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To be freaking out about my future?

27 replies

Mummadeeze · 02/07/2017 20:00

I am really after some life advice here as I have always been very much a live for the moment person and a risk taker, but I am slowly starting to realise that my old age will be very hard if I don't start making changes and better plans. I am 43 and have one DD aged 8. We live with my DP (her Dad) in a small rented flat in a fairly expensive area of London (but we want to stay there at least until our DD finishes primary school). I have a good job and earn a decent salary (50k) but I more or less support my family on that (as my partner has English as a second language and has a minimum wage income type job). He does all the school related stuff and is a good Dad, plus he does work - just doesn't earn v much IYSWIM. So I guess what I am saying is my salary would be good if I was with someone who earned something similar or if we lived somewhere else, but it doesn't go very far at the moment. This means that saving up to get on the property ladder feels like an impossible feat. I have always had a work pension but when I get through the forecasts of what I will get per month when I retire, it doesn't even cover my current rent. So this is what I am worrying about! I can see us having a comfortable enough life with some cheap holidays per year between now and when I give up work, as we do now, but now I am starting to think what on earth will I do when I retire?! How will we survive? Where would I live? Will we get council housing immediately as soon as I retire? I don't really want to depend on this but am not sure how to change things to have a comfortable life when I am old. I know we can move to a slightly cheaper area but obviously still need to be in commuting distance of work and I can not bear the thought of leaving London. Any advice gratefully received. Thanks in advance.

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RandomMess · 02/07/2017 20:04

I am a similar age to you, in reality I don't think we'll get to retire tbh - so first off start accepting you'll be working for as long as you are able to...

When your DD is an adult she will either be contributing to the rent/council tax or will move out and you can down size and won't be tied to the her school.

Beyond that I would get financial advice and put yourself on the council housing list (anyone can apply) - I don't think shared ownership would be affordable on your income would it?

Earlybird · 02/07/2017 20:06

Think about the changes you can make now (or when your dd finished primary school) to secure a better future for yourself.

If you keep your head in the sand, the changes will be forced upon you, which is never good. It is wise to think about it now while you have time to do something about it.

You need to make a plan. Perhaps when your dd is secondary school age, you can move to a more affordable area and, as your dd will be more independent, your dp can begin to contribute more financially?

ImperialBlether · 02/07/2017 20:07

Could your partner retrain in order to earn more money?

Mummadeeze · 02/07/2017 20:38

Thanks for the responses. I don't want to get into a partner bashing session but truthfully he has been re-training for the past 15 years. He has done course after course after course and it has never amounted to a new career. I feel lucky that I love my job and have found a career I am passionate about so don't pressurise him too much. I have kind of given up hope of him achieving a good career though and would rather make sure I sort things out to futureproof my life. I guess I should definitely try and move somewhere cheaper when it is time to change schools. I feel sad about that as I love my area, but I do need to be sensible. Shared ownership does sound like a good thing to look into. I will try to find out more about that. Thanks.

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Babyroobs · 02/07/2017 20:43

When you reach retirement age then if you can't afford to live on your occupational pension + your state pension then you would have to move and live somewhere cheaper .

happypoobum · 02/07/2017 20:44

I wouldn't worry too much. If you have to move out of London when you are older that won't seem so much of a hardship as it seems now - in fact you may be very happy to move somewhere different.

You would have to be the most dreadful stick in the mud to only ever want to live in one place surely?

I definitely would not count on getting a council place - very unlikely.

Earlybird · 02/07/2017 20:49

Not to sound morbid or money-grabbing...but is there a chance you'll inherit anything? Many of us can't / don't save as much as we should so for some, that is the windfall that helps secure their future.

GreyCloudsToday · 02/07/2017 20:52

Are you saving anything at the moment? Its well worth scrimping a bit for a deposit if you're able.

