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How to Climb the Property Ladder for the First Time

So, you’ve made it to the figurative ladder that climbs to new heights: your first home. It’s a symbol of success, or frustration, or some in-between common ground that negotiates between your hard work and anxieties. First time buying is an adult exercise tense with agony and, yet, filled with delight in equal measure.

First time homes

The stories we trade over our first home – what brought us here – are often troubled by the economic pains of getting there in the first place. Professionals often turn to labour, both a mental and physical effort, to try and match the pace of the housing market. Budgetarily, the luxuries of a lifestyle can be leaned by trimming the routine monthly costs and by building up savings. For millennials aspiring for their first property, however, there are seemingly few routes to owning a home.

If not the largest purchase, a house, or a home, has become a kind of discipline in financial planning. Saving towards that ideal property comes with a couple of caveats, or hidden truths, that first time buyers should be aware of.

Setting up expectations

We openly discuss the pain of house-ownership, of actually getting there, because it quickly becomes a causal part of the process. Let-downs, upsets and frustrations are inventible in the journey of searching for a property. We suggest setting up fair expectations, a kind of mental preparedness, so that you can steer away from disappointment, and visualise a property as an actual financial reality. The property search, as a process, will also delight you, especially when a house becomes a home.

Think Life aspires to help you achieve certain revelations, mostly financial, about getting home. The hurdles in the market, or the ones unique to first time buyers, include set-backs in finances, such as lacklustre planning, weak savings to meet the minimum threshold (for a deposit the average save is between 5% to 20%), or pre-existing debt (outstanding loans, for example). These issues all relate to a question of ‘affordability’. Your budgets should focus on comfortably answering to the kind of prudence required to enter the market.

According the annual English Housing Survey young people are buying into new homes – a new optimism is growing from economic activity – yet the average age of the first-time homeowner is gradually, if casually, on the rise.

The common pains

The common hurdles are roughly universal, with income being exhausted on rented accommodation, or redirected into passions like travel. Other costs, often invisible to the naked eye, can quickly build up, such as the solicitors free, valuation fees, removal costs, any surveying required, furnishings (and decorating) and the near-essential insurance to cover the mortgage.

It is crucial to save early on, and as often as possible, in order to build up a heavy deposit to place against your dream home. In this journey to buying a home – because saving up is a patient discipline – you should clean up your credit history, which essentially means working on a healthy record for borrowing money. Limit applications against your credit, ensure debts are tied up and tidy away your monthly outgoings so that your income is spent against justified pursuits. Knowing your monthly budget intimately is just one of the ways you can close the gap between yourself and a new home – this means being smart with your mobile phone contract, any TV portal subscriptions, or other spends that impact your reputation with money lenders.

Feel at home, not just symbolically

Closing in on home is not only about saving patiently over time, but also gaming economic initiatives to improve your odds. One way to conquer the housing market is to develop your knowhow on the schemes you’re eligible for. Saving, for example, isn’t merely a matter of aging your income well, but embracing Help-To-Buy ISA’s, or other helpful schemes, that can build up your money over time tied to handsome interest rates.

The government can become your ally with new incentives now springing up to motivate homebuyers into the market. Help To Buy, your new buzzword, is a hotly growing trend for first time homebuyers seeking out that added financial boost. There are two types:

  1. Shared Ownership, as the label infers, means buying into a share against your property (usually between 25% and 75% of the total value). The rest is paid via rent until you can afford a larger share.
  2. An Equity Loan is a kind of borrowable sum that means you pay a 5% cash deposit against your home along with mortgaging 75% of its value. The other 20% is gifted as a loaned value from the government.

Whether you’re researching your mortgage, or a more active buyer, there are useful wisdoms to take with you on your journey to buying a house and making it a home. In an optimistic forecast, the upheaval of buying a property is no longer a lonely undertaking. There are ways to inspire slow, if wanting, saving accounts to meet a basic deposit, just as there are new initiatives to embrace that can help nudge you that step closer to home.

Top Takeaways:

  1. Amidst the trading of advice online for savvy savings, the conventional truths remain salient to this day. The best, if worthiest advice, is to empower yourself with patience. The journey to finding your right property can likely be tough, so having appropriate expectations can be a useful guide.
  2. Research your options thoroughly. Not only are generous initiatives available to help you buy a house, but in certain scenarios you could be exempt from Stamp Duty. First time buyers can receive relief when searching for a property to call home.

The Hidden Economics of Stay-At-Home Mothers

Mothering is not only a labour of love, but also a financially significant role in the fold of the family. Yet, if motherhood is by economic fact something of financial value, then should stay-at-home mothers, not just their counterparts in the workforce, really get life cover?

