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How to take charge of your savings

Kristin Gejrot, investeringsexpert på SEB.

Start saving early and look at the big picture. That’s the advice from Kristin Gejrot, investment expert at SEB. “If you start early, you’ll adopt a positive savings behaviour and learn along the way what works for you.” Below, Kristin tells us her thoughts on saving money, risk and the importance of fairly sharing one’s personal finances.

Kristin says that she started buying stocks when she was 15 years old.

“I worked extra while I was in upper secondary school, and when I took a course on stocks I decided to use some of my salary to invest in the stock market. I used the rest of my salary for consumption and to save up for a trip after school.”

When she was 23, Kristin then used the money she earned from her investments to buy her first flat.

“My parents separated when I was 13, so there was plenty of running back and forth between their homes for several years. It created a lot of stress for me, but also a longing to one day be able to buy and own my own home.”

Down payment for first apartment

“Being able to make the down payment with my own money gave me a great sense of independence, and I still remember the feeling when I received the keys to my first little studio. It maybe didn’t have the best location and wasn’t quite large enough, but it had charm and opportunities, and best of all it was mine. Plus, it was an investment that enabled me to enter the housing market.”

“But I made a lot of mistakes when I started buying stocks, so for me it was good that I started early and learned from my mistakes. The biggest ones I made were when I tried to make a quick profit instead of thinking long-term.”

Kristin says that she still puts aside some of her pay cheque for different types of savings.

Second nature to save money

“If you start early, it becomes second nature to save money. And if you decide to do automatic monthly savings, you can save without needing to think about it. I usually review my long-term savings a few times a year to see if something needs to be adjusted.”

“I also review the level of risk in my total savings, not just my savings in stocks and funds. Because as I see it, the money in your account and the home where you live are part of your savings. Besides, I get a steady deposit every month through my salary, which I count as part of my whole savings. So when it comes to my savings in stocks and funds, I tend to take more risk than I did if I didn’t have the other parts in place.”

“But it’s also important to have a buffer if something were to happen, and when it comes to money you might need in a few months or next year then maybe the stock market is not your best investment option.”

“Hard to get started”

Statistics show that men generally save more and own more.

“I think there are historical explanations for this – it was previously men who made the money and who received a greater share of the inheritance or the entire thing. Today things are moving in the right direction, but there are still many women who say they don’t know where to begin – that it’s hard to get started.”

“My advice to them is to start a monthly savings plan. The savings then tick away without your having to do anything. It can also be useful to have a specific goal in sight, so you know what you’re saving for or for whom. If you don’t have a specific goal, a certain amount can be your target. For example, having 100,000 kronor in the bank can give you a nice sense of freedom and make you less vulnerable.”

“Saving for living expenses, or 100,000 kronor, can of course feel overwhelming. But if that’s the case, you can set milestones and see what’s reasonable based on your own circumstances.”

Kristin also emphasises the importance of working towards equally shared personal finances.

“Although many things are headed in the right direction, women still usually earn less than men. They also take out more parental leave, stay home with sick kids more often and work part-time to a greater extent. If it is not possible to equally share the days off to take care of sick children, then the person who stays home while the children are growing up can be compensated in some way, like by savings that are protected by a prenuptial agreement if one day you go your separate ways.” 

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