The Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated that the average UK household is £600 a year worse off, while spending power is unlikely to see a return to pre-recession levels until 2019. With households and individuals feeling an increasingly tight squeeze, there is a growing need for deeper understanding of how to make money work more effectively for us.
Speaking to The Positive, London-based Financial Empowerment Coach, Lavinia Osbourne, stressed the importance of improving our financial literacy in order to approach our finances with confidence. She explained that because financial education is not taught at school, a vast majority do not have an in-depth understanding of finance and of how it applies to them.
”We grow up being told half-truths about finances,” she said, adding that words such as “mortgage” and “debt” seem intimidating to many because they have not been given sufficient information about these concepts and how to apply them to their individual situations and needs.
Lavinia Osbourne established her financial consultancy after the 2008 global financial crisis hit both her personal and professional lives. Despite being a highly educated professional and having more than one language under her belt, she was made redundant and lost all that she had gained over the preceding ten years.
After taking up financial literacy studies, she gradually found that her “employee mindset” began to shift to a more “entrepreneurial mindset”. Today, she teaches financial literacy seminars, such as her upcoming workshop titled “More to Money than Bills, Debt and Mortgages” on April 13th, and provides one-on-one financial coaching and planning.
Sharing her tips on how to become more financially empowered, Osbourne pointed out the need to become more aware of your “personal financial landscape” by considering what you are spending and why you are spending as you are. Assess your relationship with money. Do you view money in a positive or negative light? Do you understand money as manageable or difficult to deal with?
To become more aware of your own financial environment, Osbourne emphasized the importance of brushing up on financial literacy. “In every challenge there is an opportunity to grow,” she said. Taking courses, seeking professional help and research will help you to gain a thorough knowledge of financial concepts and how they truly apply to your individual financial situation.
Seek out alternative ways of earning revenue. “There’s no such thing as a job for life” in today’s economic climate, said Osbourne. “You have to have a plan b, c and d”. Nowadays there are countless opportunities for earning extra income, such as starting an online business. “Think big; start small,” she said. “Take small steps and work your way up”.
Establish a plan to gain focus, be it a financial, life or tax plan. Pensions are a predominant issue among Osbourne’s clients, particularly affecting women that have been stay-at-home mothers. She explained that more women are retiring into poverty nowadays, but with the resources available for working from home, it is not impossible to avoid this issue.
For first time buyers, Osbourne recommended thoroughly researching and educating oneself on all available options, such as below market value properties. She warned that interest rates will see and increase, as inflation is rising while interest rates have been suppressed.
Receive 10% off Lavinia’s Upcoming Workshop:
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Kick-start your financial year with a confident spring in your step by attending Lavinia’s upcoming event ‘More to Money than Bills, Debt & Mortgages – How to P.A.C.E yourself from financial distress to financial confidence’ on Saturday, April 13th . Tickets are £97 -£127.