Look at shared ownership resale properties, as these are much better value than buying brand new from a new build. These tend to be advertised on housing association websites first, so scout those regularly or contact them to see if they have a mailing list. Older houses are great as the service charge is much less.

oldestmumaintheworld · 02/07/2017 21:14

This is very difficult. You are at an age when you have to make choices about the future and start to save to secure your pension and your savings for your older age. So I guess the first thing is do you want to stay with your partner? Do you see him as being your long term future. If so, then you need to sit down and have a serious conversation about his contribution to the household now that your child is at school. You need to work together to secure that future and he needs to understand that he has to help make that happen. Start to ask questions like - What would you do if I couldn't work any more? How would you provide for us all? His response will tell you a lot and help you to shape your future.

If you don't see him as a long term prospect then now is the time to separate. You have twenty five years to build up a future for yourself and your daughter and he will have to pay maintenance.

I think its time to start asking some very hard questions and be prepared to not like the answers.

Good luck.

Oly5 · 02/07/2017 21:23

I am the lower earning partner as a female and I do the vast majority of school-related stuff. My partner values it so much. So if your partner is taking the pressure off you by doing drop offs/pick ups etc and school stuff, is it really him that is the issue here?
I think if you can start saving a small amount each month, then look to buy a property maybe up north that you can rent out. Don't view this as something that will give you much money now, but it would be an insurance policy for when you're older. You could move into it/sell it once it's gone up in value etc.
People are in a far worse position than you and manage.
I think dumping tor partner if he is a good man to you and a good dad would be a mistake if it's just because you wish he earned more

Mummadeeze · 02/07/2017 21:25

In answer to the inheritance question - maybe but I definitely don't want to depend on that. My sister is very wealthy but I would also feel terrible if she felt she had to support me in my old age and I want to try and prevent this situation occurring as it would cause bad feeling. My family were anti me settling down with my partner because of lack of security but I was adamant at the age of 30 that that didn't matter. In terms of whether we will still be together in our old age, I think it is fairly unlikely but I would absolutely not separate whilst our child is still young as the family unit is important to me right now and we both want to live with our DD full time. With regards to saving for a small deposit, it might be possible if we lived a very boring life (i.e. Didn't ever socialise or go on fun days out or out to eat) but it is really hard to have the discipline to do that for a long period of time. I guess when our DD is working and if I live on my own after that I could save easily, but it might be a bit late by that point as I will be in my mid 50s?

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Mummadeeze · 02/07/2017 21:28

Oly5 - thanks for that. A small rental property up North is a very good idea and might be feasible with some discipline.

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Mummadeeze · 02/07/2017 21:30

I know it isn't rocket science really - saving for a property is probably my only option. I think I just need some inspiration and a good kick up the bum!

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lionsleepstonight · 02/07/2017 21:33

As a married couple without dependents I don't think you'll be very high on any council house waiting list. If your combined pension income is below whatever bench mark is in place, you may get housing benefit, but I wouldn't bank on that covering your rent in London. Why not buy a property outside of London, rent it out for the next 25 years and then at least you will have somewhere to live once you retire that's rent/mortgage free.
That's the whole point of a mortgage, once your income drops to pension level you've paid it off and only have running costs to cover.

Mummadeeze · 02/07/2017 21:38

i did ask about buy to let mortgages and was told you need a really big deposit to get one approved though. It does feel quite daunting as some months I am surviving on nothing in the last few days! I do think 'what if the roof needed fixing' or the boiler blew up. I don't have money just to fix things like that for a tenant. I guess I would also have to save for a reserve emergency fund too. I will try and see what I can cut back on to see if it is at all feasible.

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Snoopysimaginaryfriend · 02/07/2017 21:41

Are you really only with your partner because you like the idea of a 'family unit'? Don't you think that's really sad? Does he feel the same way about you?

I'm sorry if I sound horrible but you are coming across as really callous. When I got together with my DH he was in a dire financial situation but we worked through it and we are planning our future together. We're in the same job but he now gets overtime and I work regular hours to be there for our DD. If I thought he was at work now discussing with his colleagues his plans for how to make his own life secure whilst casting me adrift I'd be devestated.

