The financial perks of being single

What are the financial benefits of being single?
Woman looking ahead | Wealthify
Reading time: 6 mins

There’s no denying that being single can be hard, especially when society as a whole seems to be pushing the concept that you aren’t truly ‘complete’ until you meet ‘the one’. And whilst relationships are celebrated, single people are stereotyped and pitied.

So, we say it’s time to debunk the misconceptions about single life because guess what? Being a party of one could come with many benefits.

Just think about it. You get to spend more time doing what you want, whenever you want, and being single means that you can focus on yourself and figure out who you really are.

But it doesn’t stop there! Being on your own might also be a good thing for your finances. Here’s how the single life could pay off.

Spend less, Save more

When you’re single and don't have any children or live with any relatives that depend on you, you just need to provide for yourself, meaning you'll probably end up spending less money than someone in a relationship. When you go grocery shopping, not only can you grab whatever tickles your fancy, but you’ll typically spend less than anyone in a relationship – unless you’ve decided to have a feast on your own.

With prices continuing to rise in 2022 due to soaring inflation, it's tricky to estimate how much you could expect to spend on your groceries. But if you’re single and eat averaged sized portions, then you could expect to spend about £26.50 per week on buying food to eat at home in 2020. If you live in a household with at least 2 people, the bill would increase to £64 a week. 

However, it's important to bear in mind that between January 2021 and January 2022, the average rise in the cost of food items and non-alcoholic beverages was 4.4% – meaning it's now even more expensive to feed a family.1

Of course, having someone to share memorable moments with is fantastic, but as these figures show, it can be pricey. At least, if you’re single, you probably don’t have to spend any money on anyone else – just you. You can keep your hard-earned money for yourself. And if you have plans for the near future, like a well-deserved holiday, you could tuck away some money in a savings account and build a decent nest egg for your future self.

More time to hustle

Relationships can take a lot of effort and time. Think about it; once you’re with someone, you can wave goodbye to quiet evenings. You go home and you’ve got to prepare dinner for you and your partner, do double the amount of washing up, listen to your partner complain about their day, and then before you know it, you’re falling asleep out of exhaustion.

Well, when you’re single, you get plenty of free time, and the good news is that you can use it however you want. You could, for example, binge watch your favourite TV shows until 2 AM each weekend, or even invest your energy into projects or hobbies that could bring you some extra cash.

Using your time to start a side hustle could help you boost your finances, and as a result, you could be in a better position to save.

Your money, your priorities

When you’re single, you’re in full control of your financial goals and life. You don’t need to worry about what someone else wants, and more importantly, you don’t have to make any compromise or sacrifice. It’s all about you and what you want.

Sounds great, right? So, if you’re single, now could be a good time to think about your goals, and we’re not just talking about buying a new car or going on holiday. We also mean long-term goals, like buying the house of your dreams or saving for retirement. You’re in charge and can decide on your priorities.

Then, once you’ve set your financial goals, it’s generally a good idea to start planning. After all, you can’t achieve your goals without a plan of action. So, some things to think about could be: how much will you need to make your dreams come true? How much can you afford to save? And are there any other options that you could try?

These are some of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself if you want to take control of your own finances whilst living the single life.

An opportunity to take more risk

When you’re in a relationship, it’s always a bit difficult to take risk, especially on the financial side. After all, it’s not just your money we’re talking about here, so you probably wouldn’t go and invest in the stock market without consulting with your partner first.

See, this doesn’t happen when you’re single. Since you’re only in charge of your money, you could take as much risk as you want to (as long as you're comfortable with it, of course). And if you want your money to work hard, investing in the stock market, which does require an element of risk as there is the possibility you could get back less than you put in, could be an option to consider.

We’re all for putting money aside in a savings account, and if you haven’t started building your emergency fund yet, it could be wise thinking about it. But saving money may not always provide you with inflation-beating returns.

Let us explain. When you save, you’re guaranteed to get back what you’ve tucked away, plus a bit of interest – this means your money will be growing. But will it be growing as fast as everything else?

Typically, every year, the price of goods and services tend to increase – that’s inflation, and if you want to enjoy real financial growth, your savings will need to flourish at least at the same pace as everything else.

Sounds easy, right? Well, in practice it’s not. Just look at the interest rates offered by banks. Most of them are low, meaning growth will be slow. But every time the interest rate you get falls below the rate of inflation, the real value of your savings will decrease.

So, what can you do, you ask? You could choose to take a bit more risk and invest. With investing, returns aren’t guaranteed and there’s a risk you could end up with less than you initially put in. But since your returns aren’t tied to any fixed interest rate, and rather depend on how well your investments are doing, you could potentially get higher returns depending on how financial markets perform.

Now of course, this doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to make returns with investing. But there are ways you could help to limit potential losses and maximise your gains. For instance, one thing you can do is to play the field by spreading your money across investment types and different regions. That way the likelihood of losing everything will effectively decrease. This strategy is commonly known as ‘diversification’ and it allows you to mitigate risk.

Now, if you’re looking for ways to maximise potential returns, you may want to consider if you're prepared to remain invested over the long-term, rather than thinking of it as a 'fling'. Many studies suggest that the longer you commit and stay invested, the more likely you’ll be to see positive growth. For example, people who invested in the FTSE 100 for any 10-year period since 1984 have had an 89% chance of making a gain2.

If you’re ready to start investing, why not take advantage of digital investment platforms, like Wealthify? With robo-investors, you don’t need much financial knowledge or experience to get started, and you don’t even need hundreds of thousands to become an investor. You get to choose how much you want to invest, whether it’s £1 or £100,000.

However, one thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to invest through a Stocks and Shares ISA, you can invest up to a certain amount without paying tax on anything you gain. For the 2022/23 tax year, that limit (known as the 'ISA allowance') is £20,000 per year.3

Then, you select the risk level that suits you – you can be cautious, adventurous, or somewhere in between. We’ll do the hard work, from picking your investments to managing your Plan on an ongoing basis to ensure it remains on track with your investment goals and style.

References:

1: https://www.nimblefins.co.uk/average-uk-household-cost-food

2: Data from Bloomberg

3: https://www.gov.uk/individual-savings-accounts

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

The tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.

Please remember the value of your investments can go down as well as up, and you could get back less than invested.

 

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