Ask the experts – Amanda Young, Head of Responsible Investment

Piggy Bank with Plant Growing Inside responsible investment


Amanda Young

27th October 2015 at 8:20pm

In this latest piece from Standard Life Savings’ ‘Ask The Experts’, we speak to Amanda Young, Head of Responsible Investment at Standard Life Investments to get some insight into how she handles her money as well as some of her biggest influencers.

1. What advice would you give your younger self when it comes to savings?

I would encourage a younger me to think about developing a habit of saving.

While I was quite good at putting money into my account from birthdays and Christmases, making regular contributions to a savings plan from early on would have helped form a better investing habit.

There are some really interesting products now available to help children do this. One is a piggy bank which has four compartments into which a child can put her or his pocket money; one for savings, one for gifts, one for spending and one for donating to charity. It’s a great way to get young people thinking about what they do with their regular income or money. You are never too young to think of setting up a pension!

2. What does money ‘mean’ to you? 

Life changed quite radically when I had my son. Before, money was a means of living in the now, nice holidays, clothes, entertainment, as well as household bills and so forth. Since becoming a mother, I have realised money means– a good future for my son.

Saving for school fees, thinking about his further education, as well as giving him wonderful experiences, such as travelling, eating interesting foods, taking up hobbies (his lego fetish is very costly) and entertainment, such as the wonderful variety of things on at the Edinburgh Festival, are now what I think of when I think of money.

The need to provide for a pension grows in importance with each year that passes too. 

3. What’s the worst money mistake you have made?

Put money on deposit.

My mother was very good at teaching us to save but the money was just put in a bank account.

With interest rates as low as they are, this money depreciates over time. It would have been a much better decision to buy investment products, which could then be cashed in at a later date.

4. Who’s the one person who’s had the biggest influence on you, outside of your family?

It may sound clichéd, given I was born in South Africa, but Nelson Mandela. I grew up in Apartheid South Africa and lived through the birth of democracy.

I remember clearly watching Nelson Mandela being released from jail on TV with my Dad. We had been isolated as a country for so long that the unknown consequences of change were both frightening and exciting for all South Africans, both black and white.

As a man who had been imprisoned for so long, Mandela could have been bitter and angry yet the grace, kindness and honesty with which he led the rest of his life transformed the country and gave it hope. Many “unconvinced” white South Africans had their hearts changed by a truly amazing individual. Single handedly, he changed entrenched, life-held views.

The moment Nelson Mandela walked out in the Springboks’ rugby jersey onto South Africa’s Ellis Park at the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final and handed the World Cup to the South African team was a defining moment in the history of the country – and one I will never forget.

5. If you were on a desert island, what book would you take with you?

‘The Secret History’ by Donna Tart. It’s a great book, so full of detail and intrigue that you could read it again and again. And it’s long, so ought to keep you going as you wait to be rescued!

This blog and any responses to comments are not financial advice. As with any investment the value of your investment can go up or down and may be worth less than what was paid in. The information here is based on our understanding in October 2015.

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