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‘I feel limitless’: How two women are conquering their finances, starting with a pension

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by Melanie Morris
04th Dec 2020
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Santis O’Garro is a single, working mum of two and starting a pension has been on her priority list for years. Angela Ferris is a 25-year-old business owner already ahead of the game. In conversation with IMAGE, they share how they’ve become debt-free and why they think starting a pension before the age of 40 is important.


It can be hard to focus on a pension when, unlike something like car finance, the direct benefits aren’t instantly visible. However, if we reframe the idea of a pension from being a ‘long-term commitment’ to become ‘saving for your future’, it suddenly becomes a lot more relevant.

And thanks to recent innovations in the market, sorting out a pension is now hassle free and can be done in a matter of minutes.

Meet Angela

Angela Ferris (25) began her podiatry practise two years ago and has always had astute financial awareness. She worked through college to finance her studies, student accommodation and pay for her first car.

“Financial independence is really important to me, now and always. I don’t want to be asking anyone for money. And now that KBC has recently entered the pensions market with digital pensions, it’s easier than ever to take out a pension.

“My parents are now at an age where they are talking about how they’ll draw down their pensions. They’re topping it up like mad, and planning all sorts of things. I want to be in that space too, not worrying about where or how I’ll afford my older years. For the time being, I want a pension that will just tick away.

“I want to know my money is being managed excellently, but I don’t want to be thinking about it, I’d rather focus on other stuff. I want to work long into my seventies, but I want it to be my choice, and work the hours I choose. Ideally, I’d love to employ a team for the business to do the day-to-day, and I’ll look after the emails… from the Bahamas!”

Angela’s tips for managing finances

  • I’ve always ran a budget for my incomings and outgoings. More recently, I downloaded @stephmylife’s Excel sheet and use it religiously.
  • Plan all your direct debits, and essential payments to go out of your account at the beginning of the month, and don’t look at your balance until after they’ve gone. If you haven’t got the money, you won’t spend it.

Meet Santis

Santis O’Garro (37) is a part-time carer, writer and single mum to Louis (4) and Eliza (2), who had a landmark year in 2019 when she took control of her life and the financial chaos that surrounded it, clearing just over €15,000 of debt in one year; she shares her tips on social media @thecaribbeandub.

This year, Santis continued her disciplined approach to financial management and created an emergency fund; she hit her goal of €5,000 during the summer.

“The reason I got into so much debt is because I’m a ‘live in the moment’ kind of gal. Now that I’m creating a pattern of good money habits. I’m starting to look into a pension. I know I may be late to the game, but better something than nothing. I know if I prioritise, I can make something of this. There is a sense of security in planning for your future.

“When I was younger I simply didn’t really understand pensions and I wasn’t into thinking long term. If I was going back to my 20-year-old self I’d say start putting a little away now for the future. Instead of having 70 pair of shoes, maybe cut down to 35 pairs so that in 40 years I can live in the Caribbean from October to April, and reside in Ireland for the rest of the year.

“Working as a carer for the elderly, I have really seen that tomorrow is not guaranteed. It also might not resemble today. As I go in to old age, I really don’t want to have to worry about money when I mightn’t be able to earn any longer.”

Santis’ tips for sound money management

  • Start budgeting. Get out a calendar and plan your spending.
  • Create small habits, for example, meal plan your lunches and dinners for the week ahead.
  • Pay for your supermarket shop with cash. Bring the money you can afford in an envelope and nothing else; if you can’t afford it, you don’t buy it.

For information on KBC’s new, hassle-free digital pension account, see kbc.ie/lifeandpensions, your KBC App, or call KBC on 1800 51 52 53.

KBC Bank Ireland plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. KBC Bank Ireland plc is a tied agent of KBC Insurance NV trading as KBC Life and Pensions for the provision of Personal Retirement Savings Accounts. KBC Insurance NV trading as KBC Life and Pensions is authorised by the National Bank of Belgium in Belgium and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules.

*Angela and Santis are not KBC pension customers.

 

Read more: Never too late: meet the women who started businesses in their 40s

Read more: Want an “extremely happy” relationship? Then you need to talk to your other half about money

Read more: Your retirement life will resemble your Covid-19 life if you don’t start saving now

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