Your child’s financial future

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I can’t believe that my little one is four already – doesn’t time fly when you are having fun! It seems only a matter of minutes ago that she was born, and now she’s already turning into a proper little human. In no time at all she’ll be flying the nest, maybe going to university, and starting a family of her own – it’s scary!

With children growing up so quickly, it’s so important that you think about their financial futures sooner rather than later.

Whether it’s to cover the cost of driving lessons, their first car, university fees, or even their first home, saving for their future and teaching them good financial habits now, will give your little ones a head start.  Oh, what a wonderful gift to give!

Save for their future

When you have a child it can be an incredibly expensive time and you might find that you don’t have too much money to save. This is why parents often put off saving for things such as university, driving lessons and all the expenses that are sure to come as your child grows.

From the moment they are born, or even before, it’s really good to get in the habit of putting money aside each month for your child’s future. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount, every penny counts and it will all build up over the years.

A friend of mine saved every 5p she acquired from the day her daughter was born. By the time she reached the age of 18, there was enough money in her 5p savings account to buy her a car!

There are a wealth of savings accounts, trust funds, bonds and share plans that are specifically designed to enable you to save for your little one. It’s worth having a read around and getting as much advice as you can when deciding which will be the best option for you.

Build their credit

It may seem bizarre, but it’s important to start building your child’s credit rating nice and early to set them in good stead for the future. Obviously, I don’t mean when they’re five or six, but when they reach their mid teens, it’s definitely time to start teaching them about their credit rating and the impact it can have on their opportunities in the future. You can find plenty of information about credit ratings here:https://www.creditexpert.co.uk/advice/credit-rating.

A good place to start building some positive credit for them is by setting up their mobile phone contract in their own name and having the monthly payment come out of their own bank account.

Teach them good financial habits

It’s never too early to start teaching your little one some good financial habits. From teaching them the value of money to the importance of saving, the sooner you begin, the better.

When it comes to pocket money, however much you decide to give your child, it presents a great opportunity to teach them valuable lessons about saving.  A lot of my friends encourage their children to split their pocket money in three ways – 1/3 for spending now, 1/3 for saving for something they want to buy in the future and 1/3 to give to charity. This is definitely something I’ll be trying with my own little one as soon as she is old enough for pocket money.

Thanks to Experian Credit Expert for this guest post. For details of how I work with brands, see my Work With Me page.

3 Ways To Bring Some Wimbledon Spirit Into Your Home

There are a few signs that summer is truly with us – the sound of the ice cream van chiming a tune as it drives along your street, the smell of cut grass and burnt sausages filling the air and Wimbledon being on the telly. Wimbledon is one of the few sporting events that I love to watch. Growing up in Scotland, where the schools break up for summer at the end of June, I would always spend the first two weeks of the summer holidays watching tennis with my friends (in between running around outdoors, playing Connect 4 and going to the roller disco, obvs).

And Wimbledon spirit is still going strong with me – we even have the four-year-old keen to watch! Yesterday, she had a sports instructor come to her pre-school and they did an hour of tennis, in honour of Wimbledon starting. She just announced to me that she really want to watch Andy Murray playing later today (I suspect she’ll get bored after five minutes, but I’m keen to encourage her to watch).

If you’re a fan of the tennis too, there are some easy ways you can bring the Wimbledon spirit into your home.

1. Make a large pitcher of Pimm’s and lemonade. Mix one part Pimm’s with three parts lemonade, add ice, strawberries, mint, cucumber and lemon. Then enjoy!

Jug of Pimm's

2. Buy some gorgeous official Wimbledon towels. These are the actual towels used by the tennis players at Wimbledon – Christy have been making and supplying them for the past 28 years. You can buy both the men’s and women’s towels for £29 and use them to wipe the sweat from your brow as your watch Andy Murray in the Championships. (Christy also have a fab guide to throwing a Wimbledon party)…

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What Advice Will You Give Your Kids About Money?

