# 104 (2013) Rainy Days
Do you ever get scared you won’t have enough to live on when you’re retired or too old to work? Maybe you’re already approaching that milestone or are already there and wondering how on earth your state pension is going to support you.
If there is one thing far from our minds when it comes to money right now it’s savings, whether it’s for a rainy day or retirement. Just paying the bills is struggle enough for many of us. And yet in austere times savings can be the most important thing in a crisis. Back up in case of unexpected bills or redundancy could be your only lifeline to keeping a roof over your head and food on the table. But how many of us keep a stash of emergency cash just in case?
I am being reminded right now that I need to be planning more for the future but it’s a really difficult thing to do when there aren’t any savings packages offering a proper deal, and you never know when you might need to dip into what you do have because your income is low or unsafe.
Over the last few years I have taken out a couple of Fixed Bond ISAs for 3 and 4 year terms. I thought it a bit risky at the time. What if the interest rates suddenly went sky high? I could be missing out on thousands. But as it turns out it’s been the best thing I could have done. Accounts earning 3.5 and 4.75 percent tax free have been about as good as it gets if you’re not into high risk and now they are unheard of.
But this tax year I have failed to find an account worth the bother and so this year’s contributions are just sitting in my regular bank account. The money was originally there to help pay my monthly bills since things have been a bit tricky this last 12 months but thankfully I don’t feel I need the backup so readily to hand any more. But what to do with it?
I’ve been told I should have invested in property and back in the day yes that probably would have been a good idea. But ‘back in the day’ I didn’t have the earnings to fund the kind of mortgages that were available and coupled with the regularity with which I have, and still do, move (every 5 years or so) it just makes the process feel like a waste of time. Even now that there are part ownership schemes and 95% mortgages I’m still not inclined to believe bricks and mortar are a good investment. And someone like me, running my own business with no fixed income, doesn’t even meet the minimum requirements of a mortgage lender.
So what’s left? Keep managing simple cash savings accounts or is now a good time to gamble on stocks and shares? What’s clear is that despite murmurings of improvements in the economy there are no sure bets for profitable savings yet and none offering anything near the 3.5% interest rates we’ve enjoyed in recent years.
For me right now, not spending what I’ve worked so hard to save and keeping out of debt is almost all I can hope for until things improve. And it’s clear we could be awaiting quite a while for that.