Mothering, to mother, maternal – as a verb, a noun, or an adjective – hints a slew of occupations that, in sum, ties together a family unit. Motherhood, given its variations, is a role that has as many dimensions as it has facets. For at-home mothers, the household is their routine office, a space of everyday labour – and not just for working through the emotional tasks of parenting, but the kind of mental toughness required to do the job well. This means, simply put, that a mother is a figure of depth and substance in the family.

There’s a common myth about life cover: it isn’t for everyone. As a social belief goes, we entertain too often misconceptions about the values in the various roles we perform. For an at-home mother the chores, both emotionally taxing and financially valuable, can all to easily be forgotten against the bustle of busy family life. That’s likely one of the reasons why not enough women are purchasing life insurance.

The hidden economics of at-home mothers, achieved through their routine jobs, amounts to an average value of over £80,000. Various sources detail the financial efforts of at-home mothers, from child-care costs into the routine labour from domestic chores.

On child-care  

The financial risks against at-home mothers is, should anything happen, financially costly at an estimated £29, 812 in a year. This statistic unpacks into the several, if competing, expectations placed against mothers who, aside from domestic errands, serve a vital role in rearing children. Whilst child-care is only one of her responsibilities, it nonetheless carries a financial influence over the family unit.

Her roles, many converging into one, span everything from the general emotional and intellectual upkeep of the family to the building of a domestic nest, or home-keeping, and beyond. These labours, no small feat, all carry economic weight and inform the way we might assign a financial value against motherhood. It is, for example, a frustrating exercise to budget for a nursery as a costly alternative to child-care, which demands an average annual gross of £11, 498.

Considering financial security 

Across the UK, The Guardian observed in 2017, one-third of mothers stay at home. Indeed, the labour force has opened up through kinder policies that support working parents, offering more freedoms in the ways mothers work. Yet, the common misconception about financial security, especially in a family unit, is how protection only applies to spouses with active incomes. The financial contributions of at-home mothers may appear hidden yet are entirely valuable.

Life cover can be that easy alternative to frustrated finances, especially for those hatching future plans to protect their family’s way of life. Financial security is a way of thinking about your financial resources. Aside from being emotionally reassuring, life cover can be the means to financial peace for your family. Cover is a flexible option, too. No longer sized to fit everyone at once, life cover comes in all shapes and styles to match the details of your life and those it involves.


Mums, Working & Mental Health

One of a family’s most beneficial, if valued, assets are the parents. Often talks about parenting, especially positive examples, are quickly read as stories about their children and their wellbeing. “Wellbeing”, sounding somewhat nebulous, is a nod to a certain inner goodness, healthiness and comfort found in routine life. Yet, the parents’ own can be overlooked. According to the Healthy Humans Project, a mother’s wellbeing is less motivated by her job status, but rather her emotional and mental preferences.

A helping hand

Protecting the financial wellbeing of the family unit ought to be a top priority for most households. Financial relief in the case of an unfortunate loss can help ease some of the pain. The result, a cash pay-out (sometimes called a death benefit), can contribute to many projects, including funeral costs, or daily living expenses.

At-home parents are certainly legible to apply for life cover. This is calculated against the unique financial situation of the applicant, and at-home mothers will often be viewed as equals to their working spouses. It’s wise to out-smart costly options by using comparisons sites like ThinkLife to survey the wider market – and discover how to guard your lifestyle and those it involves. Our service is a quick one, taking only moments to get quoted.

Dads Mums

The Modern Parent: what does it mean financially?

The introduction of “modern” living, beyond its roots in cultural happenings, is something of a mystery. It appears to be a catchall, a suggestive term, for a lifestyle, a philosophy of living, that is perfectly matched to the times. It’s about technologies disrupting life and building it anew; or living smartly within new freedoms; perhaps it’s a question of identity against a backdrop of change. How does someone become modern? And what is a modern parent? More precisely, what does it mean financially?

Nowadays being ‘modern’ is equivalent to a certain type of attitude, or a kind of present-mindedness. But it also has nuance: modern can refer to fashion, like a style, an aesthetic, or a way of looking at things. It can also occupy us as an outlook, or a way of thinking. Perhaps, then, the concept of modern is best understood, through its leaner definition, as a matter of perspective, an otherwise clever gateway into the present times.

Although nothing new, the idea of being modern has subtly, if playfully, become infused into all nature of things. Some critics have written at length about the newish freedoms that are emerging, such as its infectious sense of optimism, or economic opportunity. Others, meanwhile, have embraced the term in more casual settings, appearing online in think-pieces about parenting, as a response to the new demands placed on mothers and fathers alike.

