First Time Buyers Ultimate Guide Ireland 2022

First Time Buyers Ireland
First Time Buyers Ireland

With house building ramping up and new homes starting to come on stream, many are starting to dream of owning their first home once again.

By using a combination of the grants available to you, equity release from the family home and the right mortgage lender, that new home might be closer than you think.

Times are still tough for First Time Buyers due to rising prices and some of the tightest lending rules in Europe.

Don’t despair though, with the right approach First Time Buyers may still be able to get a foot on the property ladder.

By using the Help to Buy grant, plus a gift from your parents funded through equity release you can increase the size of your deposit and steal a march on other would be buyers.

In our First Time Buyer Ultimate Guide Ireland 2022, we’ll give you the full run down on everything you need to know if you are a first time buyer, plus some insider tips to help you get your dream home.

1. Who qualifies as a First Time Buyer? First Time Buyers Ireland 2022

To qualify as a First Time Buyer you can’t have had a mortgage before.

If you have ever taken out a mortgage under your name either in Ireland or overseas, you are no longer considered a First Time Buyer.

The good news though is you still count as a First Time Buyer if you previously inherited a house or bought outright. It’s only taking out a mortgage previously that disqualifies you from being a First Time Buyer.

Importantly if there are two people going on the mortgage, both must never had a mortgage before to qualify as a First Time Buyer.

2. How much can I borrow? First Time Buyers Ireland 2022?

The amount you can borrow is set by two things. First the Central Bank lending limits and secondly your mortgage lender’s credit policy.

Central Bank Lending Limits

The Irish Central Bank’s lending limits are some of the tightest in the world, so these are usually the biggest hurdle that needs to be overcome. [1]

The absolute maximum you can borrow under Central bank limits is 4.5 times your annual gross household income, however lenders are only allowed to go this high on 20% of mortgages. These are known as exceptions, 80% of mortgages must be under 3.5 times annual gross household income.

Typically lenders want any loans over 3.5 to go to what they see as the lowest risk customers. So these ‘exceptions’ go to people later in life who are the very highest earners and have lower living expenses than most First Time Buyers.

For the vast majority of First Time Buyers then, the maximum you can lend will be 3.5 times your annual gross household income. So this is how it usually works.

  • Kate earns €34,000 gross per annum, €24,000 basic and €10,000 last year in bonuses
  • Liam earns €30,000 gross per annum, €20,000 basic and €10,000 in commission last year

So their joint gross annual income is €64,000 per annum.

The Central Bank limit of 3.5 will allow them to borrow up to a maximum of €224,000.

Lender Credit Policy

On top of the Central Bank limits lenders apply a second set of rules to assess if you will be able to repay the mortgage.

These differ significantly from lender to lenders. By way of example some lenders discount bonus and commission payments completely and others bump up salary contributions if you are in certain professions with job security.

More generally the lender looks at your earning and spending history in the last 6 months to work out how much income will you have left over after you have covered your commitments.

The more money they think you will have left over the more they are likely to lend you.

This makes picking the lender who maximises your earnings and maximising how much you put by in the 6 months before applying for a mortgage really important.

It can even help you get hold of one of those precious mortgage exceptions.

Look for a mortgage broker who has access to all the lenders in the market as some lenders are only available via a broker.

3. What Deposit do I need for a First Time Buyer mortgage? Ireland 2022

The minimum amount of deposit you need to buy is also set by the Central Bank of Ireland.

The good news is that as a First Time Buyer you only need to put down 10% of the properties purchase price upfront. Second time buyers have to stump up a whopping 20% for the deposit.

That said it still makes sense to maximise your deposit if you can.

Ramping up the deposit reduces the mortgage size, which can knock thousands off the interest you will pay or may even help you afford a property that the Central Bank rules may have put out of reach.

With spiralling rents eating into your savings, how can you maximise your deposit?

4. What are the latest help schemes for First Time Buyers? First Time Buyers Ireland 2022

The Help to Buy scheme allows first time buyers to claim 10% of their property value to help them pay a deposit on newly built homes.

It’s a Government tax refund scheme and in order to claim, you must have paid the equivalent amount of 10% of your property value in tax in the previous 4 years before moving into your new home. 

In order to claim from this scheme, your home must be valued at €500,000 or less. 

The most you can claim is €30,000, so if your home is valued at more than €300,000, you still can only receive €30,000 max.

You may be able to bump up your deposit further with a gift from friends or relatives. The usual route for first time buyers is through their parents, commonly known as the ‘bank of mum and dad’.

It’s unlikely that your parents have fifty grand lying about the house, but they may have equity tied up in the family home that they can access to provide cash for a deposit via a process known as equity release. Equity release allows home owners who have paid down part of their mortgage to get a tax free cash lump some to fund a deposit for their family members or others.

By releasing equity on the family home parents can gifts their kids up to €330,000 tax free, this may be an attractive option for them if the kids are still taking up room on the family couch or wasting thousand of euro’s in rent.

5. Insider Tips for First Time Buyers Ireland 2022

  1. Work with a mortgage broker who will match you with a lender that maximises your mortgage
  2. Reduce your outgoings in the 6 months before applying for a mortgage to maximise your loan
  3. Save as much as you can yourself for a deposit
  4. Top up your deposit with the Help to Buy scheme
  5. Consider equity release as an option to further increase your deposit and purchasing power

By maximising your deposit and working with a broker with access to all potential lenders, first time buyers will make the most of their chances of securing their dream home.

Next Steps – First Time Buyers Ireland 2022

Are you a first time buyer wanting to find a mortgage for your new property? Contact one of our mortgage sherpas today free of charge!

Trying to save money as a first time buyer? Check out our top ten saving tips in Ireland here!

Want to learn more about the first time buyers help to buy scheme here or equity release here.

If you have any questions about lenders or switching mortgages feel free to contact our QFA mortgage sherpas here at moneysherpa.

Ulster Bank Closure Who Should I Switch to? Ireland 2022

ulsterbank
ulster bank closure

The impending Ulster Bank closure and the pull out of KBC this year from the Irish market is set to cause significant customer disruption.

There are over 1 million accounts and an estimated 500,000 customers with Ulster Bank and a further 300,000 with KBC. Dwarfing the scale of previous bank closures from Anglo, Danke Bank etc..

Closure notices for Ulster Bank customers are drop through customer’s doors by the end of March 2022 giving Ulster bank customers 6 months to switch to another bank, before your account is closed.

