Invest in yourself: A Young Person’s Guide to an Emergency Fund

By Jasmyn Collings

Here at PATH we realise that becoming homeless can happen to anyone. A divorce, a family breakdown, an unexpected end to a rental agreement, can all kick-start the very quick and aggressive journey into homelessness. So, we recognise the importance of having an emergency fund. And that is why we want to make proactive steps to prevent homelessness in our community.

We want young people to start saving in case of an emergency. And when we say ‘save and invest’… no, we don’t mean Bitcoin! We mean government backed schemes, regular saving pots in UK banks, and speaking to banking advisers before we make any decisions.

Amidst a cost-of-living crisis, the idea of saving and investing may seem daunting, especially for young people just starting out on their financial journey. However, taking the first steps towards saving and investing early can pave the way for a secure financial future.

Having an emergency fund is essential. It reduces the likelihood of borrowing from your friends, family or taking out loans. Getting into debt is a quick and slippery slope, and high interest rates, emergencies, and bills, make it extremely difficult to climb the ladder out of the debt hole.

Start Small, Start Now

One of the most important principles of saving and investing as a young person is to start small and start now. Even if you’re only able to set aside a small amount each month, the key is consistency. By making saving a habit from a young age, you’ll be setting yourself up for long-term financial success. Consider setting up automatic transfers from your account to a savings or investment account to make saving effortless.

Set Clear Financial Goals

Before diving into the world of saving and investing, it’s essential to define your financial goals. Whether you’re saving for a down payment on a house, planning for retirement, or simply building an emergency fund. Break down your goals into smaller, achievable milestones, and track your progress along the way.

Embrace the Power of Compounding

One of the greatest advantages of starting to save and invest at a young age is the power of compounding. Compounding allows your money to grow over time, as you earn returns not only on your initial investment but also on the returns generated by that investment. By starting early, you’ll give your investments more time to compound, maximizing their growth potential.

Stay Informed and Seek Professional Advice

As a young investor, it’s essential to stay informed about market trends, economic developments, and changes in investment regulations. Take the time to educate yourself about different investment options and strategies, and don’t hesitate to seek advice from financial professionals or mentors who can provide guidance based on their expertise and experience.

Where and how can I start saving?

1. The first step is to establish a dedicated savings account. Visit your bank and discuss which savings account option aligns best with your financial goals. Nationwide have a list of different savings accounts created for different needs.

2. Once you’ve chosen the right account, it’s time to set a monthly budget that is both realistic and sustainable. Avoid the temptation to set overly ambitious goals or chase the idea of “getting rich quick.” Instead, focus on creating a budget that allows you to cover your expenses comfortably while still leaving room for savings.

3. To ensure consistency in your saving, aim to transfer your budgeted amount – whether it’s £50 or more/less– into your savings account on the day you get paid. By doing so, you won’t feel the impact of the money leaving your account halfway through the month, making it easier to stick to your savings plan.

4. Remember, it’s crucial to prioritise saving regularly rather than waiting until the end of the month and saving “whatever is left”. Building a habit of consistent saving is key to achieving your financial goals in the long run.

5. The next step is to implement money saving habits. Take a look at the Bank of America’s top money saving tips here.

Additionally, here you can find plenty of information about savings accounts and all things savings with the Money Saving Expert, or you can follow them on social media for more bite-size information.

Our Tenancy Support and Advice Drop-in Sessions

Our drop-in sessions run every Friday from 9.30am-12.30pm at the Mount Community Centre SA73 1BY. We provide free advice and support with budgeting, debt, benefits, and tenancy issues.

Our team, working in partnership with Pembrokeshire County Council, provide long-term support to those facing homelessness in Pembrokeshire. No appointment is needed, simply drop in to see us and our team will have a chat with you and provide expert and confidential advice there and then.

Everyone is welcome!

Our Numeracy Project

We recognise that poor finance management can often be a leading cause of homelessness, especially amidst the rising cost of living and inflation. Many young people find themselves ill-prepared for the financial responsibilities of independent living, lacking practical skills in budgeting, understanding finance agreements, and making sensible choices.

That’s why our numeracy project, aimed at individuals aged 19 and over in Pembrokeshire, is so crucial. Through tailored courses, we’re teaching essential numeracy skills to navigate personal finance effectively. By investing in your skills, you’re investing in your future, and safeguarding yourself against the risk of homelessness.

Watch our video to learn more

In conclusion, saving and investing as a young person is not only a wise financial decision but also a powerful tool for building a secure and prosperous future. By starting small, setting clear goals, staying informed, and seeking professional advice, young individuals can lay the foundation for a lifetime of financial success. So why wait? Start your savings and investment journey today, invest in your life, and protect yourself from the worst.

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