Mummadeeze · 02/07/2017 22:55

I am not being callous. There is a back story and my partner doesn't treat me very well. I just didn't want to go into that as I was more after advice on changing the other parts of my life to protect myself from being homeless when I am old. I am staying with my partner for lots of reasons - because I don't want to let my daughter down, because I promised him I would look after him when we got together, because I am afraid to be a single Mum, because I am frightened of the emotional impact on all of us if I instigate a separation. I know you don't know me, but I am very selfless, and that is why I won't rock the boat or try to find someone who is kinder to me until our daughter is older. And in answer to your question of whether he feels the same... He is extremely complicated and it is hard to know whether he loves me or not. We both adore our child though and she is the focus for us both which is what is important.

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Snoopysimaginaryfriend · 02/07/2017 23:31

Ok, fair enough. We don't know your partner or the backstory.

There seems to be little point though in you making plans for the future or changes to improve your financial situation if you don't plan to stay with your partner.

Even if you manage to buy a place would it be in your name only?

Mummadeeze · 03/07/2017 07:38

Yes, it would because I would be paying for it. I have always made the plans for myself and our family. I make every financial decision. He doesn't care or worry about the future and there is no point in talking to him about it or asking for help.

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CaoNiMartacus · 03/07/2017 08:05

If your DP treats you badly and isn't bringing anything financial into the relationship, I'd say you might be better off without him. That way your future is completely in your own hands.

PickingOakum · 03/07/2017 09:12

I've known a lot of people in your position, op. In practically every case, people have either moved out of London entirely or moved to far cheaper areas.

I am your age and of the people I knew in London 20 years ago (I lived there for 15 years), there's only a handful left in the capital. Even Londoners born and bred with families going back generations in the capital, now live in other parts of the country, other countries or out in Kent. Dh, a Londoner, moved up to my home town in the North because we knew it was the only way we'd ever be able to afford our own home.

There seem to be three life assessment points: trying to buy a house, deciding on a primary school and choosing a secondary school.

I think you have to bite the bullet, roll up your sleeves, and be hardheaded and realistic about your situation. It's a good time to start thinking about a move to coincide with your DD's transition to secondary, and I would start with assessing whether you could do your job in another part of the country. £50k goes a long way outside of the South East, even if you take a hit of the loss of London weighting. £30k is a very reasonable salary in many parts of the country, and with your DP earning nmw, you would be able to afford to buy somewhere to live in a decent area if you did your research and played your cards right.

Realistically, you are not going to get social housing in London when you retire. In fact, I would not rely on there being any help of that kind in twenty plus years. Being older and skint in London is not a good idea, even if you own your own home by that time. I've retired in-laws in a financially-reduced situation in greater London and, even though they own a home outright, it's not a good scenario from a quality of life perspective.

I would seriously look to move. Okay, you'll never replicate the London life you have elsewhere, but ask yourself how much you benefit from your location on a regular basis anyway outside of work access. And you can build another life elsewhere that may be just as fulfilling. Different, yes, but just as valuable.

I would think twice about buying somewhere to let outside of London while remaining in the capital. It could be a whole heap of stress and you'd be relying on rental agents to manage the property for you for years.

corythatwas · 03/07/2017 09:15

The problem here seems to be the relationship rather than the money.

Financially you are no worse off than a very large proportion of couples where one partner (though usually the man) earns the main income and the other partner works part-time or takes a less demanding job in order to shoulder the role of prime carer. They manage by planning together and thinking about the future together. The higher earning partner recognises that their ability to work without expensive childcare depends on the ground service provided by the lower earning partner.

But if you cannot rely on your partner to stand by your shoulder and provide equal adult support in your relationship, then the whole thing must be harder. Why, just out of interest, did you promise to look after him when you got together? Is he seriously disabled? Does he have a physical or MH condition?

