A guide to handling the major financial milestones in your life


Life is full of many notable hurdles – not least the financial ones that can present some of the biggest challenges to us as we try to move along with our professional, social and romantic lives. With millennials and gen Z-ers facing a steeper uphill battle than any generation before in relation to achieving these key milestones, it’s more important than ever to think about how we’re going to accomplish them, and the impact they will have.

From buying your first car to settling down in marriage, here’s how today’s average Joe should go about handling those integral financial moments.

Getting your first car

Starting off relatively easy, buying your first car is likely to be your first real example in life of “adult” finance stuff. Your first car should be a means to an end purchase that sits comfortably within your current budget. Ideally, you’ll pay cash up front, so the car is yours with no future payments to worry about, but if you must get a loan or a finance deal to secure your vehicle, make sure you have the longer-term financial stability to pay it off. You can use tools like a car finance calculator to help you understand what sort of loan commitment is feasible for you.

Follow on things to think about when getting your first set of wheels: running costs like insurance, petrol, maintenance and taxes – all of which should be factored into your budget when buying.

Securing your career

If your teens and twenties are years of professional confusion and hopping from job to job, don’t worry – you’re certainly not alone. Once you do find your career path, however, it’s important to understand and aim towards your goals for progression. If, like most hungry young pros, you want to grow your income, it’s important that you identify the right times to move on in your career, and the right opportunities to target.

Often, the rate of your income growth and progression can be less about your skills and qualities as a professional and more about your shrewdness in your chosen market. Of course, it starts with being good at your job, but knowing when and where to strike through your career will be key to your overall success.

Buying a house

Probably the biggest cause for concern for most gen-Zers and millennials, soaring house prices and stagnating wages mean getting on the property ladder is tougher than ever, and is set to be the biggest financial challenge, and indeed achievement, in life for many. Your attention to buying a house should start as soon as it possibly can, as it’s likely you’ll need to commit to a long-term saving plan in order to accumulate the cash required to put down the upfront deposit and begin your mortgage.

Beyond all-important monthly savings deposits, there are a number of things you should be doing in preparation for home ownership. Building your credit score through good financial behaviours, accessing help to buy schemes and lifetimes ISAs to help grow your savings fund and looking into 5%, long term mortgages are all highly recommended techniques for today’s prospective house buyers.

Getting married

Naturally, your wedding day should be one of the best days of your life, and people often spend a fortune to ensure it goes as such. However, with your wedding being day one of your marriage, you need to carefully consider your finances moving forward as a couple, and what sort of wedding you can really afford without financially scuppering your first years together in normal life.

Beyond the big day, getting married introduces a whole new set of financial challenges to face together as your money becomes a mutual fund. The keys to financial success in marriage are typically open and honest communication, carefully considered joint decisions and no hidden spending or surprises. Money can be a make-or-break factor in many relationships, so ensure everything is fully transparent between you from the moment matrimony begins.

The bad news with all the financial challenges above is that none of them are easy to overcome these days. The good news, however, is they’re still all very achievable with the right preparations in place. Approach life’s big financial challenges in a considered and careful manner, and you should overcome them without tripping up.