If you don’t switch by then, you will be simply issued a cheque with your remaining balance.

If you a have a mortgage with Ulster Bank this is set to be transferred to PTSB, but with PTSB’s rates some of the highest in the market it probably makes sense to look at switching that as well.

So what options are left for best current account, savings and mortgage?

Don’t panic there are some better and less expensive options out there than Ulster Bank and switching may not be as difficult as you think.

Switching Current Account – Ulster Bank Closure Ireland 2022

Best Digital Only Bank

If you don’t need to lodge cash or cheques then the Digital only banks N26 or Revolut are great options.

They have no monthly fees, the lowest once off fees and the best apps on the market. With features from kids accounts to trading in bit coin already built in and a really slick user experience.

They are also both covered under the EU Deposit Guarantees up to €100,000 the same as the non Digital banks.

One thing to watch out for though is some employers on old payroll systems may struggle with the EU Iban. This will only be a minority of employers however as under EU law everyone should have upgraded their payroll systems a number of years ago to be SEPA compliant.

Revolut already has 1.7 million customers in Ireland and recently became a full bank, so that’s why they are our pick of the bunch.

However, if you still need to lodge cash or cheques you have two options. Get someone with a traditional bank account to do it to their account and then send you the money or get yourself a traditional account from one of the banks below.

Traditional Banks

If digital only isn’t an option for you there are now 5 other more traditional banks you can choose from for your current account. The interest on all these accounts is pretty much irrelevant as it is so low, so what you are looking for is low fees.

If you don’t use your ATM regularly An Post or your local Credit union may be a good options. Both of these come in at €60 a year in fees. However, An Post charge 60c per per withdrawal and your Credit Union will charge around around the same so this can mount up quickly if you head to the cash machine once a week.

In that case we would recommend PTSB’s current account. It’s slightly more pricey at €72 a month, but withdrawals are free.

Switching Saving Accounts – Ulster Bank Closure Ireland 2022

Deposit interest rates are at record lows of around 0.5% with inflation heading for 8% or more, you should probably look at talking to a financial advisor if you have €10K or more to invest.

Investments can yield 4% per annum or more depending on the risk level and can help take the edge of inflation.

If you still want the security of a guaranteed rate the best rates are to be found from banks outside of Ireland. You can access rates up to 1.15% from banks across Europe on raisin.ie or consider a state saving account with around 0.6% interest rates.

If you have less than €10,000 squirrelled away then you may be better off leaving it or transferring it to your current account. The Digital Banks offer the ability for you to separate from your daily account with ‘vaults’ or ‘money jar’ features on their apps.

Switching Mortgages – Ulster Bank Closure Ireland 2022

Ulster Bank have sold their existing mortgages to PTSB and KBC to Bank of Ireland. This means if you have a mortgage with either you and your mortgage will transfer.

PTSB and Bank of Ireland have the highest mortgage rates in the market so many Ulster and KBC customers are considering switching to a different lender. If you are in your fixed rate period then PTSB and Bank of Ireland will have to honour those rates, but after that they could choose to hike rates increasing your monthly repayments.

Ulster’s non tracker rates range from 3.5% to 3.9% which are already some of the highest in the market.

So a typical Ulster mortgage customer on their 3.5% variable rate, with €150,000 remaining over 15 years would save €106 a month by switching to the best deal on the market, that’s more than €19,000 over their remaining term and would avoid the risk of a future rate hike.

Avant Money are offering €1,500 upfront for anyone switching their mortgage from Ulster Bank or KBC. The offer is available until the 31st of March and targets customers thinking of switching from Ulster & KBC as both exit the Irish market this year.

Switching costs are usually around €1,500 for solicitor and valuation fees combined, so this offer will make switching from Ulster and KBC effectively free.

At moneysherpa for example we offer an all in legal package including all outlays for €1,200 including VAT, while estate agent valuation fees are typically around €200. So €1,400 all in.

The repayment calculation is based on switching to Avant Money’s 5 Year fixed rate and using the switching offer to cover their upfront costs.

If you are a tracker however, sit tight. Any new owner will have to honour your existing terms.

You can see how much higher PTSB and Bank of Ireland rates are in the table below.

Compare
Follow on Rates
up to
50% LTV
Follow on Rate
up to
60% LTV
Follow on Rate
up to
70% LTV
Follow on Rate
up to
80% LTV
Follow on Rate
up to
90% LTV
Follow on Rate
Avant Money2.00%2.00%2.00%2.20%2.20%
ICS Mortgages2.45%2.45%2.45%2.70%2.70%
Finance Ireland2.75%2.95%2.95%2.95%3.15%
Haven Mortgages2.75%2.95%2.95%2.95%3.15%
AIB2.75%2.95%2.95%2.95%3.15%
KBC3.00%3.00%3.05%3.05%3.3%
Ulster Bank3.50%3.50%3.70%3.70%3.90%
EBS3.30%3.50%3.5%3.50%3.70%
Permanent TSB3.70%3.70%3.70%3.70%3.90%
Bank of Ireland3.90%3.90%4.20%4.20%4.50%
Probable follow on variable rates post fixed period based on current variable rates by provider

Switching Next Steps – Ulster Bank Closure Ireland 2022

If you have an account with Ulster Bank you will have to switch it in the next month, so act now to beat the rush.

  • Best Current Account – Revolut
  • Best Savings Account – Raisin.ie

When it comes to mortgages Ulster didn’t have great rates to start with (3.5%-3.9%) and have now been bought out by one of the banks with the highest mortgage rates in the State, PTSB, so now is a good time to switch to save now and to avoid higher rates down the line.

You can calculate your mortgage repayment switching savings here.

This applies for anyone with with a variable rate around 50% of Ulster Bank mortgage holders. If you are still in your fixed rate period then sit tight until you are 3 months from the end then speak to a broker. If you are on a tracker don’t worry, the new owner will have to honour your existing terms.

You can book a free appointment to check out if you would save here.

Equity Release Ireland 2022 – How to Release Cash from your Home

Mortgage Top Up

Looking to free up the cash locked up in your home? Equity release can free up cash tied up in your home for holidays, gifting to the kids, home improvements, a new car and more. It can also be a good way to solve financial issues like paying off other debts, freeing up cash for a divorce settlement or to help your kids get on the property ladder.

