Will You #BeBoldForChange?

This week on Vestpod: Tips for investing your ISA, a check-list for financial wellness and ways to ensure your relationship is financially stable.
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We are not certified financial advisers! This newsletter is for information and educational purposes only!
Nothing is impossible - the word itself says, ‘I’m possible’!” Audrey Hepburn, actress, model, dancer and humanitarian. 
Yesterday was International Women’s Day, which is more than just a day to celebrate how wonderful us ladies are - it is a day to remind the world that women matter and deserve to be recognized. It’s all the more important to do this when, according to the World Economic Forum, the gender pay gap won’t close until - wait for it - 2186! Say what?! Considering we aren’t immortal and all, we refuse to wait this long - instead, we believe in taking immediate, bold action to empower women with a financial education and moral support. It’s time to start having conversations about your money related anxieties, your goals and achievements - will you #BeBoldForChange?

In other exciting news - we’ve been interviewed by City University, which is doing wonderful things like supporting their impressive network of alumni, go check it out!

We’d also like to send a huge thank you to everyone that took the time to answer our short survey; your feedback and kind words mean the world to us and we loved reading each message! Keep the emails coming - we love to hear your suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to email us by simply replying to this newsletter or giving us a shout out on social media here:
Investing your ISA
Biting inflation + a low interest rate environment = not great news for your monies. Don’t panic, though - there’s one way to make the most of your savings: you could invest in a stocks and shares ISA.

Women have traditionally shun the stock market, despite the fact they make better investors. Although 51% of women have savings accounts (compared with 50% of men), only 10% of women have a stocks and shares ISA (it’s 17% for men). Why don’t more women invest in stocks and shares? Why do the vast majority of ISA subscriptions go straight into cash?

Many investors are put off stocks and shares due to the possibility of a loss. Plus, there’s the genuine bewilderment and perceived complexity of investing in stocks and shares. We’re here to help you overcome those fears - and to try and convince you that it isn’t as scary as it looks, especially if you use the following guideline:
We want to hear about your experiences with the stocks and shares ISA. Have you considered this form of investment? If you have, but didn’t go ahead - what stopped you? If you were bold enough to try it - how are you finding it? Do you have any stellar tips to share?
Financial wellness checklist
Most of you (hopefully) accept the annual dental check as a mildly unpleasant but necessary part of life. Are you as diligent when it comes your money? An annual financial check-up is a must if you want care about financial wellness - no needles or fillers involved!

Here’s a check-up checklist we’ve put together for you (you’re welcome):
  1. Get organised. Collect all your financial records in one place. Use spreadsheets, iPhone apps or traditional notes - whatever works, as long as you stay organised.
  2. Assess your investments. Calculate the return on each of your stocks, bonds or mutual funds. Are you happy with how they’re performing? If not, it may be time to recalibrate your investment portfolio.
  3. Analyze your budget. Personally, we’re fond of the 50/20/30 budgeting rule. Reassess how you’re keeping to the allocated percentages and take a note of any adjustments you need to make. And remember, don’t confuse “wants” for “must-haves”. You may feel like you need to get a new coat this season, but be honest - do you really?
  4. Optimize your taxes. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead for the year’s taxes. Is there anything you do to minimize them? If you have a partner, you should make the most of joint ownerships. If you are self-employed, remember to claim your allowances. You can also consider tax-efficient investments, like the enterprise investment scheme (EIS).
  5. Review your debts. How are you doing on controlling and paying down debt? Evaluate your debt to income ratio
  6. Evaluate your emergency and retirement funds. Alarmingly, only four in ten adults have less than £500 in savings. As a general rule, you should have 6 months’ worth of salary set aside for an emergency fund. Similarly, you should be aware of how much you’re contributing to your retirement. If these funds look depleted, think of ways you can boost them.
  7. Know your credit score and net worth. Net worth is the difference between what you own and what you owe. Knowing your net worth forces you to understand the reality of where you stand financially. Your credit score is another important ‘reality check’ - the higher your credit score, the better your chances of securing a loan, mortgage or even just a phone contract.
  8. Don’t forget about your life insurance and will. Nobody likes thinking about this gruesome twosome, but it’s crucial you don’t neglect your life insurance and will - especially if you have dependents. Your life’s circumstances may change year to year, which should be reflected in your will and life insurance plan. You can read more about both in our previous newsletters here and here.
  9. Be honest and seek advice. You may remember what we wrote in our previous newsletter about the value of speaking to a financial adviser. If upon completing your annual financial check-up you find yourself feeling disappointed - don’t be afraid to seek professional advice.
Everything comes down to money and love

How many times have you consciously avoided conflict/ a super awkward conversation with your partner? Unsurprisingly, talking about money with a significant other often feels like one of those topics that’s worth avoiding for ‘the greater good of the relationship’. Manisha Thakor, a Harvard MBA and Director of Wealth Strategies for Women, respectfully disagrees - she says that having an honest discussion about where you both stand financially will benefit both your wallet and your love life. Here’s a list of things to keep in mind to help both flourish:

  • It takes two. Don’t leave one sole person in charge of household expenses and bills. A shared bank account helps keep both parties informed on what’s going on in the communal wallet, and adds to a sense of financial unity.
  • They may not have a clue. Navigating the financial landscape isn’t straightforward (which is why we’re here in the first place). Don’t assume your partner is clued up; they may be just as lost as you are. Educate one another - read blogs (and Vestpod!) or consider seeing a financial adviser.
  • Do it for the kids. We don’t mean to put off budding parents, but the average cost of raising a child in the UK (from birth until the age of 21) is a whopping £229,251. Planning (and budgeting) early is key - make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to these adorable, but very expensive, additions to your family.
  • Honesty is better than sugarcoating. Your family income and expenses may fluctuate or change completely over time. Don’t treat the money talk as ‘one and done’ -  keep the conversation honest - and frequent.

Keen to find out more about romance and financial compatibility? Check out this article in Forbes - it provides a nifty list of questions that you and your partner should address together.

Have you had the ‘dreaded money talk’ with your beau yet? If so - how did it go?

Until next week!

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We are not certified financial advisers! The articles and information made available on Vestpod are provided for information and educational purposes only and do not constitute financial advice. You are advised to consult with an independent financial advisor for advice on your specific circumstances. Read our Disclaimer  here.
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