January 13, 2017
Firstly, congratulations on still being alive. I am glad to see that the hedonism of your twenties (and, for the most part, early thirties) hasn’t led to disaster. Top marks. Pat on the back. I’m keen to know how you’re getting on. Did you settle down? Did you have kids in the end? I know you were always pretty ambivalent about them, which is no bad thing. It’s like your (our?) Mum has always said – if you’re not totally on board with the idea, don’t have them.
The next question is either going to inspire severe eye-rolling or smug nodding. You know what’s coming, don’t you? Are you still renting, or did you finally get yourself sorted and buy a place? I’m glad that you have a grasp of the enormity of such an investment, but I’ve got to say, I’m pretty uncomfortable with the idea that you’re still renting at 45. It sort of smacks of being unable to settle down and focus on a goal – but, even so, I’m glad you’re aware of the full financial implications of buying. I would hope that you’re earning enough to live alone, at least. Maybe I’m just being snobby. Maybe you still live with people, awesome housemates, and you’re having a blast. All I know is that I’d like to think you’re happy, wherever you are – working hard, seeing a nice man, seeing your friends, and potentially being an amazing mum or auntie. And that you’re financially secure. Thought I’d shoehorn that in somewhere, in case you thought I’d forgotten. I’ve prompted more eye-rolling, haven’t I?
All I’m trying to say is the way you handle your finances at the moment is a bit, well, slapdash. You’re earning enough to live comfortably in London, which is no mean feat – but where are your savings? I really, really hope that you took some time out to comb through your bank statements and work out where all those missing pounds are trickling away. Nights out, make-up you don’t need, sandwiches on the go, expensive smoothies – they’re not necessary, but you already knew that. And don’t get me started on those daft nicotine replacement purchases. It almost makes sense for you to carry on smoking if you’re going to splurge out on those super-pricy sprays every week or so. That’s a joke, obviously. Please don’t start smoking again.
At the risk of losing your attention completely, I’m going to make a short, sharp list of things I hope you’ve sorted out. Are you ready? Here we go:
A well-informed, educated decision about where to live, and who to live with. If you must have housemates, fine – but make sure they’re the right people for you.
A decision about buying a house. If it’s not for you, fine – but make sure that’s coming from a position you’re comfortable with. Don’t just give up on the idea because it’s ‘hard work you can’t be bothered with.'
A savings plan – putting aside a decent amount every month, automatically, while ensuring you can live comfortably. Look into decent ISAs, Premium Bonds, the lot.
Food wastage and eating out. At the moment, I think you may as well have shares in Pret. And the amount of salad you throw away is shocking.
I sincerely hope that you have accepted that the Euromillions is not the way forward. That £13 win was a fluke.
A decent pension you’ve contributed to, like clockwork, every month.
There’s a chance you’re reading through that list feeling worse and worse – that’s a gamble I’m willing to take. ‘No,’ you’re thinking, shaking that older, wiser, 45-year-old head. ‘No, no, no.’ My deepest apologies if you’re reading this with a sour look on your face, but if you know that’s what you wanted, you had the chance to make the most of the 14 years ahead of you, and work towards those goals. If you haven’t achieved any of the above, I hope it’s for the right reasons. You had all this time – you were at the top of your game, you had your health (touch wood), your youth, and your earning potential. You weren’t shackled with a young family, or credit card debts. There was everything to play for. I really hope you haven’t squandered it.
Lecture over. In all seriousness though, hope you’re good. Take it easy.
Fancy doing the same as Vicky, and writing a postcard to yourself? Drop us a line @TheLifehouseCo - we'd love to read them, and we'll publish the best ones!