So recently, if you’ll remember, Aviva got us dreaming about the future (you know, the France/chickens/seaside/immortal dog one) and we had a little play with the Aviva Shape my Future tool. It’s a great gadget which takes into account things like how much you currently earn, your age, whether you own your own home, etc, to give you an estimated pension amount.
Do you wonder what the future holds for you? Are you one of those people who firmly lives in the present and doesn’t really even think about it, or are you a planner, with your whole life’s course already plotted? Maybe you’re like me: a bit inbetweeny – vaguely aware that the choices you make now will affect you in later life, but happy to leave it to some hazy future time to actually sort anything out. Recently, Aviva challenged me to have a bit more of a proper think about my future, especially how we’ll manage financially. They have an online tool called ‘Shape my Future’ (more of this later) which can give you a rough estimate of how much you’ll have to live on when you’re older. It’s been an eye opener, I can tell you.
Ahh it’s October again. Along with all the mists and mellow fruitfulness, it’s time for all the planning and panicking that comes with sending your teenagers off to uni. Charlie hasn’t quite got enough points to do the course he wants at university, so we have a year’s reprieve as he’s studying for one more year at a local college, but having already experienced it with Sam (who has also gone back to college after deciding that Uni isn’t for him), I know it’s both an exciting and stressful time. Here are my top 5 tips for preparing your kids for university.
I’ve just spent a gorgeous week on board P & O Cruises’ beautiful ship, Britannia with my friend Erica. We spent the week discovering all the dining options on board, as well as exploring bits of France and Spain and doing some baking with Eric Lanlard too – I know! Anyhoo, more of that later – for now, I wanted to tell you about a fantastic conversation we had one night in The Glass House over a couple of drinkies. We started off just chatting about life, the future, family, etc as you do, and a bit of a plan started to form. We split our thoughts into topics and added the rule that everything had to be positive – no beating ourselves up – and this positive life plan was born. I’m excited to share it with you!
So recently, I’ve been telling you all about the fab Financial Personality Tool from Aviva. My financial personality came out as a ‘time dueller’ and that’s so true. I’m always busy, busy, busy, with a huge list of things to do and places to be, and anything that doesn’t catch my eye tends to get forgotten or pushed to one side in favour of something more interesting.
When Mr E got made redundant, one of our biggest realisations was that we didn’t have an emergency fund. I’ve read before that you should have something along the lines of three months’ salary set aside before you even bother about saving for anything else. We’ve started our fund now, mainly because I’ll never forget the feeling of panic that comes from receiving the phone call telling you you’re going to lose your main income.
I’ve talked about financial stuff a little bit recently – after Mr E’s redundancy, which really shook us up, we’ve been having a good, long look at our finances, and thinking harder about what we do with our money.
So when Aviva asked me to work with them to try their Financial Personality Profiler tool, designed to get us all saving smarter, I was really interested to see how I fared. After asking a few questions, the profiler allocates you one of 10 personality types, each with different spending/saving traits (a bit like a superhero), so you can determine whether you’re Captain Savvy (financially informed, but prone to self indulgence), or the Super-Stretcher (financially astute, but likely to overspend on their family).
Once you’ve worked out your financial personality, there’s some great advice for battling your financial nemesis.
You might think it’s a gimmick, but I found that as you work through the questions, you really have to stop and think about whether you’re being completely honest – are you influenced by others (the answer is yes from me)? Are you prone to splash out and ‘treat yourself’? There are some very clever questioning techniques in there too – whether you’re the kind of person that has an addictive personality, even your box set viewing habits! But it’s all designed to get to know you and work out exactly what sort of relationship you have with your cash.
I have to say, having worked through the questions, my result was spot on: I’m a ‘time dueller’ – always rushing, always overwhelmed, never enough time and generally juggling multiple tasks at once. Things get added to my to do list, but if they’re not interesting, they’ll generally get ignored until the very last minute!
The advice I got was good, as well. I need to worry less about the small spending decisions I make (like driving to the next petrol station to save a couple of pence on my petrol fill up) and concentrate on some of the bigger issues. And honestly, I know exactly what my weaknesses are: popping out when I’ve had a busy week and splurging, even if sometimes I really know I shouldn’t. It’s made me think that I need to try and find small treats to reward myself after a busy week and resist the urge to shop online for things I don’t really need but that make me feel good.
Do give it a go – I guarantee it will make you really think about your own financial personality. Let me know how you get on! Watch out for the second instalment next week, when I’ll be talking about savings hacks and giving you my own tips on how to #savesmarter!
This post is sponsored by Aviva. Click here for more information on Aviva’s #SaveSmarter campaign.
This is the last in my series about finances in partnership with NatWest Money Clip and I’ve learned so much. It’s come at a really good time for me, since our financial crisis last year, and I’ve addressed so many issues and, hopefully, saved quite a lot of money as well. I feel much more organised, and have put into place loads of small changes so that we keep on saving money and plan ahead should it (god forbid) ever happen again.
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