Cheers and tears! Life choices begin

10 August 2021

I anticipate that cheers will soon be coming from the High Street as GCSE and A-level students begin to receive their exam results – many good, I am sure, and of course some not so pleasing. Every year around now, our young folk gather outside school gates, along with many anxious parents, to see if the hard study work of the last few years has paid off.

Fresh faces will usually tell the story, with some full of joy, others rather ambivalent, and of course a few tears. To some extent, unless really unexpected, the results are rather academic (pun intended), because it is what you do with the results that matters.

College and university places may beckon, or indeed a chosen apprenticeship may be secured on the exam outcomes. Some may put back the choice for a time in order to re-sit, and others may simply change course. However, these are life choices, and perhaps the first really important choices that an individual makes on their journey.

The life you lead is based on the life choices that you make over time, and that includes where you are with your financial wellbeing. Sure, there are those who receive significant funds at an early age and seem never to have issues. However, invariably the funds we have are down to the savings we make, the money we put aside, and the attention we apply to our individual money and financial planning.

Money planning usually requires only two things. One is an initial amount of money (capital or regular savings) and time. And sometimes it is the latter that has the greatest value. Let me explain.

Saving a small amount regularly over a long period of time can be an effective way of building significant capital for the future. As an example, the minimum age from which you can access your pension funds is increasing from age 55 to age 57 in 2028. A school leaver aged 18 would have around 40 years to build funds for their retirement at that minimum age, and fifty years if they planned to work until the State Pension age (currently age 67, but rising).

So, when the students have finished celebrating or commiserating their results, remember where possible to start them saving from their first pay cheque or part-time work. It's a life choice and might just make all the difference later.

No individual advice is provided during the course of this blog.

Keith Churchouse FPFS

Director

CFP Chartered FCSI

Chartered Financial Planner