Wealth Check: 'I want to be debt-free by the time I turn 40'

Gina Coldrick, 31, from Warrington says that her biggest financial goal is to be debt-free by the time she turns 40. But with a young daughter to support, and a restrictive salary, she is struggling to break even. "I am only making enough to cover bills," she says. "I have found myself eating into my savings and using my credit card for extras."

Three financial advisers gave Gina help this week: Mark Wapshott from St Edmundsbury Financial Services; Kevin Anderson from Budge & Co; and Dennis Hall from Yellowtail Financial Planning.

Case notes: Gina Coldrick, 31, Warrington

Salary: Gina's job with the Environment Agency gives her an income of around £18,000 before tax.

Monthly outgoings: Although her partner pays the rent, Gina spends £700 on her bank loan, credit card, utility bills, food, and phone.

Debts: Gina has credit-card debts to which she continues to add, paying for everyday expenses she can't cover with her income, and a bank loan.

Savings: Gina has around £3,000 in an HSBC ISA.

Pension: Gina saves around £60 a month into a pension scheme set up via her bank.

Debt & savings

Our advisers agree that Gina is making a mistake by saving into an ISA while having outstanding loans that are probably costing her more in interest than her savings earn.

"Gina is lending the bank £3,000 via an ISA account at the same time as borrowing from it, probably at a higher rate," says Dennis Hall. "She should cut out the middleman and repay some of her borrowing using part of her cash ISA."

Meanwhile, she is in the same situation with her credit cards, warns Kevin Anderson. "Saving in an ISA is laudable but repaying expensive debt may be a better option," he says. "I would recommend using her ISA to repay the bank loan to ease that worry, and then using her monthly savings to repay into her ISA on a monthly basis."

Gina should also find out about the working family tax credit, the advisers say. This could supplement her income by £545 every year, in addition to child benefit.


Gina wants to retire at 65 with an annual income of around £25,000, but her retirement savings require urgent attention, the advisers warn. Gina currently pays £60 per month into a pension scheme recommended by her bank, but Mark Wapshott says that if she fails to increase that saving, it will earn her just £43 a month in retirement.

"Gina's pension should be reviewed soon," he says. "Most bank products use managed funds [basic funds investing across a number of asset classes], but by utilising investment specialists such as Neil Woodford of Invesco Perpetual, invested money could be working as hard as Gina does to increase her pension."

But Gina is paying as much as she can into her pension, and still often has to use credit cards to make ends meet. "Gina has debt and no property. She should make a new budget to live within her income, even if this means stopping her pension contributions," Anderson says. "I'm not sure Gina was given the right advice when her bank recommended a pension when she still had considerable debts," adds Hall. "Gina should consider how much quicker her debt would reduce if she paid an extra £60 per month toward her bank loan."


Gina has income protection, but Wapshott suggests that she consider life assurance, which would provide for her daughter if Gina were to die suddenly. "Gina should review the terms of her income-protection plan to ensure that it's not simply a payment protection insurance policy, which has far fewer benefits," he says.

But Hall adds that Gina should also think about the effects if her partner were to die or became incapacitated. "Family Income Benefit is a form of life assurance that should be considered, as it can provide a lot of cover for a relatively small premium."

To find an independent financial adviser in your area, visit www.unbiased.co.uk

For a free financial check-up, write to Wealth Check, 'The Independent', 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; or email cash@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
Drinking - often heavily - is a running theme throughout HBO's Game of Thrones adaptation
food + drink
Florence Welch from Florence + the Machine
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living