How to save for milestones

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Morgan Laing

November 14, 2023

3 mins read

Life is full of exciting, and potentially pricey, moments. Whether you’re planning a big trip abroad, tying the knot, buying your first home, or expanding your family, here’s how you can save for specific milestones – and your long-term future.

Getting married (or planning any big event)

Heading down the aisle soon? Or planning a fancy holiday to celebrate a big birthday? If you know you’ve got an occasion to celebrate, you might be wondering how you’re going to afford it.

First, it could be worth having a household budget. Review your income and your outgoings and see how much you’d feel comfortable setting aside each month for the occasion. You might find you can cut spending in other areas of your life.

You could consider trying out the 50-30-20 budgeting method. This is where you put 50% of your income goes towards your needs (like food), 30% towards your wants (like streaming services), and 20% towards your savings goals. So you could think about putting 20% towards your big day or holiday. But you may also want to set money aside to pay off any debts, put in an emergency fund or put towards the longer term. It’s up to you to decide what works best for you.  

Finally, you could consider paying into something like an easy access savings account or an Individual Savings Account (ISA). You could have a cash ISA, for example, and possibly earn interest on your savings. Or you could have a type of ISA where your money is invested and potentially achieve some investment growth. But be aware that the value of investments can go down as well as up and could be worth less than was paid in. 

You can visit MoneyHelper to compare types of saving account.

Buying your first home

Want to get on the property ladder? 

Try to figure out how much you can realistically afford to put towards your future home. 

You could then consider paying into a Lifetime ISA (LISA). These are designed to help you save either for your first home or for retirement. 

You can start saving into a LISA between the ages of 18 and 39, and you can put £4,000 a year into one up until you’re 50. The government adds the 25% bonus to your savings, which is capped at £1,000 per year. Plus, you can earn tax-free interest on your savings. 

You can choose for some money to be invested if you wish. 

If you’re moving in with a partner who’s also a first-time buyer, you can each use a LISA. 

To get the bonus, there’s some criteria you need to meet when it comes to buying your first home. To find out more, you can visit GOV.UK

But do keep in mind that rules can change. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement will be delivered on 22 November, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for any changes to ISAs. 

Having a baby

If you’re welcoming a bundle of joy, look at the money your household has coming in and going out, and think about where you can potentially cut back. Make a list of what you need and figure out how much it’s all going to cost.

Again, it might be worth putting money into a savings account. 

You can also check MoneyHelper to see which benefits you could be eligible for if you’re pregnant or have a baby.

And don’t forget about your long-term future!

You might have some milestones that are right around the corner. But what about your long-term future?

Your retirement could last for decades. A pension plan is a tax-efficient way to save for life after work – so if you have one, it’s worth paying attention to it, no matter how far away your retirement might be. The earlier you start saving, the more you could potentially have in future.

You can use our pension calculator to check how much you could have in your pension plan in future and see if this matches up with your retirement goals. 

It’s worth asking yourself if you’re still comfortable with your investments and how much you’re paying into your plan. If you want to make changes, you can often do this online, depending on the kind of plan you have. Or you may need to call your provider or speak to your employer.

You probably won’t want to lose track of your hard-earned savings in future, so keep your personal details up to date across your plans. If you’re a Standard Life customer, you can usually do this online if you wish. To find out more about our online services, visit our website. You can go to our support page for FAQs and ways to get in touch.

The information here is based on our understanding in November 2023 and shouldn’t be taken as financial advice.

Pension plans and some types of ISAs are investments.  Their value can go down as well as up and could be worth less than was paid in.

Standard Life accepts no responsibility for information in external websites. These are provided for general information.

Your own personal circumstances, including where you live in the UK, will have an impact on the tax you pay. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

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