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Back when I was 18, I went to uni, opened a student bank account and did that classic thing of spending into my overdraft (free money!) and running up credit card debts (more free money!). I spent my weekends buying ‘going out tops’ in Miss Selfridge… and bottles of Bacardi Breezer in the local Wetherspoons. Three years and £3000 of debt later, my parents helped me repay what I owed and I vowed to get on the financial straight and narrow.

I was really lucky that my folks could help me (they also gave me a HUGE talking to and made me realise how stupid I’d been) and actually, since then, on the whole, I’ve been sensible with money. It helps that Mr P, who I met around the same time as I cleared my debt, is super good with money and reigns me in any time I get grand ideas about making big purchases or booking extravagant holidays. “Do we really need some Eames-style chairs and a table from Made.com?” he’ll say. “Shall I just paint the cheap IKEA table and chairs we’ve had for eleven years?” He’s a keeper that one.

But I do think about the advice I’ll pass onto our daughter, as she gets older and gets pocket money, before eventually opening up her own current account

  • I’ll tell her that there is so much more joy in buying something that you’ve saved up for.
  • I’ll tell her that while it’s tempting to buy on credit, if you don’t have the funds to pay it off, it can bring you a lot of stress and worry – and end up costing you more in the long run.
  • I’ll tell her however that credit cards aren’t the root of all evil – it’s sensible to have one for emergencies, or even to spend on for daily purchases providing you can pay off the balance in full each month.
  • I’ll tell her to read up on interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates – making small wins in these ways can make a big difference.
  • Most of all though, I’ll tell her to be sensible, and that if she gets into any financial difficulty, she can always tell me about it.

What advice will you give your children about money?

This post was written in collaboration with TSB – for details of how I work with brands, see my Work With Me Page.

 

What Are You Too Embarrassed To Talk About?

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As a mum of a four-year-old who is increasingly becoming more aware of the world around her, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about helping her navigate the path from here. She tells me that when she grows up, she wants to teach mermaids how to swim … or maybe be a Mummy. She tells me when she’s older, she wants to marry a boy in her pre-school class but also the girl she’s “best friends” with. I explain to her that mermaids aren’t real, but she can be a teacher if she likes. I explain that while she can marry a girl – of course she can marry a girl – she doesn’t need to marry her best friend… they can be best friends and she can marry someone else who she really loves.

I also explain that she can’t tell fibs and that it’s not nice to bark “MORE” when she’d like me to share some more of my chips with her. There are lots of things I’m trying to guide her on. One big thing is her attitude towards her body. I’m so careful never to say that fat is bad, thin is good. I tell her I go to the gym because exercise is healthy, not because I want to lose weight. When she asks me about why Mummy has blood on the toilet tissue, I’m really aware that I need to be honest and tell her that grown up women have periods once a month.

I want her to be confident and comfortable in her own skin, as she gets older, and able to talk about body and health issues, no matter how embarrassing….

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My Social Media Guide for the Aviva Community Fund

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You might not know this, but as well as writing magazine and online features, part of my freelance work each month is running social media accounts for different brands. Every day, I schedule tweets and Facebook posts and work on digital campaigns to help promote those brands to their followers (and would-be followers). As someone who always dreamed of being a magazine writer, it seems strange that a large part of what I do now is a type of marketing. I’m by no means a marketing expert but I’ve picked things up, both from working on the senior teams of More and Look magazines and also from running my blog. Plus, I’m a bit of a geek, so I was reading sites like Mashable and going to Social Media Week events back in 2010, just because it floated my boat.

When you’re working on something exciting, it’s natural to want to shout about it and get as many people as possible on board with it. So I was so happy to be asked to create a social media guide, and film a video, giving advice to local community groups and charities who are applying for the Aviva Community Fund.

These community groups have the chance of being awarded a lovely lump of cash, which will help them in many ways, and they need to get their supporters and social media followers to vote for them. Groups local to me, like The Baby Café in Chislehurst, Friends Of Biggin Hill who want to develop a Forest School, and the 2nd Swanley Scout Group who need a new roof for their hall….

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