A Generation Y view to saving

A young couple driving the car thinking about savings


Julie Hutchison

24th May 2013 at 3:21pm

3,500 young people in Edinburgh leave school each year – what do they do afterwards?

Some of them arrive at Standard Life, thanks to a new initiative aimed at supporting school leavers and reducing youth unemployment.  The Edinburgh Guarantee is a partnership programme with the local council and many of the largest employers in the city, which gives young people a chance to experience the world of work, to support their career prospects.

I’ve spent some time with Blair Wycherley, who is on this programme and has been working with one of our teams this year.

It’s been interesting to get the perspectives of someone in Generation Y.  Here are some of Blair’s thoughts:

“So what do young people know about finance?

Being 17 and new to the financial sector, I think I’m in a good position to tell you… NOTHING! The thought of having to plan for the next 10, 20, 50 years of my life, seems absolutely horrific to me. I’ve barely lived in the ‘grown-up’ world!

Responsibilities are the main reason people want financial security. At my stage in life I have the chance to explore. I’m not tied down by serious relationship, children, mortgage or work responsibilities. This is the difference (in financial terms) between my age group and the older generation. I’m still in the ‘party phase.’

I know some of the older generation might see this as ‘reckless spending.’

‘I wish I’d saved more when I was younger so I’d be better off now’

  • Their reasoning is simple, as our research shows, many older people are likely to be thinking: ‘I wish I’d saved more when I was younger so I’d be better off now’.
  • But the flipside is important too: ‘I wish I lived more when I was younger because now I can’t do the things that I’ve always wanted to do.’

This can create a battle of ideologies. But sharing reflections with my team has helped me see both sides and allowed my financial attitudes to blossom. A person’s attitude to finance isn’t defined by what they say, but by what they do.

The Technical Solutions team has helped me appreciate what you can achieve with even minimal financial awareness. I recently learned that saving £3,600 a year into a junior ISA for your new born child, could be worth £86,000 by their 18th birthday. I don’t know about you but I wish my parents did that!! Maybe I’ll get a pleasant surprise on my 18th.

Gaining this type of knowledge in my time at Standard Life has enabled me to look at finance from a different perspective, because my situation has forced me to compromise. I am a young person in a grown up job with conflicting aims.

Time for advice. From where I am and what I’ve learned, I’ve concluded that there’s one word that can solve all problems when it comes to young people deciding how they are going to ‘spend’ their life. ‘BALANCE’.

Getting the balance right can give the best of both worlds.

    • It keeps a young person in that wonderful frame of mind where they feel the world is their oyster and have the freedom to take control of their own finances.
    • Yet it also allows them to PLAN for the future, to hit their goals.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, plan for tomorrow”

I’ll leave you with an Albert Einstein quote I’ve modified slightly…

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, plan for tomorrow”

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