Real life: a foot on the property ladder

MoneyPlus Features Team

Our regular column tackles some of the choices facing the under 30s. This month, getting a foot on the property ladder and the fear of missing out.

Name and age: Ruth Macadam, 24.

Job: I’ve worked in a few marketing jobs since leaving university and now I’m at Standard Life.

What’s your biggest money focus right now?

My boyfriend and I have just moved into our first flat together and that’s taken several years to save for.

We had quite a lot of savings to help us buy our flat, including a Help to Buy ISA (individual savings account). Getting a 25% government bonus on top of what we had saved made it really worthwhile.

My boyfriend has been working since he left school so he’s always been the sensible saver in our relationship.

Next up is making sure we have enough to buy furniture, and that it’s kitted out how we want it.

What’s the last thing you spent money on – and did you really need it?

Our flat – and yes, as much as I love living at home and being able to save more, it was definitely time for me to move on. I’m not so sure that I needed the trip away to London the weekend before we got the keys… but it was probably our last trip for a while, and it was worth it!

Your biggest money mistake

A couple spring to mind. When I turned 21, I got some money that my gran and auntie had saved into bonds for me for a number of years. Rather than save, I blew it all on a fantastic holiday in Dubai with my friends. If only I’d kept some of the money to put towards the flat.

I also wish I hadn’t lived on my bank overdraft during university. Sadly, it wasn’t free money so when I started working I spent quite a few months paying it off.

Best money lesson you’ve learned so far?

That there’s no feeling quite like getting rid of all your debts. Now, when I get paid each month I pay off any debts I have and shift some money into my savings accounts so that I don’t just spend it.

Who inspires or helps you when it comes to money?

My family. Mainly my mum, gran and my auntie of course – I wouldn’t have been able to go to university or travel without their financial support. And then there’s my Dad, who recently retired and is enjoying living in Malaysia. I hope when I’m older that I’m as happy as they are with the plans and choices I made for my future.

How confident do you feel about your finances?

I’ve got a lot more confident, dare I say sensible, since leaving (and learning from) university but I still need to work at balancing my spending and saving.

I’ve got much better at resisting an H&M or ASOS sale because we did so much saving up for our flat. But I do still suffer from ‘FOMO’ (Fear Of Missing Out) occasionally, so I find it hard to say no to plans with the girls!

I think I’m doing okay. I have my pension I am saving into too. I check it every few weeks or so as it’s good to see it adding up to a nice number already*. I plan to increase what I save into it every year so that I save more and build up a decent pension pot.

Do you talk about money with your partner?

Of course. We have a joint bank account where we split all our bills as well as our individual accounts.

Any money-related apps on your phone that help?

My banking app is how I manage things day-to-day and it helps me move any money I have left over into my savings. Monzo helps me keep to my monthly budget too. I check my pension on my Standard Life app, which I find easy.

Finally, if someone gave you £100 to spend before the end of the day, what would you do with it?

Right now, it really should go into the flat fund. As much as I would love a Nespresso coffee machine or Jo Malone candles, it would most likely be spent in IKEA on not-so-exciting bedroom furniture and kitchen utensils.

Next month, we talk weddings.

Read another real-life story from MoneyPlus.

Any views expressed in this article are those of the interviewee and not Standard Life Assurance Limited.

*Pensions are investments, their value can do down as well as up and they could be worth less than was paid in.