The Financial Wellbeing Index has found that 47% of working adults don’t believe they’ll ever own their own home1. That’s me. I’m one of those people.
I’m 33, single, renting, and working full-time in what I like to think of as a pretty good job. But right now, the prospect of buying a home seems a long way off. In fact, I’ve started to think that maybe renting is a better option for me. The research is spot on – I fall within the 47% and don’t think I’ll ever own my own home.
Along with many people in my situation, I spend a huge chunk of my income on rent, with bills and living costs on top. The rest is spent on living life – going out with friends, traveling and ‘living my best life’ as the kids would say. As much as I’d like to have my own place, the idea of having to save every penny on top of the already huge cost of renting just isn’t an option. I agree with most employees (67%) that housing costs are affordable1 – I could afford my mortgage payments which would probably be far less than my current monthly rent. OK, I save as much as I can each month, but it’s going to take a long time before I reach almost £33,0002 which is the average deposit needed for a first-time mortgage these days.
Where does that leave me on the protection ladder? I don’t have a mortgage or kids, but I do rely on my salary to live month to month. Working in the protection industry, I know I need critical illness cover or income protection. Probably enough to cover a couple of years’ salary if I can’t work. But I’m currently sitting completely out of the protection loop. Usually, the first interaction would be setting up a mortgage. So, I’ve got to 33 and I’ve never had a conversation with an adviser. Considering I’ve got 4 separate pensions pots, a little bit of savings, and a monthly income – why has an adviser never wanted to speak to me? I’m flying completely under the radar.
If I wasn’t in the industry, like many of my friends, I would have no understanding about the need for protection. Some of my friends have life insurance to cover a mortgage, but they don’t understand it. And they certainly don’t understand the bigger risk they face of critical illness. According to the LV Risk Reality Calculator, I’ve got just a 3% chance of dying before the age of 65, compared with a 42% chance of being unable to work for 2 months or more (due to sickness or accident) and an 11% chance of suffering a serious illness3.
So, it’s got me thinking. As an industry, we really need to do more to target people like me. And there’s a lot of us. We need financial advice.
The first thought was could my bank have done more? I’ve been with the same bank for about 20 years, and they’ve seen me move from young adult to student and now a grown-up with a decent income. If a bank adviser had called me, knowing my situation, maybe they could have sold me some products that I really need.
You could say the responsibility sits with my parents to point me in the direction of advice. But they’ve never had a Financial Adviser, and I’m confident they’re not properly protected. Growing up in working class Scotland, financial planning just wasn’t something we discussed.
But what about the Financial Adviser community? I’m not feeling the love. I sometimes see targeted ads on Instagram from Financial Advisers, although that’s probably only because I work in marketing and I spend a lot of time researching our industry.
Then there’s my employers. I’ve had 4 proper jobs since graduating. Should there be a responsibility on employers to offer their employee access to personal financial advice?
But let’s not place blame here. Can providers do more to help target this generation?
I’m not going to suggest I have all the answers, but one thing I do know is that I really need to speak to a Financial Adviser, and nobody is approaching me. Do we really expect customers to go looking for protection advice? Because let’s face it, they never will. We need to proactively target these people, using language they understand in a way they want to receive the information, think Whatsapp, text, email and social media.
I’d love to hear your thoughts; what could Guardian do to better help you target clients like me?