Start saving little and often now if you want to achieve your dream

Taking memorable trips away with the family is also a popular ambition among those aged in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Photograph: PA
Taking memorable trips away with the family is also a popular ambition among those aged in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Photograph: PA
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How much cash would you need to transform a lifetime’s ambition into a reality? Nearly £60,000 typically, according to a recent survey.

But with people saving less than £200 a month on average, it could take them about 25 years to scrape together enough cash to achieve their big dream. Here’s how you can more quickly achieve your savings goal.

Big price-tag for lifetime ambitions

Many of us dream of achieving a long-held ambition, but perhaps fewer have thought about the cost.

Ford Money, the UK savings bank from Ford Motor Company’s financial services business, asked people how much money they believe they would need to realise their biggest or most important ambition. The average estimate was £59,305. The typical cost was found to be highest for people in their 40s, at an average of £68,820.

What do people want to do with the cash?

Ambitions vary, depending on age, but the top priorities across all age groups surveyed are either to own a home or make home improvements.

The most popular ambition among people in their 20s and 30s is to get on the property ladder and own their own home.

Among those aged 40-plus, the top ambition is to redecorate and give their home a complete makeover, although many in their 40s say that just getting on the property ladder is still their main ambition.

Taking memorable trips away with the family is also a popular ambition among those in their 40s, 50s and 60s, while many aged in their 70s dream of going on the cruise of a lifetime, according to the findings.

How much are people saving?

Savers are putting away an average of £194 per month towards their goal, meaning it would take them about 25 years to achieve it, based on the average cost, Ford Money found.

But, it added, by adopting a “little and often” approach, savers could halve the time it takes to achieve their goals.

Those surveyed said they could save up to £187 more each month, thereby reaching their savings target up to 12 years sooner.

Squeezed by inflation and low wage growth, however, households may struggle to find more money to put aside.

How to reach your goal

Life and career coach Honey Langcaster-James provided these tips for Ford Money:

◆ Create a realistic monthly savings plan by factoring in little treats every so often. You should never completely starve yourself of life’s indulgences as it can make it more difficult to stick to your plan.

◆ Start early. It’s always easier to maintain good savings habits if you begin when you’re younger. However, it’s never too late. The earlier you start saving, the more you will benefit from compound interest, which will feel particularly rewarding. This means you’ll earn interest on the interest you receive each year. This kind of bonus can help keep you motivated.

◆ Consider having a no-spend week each month. Prepare for it the week before and try to refrain from buying anything you haven’t planned for. An exercise in self-discipline can make you more confident in your ability to manage savings effectively.