Thursday, 22 February 2018
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February 2008

Get those finance monkeys off your back!

Founder and MD of Boring Money, and a mum to two kids under eight, Holly MacKay says by not researching the best options for our hard-earned cash, we’re kind of sticking our heads in the sand.

The last thing any parent feels like doing once the kids are in bed, and that magic window in the day appears, is to fire up those investment websites. But, our research shows that 35 to 44-year-olds – over 8m of them – are the least engaged generation with financial services. Just five per cent have a stocks and shares Isa, and only 22 per cent have a private pension. This stands in contrast to the swottier “Diligent Millennials”, who are on top of their financial game, and the wealthier baby boomers, who are enjoying their final salary pension schemes and planning that trip to the sun.

The worst group of all are the ‘Tired Parents’, those 35 to 44-year-olds with children under seven. We are less likely to have a stocks and shares Isa than any other, leave pots of cash in our bank accounts (more than one in five have more than £5,000 in a current account which I can almost guarantee will be paying zippo interest) and haven’t given our pension provision more than a guilty passing thought. We’re also time poor. We’d rather have a DIY pension that could be set up in less than 10 minutes at home, than two hours of free expert financial advice.

I’ve worked in the finance industry for about 20 years and my goodness we make it dull. It’s no wonder that we’d rather watch In the Night Garden than surf the financial net. But there are things we can do in super quick time so here are my tips, from one Tired Parent to another. Here goes:

It IS big and it IS clever to have a big will...

Two-thirds of us haven’t got a will. And a third of us die without one. Leaving our inheritance to the vagaries of the law and a bureaucrat in a suit. This can be especially tricky if you are not married, separated or have children from a previous marriage.

Children will typically inherit before an unmarried partner, no matter how long you’ve been together, which can create nightmares around mortgages and the family home.

Have a look at WHSmith’s £10 kit for El Cheapo solution; Lexikin (a new service which also supports you to leave your wishes, your passwords and a trail of your digital assets such as photos) for a more mid-range choice, or find a solicitor via The Law Society website at

You are more likely to insure Fido than your other half!

Life insurance for parents doesn’t have to be hard. I got a quote from a comparison website in just eight minutes. There’s a chance you may have this covered at work so do check in with HR if you’re not sure.

Some people think this costs more than it does. If you haven’t smoked since Take That or Bananarama were on your bedroom wall then you can probably get decent life cover for about £10 a month (for a healthy 40-something).

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I think AIG have a nice simple online journey with decent cover OR you can visit Lifesearch and opt to speak with an adviser if you want that human touch. Our free independent Guide covers all these options and more.

Junior ISAs are not just for Little Lord Fauntleroys!

I think of an ISA like a Tupperware box. It’s just a container which you can stick investments in and keep the taxman’s paws off any profits you make there. And here’s the good bit. Anyone can pay in (with you permission) so they are really good for birthdays and Christmas if you’re fed up with the annual onslaught of Star Wars and Frozen gifts! And you can get going with just £25 a month.

If you are saving for your young children’s future, and this means you have a 10 year + timeframe, you really should think about the Stock Market as well as plumping for the more familiar cash options. You can save up to £4,080 a year into a stocks and shares Junior ISA.

“But the Stock Market just feels so grown-up!”

That’s what one mum said to me and she is not alone. Almost three out of every four of all Junior ISAs are in cash. But if you are saving for 10 years, a Barclays study shows that you are a whopping 91 per cent more likely to better in shares than in cash. And this leaps to 99 per cent over 18 years.

The uncertainty of the stock market does worry people. And us parents are biologically programmed to avoid risk when it comes to our kids. However I choose to save into stocks & shares Junior ISAs for my children, in the belief that they will do better in the long run.

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There are more and more helpful online sites which will offer up ‘ready meals’ of investments if you haven’t the foggiest what to pick. I like Fidelity for stocks & shares Junior ISAs or download our free Junior ISA Guide for more tips and suggestions.

There are loads of helpful tips and suggestions on the Tired Parents website and all of Boring Money’s free guides can be downloaded from

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