A pal for Tessa

Like many twentysomethings, Nishi Shah (left) has decided she needs to "knuckle down" and sort out her finances. Unlike most people, she has already made a good start: "I've been saving a bit for the last few years and I already have a Tessa," Nishi, 27, says.

Nishi trained as an engineer and now works for a London-based lighting consultancy, designing and setting up "architectural lighting".

Because she lives at her family home in north London, she has relatively low outgoings and as well as her Tessa she has managed to save pounds 6,000 from her salary in a high-interest savings account.

Nishi decided a personal equity plan was a natural next step and decided to invest the full pounds 6,000 general PEP allowance for 1999/2000. After taking independent financial advice from the Millfield Partnership, she chose a Jupiter Growth & Income PEP. The money is split 50/50 between the manager's successful UK and European funds. This gives a good range of shares across different stock markets. "I wanted it to be secure and this is a low risk spread," she explains.

She sees the PEP as a very long-term investment. "I will leave it there until I need it, but I hope I won't need to touch it."