Welcome to How I Made It Work — Bustle UK's financial series which aims to demystify money and the process of achieving financial stability. This time, HIMIW hears from a 31-year-old PR account manager in Huddersfield who has been saving since she was 16 and believes not "demonising your bank balance" is the key to a good relationship with money.
General job description: PR Account Manager
What is your current salary? £31,000
How long have you been earning this amount? Since January 2019.
Do you receive regular financial help from friends, family, or a partner?
No. I think this means I know I need to rely on myself to fund my current lifestyle — as well as my plans for later life, such as retirement.
How would you describe your relationship to money?
Good. Although, I’m a stereotypical tight Yorkshire fellow, I hate spending money. I’m not someone who splurges on designer clothes or handbags, I will often mull over a purchase of £100+ for months before I actually bite the bullet and buy it. My husband is the opposite though, if he wants something he tends to research it and [then just] buy it.
Do you believe you feel you are currently in a stable position financially?
How did you achieve stability?
I bring home just shy of £2,000 per month. I put £200 of that into an ISA and another £200 into my private pension. I also use a chunk to pay off my student loan. I don’t have any other loans or direct debits, other than a monthly mobile phone bill, which is £20 — because I have an iPhone 6s rather than the latest model. I have a pension with work and I also pay £500 towards our mortgage and household bills. The rest I use "to live."
If you feel financially stable, has this been the case for most of your life, a few years, or is it a very recent thing?
I would say I have always felt stable. For as long as I’ve earned a wage, be that from a Saturday job in a shop, working to support myself at uni, to becoming a professional — I’ve always lived within my means, and, crucially, saved a little every single month since I was 16.
Do you own any properties (and how many)?
Not myself. My husband has a mortgage from before we met, but I’m not named on it.
What does financial stability look like to you?
Now [it's] worrying about being able to retire while you can still enjoy your life. My husband and I both plan to retire at 50. In addition, it’s also about being able to live in the here and now, without having to penny pinch (or check your bank balance other than to reconcile your receipts).
What advice would you give to young women who are worried about achieving financial stability?
Set up a standing order right now, to transfer some money — however much you can afford — into a savings account as soon as you get paid. This can be used as "rainy day" money if you need to fix the car, pay for a holiday, etc. I’m lucky that my husband, who is a business owner, has a financial advisor who looks after my money. I was made redundant last year and received a payout of £16,000, so he invested that for me too. Sometimes these unexpected things can prove to be really positive in the end.
What one piece of advice would you give to young women who want to improve their relationship to money?
Don’t demonise your bank balance! You are the person that ‘tops up’ that amount each month, and it’s important not to blame your employer, your household bills, or your penchant for a bottle of Merlot every Friday if you’re struggling to make ends meet. We’re all responsible for our own financial stability — or instability as the case may be — so, without sounding patronising, you need to look at how to balance your own books. I have always had a good relationship with money because, even when I earned £11,000 per year, and lived in a flat on my own, I managed to pay my bills and still have a life. It is possible, but it’s important not to blame others if you’re struggling.