Party conference season may have taken a different approach this year, but the (virtual) show still went on! As part of our political engagement activity, the Group Public Affairs team at Lloyds Banking Group held a range of events at both the Labour and Conservative conferences.
I was delighted to be part of two sessions with MPs from both parties (Jess Phillips, Mims Davies, Gillian Keegan and Caroline Nokes) to discuss the importance of savings and reflect on what we wish we knew about money at the age of 20, inspired by the #MeAt20 campaign. The session was chaired by the fantastic Anne Ashworth and we were also joined by our in-house experts from the Scottish Widows team, Jackie Leiper and Siobhan Barrow.
It was a thoroughly engaging session with everyone on the panel reflecting on their life experiences and how that has shaped their relationship with money. Whether that is through the lessons we are taught by our parents growing up, divorce or the unique challenges faced by women such as the gender pay gap, we all have a different story to tell.
Money can often be a tricky topic to discuss and savings may not be the top priority for many of us in our 20s. But, there is also the expectation that this is the decade where you’re supposed to lay the foundations for the rest of your future, so it’s even more important that we’re making the right financial decisions and learning how to be financially resilient.
I’ve recently turned 25, so undoubtedly have many more financial milestones ahead of me. However, my experience in renting in London (one of the most expensive cities in the world and the go-to city for graduates) has definitely taught me the importance of starting to save early in case there are any unexpected costs. I must also confess, that I’ve only ever viewed my pensions pot twice, the second time being very recently. It made for a sobering read and made me realise that I could be doing more by increasing my contributions to match what my employer is offering.
Prepare for the unexpected
You can plan as much as possible, but sometimes the unexpected can happen which throws everything off course. Make sure you have a rainy day pot which you can dip into, in case of emergencies
Every little counts
Get into the habit of putting money aside as early as possible, even if it’s a little amount each month. To help with this, try setting up a monthly standing order once your salary comes in to put into your savings account
Don’t forget about your pensions
Thanks to auto-enrolment, most of us are contributing a minimum amount into our pensions pot every month. But did you know that your employer also matches your contributions? Our Scottish Widows experts recommend matching your pensions to the maximum contribution by your employment. This will be advantageous in the long-term and there’s also tax benefits too.