Equity Release Ireland 2022

Equity Release is only open to people over 55 in Ireland, in this article we will give you the lowdown on whether Equity Release is right for you and what options are available. If you are under 55 your can still free up cash from your home with a mortgage top up.

Equity Release comes in two flavours,

  • Lifetime Loan – You get a tax free loan which you pay off plus interest when you move out and sell.
  • Home Reversion – You get a tax free lump sum for selling a portion of your home, but are able to continue living there.

Both types of equity release can be a good solution if you need cash, but want to stay in your home and are becoming increasingly popular. You can talk to an an expert equity release advisor here.

The option that’s best for you depends on your particular circumstances so read on to find our if equity release is right for you and which type would be the right option.

  1. What Is It and How Does It Work? – Equity Release Ireland 2022
  2. Equity Release Alternatives – Equity Release Ireland 2022
  3. Equity Release Pros and Cons – Equity Release Ireland 2022
  4. Equity Release Top Tips – Equity Release Ireland 2022
  5. In a Nutshell – Equity Release Ireland 2022

What Is It and How does It Work? – Equity Release Ireland 2022

Equity is the cash you would get if you were to sell your home right now. This is the difference between the value of your house and what you still owe on it.

Equity release products are a way of getting at the value locked away in your home without having to sell up and move out. In return for letting you get your hands on the cash right now though, you will have to give more of your homes value away to the financial providers when you eventually move out.

Equity Release is becoming increasingly popular, in the UK over half a million people have released equity from their home. As well as paying off their debts many have used the cash freed up to help their kids get a foothold on the property ladder, giving over £5 Billion to their children through equity release.

According to a recent study in the UK these are the main things that people did with the cash they freed up from Equity Release.

  • Repay other debts (51%)
  • Take a holiday (20%)
  • Improve lifestyle overall (19%)
  • Give to kids (including as a deposit on a new home) (16%)
  • Make home and garden improvements (15%)

There are two providers of Equity Release products currently in Ireland, Spry Finance and Home Plus, both of whom have been in Ireland for decades and are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Life Time Loan

Spry Finance offer what is know as a Lifetime Loan. This is the most popular form of equity release where you borrow some of your home’s value at a fixed interest rate.

You can choose to either leave the repayments to when you move out and sell your home or pay off some of the interest monthly. If you don’t make any monthly payments the interest that builds up will eat into what is left over from the sale of your property for you or your family when you do move out though.

The Spry Equity Release product guarantees however that the money you will have to repay at the point of sale will never be bigger than the value of your home, so you won’t pass on any debt to your family.

Home Reversion

Home Plus offer the other type of equity release, known as Home Reversion. With Home Reversion the provider pays you a tax free lump sum for a portion of your home at a discount to the market price.

So when the property is sold you (or your family/estate) and the provider split the proceeds depending on the share they have purchased. So if house prices have risen since your sold a share of your property you will benefit less.

Equity Release Alternatives – Equity Release Ireland 2022

Before we go any further the question you need to ask yourself is

Is Equity Release Right for Me?

There is a cost to Equity Release either in the interest rate you pay with a lifetime loan, typically around 5.5%, or in the discounted price that is offered for a share of your property with a home reversion.

That’s why you should consider your alternatives carefully before making any commitments.

Down Sizing

Although current mortgage interest payments are at record lows, interest payments really mount up over longer periods. An option that doesn’t involve paying more in interest or discounting your home value is to sell up and move to a smaller property.

You will probably incur around €1,500 in solicitor and valuer fees in the process, but this is much less than you would pay in interest or discount, so financially speaking is a much better option than equity release.

If you’re settled in an area emotionally this can be a big wrench, so you will have to balance the cost to your quality of life with the financial cost of equity release to come to a final decision on what’s best.

Equity Release Pros and Cons – Equity Release Ireland 2022

So here’s some of the key things to consider when thinking about Equity Release

Pros

  • You can access cash now and continue to live in your home
  • You can’t lose your home while you live there, it’s insured and in good condition
  • You won’t leave any debt to your kids due to the “No Negative Equity” guarantee
  • You are free to do whatever you like with the cash you free up

Cons

  • Cost through interest (lifetime loan) or discounted sale price (home reversion)
  • Costs to arrange a solicitor and valuer for your home, around €2,000 in total
  • Potential impact on means tested social security benefits
  • Lack of flexibility (you may not be able to downsize later or pay off as early as you’d like)

Equity Release Top Tips – Equity Release Ireland 2022

1) Release your equity in phases

If you are thinking about a lifetime loan you don’t need to take it all out at once. By taking it out over time you can reduce the overall amount of interest that you will pay.

There is no point in having cash from your lifetime loan sat in the bank not being used and earning no interest. So only take out what you need to reduce the interest you pay on the lifetime loan overall.

While we are on the subject never release equity to fund speculative investments, focus on taking out the minimum you need for your own use.

2) Talk to those who might be effected

If your thinking of Equity Release it may make sense for you to talk to members of your family who may be effected.

If you are going to take cash out of the value of your home now, that means there will be less cash from the sale of your home if you die or have to move into long term care.

This can cause issues with family members who may see the family home as part of their ‘inheritance’.

There is obviously no legal reason you have to discuss your decision with them, but it can save some heartache when your decision to take equity release comes to light later on down the track.

3) Get advice

Equity Release is a big decision and you should get advice and guidance through the process from a qualified financial advisor and a solicitor.

If you use a qualified financial advisor who has an appointment with Spry Finance or Home Plus from the Central bank of Ireland they will probably be free to use, as the providers will cover their costs. You can get in touch with a qualified financial advisor who can talk you through how to get a lifetime loan or home reversion here.

You will have to pay for a solicitor, with fees ranging from €1,200 to €2,500 depending on who you use. We recommend Colm O’Cochlain & Co who operate nationwide as they specialise in equity release arrangements and operate nationwide. Please quote moneysherpa if you want to secure the best rate.

In a Nutshell – Equity Release Ireland 2022

Equity release is growing in popularity if you’re over 55 as a way to free up much needed cash from your home and still continue to live there. If you’re under 55 the equivalent is a top up mortgage.

You can use it for yourself or to free up cash for your kids, often to help them get on the housing ladder. It is relatively costly compared to downsizing so you need to weigh the pros and cons of both.

If you do want to go ahead with equity release you should get qualified financial advice.

