What are the best financial decisions I have ever made?
I wrote about my financial decisions that I regretted a couple of weeks back and whilst writing it I was also being struck by some of my best financial decisions. I thought I would save them for another post.
What I will start with is that I know 2017 is very different from an economic point of view that 1997. Some of the things I was able to do as a younger person may not be so possible now but the principles of what decisions I have made should stand true today.
Listening to my careers advisor
Back in sixth form college I had one meeting with a career/ university advisor. I was in the process of thinking about university, I was good at maths and business studies so a maths degree it was going to be. I wasn’t clever enough for Cambridge (thanks Maths teacher and Cambridge graduate for pointing that out!) but I was clever enough for the next tier down, Warwick, Bristol, Exeter, Manchester etc.
Career advisor asked if I had thought about Brunel where I could do a sandwich degree in Maths, with Statistics and Management. A thin sandwich degree with two six-month work placements. It sounded good so it went on my applications list.
Fast forward to results day…and I didn’t get the A in maths I needed for Warwick but I did get a B which was fine for everyone else and I went for Brunel and the sandwich degree.
The work experience I gained at university was invaluable for finding a job upon graduation. I had 6 months’ experience at an accountant’s firm and 6 months’ experience on the M&S management trainee program. Companies were jumping to employ me upon graduation. Get great work experience and you will be far ahead of the crowd applying for all those graduate roles.
I walked into a job with HSBC where I could sit my CIMA accountancy exams on a fab starting salary of 25k. A great start to my career.
Buying my first house at 23
I had a boyfriend when I left university who I moved in with. We then bought a house together in 2000. We bought a 3-bed semi-detached house near Brentwood in Essex for £220k. The process was easier with combined salaries for the mortgage and the deposit required was much lower. Although I remember we only put 5% down. But we were on the ladder from a young age. That relationship ended when I was 27 and the house was sold. I walked away with 25k as the house had gone up in value between buying and selling. This was then the deposit for my own 2-bedroom house in Knebworth that I bought by myself. Shortly after that I met my now husband. We have moved again since then and now have a house worth £500k with an outstanding mortgage of £200k. Those early days of owning a house have worked out well.
Extending our current house from 3 to 4 bedrooms
A very astute decision to invest money in the house. We extended by an extra 2 metres to the side of our house up and down stairs, giving us a 2nd bathroom, utility room, bigger kitchen, 4th bedroom, bigger 3rd bedroom and bathroom. The extension cost us around 80k but added on £120k in value. We had the house valued before and after to allow the comparison. We now have a house big enough the house the 3 boys and to stay in for the indefinite future.
Astroturfing the garden
You may laugh..but this is one of the best investments we have made in recent times. We had it done last summer. It’s amazing looks just like real grass, but with no mud, bald grass patches. It’s perfect for the boys who literally go out there every day to play football.
It wasn’t the cheapest of thing to buy, it cost us just under £2000. But it is invaluable for entertainment for the boys, lack of maintenance. The whole family loves it so its ultimate value for money.
Starting my Own Business
This was definitely my biggest risk taken in my financial life, but will also provide the greatest returns. I took a generous redundancy package back in 2015 and put my mind to making a success of Mrs Mummypenny before the redundancy money ran out. This meant I had 12 months/18 months maximum to get the income to a certain level to ensure that the essential bills were paid. Hard work prevailed and I worked super hard to get myself known to brands and blogger networks. I attended many events and worked hard to build my social numbers.
The risk paid off with me earning enough money to pay the bills hurrah by Q4 2016. Not bad for after a year in business. Q1 2017 was even better with me earning far in excess of the bills. And net net I am earning more money than I did in my last senior management EE job as I have very little childcare to pay now (I used to pay around £800 to 1000 per month).
The only way is up with Mrs Mummypenny. As I work on more branded campaigns my name becomes more and more well known. The book, Blogging Your Way To Riches, I co-wrote last year has propelled me up to an expert status on blogging and how to make money from it. So really the world is my oyster and riches are coming my way.
What is the best financial decision you have ever made?