I read an interesting article the other day about savings and investments. Apparently only 10% of women have a stocks and shares ISA, and only 7% hold other investments.

Now, I worked in financial services for the better part of a decade. I even got a fancy-pants certificate for financial planning (back in the days when that was what I thought I wanted to be when I grew up). So I do probably have a reasonable understanding of these things… but I don’t have any investments. I barely have a savings account.

The thing is, being a single parent I feel more than ever that I need to be prepared for that surprise thing: the washing machine dying or something else exploding. If push came to shove and I really needed to, I could apply for one of those online personal loans to make ends meet in the event of a cash crisis. In the short term, as long as you pay them off in time they can help to get you out of a hole. Long term though, I’m thinking perhaps I should look into investments. It sounds terribly grown up, doesn’t it?

Apparently the stock market is 90% more likely to do better than cash over the space of ten years. Interest rates on cash accounts are not even worth looking into these days and with inflation any money we do squirrel away into a savings account is likely to be worth less when withdrawn from a long term savings account. Investments on the other hand, can provide better growth than inflation.

I have a savings account for S, which I try not to touch. I’m thinking perhaps I should switch that over to a stocks and shares ISA and perhaps even set one up for myself – you know, for all that spare cash I’ve got lying about the place! The thing is, I do think I need to be saving for that fabled rainy day, and I’d like to teach S to do the same. So after four years away from the financial services industry, I’m about to start reading about stocks and shares again, and figuring out a game plan… this could be interesting…

Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


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