The most common way to release equity is through a lifetime loan, the only provider of these in Ireland right now is Spry Finance who are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

What’s next – Equity Release Ireland 2022

You can get in touch with a qualified financial advisor who can talk you through how to get a lifetime loan or home reversion here or you can check out moneysherpa’s reviews of the two equity release players in the Irish market Spry Finance lifetime loan review and Home Plus home reversion review.

You can get more detail on lifetime loans, home reversion and equity release from the CCPC [1].

Help to buy scheme Ireland 2022- What it is and how you could claim €30,000

Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2021
Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022

The Help to Buy Scheme Ireland 2022 allows first time buyers in Ireland to claim 10% of the value of their property, which can be anywhere up to €30,000. 

In this article, I will be going into detail about how the Help to Buy scheme works, what you have to do to qualify, how much can be available to you, how to get your taxes refunded, how to get up to date on your taxes so you can qualify, and finally how to apply.

1.How does the Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022 work?

2. How do I know if I qualify for the Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022?

3. How much is available to me from the Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022?

4.How will I receive my tax refund from the Help to Buy scheme 2022?

5.How can I get up-to-date on my taxes for the Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022?

6.How can I apply to the Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022?

7. A summary of The Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022. 

1. How does the Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022 work?

Untitled design 10 1 edited

The Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022 is a Government tax refund scheme.

It allows first time buyers to claim 10% of their property value to help them pay deposits on newly built homes.

This incentive offered by the Irish Government lasts until the 31st of December, 2022.

In order to claim from the Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022, you must have paid the equivalent amount of 10% of your property value in tax in the previous 4 years before moving into your new home. 

This refers to Income Tax and DIRT.  You cannot claim from USC or PRSI. 

Don’t worry too much if you feel that you haven’t paid enough tax to qualify, as in actual fact most people in Ireland likely have paid 10% of their property tax within 4 years and can therefore apply to have their tax refunded for their new home under the Help to Buy scheme. 

2. How do I know if I qualify for the Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022?

htb 5 edited 1

Even if all your taxes are up to date, there are still some more conditions that you need to take into consideration before applying to this scheme.

In order to qualify, you must-

  • Be a first time buyer in Ireland and outside of Ireland.
  • Be moving in with an applicant who is also a first time buyer if more than one person will be purchasing the home, ie) if one applicant is not a first time buyer then you cannot qualify for this scheme. 
  • Be moving into a newly built or self built home.
  • Be using the property as your principal private residence for 5 years.
  • Be moving into a home that isn’t a conversion or restoration, however a conversion of a non-domestic home into a domestic home can qualify. 
  • Be moving into a home worth less than €500,000.
  • Have a mortgage with a loan to value of 70%. For example, if you are purchasing a home worth €200,000, your mortgage must be €175,000.
  • Not pay for home in cash. 
  • Not be an investor or landlord.
  • Not be using property for investment purposes. 
  • Have a solicitor or contractor registered with the Revenue Commission.

While it may seem that there are many conditions to this scheme, remember that this incentive is to help first time buyers get on the property ladder. 

Therefore if you are a first time buyer and have been tax compliant in the 4 years before moving into your new property, you will most likely be able to qualify for this scheme. 

3. How much is available to me from the Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022?

htb 1 1 edited

Under the Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022, first time buyers can claim, 

  • 10% of the purchase price of their new build, for example a home worth €200,000 can claim €20,000.
  • The amount of Income Tax and DIRT paid in the previous 4 years before moving.

Or for self-builds, 

  • 10% completion value of their self-build home. 

In order to claim from this scheme, your home must be valued at €500,000 or less. 

The most you can claim from this scheme is €30,000, meaning that even if your home is valued at more than €300,000, you still can only receive €30,000 max.

Value of propertyRates Total claim received
€300,00010%€30,000
€400,00010%€30,000- cannot receive more than €30,000.

4.How will I receive my tax refund from the Help to Buy scheme 2022?

htb 2 1 edited

So if you qualify for this scheme, your tax refund will be paid to you depending on your property. 

If you buy a new build after 1 January 2017 (4 years ago), the refund is paid directly to the builder.

If you self-build the property after 1 January 2017, the refund is paid to a bank account you hold with your loan provider.

This money can be used to help first-time buyers cover the costs of their deposits.

5. How do I get my taxes up to date for the Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022?

htb 3 1 edited

In order to claim from this scheme, you must be fully tax compliant and all your taxes must be up to date. 

However if your taxes are not up to date, you must complete a Form 12 if you are a PAYE earner or a Form 11 if you are self-employed.

You must fill out these tax forms in the 4 year period before you move into your new home and pay any outstanding taxes. 

6. How can I apply to the Help to Buy scheme Ireland 2022?

htb 4 1 edited

If you think you qualify for the help to buy scheme Ireland, then you should go to Revenues MyAccount service, where you will be told how much tax refund is available to you as well as apply. 

7. In a Nutshell – Help to Buy Scheme Ireland 2022

Untitled design 11 edited

In short, the Help to buy scheme 2022 is a great incentive for new first time buyers who are looking to find their way into today’s housing market.

If you are looking to buy a new home as a first time buyer then this scheme is designed to help you.

That is why we at moneysherpa believe you should check to see if you’re eligible for this scheme and apply as soon as you can before it ends on the 31st of December, 2022.

Next Steps – Help to Buy Scheme Ireland 2022

Wanting to find a mortgage for your new property? Contact one of our mortgage sherpas today free of charge or you get provisional approval in 5 minutes with our instant approval calculator, so you can get going and view some properties!

Want to see how much you could potentially save? Use our savings potential calculator here!

If you have any questions about lenders or switching mortgages feel free to contact our QFA mortgage sherpas here at moneysherpa.

Should I make AVC Pension Contributions Ireland? How do returns compare?

AVC Pension Contribution
AVC Pension Contributions

With lockdowns limiting options for spending last year, legions of ‘accidental savers’ were created across the country. This has opened up the opportunity for many to make AVC pension contributions in Ireland.

Saving deposits nationally reached a record €126 Billion, up by €15 Billion. With 44% of people saving over €5,600 in that period.

All this means while the pandemic brought financial hardship to some, others have found themselves with an unexpected savings nest egg. 

