I became a mum when I was 30, a whole ten years ago. The past ten years have been incredible, bringing up three beautiful boys.
We ended the week trying out a new trampoline park at gosling centre in welwyn garden city. Review post coming soon but we had great fun. Btw opening date is 4th dec😉 The boys loved it and have declared it their new favourite trampoline park. #gratitude to @kaneallardycept of @nobull_fitness for putting up with my stubborn can't do it attitude. It took a while but I did box jump 2 ft high. #3positivethings 1) super exercise day. 1 hr of pt and 2 hrs at trampoline park and I did bounce alot😉 2) Nov is officially my best month ever for cash flow. Looks like I can not only save £1k I can also pay £1k off credit card balance and pay the normal bills ❤ boom ✊ 3) went to Jack's celebration assembly for his silver privilege card reward. So sweet and so well deserved. The best listening, kindness and effort. . . . . . . #hertfordshire #thingstodowithkids #trampolinepark #exerciseforchildren #wgc #welwyngardencity #betterextreme #trampoline #lawofattraction #loa #gratitude #dailygratitude #thankful #positivity #lawofattractionquote #moneysaving #frugal #ukblogger #ukbloggerlife #ukmoneyblogger #bloggingyourwaytoriches #personaltraining #cashflow
But those ten years have also been expensive and challenging in terms of time! I’ve made some bold moves along the way, changing a career and taking some huge risks. I’ve also made some money mistakes and learnt some lessons along the way…
Here’s five of the biggest.
Keeping up with the Jones’s
My thirties were a mixture of pregnancies, maternity leaves and full-time corporate work - most of which I spent at EE. I had a good job that paid well, meaning we could afford a nice life; house, cars, holidays, clothes… the whole picture. But along with this life came comparison to others. All my friends were at the same company, and there was lots of competition.
The clothes and bags were the biggest thing for me
The clothes and bags were the biggest thing for me. I was obsessed with Ted Baker and my wardrobe was full of their clothes. I would think nothing of spending £500 on three or four items of clothing… my eyes water at that now as I am more of a H&M girl! But the comments I would get at work from female work mates made up for the spending: ‘Lynn, we love your skirt’, ‘We adore that fuscia dress, it’s Ted Baker isn’t it?’. I would live off the positive compliments and bury my head about the cost.
As I’ve got older, life has taught me that I don’t need that positive reinforcement from others. Particularly when it comes to clothes that incur a large credit card bill!
Maintaining a costly lifestyle when I couldn’t afford it
Not long after my third child was born I decided to leave the corporate world, take a huge risk, and create Mrs Mummypenny – my personal finance website. Working in the corporate work with three small children was hard. I would hardly see them during the week and I was unhappy in my job. So, aged 37, I negotiated a redundancy package and left to work full-time on Mrs Mummypenny.
I'm so grateful for my office today. Got Trev for company. A poorly Dylan chilling on sofa. A manageable to do list. A breafast smoothie. And a Skype call with @ridleywrites to look forward to. . . . . . #lawofattraction #loa #gratitude #dailygratitude #thankful #positivity #lawofattractionquote #moneysaving #frugal #ukblogger #ukbloggerlife #ukmoneyblogger #bloggingyourwaytoriches #cleaneating #cleanse #skype #blackcat #instacat #footballseverywhere #gardenoffice #workingfromhome #entreprenuer #myownboss #smoothie #hotdayinuk
I left with a generous package and should have immediately reduced our outgoings and lifestyle to maximise the time we had with that redundancy money. We didn’t though. Two big holidays were booked, and £10k was gone. We continued to live a life as if the corporate salary was still coming in.
The redundancy money lasted 18 months but the credit card bills were creeping up again. There were a few months where I switched our everyday spending balance (normally paid in full every month) over to a 0% credit card. My 40th came and went, with a big chunk of money spent on another holiday and a party. Back in April 2017 I faced up to the reality and added up the debt - the balance was £15.5k.
Since then I have been on a huge mission to maximise my earnings from Mrs Mummypenny, and to reduce our spending down to the bare minimum, repaying as much as possible on the debt. Nine months on from that scary debt position we have managed to get the debt down to £8k outstanding.
Last April I made a big confession. As a personal finance blogger I had managed to build a considerable amount of debt. Here me talk about it and how I am repaying the debt Wed 17th Jan on @BBCRadio4 @Moneybox https://t.co/eXUsS4LxTC— Mrs Mummypenny (@MrsMummypennyUK) January 16, 2018
Believing that 0% credit card deals will last forever
Moving to self-employment has an impact on your credit rating. My reliance on 0% credit card deals must end. Any change in circumstance, be that through your own control, or forced upon you, will affect your credit rating.
My reliance on 0% credit card deals must end
We have learnt this lesson this hard way, and now the debts must be repaid unless we want to end up with a huge interest rate charge every month. This has been a positive influence in achieving the goal of a £0 credit card balance by the end of 2018. We have one balance on a card where the 0% deal runs out in October 2018. It’s unlikely that we will be able to switch to a new deal so it’s very simple - it must be repaid by then!
Investing in shares based on emotion
After my second baby was born I decided to have a bit of play on the stock exchange during my maternity leave. I was doing some research into companies and I made a bit of money buying and selling, following some industry reccomendations. Then I decided to invest in the company that I had been working at for the past five years - a decision based purely on emotion.
I bought £2,000 worth of shares, and within three months the value of the shares had crashed to £1,000. Ten years on (yes, ten years) I still have the shares and they are still valued at around just £1,200. I had hoped I would get the original investment back, but there seems little chance of that. Maybe its time to move on and sell them, and invest the money into my pension pot!
Putting my pension off
Finally, one of my biggest money mistakes in my life was not investing into a corporate pension scheme until my early thirties, after my first child was born. I have missed out on seven years of potential investment from a time when I had money to spare, plus I’ve also missed out on the benefits of compound interest. I hate to think about how much money that would be worth in my PensionBee pot now.
I have finally aged 40 sorted out my pensions mess. 2 pots now combined and I can pay in. Thank you @pensionbee. Link to post is in bio . . . . . #pensions #pensionbee #fintech #personalfinance #financialplanning #finance #financeforthefuture #pensionpot #beekeeper #futurefeelssafer #ad #womenspension #severalpensionpots #pensionhelp
I also decided to switch off my pension payments during two of my maternity leave spells. Again, a huge chunk of money that I have missed out on. I always saw my pension contributions as saving for something so far in the future and a few months or years of not investing in it would be good for my short-term affordability. No thought of the longer term.
Lynn James is a PensionBee customer and CEO/Founder of Mrs Mummypenny, a personal finance blog and winner of the Best Parenting and Money blog 2017.