City Survivors: Plan for your financial dreams

25 October 2016
“Dreams can come trust,” Gabrielle famously sang in 1993 and is still singing today - the Brit award-winning singer is back on tour this autumn. But the reality is that, unless you happen upon a chance stroke of luck, you need to work hard and plan to achieve your financial dreams.
Homes don’t fall into one’s lap dropped off by passing storks, high-paying jobs are seldom handed to you on a silver platter, and don’t get me started on the National Lottery; a teacher once told me you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than you are to win the jackpot.
This means some more finite planning is necessary to achieve our financial goals, but many young adults don’t know where
to start.
Two thirds (69%) say they have financial goals, but most don’t have a plan to reach them, according to the Money Advice Service (MAS).
Its recent research found young adults have three different attitudes when it comes to money. 
  • ‘Planners’ (37%) have financial goals and a plan to reach them.
  • ‘Dreamers’ (36%) tend to have financial goals but no plans to reach them.
  • ‘Drifters’ (27%) have no financial goals or plans.
The report also found that when young adults do make a plan, it’s usually short-term. Nearly half (47%) reported saving for a holiday, while 30% were saving for a car.
There’s nothing wrong with short-term planning, and one of the MAS’s tips is to plan what you want to achieve and roughly when you want to achieve it by.
Next, it says you need to budget. So work out how much you need to save, and look at your monthly incomings and outgoings to see if you’ll have enough money left at the end of each month to achieve your goal.
If you don’t, it’s time to think about where you could make cut backs – and this doesn’t have to mean huge changes. Could you make a packed lunch rather than eating out? Could you scour charity shops for thrifty new outfits, rather than paying full price for brand-new items?
If you’re struggling, there are lots of free budget-planning tools online, including on the MAS website (
You could also look at easy ways to make money in your spare time – for example, filling out surveys for money via sites such as or renting out your driveway on
Once you have your short-term goals, consider long-term plans – especially for retirement.
Scary new research from risk assessment firm, Aon, claims that a male, aged 25, with a defined contribution (DC) pension scheme, who earns £22,500 a year, would need to save 18% of his salary, or £4,050 a year, to maintain his standard of living if he wants to retire at age 65.
Plus, for all we know the state pension won’t exist by the time we hit retirement.
I appreciate that 18% is hard to achieve, given rising rents and the cost of living. But if you can afford to pay just a sliver of your wage into a pension, you hopefully won’t regret it later in life.
You can make contributions of as little as 0.8% of your salary into your workplace pension via auto-enrolment, so it’s something to think about – you’ll need something to fund your retirement dreams. You don’t want to end up the same way as S Club 7 who, according to its number one ‘hit’, Never had a dream come true.