  1. Need for returns – AVC Pension Contributions Ireland
  2. We have lift off – AVC Pension Contributions Ireland
  3. Sound too good to be true? – AVC Pension Contributions Ireland
  4. Pensions unpacked – AVC Pension Contributions Ireland
  5. What does that mean for you? – AVC Pension Contributions Ireland
  6. What’s next? – AVC Pension Contributions Ireland

So if you need the lowdown on how increasing your AVC pension contributions compares to other investment options you have come to the right place!

Need for returns – AVC Pension Contributions Ireland

With banks looking to start charging savers to keep their money in the bank and inflation on the horizon, many Irish savers are looking for ways to protect and grow that nest egg.

Savers across Ireland have ploughed money into the old favourite residential property. This rush coupled with limited supply has pushed property rents and prices higher, up 3.7% this year. The new favourite seems to be crypto currencies, with Irish savers investing 92% more than savers in Britain, France and Spain.

Putting all your eggs into one basket is never wise, but especially when your basket swings wildly back and forth. Both property and crypto currencies are famously volatile. Even these risky options might not yield the mega returns investors are seeking as the revenue will take between 33% and 41% of your returns in tax.

The magic of investing is in the mathematical process of compounding. When applied to returns, 20% growth per year = doubling your money every 4 years.  

Albert Einstein is reported to have said “The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest”.

Business Insider

Tax though acts like a handbrake on returns, slowing speed your savings take off. So what to do?

We have lift off – AVC Pension Contributions Ireland

EXPONENTIAL GROWTH

What if I was to tell you that there is an investing vehicle that is fully regulated, 100% tax free and has delivered returns of 8.24% per year on average for the last 36 years.

Turning a €10,000 of savings into €60,000 of savings in that time.  Even better, what if I was to tell you in many cases your employer will double your money turning your savings into €120,000.

Sound too good to be true? – AVC Pension Contributions Ireland

Well it’s not, because what I’ve just described is called a pension. Stay with me here, the humble pension is the most under appreciated investment opportunity ever. Getting a private pension or increasing your AVC pension contributions is the best way to maximise that opportunity.

It’s secret sauce is that because it’s sheltered from tax it can unleash the full force of compound interest, growing your wealth exponentially. It’s also not as complex as some like to make out.

Pensions unpacked – AVC Pension Contributions Ireland

As long as you are ok to commit your savings and returns until a certain age, which can be as early as 50 in some cases, the tax man will let you have 100% of the returns. That’s all a pension is, a committed tax free savings pot [1].

If you start up a private pension, you are creating your own private tax shelter, when you look at it like that why wouldn’t you maximise your AVC pension contributions?

What you invest in that savings pot: cash, gold, shares, property, crypto etc.. is entirely up to you, as is the level of risk.

What does that mean for you? – AVC Pension Contributions Ireland

If you have any savings, seriously consider starting a private pension, or if you have a pension through work increase your AVC pension contributions. There is a real opportunity for some coming out of lockdown to secure their financial future.

The good news is you don’t have to do all the financial planning yourself, initial financial advice from a financial advisor is usually free according to Brendan Nordon of DFP Pension & Investments.

Brendan Nordon Colour Avatar

“Getting financially fit is really important and now is a great opportunity to put yourself on the right path. We can help advise on what option is the right one for you.”

Brendan Nordon DFP Pensions & Investments


If you are one of the 44% of Irish people to have put extra money by during lockdown, don’t waste it. Talk to a financial advisor and they will help get you started today.

What’s next? – AVC Pension Contributions Ireland

If you want to know more about our saving and financial planning you can read our guides here.

If you want to talk to a financial advisor about your pensions check out our recommended financial advisors here.

If you want to know about transferring your defined benefit pension to a defined contribution pension you can check out Brendan’s article on the subject here.

5 Top Student Money Tips, Ireland 2021

student money tips
student money tips

Read on to get the best student money tips available to Irish teens. As a teen myself I spent hours looking for the best financial advice specifically for teenagers, both online and from people I know.

After investigating I have found that as a teen you are  taught little about finance, this lack of knowledge can leave many teenagers strapped for cash and struggling to afford basic necessities. This article aims to help fill in the gaps for teens where the education system comes up short.

The really great news is it’s not as hard as you think to get into good money habits. With the right information and coaching, teen finance won’t be a problem.

Here’s the 5 financial tips to make you the teenage Elon Musk.

1. Time is Money – Student Money Tips

2. Track your spending – Student Money Tips

3. Not all debt is bad – Student Money Tips

4. Go to College/University – Student Money Tips

5. Get a Summer Job – Student Money Tips

6. What’s Next? – Student Money Tips

student money tips

1. Time is Money – Student Money Tips

As a teen, you’ve probably heard this a thousand times, time is money. Literally, all you need is time to make money.

Just lump a bunch of money into a long term investment and watch your money grow. Teenagers don’t have much resources available to them but generally teens and older people alike don’t realise how valuable time is because of something called compound interest.

Most people don’t realise the power of compound interest where your returns in year 1 boost your returns in year 2 etc..

When your young is the perfect time to start long term investing, but you should always get help from parents or professionals before investing in things like crypto or the stock market as you could lose all your money. Stupidly putting your money in Dogecoin could mean being in severe debt by the time you hit college.

Short term investing is often compared to gambling because the stock market and crypto are extremely unpredictable. Famously a monkey was able to make more money from the stock market than 9 out of ten professional traders on the stock market.

Long term investing is much safer and has bigger rewards. It’s a win win.

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2. Track your Spending – Student Money Tips

Although this might seem insignificant, believe me when I say keeping track of the stupid things you’ve impulse bought really helps you avoid dumb purchases in the future. Its also useful because in a lot of cases you don’t realise what’s draining your bank account, things like going out too much to a snickers addiction can make your money disappear without you even realising it.

Always remember how much you have in your bank account before buying non essential items, You don’t want to go without heat for a week because you decided to have a drunken pool noodle fight with your roommates.

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3. Not all debt is bad debt – Student Money Tips

It should go without saying, being in debt to things like payday loans is just terrible, but debt like mortgages generally can’t be avoided and have a relatively low interest rate compared to other loans. If you go your whole life without debt like mortgages, chances are you’ll be homeless due to how expensive houses are nowadays.

This doesn’t mean you should welcome all debt with open arms, as taking out loans for luxury items will always come back to bite you due to high interest rates, but if you’re starting up a business or taking out a loan for investments, debt should be worth it.

