Your money coaches: four experts share clever ways to save

Elle Tucker

Saving for the future is something most people want to do. We asked four experts for their money coaching tips and guidance, whether you’re young and starting out or finishing up work is just a few years away…

The personal finance journalist: Lily Canter

Budget and staying power – but don’t deprive yourself

Lily Canter writes about personal finance for newspapers, magazines and websites including This is Money, Moneywise, The Guardian and The Times.

Like losing weight or getting fitter, saving money is all about adapting your lifestyle and sticking to it.

Start by working out a monthly budget and the costs of all essentials such as food, bills and commuting to work. Add to this a small allowance of disposable income, but be prepared to cut back on nights out and to stick to your spending limit.

My suggestion is: Work out how much money is left and set up a direct debit to squirrel this away into a savings account.

By cutting back on luxuries such as takeaway coffees or lunchtime shopping sprees, anyone can save a significant amount.

There are plenty of apps that can help you track your spending too, such as Money Dashboard, Get Chip and Fast Budget.

The key to all of this: Find a balance where you can save money but not be miserable; if you deprive yourself, you’re much more likely to crack.

The money coach: Sarupa Shah

Start dreaming and get the mindset to achieve your goals

Sarupa Shah is a financial mentor who coaches business owners and individuals to have a better relationship with their finances.

It’s important to remember that money is because of you, it isn’t something that happens to you. In other words, you are in control.

A great tip is to start dreaming: without a financial vision how will you know where you’re heading?

One way to do this is to write down what you know you can earn in the next 12 months, from work, investments, and so on.

Next, write down what you would actually love to earn in the next 12 months. Don’t downplay it and make that figure too realistic or boring – or too ridiculous that you know it’s impossible. Then, ask yourself if you are committed and make a list of everything that will become possible by achieving it.

Read this regularly and spend some time allowing yourself to imagine and believe that you can achieve your goals.

The feel-good factor that this will give you is momentum building, which will increase your financial wellbeing and can-do mindset, too.

The life savings expert: Jamie Jenkins

There are different ways to save

Jamie is Head of Global Savings Policy, Standard Life Aberdeen and a regular columnist for MoneyPlus, tweeting @pensionsguy.

The most obvious way to save for retirement is through your workplace pension, which employers normally contribute to. But some people are limited in how much they can pay in tax efficiently, or may be self-employed so don’t have access to a workplace scheme.

Another way to save is through an Individual Savings Account (ISA), where you can put in up to £20,000 each year and enjoy tax-efficient growth.

That could be saving into a cash ISA to get some interest added, or investing in a stocks and shares ISA, depending upon how long you plan to leave your money alone.

A stocks and shares ISA is usually for the medium to longer term of at least five years, with money normally invested in funds to get potential for growth. As with any investment, this can go down as well as up in value.

A big difference with ISAs is that there are no upfront tax incentives, compared to those available in a pension.

However, income you take from your ISA is free of tax; while pension income over and above your tax-free cash allowance is taxable.

Another big difference is that you don’t have to wait until you’re at least 55 to take money out of an ISA, as you usually do with a pension.

Some ISAs have different tax treatment and rules on opening one up and withdrawals. The Lifetime ISA, for example, is only available to people aged between 18 and 40, and ‘Junior ISAs’ are only for children under 18.

You can find out more at or read our at-a-glance-guide to how pensions and ISAs compare.

The financial planner: Peter Corry

Start young if you can – and consider advice

Peter Corry is a Financial Planner at 1825, Financial Planning from Standard Life*. Peter focuses on delivering a trusted personal service to his clients to help them meet their goals.

More of us are living longer, and a reduction in final salary pensions and an increasing State Pension age means that everyone needs to take more personal responsibility for planning for their long-term future.

So I think it’s important to start saving as early as you can: it means your money will have longer to grow and could have a better chance of giving you the kind of income which you would hope for in the future, when you aren’t working.

Getting good quality financial advice at any age can ensure that you make sensible choices early. If you don’t have an adviser, you can find one in your area on

Even if you have just started working and you don’t have much spare income, consider joining your employer’s workplace pension to enjoy the benefit of the extra contributions your employer will make to how much you save for your retirement.

Even if you’re not quite so young, saving for your future is always a good idea – however and whenever you do it.

Pensions and stocks and shares ISAs are investments and their value can go down as well as up and they may be worth less than was paid in. 

Laws and tax rules can change. The value of tax benefits/tax treatment depends on individual circumstances.

The views expressed in this article are the authors’ own and not Standard Life Assurance Limited.

The links provided to external sites within this blog are for general information purposes only. Standard Life accepts no responsibility for information contained in these sites or for them being available at all times.

This article shouldn’t be taken as financial advice and is based on our understanding in July 2019. 

*1825 is a trading name for the Standard Life Aberdeen group’s advice business.