saying this would happen in all situations - but personally, if I was saving for a child - I wouldn't add anything to the CTF.
Good point Handbag! I was running on the theory that I would be able to persuade them to do something sensible with the money - ie uni fees / house deposit etc.
Then I'd do this in ISAs then - you get nearly 10k/yr tax free between 2 parents (assuming 2 parents). However, this is restricted to bonds now, so you'd probably want some equity based investments too... (hence the CTF suggestion)