Planning / Saving

How financial coaching helped me buy my first home

21 July 2021 | Posted by Frankie Jones
Row of houses Edinburgh

One Claro user talks about their experience booking a financial coaching call and how it helped them to reach their goal of stepping onto the property ladder.

I heard about Claro, the financial coaching app, from an Instagram post and was initially drawn to their practical approach toward finances. Usually I’m not the type of person to look at my finances. I know I’m pretty good at saving, but find all the talk around investing and properties a bit overwhelming. I don’t really know what I should be doing most of the time. 

After downloading the Claro app I began by linking my bank accounts to start seeing my spending analysis. I’ve seen apps with this functionality, but never taken the time to go through how much I was actually saving. What was helpful about the Claro app is that once I had looked into my savings a bit, I was able to set some goals to work towards. This motivated me to start seeing where I could save more.

Purchasing a property is top of mind for me at the moment, having finished university a few years ago. I’m renting with my partner and we both agree that it feels a bit pointless paying someone else rent when we could purchase our own property and have somewhere we could call our own. 

I hadn’t done too much research into purchasing a property because it felt so unachievable. But when I saw the option to book a call with a Financial Coach I jumped at the opportunity to speak to an expert! 

Booking my financial coaching call

The process was pretty easy. After booking my Financial Coaching session through the Claro app, I had to fill out a questionnaire with some financial information to help my coach prepare for our call. I was a bit sceptical about giving over my information at first. But I checked their credentials and the app reassured me that the company is regulated by the FCA and covered by the FSCS.

Whilst answering the questionnaire, I realised that I had never looked at my pension before. I didn’t know exactly how much I could save each month, so that was a worthwhile exercise on its own. This really got me in the headspace to speak to my coach.

What happened during the session?

Going into my Financial Coaching session I was both curious and excited. I didn’t have much understanding of what coaching is. Thankfully, from the very beginning my Financial Coach, Sarah, explained what to expect from the session and put me at ease. 

Goals

We started by discussing my goals. At the moment, these revolve around saving up for a deposit and purchasing a property in the next five years or so. We got quite specific about the numbers and what my current financial situation looks like. I felt like I was rambling a lot, but Sarah was really patient! She took the time to check in and see where I was at, sense check if it was relevant or if I wanted to move on. I was pleasantly surprised that having someone reflect back my thoughts could be so helpful. It gave me clarity and reaffirmed what I wanted to achieve. It turns out that a house purchase is top of my list, but so is going on holiday, purchasing a car and maybe having kids in the future.

Opportunities

Following the conversation around my situation we got into the opportunities part of the call. This is where the coach shared a few suggestions to get me thinking about my options. This was the part I was most interested in and found most valuable. 

I’d never thought about exactly how much I’d need for a deposit, or what types of schemes were available to me. It turns out there are lots!! We also spoke about where I could keep my savings for the deposit so that it gets some interest rather than sitting in a savings account losing value. I always knew I should be doing this but was too lazy to actually move my money somewhere with the potential for greater returns. 

Key considerations

We discussed several other factors I hadn’t considered. For example, stamp duty fees, other costs involved, what the ongoing mortgage payments would be, whether I’d like to be mortgage-free at retirement. Plus whether this home would be a stop gap to purchasing our next home or be our forever home. Sarah asked me some great questions and I really felt like she understood my needs. 

Claro has some really useful online calculators which Sarah shared in the session. She helped me to plug in some numbers, and although we didn’t have time to cover everything, I appreciated the guidance to get started on my own.

Next steps

To end the call, Sarah asked me to clarify my next steps. By this point I felt pretty clear about what I was going to do next. This involved having a discussion with my partner, starting to look at some properties online and opening a Stocks and Shares Lifetime ISA. I also decided to set up an emergency fund and take a look at a budget planner to help me set up regular monthly savings. 

After agreeing my goals, Sarah said she would set up two goals on my Claro app which I could then go into and start saving towards. Sure enough, the next day I found some meeting notes on my account and goals had been set up. She also sent me an email with supporting calculators and links we had discussed in the session.

Time to digest all the information

I felt so motivated after the call. It took me a few days to process everything we discussed and go through all the information. 

It’s now been one month since my coaching session and I’ve set up a high interest savings account. I’ve managed to save an extra £150 each month! Not only that, I have opened a Lifetime ISA so I’m already £1,000 better off than I was last month. 

Progress since my financial coaching call

I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’ve already saved a lot of time and money. The call gave me some useful tools to get started and the confidence to take action and start investing. Hopefully these will help me achieve my vision of buying within 5 years. With my increased monthly savings, we’re also on track to buy a car in the next couple of years. It feels great and I’m so excited for the future!

I would certainly recommend financial coaching for anyone who is looking to achieve something in their life. Even if you’re not sure what you want to achieve, a coaching session helps you focus on what’s important to you. At the very least, you’ll find new perspectives. This could ultimately change your view about money and your own finances. 

When you invest, your capital is at risk. You should seek financial advice if you are unsure about investing.


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