As a widespread, if popular, model of parenting – defined by intensive parental supervision – recent studies via the likes of the New York Times have discovered that, in surveying a consensus, many consider this the best way to rear their children. Yet, it’s often a case that the resources can seem unobtainable. The New York Times details an “economic anxiety” as a motivator behind the rise of modern parenting, which signals at a new kind of financial philosophy emerging.

Childhood has long been a period of careful cultivation. And parenthood is a labour of love. As an emotionally-gripping, hands-on model of child-care, modern parenting is a difficult job. With a shrunken birth-rate in the UK, and annual spend on a single child (against education and general child-care) soaring, the financial worry of parenting has nevermore been present. Likewise, the absent, if conflicted, aid for working parents has been a recent source of conversation, especially in virtual spaces, the likes of blogs or social media. The other concerns – the values we instil into children, the role of technology – are still relevant, if secondary focuses to the modern parent. But the most daunting, if testing, pressure is the financial fright of childcare, experts suggest.

The worry over economic pain, the possibility for exhausting our financial resources, applies to most households. Traditionally, budgets against childcare are spent either on routines, such as basic nutrition, or sewing prospects, like education or extra-circular opportunities. Of course, for a parent, their resources are not merely financial means, but also emotional ones. Parenting in a way that satisfies this model of modern childcare means being more aware of yourself as your child’s greatest asset. Protecting yourself financially, against economic uncertainty, is near-essential in modern parenthood and is a cornerstone to safe-guarding your family.

Part One: Emotional Resources

Modern, or even parenthood, in the parlance of the web, likely resists any single definition. Rather, a competition of definitions, ever-emerging, are battling out the focus of the modern parent. It’s a rhythm as swift, as changeable, and possibly sporadic, as the news headlines.

EIQ, the handle for emotional intelligence, is something to be desired. Yet, airy and nebulous, could the idea of emotional smarts be sharpened into a resource?

In other spaces, the power of emotional intelligence, like some invisible energy, seems to take hold of parents wanting to instil the good virtues of inner strength on their growing children. Whilst an important project in the nurturing of your child, emotional intelligence is a mutual ground of discovery for you both – to learn, grow, and to become better versions of your roles. Psychology Today, on the “emotional landscape”, shares a vision for parenthood that embraces the everyday missteps and moves toward self-growth: that emotional strength is about resilience and pliability. It confirms the dated metaphor, a compass, inasmuch as being this kind of casual instrument to point us in a better direction.

If EIQ is strength, and is navigational, and our emotional wellbeing is something to continually flex else if atrophies like any other muscle, then perhaps it could be matured into our financial thinking. It would seem, where mental health is on the rise, that something like our emotional wellbeing, equal parts crucial to our inner circuitry, that emotional understandings can shine onto the wider mappings of our financial plans.


Part Two: Finances

Oftentimes EIQ, casually spun as a buzzword, appears on recruitment profiles. Why? Because a there’s a small belief, which itself is growing, that emotional smarts stacks up into the bigger business productivity of a workforce. Michael Page, a recruiter firm, for example, focusses on financial roles that benefit from this kind of thinking, drawing connections, somewhat implicitly, between EIQ and the demands of smart, savvy financial planning.

If, then, the modern workforce of Britain can delight in an outlook that negotiates emotions into its business, why shouldn’t we do the same at home? That is, why shouldn’t home thrive on this dynamic between emotional awareness and firm financial planning? While parenthood isn’t the same as business, it can benefit from similar emotional skills.

There is no easy fix to navigating the anxieties in modern parenthood. Nor can the noisy world around it be muted. How to build a safer, more reassuring, financial philosophy against the pains of modern parenting is, perhaps, more achievable if only to recognise your resources as something worthy of protecting. Perhaps not a remedy entirely, but certainly this approach of caring for our parents, their wellbeing, as well as their children’s, is a step in the right direction.

The parent, itself an essential role, is the asset in the everyday, modern family.

The Modern Parent

Modern parenting is a title in the wider chronicling of mothers and fathers facing new, bubbling anxieties, as much as it speaks to the delights of rearing children in our contemporary moment. It’s column inches sprinting in a marathon of advice for parents. Stylings of parental types, the belief systems that rear our children, are vast and frequently debated. These can detail intense, if safe, fantasies that answer to a shared desire to bring up our children admirably.

Katie Roiphe, writing in The Financial Times, captures the imaginary modern parent, which nobly, if forgivably, portrays parenthood through amusing stories. As if comedy, the awkward chuckle, is that needed relief for mums and dads.

Everyone parents differently.