Tom Stevenson in-vision: Whatever stage of life you’re at, you’ll have some hopes, some regrets, maybe some fears too. And the truth is these will probably be linked to your finances. We’ve set out to hear from real people about how they navigate their financial lives, their successes and their mistakes - in their own words.
Sam: My name is Sam and I am a primary school teacher in Oxfordshire.
Abby: And my name is Abby. I used to be an education sales consultant and now I am a full time mum. And this is Una. (WAAAH)
She’s 10 months old um and she’s not yet crawling. She’s very good at talking as you can see.
Jeremy: I am Jeremy and I am 59.
Lloyd: And I am Lloyd and I am 57. I am married to Jeremy.
Three years ago I was offered redundancy and that gave me the opportunity to retire early and that means now that any work I do is very casual and much more to do with sociability and enjoyment than actually earning money.
Jeremy: And I have my own gardening business which means I am very much doing work that I actually enjoy. And that ties in very much with Lloyds retirement and gives us the opportunity to travel together and to see more of friends and family which is becoming increasingly important at this stage in our lives.
Kris: I’m Kris, I am 27 years old and I live in London and I am currently an IT project manager for a consultancy firm. I would say that work is quite a key focus for me the moment, reason-being I am trying to save for a house. I recognise that I need to work quite hard to get that deposit especially living in London. Yeah it sometimes seems a bit unobtainable. But you know work hard and then I think later on you can enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Amber: My name is Amber, and I am investment writer for a firm in the city.
Jamie: My name is Jamie and I am a chartered surveyor in the West End. Amber is just back from a year in New York.
Amber: I am finally back in London and we are back together again which is great.
Jamie: Just over a week and a half ago we moved into this flat in Balham. We are still getting started, we’ve still got some unpacking to do. But I think we are quite settled in.
Yes thanks to some donated sofas which have sorted things out rather well.
Susan: My name is Susan I live in Kent. I live here with my three boys. I am currently separated but it is a lovely place, a peaceful place to live. It’s very country and it’s very safe.
I have had a pretty good life. We moved from Nigeria to London about 18 years ago
My husband was really successful. But, a few bad decisions business wise brought everything to a tumbling halt and now we have hit a crossroad in our life, mentally and financially.
Lloyd: For me retirement came as a bit of a surprise and therefore I hadn’t made huge plans of how to manage it. I have an allotment here in Twickenham. While I was working it was a source of enjoyment, but sometimes a little bit of a hassle. Now it has a become a central part of my life, during the summer in particular.
Jeremy: I think it’s good that we have a very clear division of responsibility here. I am in charge of the garden at home. Lloyd is in charge of the allotment. So we try to avoid conflict by that division.
Lloyd: It seems to work.
Kris: I enjoy anything to do with food. So I love cooking. I run a supper club which has been going for about a year now. The menu for the Supper Club generally comes from anything that I have tried, I have really enjoyed and then I want to recreate that and share with people.
To be honest I do think about money quite a lot because my goal currently is to save for a house deposit. So I think that’s something that’s quite big for young people today. House prices are insane, so we have got to save an incredible amount to even consider a deposit, let alone all of the other extras that you have to pay for.
Abby: There has been lots of changes since Una came along, but obviously financial has been quite a big change. Going from two full time salaries, first of all down to my maternity pay and then now that I have resigned, just down to one salary. Which is a big change.
She didn’t cost us a lot. In terms of when we prepared for her, when she came along. But now I suppose living on one salary is completely different, so we have had to rejig our finances and look at them recently haven’t we?
Sam: Yes we have
Abby: Life is just slightly different. You have to plan a lot. You can’t just get up and leave the house.
Sam: Yes there is a lot of planning around nap times.
Sam: The main thing that changed was our priorities, Una then became number one for us really. We put Una before ourselves now rather than before. Before we would save and spend money for what we wanted.
Amber: So Jamie actually rowed across the Atlantic – from the Canary Islands to Barbados.
Jamie: It was quite an adventure. And took 37 days.
Amber: And beat the world record.
Jamie: And beat the world record.
Overall it was a fantastic experience and I think the further it is in the past the more I look at it with rose tinted glasses. But I won’t be doing it again.
Amber: You did develop a rather blasé attitude to wildlife though. I remember Jamie calling me up and saying that he had just jumped in the water got back in and a shark had just gone past them and seemed to be totally fine with it.
Jamie: Whether that was a near miss or he was just coming to say hello. We will never know!
Amber: I am earning a little bit more than I was before which has enabled me to think a bit more about saving.
Jamie: I’m in a similar position. I have just changed jobs and I’m earning a little bit more money.
Amber: Yeah and because we have a bit more income coming in we have both been able to set up direct debits, so we have a much more structured savings plan going on, which is great.
Jamie: Yeah it’s one of those things when it’s a direct debit you never get the money, so you don’t miss the money.
Susan: Moving to Kent was a huge decision, but a very good decision because my two youngest boys were asthmatic and now they are completely free of asthma. We do enjoy living here. We do get out and about. I started having sole financial responsibility this year. It was brought about because my husband went into a very bad financial decision business wise, that went completely wrong. And then that seriously impacted on our finances and on our savings as well. It really does feel like the rug is pulled off under your feet and you actually stumble. And of course money is the route as far as I know is the route to peace of mind. Is the route to facilitating so many things in one’s life.
Kris: I feel that you are always saving at whatever stage you are at in life. So at the moment I am trying to save for a house. And I am sure later down the line there will be maybe kids as well and in the background I am also saving for my pension for when I retire. My organisation and planning has benefited me enormously because it has allowed me to manage my finances in a structured way and it means I am able to still enjoy my life but also prioritising what I want out of life. So I never want money to hold me back in what I want to do.
Lloyd: Taking retirement meant looking at how we organise our life and really understanding what’s important to us and what we enjoy, and we were really very lucky that when we looked at the finances we realised that we did have enough money to do that.
Susan: I would like a life where I am very settled in myself and have no financial worries and see that the children are settled and where they should be. The goal for myself is like everybody else, a good retirement, peaceful and just to watch the sun set.
Tom in vision to camera: Saving and investing is going to be central to all of our lives.
We can no longer expect someone else to do it for us.
But it doesn’t have to be complicated.
As long as we are prepared to get involved and follow some simple principles. That’s what Invest for Life is all about. Seeing how people like us are tackling the big financial challenges we all face, to achieve the life we want.