Why Being Bad can be Good

by Adam on August 1, 2010

I’m still enjoying my holiday, singing with friends, so long term reader and friend Andrew Knight has written a brilliant guest post about why being ‘bad’ can be good. The great thing about this post is I know Andrew has implemented every one of these tips himself to better provide for his family.


Did you know that one third of us have on average only £500 in savings?

No? Well, would you be surprised to know that one half of us in the UK have no savings at all?

This leaves one-sixth of us with either a steely determination to save or an otherworldly ability to squirrel away every last penny.

But does this mean those who of us who aren’t in this one sixth of savers should just give up and drown our sorrows buying over-priced goods our under-valued incomes shouldn’t really allow?

No!

You should listen to the pearls of wisdom in the blog for savings tips and ways to keep mental focus high but you should also hear the often over-looked statements to tailor your savings to you.

And if you are a rubbish saver with an attitude more akin to an open flood gate during a financial storm there are a few other things you can do to improve your networth, which is afterall the real aim of saving.

Firstly,

LOYALTY DOESN’T PAY

Another question for you, how happy are you in your job? I mean really, does it thrill you? Does it stimulate you? Or is it just a means to an end?

And if you’re not happy why are you sitting there?

Did you know that only 45%/49% (US/UK) of people are satisfied in their role with satisfaction dropping significantly for 16-34 year olds?

With the average UK salary hovering around the 21k mark are you getting what you deserve?

Forget Loyalty, get your CV up to scratch, practice your interview skills and search for that higher paid role. You are worth more than society tells you, but more importantly, you are worth more than you give yourself credit for.

Moving jobs can be scary but often employers look for nothing more from you than what you can do for them. At times of financial pressure the hard work you’ve done and your optimistic attitude will mean nothing if you are surplus to requirement. Turn the tables and take control, if you are important don’t just stick with your job, look for another one and be vocal about it (to the right people) as long as you put your message across gently and tactfully you’ll appreciate it around salary review time.

Please note you must be very confident and very tactful when playing the ‘I may leave’ game because if you fail your employer may realise they just don’t need you anymore.

A higher income, especially a large increase in income makes saving much easier as you can allocate part or all of the increase in pay to savings and you won’t feel the change.

NOTHING FOR NICEY NICEY

How often do you check your bills? Do you ever speak to your providers? Do you blindly accept increases because that’s ‘just what happens’?

Review your home insurance annually; do you need all the cover they automatically offer? Do they say they’ve given 40% discount for staying with them but it’s still more expensive than other insurance on the market?

Do you fear winter and your gas bills? Do you really understand the pence per kilowatt hour of electricity? Probably not.

Is your rent up for renewal? Or your mortgage deal ending?

In all these cases and more you should not role over and accept changes. You need to don your armour and prepare your fighting face ready for the battle ahead.

As your situation changes you should check your insurances and get rid of what you don’t need. Throw in a threat to leave as well as quotes from a few other providers and your current provider will probably lower their prices. Feel free to feign ignorance or get angry, whatever works for you, but understand that all insurance providers have an unadvertised lower retention tariff.

Gas and electricity is needlessly complicated but price comparison websites help out. Again often your own provider has a lower tariff which they’ve not told you about (or they have in the unread junk mail at the bottom of your bin). I moved to a tariff which saved me 6% annually by just one phone call.

If your rent is up for renewal you’re in a position of power. If you’re in a place that is swamped with rental properties which no one is taking (such as inner city new-builds) ask for a lower price for your continued presence and you’ll often get it.

Mortgages are much more complicated but it’s almost always the case that the deal and provider you started with wont be the best to continue with when you go for renewal so shop around for a better rate. However in the case of a mortgage it may actually be better to just pay more to save more. Just £90 extra per month on my mortgage takes 10 years away from my term meaning I can get to mid-life hard-core saving earlier!

AND FINALLY…

So in conclusion a positive mental attitude to saving is only part of the route to financial success. Add salary increase and cost decrease to the mix and you can open up ways to increase your networth to a brighter financial future.

Get rid of ideas of loyalty, practice your scary phone voice, step out of your comfort zone, learn that you can do the wrong thing for the right reasons and ultimately…

Be a bit bad for goodness sake.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean

Nice guys finish last 🙂

Good article, enjoyable read

Rightly Knightly

P.S. Do I get royalties for this?

Kate

Great article! In the past, I have stuck around companies much longer than I needed to due to loyalty. It isn’t worth it and I always make sure to have my CV updated and ready to go!

Adam

Thanks Kate for the kind words. I know Andrew is reading this and appreciates the kind words!
It’s harder than it sounds to go against loyalty (because its comfortable and somehow feels honourable and right), so it’s great that you make sure you’re prepared.

Frank

I agree with Kate – I have always “stayed loyal” especially to my mortgage company. I think it’s the fear of everything being a hassle. I’ve only just started paying things by DD to save money… living in the dark ages I am! 🙂

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