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Paul, 28, was introduced to Warren’s podcasts and another financial podcast by his friend, Garry, when he realised he was going to struggle financially to move out of his mothers’ home.

Paul’s situation when he started in April 2019:

Zero savings

Going into his overdraft at the end of every month

Store card balance of over £500, with a hefty 29% interest rate

Additional loan owing of £800

Credit rating of very poor (he’d missed some payments)

Declined for a current account

About to pull out of his workplace pension to help his cash flow

Step 1: Goal setting

Paul was planning to move out of his mothers’ home, but as Garry puts it, “He hadn’t thought about the costs involved. There was a moment of financially naivety when the pie in the sky dream came crashing down, when I started talking about the cost of living alone: rent, council tax, gas, electric, water… all before he’s bought himself breakfast!”

After discussions, Paul decided to make the changes required to get on top of his financial future and make his moving out dream a reality. Garry agreed to work with him through the process.

Paul set himself three financial goals for the tax year:

Pay off his £508 store card by August, and his £800 loan by December

Have an emergency fund of £1,850 in an ISA by 5 April 2020

Improve his credit rating by one level by 5 April 2020

Step 2: Getting organised

Paul wrote down his income, expenses, debt and (lack of) savings. It was to prove a lightbulb moment. “I was shocked to see how much my expenses were and how much I should have left over once subtracting my expenses from my income – yet I never had a penny at the end of the month. I often had to borrow.”

Armed with the information he needed, Paul set about changing his mindset and how he managed his money. He says it was “definitely a fun process. It felt good to be winning for once. It became a good addiction.”

So much so in fact that Garry and Paul now keep in weekly contact to help Paul stay on the right track and head towards Step 3: Financial protection.

Garry explains: “We now speak every Sunday at lunchtime and remind ourselves of his financial goals for this financial year. We then discuss some type of finance topic such as emergency funds, ISAs, mortgages, simple and compound interest, life insurance/critical illness and income protection.

“We both really enjoy the chats and they’ve lasted up to an hour and a half. We send each other links about financial matters, such as your latest blog post. Each email begins with listing his three financial goals for the tax year, then we add the information we’ve found this week about finance.”

Outcomes

Within 67 days at time of writing, Paul has:

Paid off over 50% of his store card. He’ll clear it completely this month

Stayed in his workplace pension

Opened a cash ISA for his emergency reserve fund, and already has £750 saved

Three clear financial goals for this tax year, which he’s well on the way to achieving

Is not going into his overdraft or missing payments

Improved his credit score by 80 points

Been thinking about his Step 3 foundations for financial security

So how confident is he that he is able to stick to a new way of financial management?

“I’m 100% confident. It’s been three months now and it’s no longer hard, it’s an easy habit.

“It feels great. In a short space of time I’ve paid off a chunk of debt, built a small emergency fund and have financial goals in place for this year and the next seven years.”

Garry has another signal that Paul has transformed his thinking.

“One sign that this is all working is that he got a small bonus. Usually that would have been exchanged for beer vouchers over a couple of weekends. Instead he squirreled that away in his emergency fund. For me, that was the light bulb moment that it’s all sunk in.”

Paul received his credit score this month, and he’s moved out of “very poor” and into “poor”! He was over the moon. Now the focus is to get to “Fair”. Plus, he’s got £900 in the emergency fund, and also moved his workplace pension into a higher risk pension as he’s got almost 40 years left to contribute, so it’s all going in the right direction. Thanks so much to you and all the Financial Planners and Financial Advisers that provide superb free content.