Opinion  

Advisers: we need you!

Charlotte Richards

Every day I find myself on the internet during my lunch break staring at either houses I can’t afford, clothes I can’t afford or searching for holidays I will never be able to afford. Still, it’s nice to dream, right? Well, no. I’m getting pretty fed up with it to be honest.

I’m just shy of 27 years old and I have a list of things I want to do before I reach the dreaded 30. Top of the list is to buy a house. I currently rent with my boyfriend and we are being forced out of our current place because my landlord has selfishly decided to sell the flat. We’re saving for a deposit very slowly, with the hope to look to buy somewhere in the next six months. In that time, we are moving in with his parents in the interim to save. There’s no other way.

I’m lucky that I live out near sunny Southend-on-Sea so house prices aren’t nearly as eye-watering as what my friends and colleagues are looking at in London. But still, we need quite a hefty deposit. Plus money for solicitor’s fees and a survey. Plus money for an adviser. Plus any unexpected money for stamp duty etc. (If anyone out there has a definitive list of what costs first-time buyers need to expect, please email it to me! charlotte.richards@ft.com)

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So, I pose to you this question: how on earth are people my age able to afford everything they would like? We can’t all rely on the (terribly named) ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’.

I’m not a frivolous spender, although I will admit I have a penchant for nail polish and the occasional dress. I’ve always been very careful with money, I rarely drink these days, I don’t go out to dinner a lot and I’ve been on holiday once in the past 15 months. I have an Isa set up (thanks, Dad!) but that’s it when it comes to savings. After bills, rent, food, travel (thanks, National Rail!), there’s really not much left to save. So I can’t.

If you, as an adviser, wants to reach out to a younger audience and get those first time buyers or people having their first child, something has to change.

But what’s the solution? Start teaching financial education earlier in schools? Or make advice easier for younger people to get? One main reason I’ve never got a financial adviser of my own before is the assumption that I didn’t need one. But on reflection, maybe I do. If only I had the spare cash.