The “new year, new me” rush sparks panic amongst the best of us and the resolutions we place on ourselves peaks in January are often already falling by the waist side by February – and here we are. Get healthier? Great. Save for that house? Awesome. Begin investing? Yes!
These are some admirable goals, sure. But at the core of it all is good money management and it’s likely that the unnecessary splurging in the January sales and the one too many problematic money habits isn’t going to give you the boost your 2023 vision requires of you right now.
I'm actually not a massive fan of new year’s resolutions myself, but it did remind me of the money regrets and habits members shared at our Cocktails and Community event.
Reflecting on their own money habits, we encouraged attendees to write down a top tip and take one from the board to encourage a community feel and it definitely became the main talking point of the evening.
So, here’s some of the top money habits reported and how you can turn them around. Because whilst we might be some way into 2023, it’s never too late to break up with bad money habits.
"Not starting early enough"
This is the most common money regret because once you’ve built up knowledge and confidence, you’ll wish you’d started sooner. Start with one of Female Invest’s e-learning courses ASAP or attend one of the free monthly webinars.
"Don’t invest in your ex"
You’ve got to look after yourself, period.
With most heterosexual divorce cases, women request the house and men get the pension, and in the majority of these instances the pension ends up being worth a lot more than the house.
Make sure you have your own cash savings (we suggest aiming for three to six months) in case you need to take time out or move away, and be sure to have investments in your name rather than your partner’s name.
"We’re our biggest critics and how we handle our finances is no exception"
"Belittling myself for years"
Money regrets aren’t always monetary - we’re our biggest critics and how we handle our finances is no exception.
Firstly, take it easy on yourself - you’re doing the best you can with the knowledge you have.
The best place to start is a full MOT of your current finances. Dedicate an hour in your week with a glass of something delicious to finding all the paperwork and logins for your current financial providers. Knowing your starting point will help show areas that need TLC, and you may even surprise yourself with a long-lost pension (or two!)
"Not checking the fees I’m paying"
This is a big one - so many of us could be saving cash by switching providers. But it’s such a faff, right? Yes, doing the research is a bit time-consuming but there are a lot of resources which can filter for your specific needs.
Many financial providers can instigate the account transfer online with just a few details, but do be sure to check account terms before making any decisions, especially on cash savings accounts where fixed timeframes are involved.
"Not knowing I was in a pyramid scheme"
If it’s too good to be true, it often is unfortunately - get rich quick schemes are easy to fall into, and when times are tough many of us take a punt.
Sometimes the best approach is to take a step back and give it some time; with many pyramid schemes and even financial scams, they pile on the pressure and want you involved quickly so you don’t have time to really consider the consequences.
"Not knowing how to budget"
Budget can be a boring word but it’s really important when getting your personal finances into order. There are a couple of budgeting techniques we like at Female Invest, but it depends on whether you’re a saver or a spender overall.
For savers (those who often have cash left over at the end of the month, and think a lot before making a purchase), the 50/30/20 rule is a great place to start. On the other hand, spenders (often have no money left over at the end of the month, liable to spontaneous purchases), the Zero Budget method is better suited.
"Not talking openly about 'it' with friends and family"
A few years ago, talking about money hit UK headlines when it was discovered that young people would rather talk to their parents about sex than money.
It can feel awkward but talking openly about money and investing is really important. You could find out you’re being underpaid at work, or that your friend is having difficulties with debt, or even that investing money isn’t as tricky as you previously thought.
If you need a place to start before chatting IRL to pals, the Female Invest community is ready to welcome you with open arms.
"Trying to time the market"
It’s better to have time in the market than trying to time the market.
This means not waiting until the stock market is doing brilliantly and then investing your life savings in one stock. And it also doesn’t mean waiting for the stock you’re interested in to fall to an all time low before going all in.
Instead, the best way to make good average returns is to buy little and often. If you’re able to invest monthly, that’s awesome, but even if you save up for a few months then invest a couple of hundred pounds and do this a few times a year, you’re going to ride the highs and the lows to get a more even average. We think investing for the long run should be boring in the best way!
Being scared to ask - we all want to know what that acronym means really!
ETF, ISA, SIPP, FTSE, NASDAQ, LSE - FFS!
Acronyms and jargon can be a real pain and definitely add to the stigma around investing.
Feel free to ask the Female Invest community what an acronym stands for. At at our physical events, we encourage people to ask questions to help them on their investing journey. We also happen to have a handy jargon investment dictionary which debunks all the jargon once and for all.