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4. Go to College/University – Student Money Tips

There is a lot of stigma about people not being able to afford College and Universities, but that generally comes from the States as their prices for University is about 40`000 a year whereas in Ireland its about 3000 a year. 3000 is still a lot of money and chances are to afford living and tuition fees you’ll need to be extremely money smart but the pros of going to college vastly outweigh the cons. 

Non grads have almost twice the unemployment rate as people who have gone to college and make on average around 10000 less. You may have also heard of super rich business men like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates dropping out of college as well but you must remember again that they’re American where the prices of college are much higher and most people who drop out will not make as much as people who went to college. They also left to start the businesses that made them the billionaires they are today.

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5. Get a Summer Job – Student Money Tips

If you are a college student, a summer job is basically essential to afford tuition and living costs. Not have a nervous breakdown over being able to afford a sandwich for lunch is amazing and helps you focus more on your studies.

It also helps to have a diverse and full portfolio for your cv when you go into the world of work. Employers like to see that you have experience working no matter what the job is and they also like jobs that show you have a multitude of skills.

What’s next – Student Money Tips

So to summarize,

1. Don’t take your time for granted, it’s extremely valuable. 

2. Always remember what you spend your money on, make a budget with this information. 

3. Not all debt is bad, some debt just helps you make more money further down the road. 

4. Going to college is basically essential to get high paying jobs 

5. A summer job should really help with finances and getting a job in the future.

If you want more help with money saving and investing for the future check out our other money saving articles.

Irish Women Lead in Financial Literacy, New Irish Money Guide Survey Shows

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financial literacy

Financial literacy is crucial to having successful financial outcomes, yet only 55% of people in Ireland understand 3 out of the ‘big 4’ financial concepts [1]. This is almost 20% lower than in the UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Drilling into the data for Ireland the new moneysherpa study has three main takeaways.

  • The 18-44 age group is 20% further behind the curve than older age groups
  • Dublin lags rest of the country for financial literacy
  • Unlike findings in most other countries Irish women are 15% ahead of men when it comes to financial savvy

Read on to find out, why financial literacy matters, what the ‘big four’ concepts you need to know are and the Irish survey findings.

If you want to check out your own financial literacy score, you can take our financial literacy test.

Why financial literacy matters

Financial literacy matters more now than ever. According to a recent survey conducted by Laya healthcare, the single biggest source of worry for Irish people today is financial worry [2].

In an increasingly dog eat dog financial world where traditional safety nets like defined benefit pensions and jobs for life have fallen away, Irish consumers need to be able to financially fend for themselves.

Yet study after study has shown we are singularly unprepared for this task, with young people in particular lacking the basic skills and knowledge to make smart financial decisions.

Anne Richards, CEO of Fidelity International one of the largest financial providers in the world, believes real world money maths matters “Armies of people leave school knowing their SOHCAHTOA [trigonometry]” she said “perhaps teaching children and young students the building blocks of how mortgages, credit cards, insurance and pensions work … might be more useful.”

Financial Times

The good news is that these building blocks can be boiled down to just 4 fundamental concepts that are easy to learn and teach.

The ‘big four’ concepts you need to know

The 4 concepts behind financial literacy are very straightforward, yet over 66% of people worldwide failed to get 3 out 4 of them correct in the S&P Finlit survey.

  1. Diversification, spreading risk to reduce the overall level of risk = “never put all your eggs in one basket.”
  2. Inflation, the value of money isn’t fixed, it is simply a function of what you can buy with it.
  3. Numeracy, 2 + 2 does equal 4, good basic arithmetic is the cost of entry for financial literacy
  4. Compound Interest, is the interest you earn on your money, plus the interest it’s already accrued

The last one compound interest is a particularly slippery customer, because of the powerful mathematical process that lies behind it.

Albert Einstein is said to have called compounding “the most powerful force in the universe.”

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world,” Einstein reportedly said. “He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it.”

Inc.com

The exponential growth curve that results from compounding is often hard for us to get our head around and the source of many financial mis steps.

Irish financial literacy survey deep dive findings

18-44 age group under prepared for financial decisions

Irish Financial Literacy by Age 1

The moneysherpa survey shows that the 18-44 age group are over 20% less financially literate than the 45-64 age group.

This is crucial as it is at this stage many of life’s critical financial decisions are made. Financial mistakes made before 44 are quite literally compounded as the years roll by.

By the time we reach our peak financially at 45+, the decisions we have made on our pensions and mortgage may have set us on a path that it is hard to break from.

Dublin lags the rest of the country in financial literacy

Literacy by Region 1

Generally financial literacy falls in line with economic development. As Ireland’s economic powerhouse you might expect Dublin to lead the country in financial literacy.

In fact Dublin financial literacy is 5% lower than in the rest of the country.

In a region with higher income levels and house prices, low levels of financial literacy could have long term consequences.

Irish women bucking world wide financial literacy trend

Literacy by Gender 2

In countries rich and poor around the world financial literacy surveys have consistently shown women coming out around 15% lower than men in financial literacy.

This is usually attributed to cultural factors or access to education, reducing both financial confidence and knowledge.

Interestingly the Irish survey data shows women leading men in financial literacy by 15%. Turning the trend seen elsewhere completely on its head.

Maybe Brehon Law has something to do with it…

Test your own financial literacy

At this point you may be wondering how you would score for financial savvy. Our quickfire 5 question quiz tests you for the same concepts used in the survey and S&P Finlit report, gives you a score and will point you in the right direction if you get any answers wrong!

Financial literacy quiz

Is it safer to put money into one business or many?


In a nutshell – Financial Literacy

Financial literacy in Ireland is almost 20% lower than in other Northern European countries and is particularly low in Irish men aged 18-44.

Only 55% of people in Ireland understand 3 out of the ‘big 4’ financial concepts. Almost 20% lower than in the UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.

  • The 18-44 age group is 20% further behind the curve than older age groups
  • Dublin lags rest of the country for financial literacy
  • Unlike findings in most other countries Irish women are 15% ahead of men when it comes to financial savvy

If you want to learn more about how to manage your finances check out our six steps to money zen guide here.

If you are after saving tips you can go here or use our calculators to help save with mortgages and more here.

Survey Methodology

The moneysherpa financial literacy survey was conducted over 3 days from April 30th 2021. Using a statistically valid sample, weighted to align with Irish demographic data. The questions were based on the 2015 S&P finlit survey and various OECD reports. Irish data is given as comparative across segments only to allow for differences in data collection across the various finlit data sources used.

