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Virginia, 55

From divorced and homeless to mortgaged and mumsy, Virginia’s journey with money has been a real challenge. But with a can-do attitude and some help from her friends, she’s back in control.

My relationship with money: "Precious"

"When I’m in a good place with money it’s because I appreciate it. And I appreciate because I’ve been in situations when I haven’t had much. It’s not been easy, keeping a roof over my head and things like that. Gotten into debts and all sorts. That’s why it’s really precious."

"I’ve been divorced 17 years and it was very, very difficult. At the time I was actually made homeless. My son had to go to my family for a year so I could sort myself out. I stayed with friends and had to work really hard – two jobs – to save some money to get a deposit so that I could get my house and get my son back. He was 4 and I got no support from his dad at all and everything relied on me. 

"I’ve come a long way from where I was, and still need to go a lot further but I’m trying my best. Before I even had to sleep on someone’s floor while I worked the two jobs. Even though my son wasn’t with me I still had to support him. It was difficult. Was daunting. But I had to try and stay strong for my son’s sake because when you have a child it’s not just about you anymore. It’s a gift."

Financial advisors shared some great secrets

"I spoke to a financial advisor about my insurance a few months ago. First time I’ve ever done that. It was because I’d been paying into a policy for a couple of years and then it came to my attention that the insurance is a decreasing one, which had not been explained very well at the bank. Apparently as I repay my property it would match against the insurance and decrease each year, and that had not been made clear to me.

"That’s when I saw an advisor and they came to me and gave me really good tips, which I did take onboard. It was a very positive experience. I’ve really become quite interested of late of trying to put things in place for my age. I’ve lost a lot of friends in recent years who had not put things like wills in place, and I’ve got my son at university so I don’t want to just assume.

"The advice was absolutely SPOT ON! Things I never knew. Obviously my son’s at uni and it was things like “Did you know if anything happens to you between now and the time your son is finished at uni that he could have an income?” and “Did you know that you could do this and that for him and it would only cost another £6?”. They really taught me. Made it all clear as day."

I'd like to invest to build an inheritance

"Stocks and shares are something I wouldn’t mind doing in the future. I do understand you have to know what you’re doing and plan so the time is right. There are people out there who really know how to make money work and they go through avenues to invest and you know its something I’m interested in. I really am.

"I would love to have more and it isn’t to do with greed, it really isn’t. I’m thinking about my child. I don’t ever want my son to struggle and when he has his own family I want them to be in a good place. It says in the Bible a good parent leaves an inheritance for their children, and my mum has always been sensible with money and she’s put things in place for her girls. And I’m going to do the same."

My biggest money question...

"I don’t ever want my son to struggle and when he has his own family I want them to be in a good place. So what are some of the best things I can do now to give him the best inheritance?"

Answer by Tamsin Caine, Smart Financial

That’s a great question. You need to start with making sure that you have enough for the rest of your life to be able to do all the things that you want to do. A lifestyle financial planner can help you with this.

Once that is covered, if you have surplus, you may be able to start to give your son some of the excess. It’s great to be able to watch your children enjoy the money you can afford to give, rather than wait for you to pass.

You can gift £3,000 per year with no inheritance tax implications. If you didn’t gift this amount last year, you can carry that forward one year as well. If you are young, you may feel that it is too early for large gifts, in which case an ISA or junior ISA might be preferable. I hope this helps!

+ Holly Mackay's view

By Holly Mackay, CEO of Boring Money

You can open a stocks and shares Junior ISA for anyone under 18 and pay in up to £4,368 a year. Check out our Best Buys tables to see who other investors rate.