Anyway, in purely practical terms, I think you will have to accept that no savings is the price you have to pay to live in London. If you want money left over at your current earning capacity, then you need to look at either moving out altogether or moving within commuting distance.

My dh works in London but we have decided we cannot afford to live there and save up in the way we want, so he commutes every day.

You mention dd's primary school. Is it because of her friends or do you not think you could find another good school elsewhere? Is it a state school or are you paying private school fees? Because if the latter, then again that is something that you have chosen to do with money that could otherwise fund a pension. If the former, it won't be the only good state primary in the country.

Lucysky2017 · 03/07/2017 09:27

You have a lovely daughter and earn £50k. It could be worse. In fact if I were you I would have a second child (if you want 2 or more) whilst you have the chance. Take not much leave and your other half could look after it.

Then don't marry him (so he has no marriage type rights if you split up).

Then on buying somewhere my daughter was able to buy a buy to let when she didn't own anywhere (she lived at home or with friends) as her first property. However then the rules changed I believe and it is now hard to get a buy to let loan if you do not currently won the place you live in. That is a really silly change. It came about because people were lying to say they wanted a buy to let loan and then they moved into the place. Yet lots of people like my daughter didn't lie - she let the flat out until her salary rose to be large enough to pay the mortgage without the rent. Anyway I think that is now the position - hard to get a buy to let if you don't already own a property you live in.

it sounds like you want to rent near where you are to ensure your daughter stays at her primary school.

You might be able to get a buy to let if you buy with a parent who also acts as guarantor. That may be worth looking at. You would need 25% of the price. Eg your parent might be able to advance you say £50k and you buy somewhere and you get a £150k buy to let loan (but you will not be able to set all the interest against the rent if you are a 40% tax payer under new rules).

You probably have no deposit to buy to live in. 300 lenders now offer 95% mortgages (although the interest rate is a bit higher if you borrow that higher % of the value of the property). If you had an aim eg to buy somewhere for £200k with 5% deposit £10k you could start working towards that. (My son bought a little 2 bed terraced house in Chesham on the Met line by the way last year for £325k which he is letting out. £325k though may be more than you could buy on a buy to let or to live in because of the amount of your salary. My daughter competed a purchase on Friday and she borrowed 5x her salary via a mortgage broker.

GreyCloudsToday · 03/07/2017 11:42

Mummadeeze, if you haven't got any saving for emergencies, you need to start putting some money aside even if it's not specifically for a deposit. It will be so helpful if / when something needs replacing or something goes awry.

We did the scrimping and saving thing but it was not too bad. There are so many cheap or free things to do here in the city. Even now we rarely spend money taking our preschooler DC out. We do Vue cinema mini mornings at £2.50 each, soft play at the museum which is free, splash pools and fountains at our local parks, art galleries etc. We cycle lots. We have endless picnics. It's not too bad.

Mummadeeze · 03/07/2017 18:05

Thank you everyone. I really appreciate the advice. I think specifically moving a bit further out of London and being hard headed is a good idea as a lot of my salary is going on rent. I still like going out after work with colleagues etc so it will be a sacrifice but I know I need to make it at some point. I may be able to get my parents to help me with a deposit, yes. I have talked to them before but dropped it because they seemed a bit reluctant and I felt bad, but it might be worth another conversation at some point. I just feel a bit disappointed in myself that I haven't been able to put myself in a better position even though I have worked hard all my life. Part of it is due to my choice of partner as I have made things difficult for myself on that front in many ways. And in all honesty my family have even said they would want to help me more if I had listened to their warnings when we got together. To the person who asked why I promised to look after him, I can't explain this because it is a bit too personal but he is not disabled or incapacitated in any way, just very much a free spirit with a different outlook on life to most people. I guess without explaining everything I feel I tied him down so I can't now complain that he isn't a provider and a career person as I was adamant I didn't care about that. And actually I still don't really care about that so long as I can make things work out okay in my old age. It isn't going to happen on its own without lots of effort though so I need to start planning for sure. Lots to think about. Thank you all again.

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