Investing in Ireland, shares v other Investments. Jan 2021 expert view

investing in ireland
009 shares

I offer investment advice to Irish financial advisors, and my role is to help my clients make the right choices, at the right time, when looking to invest in Ireland. This article cuts through all the noise to give you the information you need to make better investment choices. If you’re Investing in Ireland here’s what you need to know in 2021.

Share valuations are at record highs versus company earnings and markets are jumpy with COVID-19 still at large. Yet given the potential risks, equity stocks must still be viewed as a sound investment in the current climate, as we look forward to multiple vaccine roll-outs, upgraded growth forecasts and continued central bank and government support.

A recent investor survey highlights a shift in investor sentiment, as investors look to move away from over owned US markets, driving an increased capital flow to value opportunities across Europe and other regional markets

In particular, UK stocks may offer the best value opportunity of all, as the market with a notable lack of technology stocks starts to play out a post-Brexit catch-up. Although the Brexit drama has resulted in a notable “skinny trade deal”, UK equities have a lot of ground to make up on Global markets performance since the referendum in mid-2016.

After a bit of a battering in recent months, gold has bounced back and is a good way to balance out your investment in shares. The need for diversification will drive continued demand for gold, amongst the unprecedented money printing by central banks at present.

Read on to get more Investing in Ireland insights including

Party like it’s 1921  – vaccine a shot in the arm for shares in 2021

Don’t fight the fed – why government policy will continue to prop up long term share valuations

Sanity Clause – Brexit done, British shares to bounce back in 2021?

In a nutshell – the vaccine, stimulus & brexit triple booster

What next? – Further investing in Ireland insights

Party like it’s 1921  – vaccine a shot in the arm for shares in 2021

The western world faces into the new year armed with 3 effective vaccines to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inoculation programmes cannot come at a moment too soon. COVID-19 is currently surfing its third major wave since the pandemic erupted. In Ireland, caseloads have exploded, with the fastest-growing infection rate across the EU. Straining the capacity of the healthcare system and prompting severe lockdown restrictions.

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FIGURE 1:    IRISH COVID-19 CASES

Ireland’s pattern of renewed societal restrictions is a broadening theme across the global economy. Lending even sharper focus to rapid vaccine deployment.

So far, 13m doses have been administered in 33 countries worldwide, of which 4.7m have occurred in the United States, 1.4% of the population. Remarkably, the Israeli government has already managed to administer double-doses to 14% of its people. China is also broadening distribution of it’s vaccine, with 4.5m doses already administered, 3m of which in the past 3 weeks alone.

Elsewhere, vaccine programmes will ramp-up over the next few months. All of the major economic blocs have pre-ordered sufficient doses to put herd immunity within reach by late-Summer, if not sooner, with all things going to plan.

This represents a massive shot in the arm for the global economy, whose historic 4.4% contraction in 2020 may now see a 6%+ springback. Demand for economic goods and services did not die last year, rather it was suspended. It is pent-up demand that informs more bullish outlook for the global economy in 2021/22.

Some more excitable commentary heralds the dawning of this century’s Roaring Twenties which followed WW1 and the Spanish Flu. Whilst this is simplistic, Irish investors could see roaring returns from the right investment selections.

Don’t fight the fed – why central bank policy will continue to prop up long term share valuations

Traditionally, working out whether a company’s shares were a good investment focussed heavily on dividing a company’s share price by the associated earnings of the firm. The higher this ratio, the less of a bargain you are getting, all else being equal. This guideline ratio is at a documented all-time high in the S&P500 (a composite index of the top 500 companies in the US), and this has been a source of caution for investors right now, and understandably so.

Yet, the current central bank policies that are stimulating the economy have altered this equation. The size of the stimulus is difficult to grasp, COVID-19 and its associated lockdowns triggered a vast $13trn fiscal stabilisation effort last year. Roughly 15% of global GDP.

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FIGURE 2:   US 10yr REAL YIELDS & “BREAKEVENS”

The lack of other viable investment options will continue to drive more investors into buying shares, driving up values above ratios that would have been considered as historically high. The reduction to US yields has however rendered any historical comparison to the time proven P/E ratio as obsolete. More specifically, the standard equity risk premium against current US Treasury yields allows for a higher P/E ratio.

Significantly, US Federal bank chair Jerome Powell saw fit to comment on this last month. “if you look at P/Es (price to earning ratio’s), they’re historically high, but in a world where the risk-free rate is going to be low for a sustained period, the equity premium, which is really the reward for taking equity risk, is what you’d look at”. 

These conditions and the resulting premium is set to continue with Powell pledging that “we’re going to keep policy highly accommodative until the expansion is well down the tracks”.

Market commentators now appear to be singing off the same hymn sheet. Expecting stronger equity and commodity markets, flatlining bond yields and a weaker US dollar. This all points to share valuations holding up well compared to the assets that are traditionally perceived as lower risk such as bonds.

Sanity Clause – Brexit done, British shares to bounce back?

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You couldn’t have your cake and eat it, we were told; maybe it would be unduly provocative to say that this is a cake-ist treaty, but it is certainly from the patisserie department” (Boris Johnson, December, 2020)

The sealing of a 1246-page free trade agreement (FTA) between UK and EU negotiators at 14.44 CET on Christmas Eve, brought to an end 9 months of fractious and repetitive talks.

For all the obvious shortcomings of the deal, improvements across UK financial assets brought a difficult 2020 to a more optimistic close.

Sterling ended the year at its highest level versus the weakening USD since April, 2018.  The FTSE100 outperformed its major stock market peers for the second consecutive month.

Brexit uncertainties have weighed heavily on the UK economy since mid-2016. Investors, both domestic and overseas, have abandoned UK stocks in the pursuit of richer pickings elsewhere. This condemned the UK market to wallow at record low valuations relative to US and global peers.

The FTSE100 has barely risen in the post Brexit referendum period. For those investing in Ireland and trading in Euro’s it has actually returned a cumulative 5.5% loss. This compares to a 67.5% gains for the US market S&P 500 and 51.2% for World market MSCI World.

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FIGURE 3: POST-BREXIT REFERENDUM RETURNS (Eur)

Now, with the weight of Brexit uncertainty lifted, investors are likely to seek value in the UK stock market driving gains. Respondents to December’s BAML Global Fund Manager Survey were already turning less bearish (less downbeat) towards UK equities.

