This week, 7- 11 November is Talk Money Week, a week where we are encouraged to be more open about our money with friends and family.
Whilst it can often be a tricky topic to discuss freely, especially just now as the cost-of-living crisis continues to impact everyone, it is important to feel confident when speaking about your finances. From pocket money to pensions, financial considerations impact all generations, and everyone has different spending habits and savings goals.
We sat down with Scottish Building Society member, David McLaren to get some insight on how his approach to savings has helped him save for important life milestones since he opened his first savings account more than 40 years ago.
1. Have your savings habits changed over the last 12 months, and if so, how?
The ability to save has changed for everyone over the last year, that’s true for both the younger and older generations. I’ve recently just retired from a career spanning more than 30 years in the insurance industry, so my spending and saving habits will be influenced by this new chapter in my life. That said, throughout my working career I always had a monthly savings goal, regardless of how small it was.
Over the last 12 months in the lead up to retirement, I was focused on saving as much as I could given the increase in fuel, energy and food, to ensure that I was in a comfortable position.
The main change for me has been how aware I am of the small spends, which are often not essential, that quickly add up.
2. Has the current economic environment changed your longer-term financial goals?
My longer-term financial goals have always been important and influenced my younger-self’s spending habits. As I won’t receive a pension for a couple of years yet, my budgeting has had to be accurate to enable me to take an earlier retirement and I’ll now use a planned budget to enjoy until then.
This time last year, not many people expected the cost-of-living to increase as much as it has, so I’ll be more considerate about with spending to ensure that my longer-term financial situation remains as planned.
I consider myself to be in a very fortunate position and I’m conscious that not everyone has the luxury to save every month. However, when costs are inflated, you have to be more focused on your saving habits otherwise money can easily be frittered away.
3. When did you open your first savings account, and how has saving money changed since then?
I’d be lying if I said I could remember exactly when, but it must have been around 40 years ago. Having a savings account from an early age instilled a positive mindset to saving money and I always strived to save something every month, and that goal changed throughout the years as I had different lifestyle choices to consider, for example getting married and buying our first home.
However, there were times when I had no surplus money at the end of the month to save, and that is fine – we just tried to budget as much as possible.
When my son was young, I helped them to set up savings account to help foster this mindset which will hopefully help him achieve their saving goals later in life.
Interest rates were far higher when I bought my home, so we had to manage our monthly expenditure in relation to this. Having an accurate picture of your income v outgoings is critical and making sure any savings you have are working as hard as possible for you.
4. Why do you save with Scottish Building Society and what was your reason for choosing the accounts you have?
I was first introduced to Scottish Building Society around 10 years ago, after I became power of attorney for my father’s estate. He had been a loyal Scottish Building Society member and I quickly realised why, and from there opened up personal savings accounts with them.
Always having a helpful person to speak to at the end of the phone or visiting a relationship centre gives me great confidence that my money is in the right place.
It’s worrying to see so many high street banks closing their branches, and I firmly believe that they have a lot to learn from Scottish Building Society with its personal approach to banking.
My son is now also a Scottish Building Society member, so our family’s trust in their team continues through the generations.
5. It's Talk Money Week this week. What would be your three top saving tips for your younger self?
Have a monthly budget of your income and expenditure, and be strict with that budget
Save a little over a long period of time and it will soon add up
Ensure any savings you have are in the right place and consistently review where you can get the best return on investment
Scottish Building Society Member, David McLaren