Mistakes? I’ve made a few…

Reddington09/11/2021

Save up for a deposit.
Get on the property ladder.
Work 9-5.
Get a ‘job for life’.
Pandemics, furlough and remote working.
Zoom meetings.

The current landscape facing millennials is different than the ones faced by their parents.
‘What will the State Pensions look like?’, we wonder.
The UK retirement age goes up every few years, meaning that the idea of winding down seems very far off.
With all the current talk around climate change, we then have to start looking at whether or not our investments and our pension schemes are also ethically invested.
All of this uncertainty puts enormous pressure on the current generation to save for retirement, the sooner the better.
Because if we don’t, there might not be a safety net later on.

Worst still are housing and rental prices, as the average millennial spends more than the recommended 30% of their income on housing. And an average UK student debt of £45k.

So, it’s a juggling activity where we’re expected to facing mounting pressure to save everything we can for an unknown retirement date. Oh, and also pay back debt. Whilst our income is being spent on rent. The stakes have never been higher for millennials trying to financially plan and save for the future.

What we want to do in this article is make things a little easier for this generation given the challenges it faces.
We see young clients make some common mistakes with their financial planning. By showing you what they are, we hope that you’ll avoid making these mistakes too…

mistakes

Pension pots are like bank balances. There seems to be less than expected!

Mistake #1 – Buy Now. Pay later?

We now live in a world where we can buy an item online and get it sent to us the next day, if we’re willing to pay for it.
And by ‘pay for it‘, we mean we can get easy credit and pay it off later on. Long gone are the days of ‘Can’t afford it? Can’t get it!

You might get a promotion at work. Well done you.
You stop eating homemade lunch and start dining out at Pret.
Ever heard of ‘Lifestyle inflation‘ or ‘lifestyle creep‘? It’s what happens to many people when they get a wage increase. Over time, your spending increases to match that increase in your income. With more money in the bank, you start spending more…
Of course, if you spend all the money you make, how can you ever save money? A good idea is to split your monthly wage – pay off your needs first (rent/mortgage, utilities) then your wants (new clothes or going out socialising). The rest should be put aside into savings. The old 50/30/20 rule.

And also note…

We would advocate for keeping your lifestyle the same (because if you were doing fine before the raise, you know it’s possible!).

Why save money for something down the road when you can enjoy your money right now? This is not just a millennial problem, by the way, as one in ten UK adults have less than £100 in savings.

Instant gratification also shows up in our investing habits. We start chasing the latest fad. GameStop and Bitcoin to name a few. When everyone starts talking, FOMO (fear of missing out) kicks in. People don’t want to believe that they’ll miss out on overnight riches, so they jump in blindly. And forget that riches take time. So they end up losing at worst, or delaying at best.

Yes, we’ve all heard of “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
We’d also like to add: “Don’t end up chasing trends, as it’s more gambling than investing.

Mistake #2 – Plain Old Bad Advice

Access to 24 hour news and social media means it’s not hard to find the opinion or advice of so-called ‘experts’.
I’m not suggesting you should ignore everything you read (or we wouldn’t have written this). What I am suggesting is that, with so much information at your fingertips, be careful about who you listen to.
Always do your homework before parting with your money. A lot of potential mistakes can be avoided this way. Check those whose advice you’re receiving to make sure they’re qualified to share it. You wouldn’t ask a dentist how to mend a broken tap, would you? So why would you take advice from someone on TikTok? Or LinkedIn (because amidst the humblebrag, there’s a LinkedIn expert on everything)

Most of us would probably ask our family and friends for advice, while 30% of young adults said they get advice from social media sources. The problem with this approach? It’s hard to check the accuracy of the advice being given by these influencers, which leads to people in their 20s and 30s being 25% more likely to lose money to fraud than those over 40.
Finally, be careful about following too many sources of advice. Find out what works for you. We all have different attitudes to risk.

Mistake #3 – Not Knowing The Basics

Sound financial planning isn’t complicated. There are some principles that require you to be patient, diligent and consistent.
Of all the errors and mistakes, getting a sound grasp of the basics will help you.
Consider the following:

Pay yourself first

If you’re a business owner, don’t leave it as an afterthought and do it regularly otherwise HMRC will start paying an interest…!

Diversify your portfolio

Putting all your money into one asset class can be risky. Leaving it alone as just cash means it will gradually get eaten away with inflation.

Keep calm and carry on

There will be economic downturns, but history shows those are temporary. And by following the previous tip, a diverse portfolio will suffer less than one where all your assets are in one place.

Chances are, you’re familiar with each of these ideas. The pitfall is making the process more complicated than it needs to be, or just as damaging, ignoring these basics altogether. Too often, clients say they never discussed money. Or they received bad advice in the past or felt overwhelmed by the prospect of getting started.

Carpe diem. Or ‘Fatum control tuum’

(That’s ‘take control of your destiny‘)
So you might think the odds aren’t in your favour. That to achieve financial freedom and one day retire is impossible.
It’s not.
It will require extra care from you, as many of the safety nets your parents could depend on are no longer reliable.
Do the right thing.
And no matter where you are in your financial journey, avoid making these three mistakes.
One or two mistakes are inevitable, but start fixing them.