Octopus Money client Harry, on the power of financial clarity

Harry, a software developer living in Croydon, tells us all about his experience over the last year with Octopus Money. From lifetime ISAs, to learning about inflation, we found out how his coach helped him to reach his financial goals and think about money differently.

Hello Harry! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how the last year has been for you?

It’s been a pretty great year actually! I moved into software development, a goal I was working towards for a very long time, so it felt really great to achieve it. My girlfriend and I also moved into our first house. We bought it in Lockdown so it was a bit touch and go for a while – you know how stressful it can get. There were so many moving parts but I feel really settled now. It’s so nice to have your own place. I also ran a marathon! 

What a knockout year! How would you title this chapter of your life? 

The roaring twenties I guess! I’ve always seen this period of life as the time to make big decisions and work out what you want to do. Figuring out your career, sorting out your living situation, putting the bins out. Basically maneuvering yourself into adulthood. 

So what got you interested in financial coaching?

Octopus Money did a presentation at our workplace and it got me curious. The first call with my coach really made me start to think about everything – my financial plan, how much money I’ve got coming in and going out, how much I’ll need in the future. It all fits into the theme of becoming an adult, I’m not a student anymore. I’ve never been a great saver, so it was a chance to learn a new set of skills. 

And had you ever heard of financial coaching before?

No, I hadn’t! It had never crossed my radar. I always thought it was either just gimmicky things like switching banks every month to get £100. Or on the other end of the spectrum, for really wealthy people who put their money in lots of different places to avoid taxes. I never really considered there’d be something that would fit my situation. I didn’t want to spend all my time doing annoying, tiresome things. But actually it’s all really interesting insights, in the middle tranche. I’d recommend coaching to anyone like me. 

How do you get on with your coach?

He’s great. He was a really big help in buying the house, which was my main objective. He showed me how to use lifetime ISAs to get the best of what’s on offer out there. He even set me up with a mortgage broker and most importantly was someone who I could always talk to. There’s so much information out there, it’s really easy to get bamboozled. It gives you so much peace of mind to talk things through with someone independent, who can provide clarity of thought. He also taught me about inflation, which is something that had never dawned on me before! You’ve got to make your money work for you because it’s just decomposing, sitting in your bank account. Having gone through the coaching, I’d say it’s 100% worth it. 

Were there any immediate benefits from the coaching? 

With my coach’s guidance my girlfriend and I switched to the right ISA at the right time. We ended up getting £3,000 each from the government, which helped massively with the house. That and feeling reassured, honestly. 

Why do you think talking about money is still a bit taboo?

I guess it’s just so baked into British culture. Even working in a super transparent company like I do, money is still very hush hush here. I think there’s a sensitivity around it, because you don’t want to cause offence or be seen to be showing off. Which is a shame because I think people would be a lot better off – because if you talk about it you can learn about stocks and shares and ISAs and the more money you’ll have!

What financial advice would you give to your younger self?

Get a summer job I think. My brother did that and he has loads more money than me! Also to think before buying stuff. When you move house you realise just how much stuff you buy that you don’t really need.

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