Mrs Moneypenny, FT columnist and the face of Channel 4's SuperScrimpers show, shares 10 steps you can take this year to secure your financial future.
I love saving money.
So when I saw that entrepreneur, columnist and TV presenter Mrs Moneypenny was hosting a money masterclass for women, I went along.
The event was held to promote new book Mrs Moneypenny's Financial Advice for Independent Women (£16.99 RRP) – though she says men can benefit too!
But, as Mrs M explains: "Women live longer and so need to provide for ourselves longer, while typically earning less than men over an average lifetime – so we need to take more of an interest in our financial futures."
Mrs Moneypenny's top 10 'money masterclass' tips
1. Buy a notebook dedicated to your finances…
… and invest one hour a week analysing them. "That's just 50 hours a year, if you allow a couple of weeks off at Christmas," she says. "Think of all the time you spend worrying about money against spending one hour a week doing something about it." Write down your financial goals, whether that's buying a house, retiring at 65, and so on.
2. Know your expenditure
How much do you spend and/or what interest rate do you pay on your mortgage, utilities, mobile phone, car and home insurance, car finance and credit cards? Mrs Moneypenny says: "Every one of these things you can get cheaper."
3. Is it time to change your bank account?
Mrs Moneypenny says: "Most people change their spouse more often than they change bank account." When did you last check whether your current account was still offering the best deal for you? The banking industry implemented seven-day current account switching last September. Find our more here.
4. Check your credit report
In a show of hands, around one third of the money masterclass audience revealed they'd never checked their credit report – which is a record of your borrowing history. If you're looking to apply for a credit card, loan, overdraft or mortgage, you need to ensure your credit report is in tip-top condition or you risk getting turned down. Mrs Moneypenny recommends checking once a year. Find out more about credit reports here.
5. Know what interest rate you're paying on your debt
This includes mortgages, credit cards
and loans. Armed with this information you can easily see if you can move to a better deal.
6. Make saving a habit….
…like cleaning your teeth every morning. "If you don't save on a regular basis," Mrs Moneypenny says, "you’ll never do it. £10 a month is better than nothing."
7. Save into a pension
Women live longer than men, so our money needs to last longer yet, due in part to raising children, we typically earn less than men over the average lifetime. So, as Mrs Moneypenny says: "Women more than anybody need to save into a pension." Read our 10 tips for a comfortable retirement.
8. Spend less, earn more
Think about what you can do to maximise your income, urges Mrs Moneypenny. Can you take further training or gain more qualifications to help you secure a pay rise? How about taking on a second job?
9. Learn about the stock market
If you want to learn how to invest in the stock market, the key thing is to be informed, says Mrs Moneypenny, who suggests the following:
- Join or start a shares club. This is where you club together with a group of friends and pool your money to invest. You don't need to be a financial expert. Visit proshareclubs.co.uk for more information.
- Is your employer or its parent company listed on the stock market? Read your employer's accounts and follow its fortunes in the press.
- Find out what stocks and shares your pension funds are invested in.
10. Make a plan for when things don't go to plan
As Mrs Moneypenny puts it: "The minute that someone depends on you in anyway, you should make a will. And you should also think about taking out life insurance."
What do you think?
Have you any money-saving tips or experiences of your own to share?
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