In a world where shares are still the value play, UK shares look like the best value of all.

In a nutshell – the vaccine, stimulus & Brexit triple booster

The year ended in festive financial mood.

Thanks to the initial vaccination roll-out for COVID-19 and a further $900bn stimulus deal on Capitol Hill. The MSCI World led a host of major equity indices to fresh record peaks by year-end. Up 14.3% across the full-year, with a 68.3% rebound from late-March lows. The S&P500 saw a 16.3% rise compared with average 11.8% gains over the previous ten years.

Other assets performed poorly. Bond markets remained close to historic lows. The Dollar remained weak closing at the lowest levels since April 2018. As a result, Gold rebounded to complete its biggest annual advance since 2010.

This points to shares in general still being a sound investment in 2021, whilst gold continues to provide a source of diversification amidst the unprecedented money printing by central banks at present. The commodity is a good way to provide balance to an increased equity exposure across a portfolio, particularly at time in which bonds yields are returning next to nothing.

UK stocks may indeed represent the best equity value opportunity at the moment, as they are playing catch-up with the other markets post-Brexit.

What next? – Further investing in Ireland insights

You can read our Dec 2020 investing in Ireland analysis here.

You can check out our other guides on Investing in Ireland here.

You can find out where to get individual investing in Ireland and financial advice in your area here.

The sherpa’s 6 simple steps to money zen – Irish money guide

debt free
debt free

Worries about money are the single biggest cause of anxiety for people today. A third of all Irish adults say they have no savings, almost a half of us have no retirement savings. [1,2,3]

It doesn’t have to be this way. Our team of financial experts at moneysherpa, the Irish money guide, have developed a straightforward system to help you get money worry free. The sherpa’s 6 steps.

Step 1 – Pick your goals

Step 2 – Get money fit

Step 3 – Become debt free

Step 4 – Reach your ‘rainy day’ goal

Step 5 – Reach your ‘play day’ goal

Step 6 – Reaching your ‘sunny day’ goal & money zen

With the sherpa’s 6 steps we will get you on the right path to money zen. This means being able to afford what you need, having rainy day fund for emergencies and enough stashed away for retirement.

Which = no money worries.

Step 1 – The Irish money guide to picking your goals

valley

Think about what might lie in your future that you need to set money aside for.

It might be a trip to the Bahamas, university for your kids, a dream wedding or a ‘forever’ home. Whatever these things are, list them out. Put them in order and put a money number on each, don’t over think it, a rough idea is fine.

This is your ‘sunny day’ goal, if you’re paying attention you may have already have guessed what’s coming next.

To banish those money worries you also need a ‘rainy day’ goal. This is a cash stash to help you deal with any unexpected financial downpours.

Finally you need to set your ‘play day’ goal. That’s how much you need to have a retirement that’s no work and all play.

These three goals are what achieving money zen means for you. Your personal money Everest.

You can make it to the top, with your own Irish money guide helping you at every step.

Step 2 – The Irish money guide to getting money fit

gym

Congratulations, you’ve already done what the majority never do. You have picked your ‘mountain’. Let’s crack on helping you climb it.

Before we start climbing we need to get money fit.

This means getting more money in and letting less money out.

Getting more money in

There are more moves here than you might think.

As well as your main gig, have you thought about a side hustle? This can be doubly smart, as well as increasing your earning power, you can learn new skills and open up new career opportunities. There are a lot of online platforms such as upwork that make earning on the side easier than ever.

Finally, don’t forget to make sure you get all the tax reliefs you are entitled to. The average cash back on an Irish tax return is just under €1K. [4]

Letting less money out

There are just two ways to spend less, buy less and buy for less. To buy less, you simply have to reduce what you use. To buy for less, you need to shop around.

Check our Irish money guide 10 top money saving expert tips, which tells you how to save over €12,000 a year, even if you are on an average wage.

Step 3 – The Irish money guide to becoming debt free

money woman

Now we are money fit we should have more coming in than going out. Great, but before we start climbing our savings mountain, we need to get to our basecamp where we’re not ‘underwater’ with debt.

If you have no high interest debt, congratulations you are already there. Progress to step 4 of our programme, but if you have any personal loans, pay day loans or leave anything on your credit card at the end of the month, read on.

Saving whilst still having high interest debt is like climbing a mountain with a dead sheep on your back. Exhausting, uncomfortable and irritating, although hopefully a little less smelly. The first thing we need to do is ditch the debt and get that weight off your shoulders.

By taking the monthly surplus from step 2, we can start to pay down the debt. Start with the highest interest first, usually your credit cards. Starting with the highest interest debt first, creates a ‘snowball effect’ where you can use the interest rate payments saved to pay off the next highest rate of debt and so on.

Step 4 – The Irish money guide to ‘rainy day’ saving

rain dog 1

So your fit, at basecamp and ready to climb, let’s go get our rainy day goal.

The sherpa recommends having at least three months of your net income tucked away for a rainy day. That way you can pay the rent and bills for a few months even if your income if cut short. Depending on how secure and zen like you want to feel, you might even make it six months.

Put this money away in a separate savings account that’s covered under the deposit guarantee scheme. It will get a lousy rate of return, but this is your emergency fund so we want to take no risks with it. The Irish scheme guarantees deposits up to €100K for each bank or credit union you have, EU banks have similar schemes, but you will have to check the rules for each state. [5]

Set up an automated transfer to move your savings each month from your current account to your rainy day fund. Keep saving this way until you have reached your goal and then move onto step 5.

Step 5 – The Irish money guide to ‘play day’ saving

mansion

Next up is having enough set aside for an active retirement, your ‘play day goal’.

This maybe surprising, but this is where the tax man helps you ‘level up’. Giving you back the tax you would have paid on your salary for every euro you save for your retirement.

If you are under 30, up to 15% of your income can be saved tax free. This gradually increases as you age, until you can save up to 40% of your income tax free at 60 or over. [6]

So if your income is taxed at 40%, every €1 of take home pay put into retirement savings is boosted to €1.67. This tax free boost makes savings via a pension a no brainer. Even if you just held cash in your pension, the tax benefit alone makes it a smart move.

With improved wellness and life expectancy, 65 is the new 45. Assuming you want to kick up your heels a little and do more than watch day time television, you need to put by around 15% of your income each year into a pension.

What you need to put by will depend on exactly how much working and how much playing you intend to do. If your plan is to retire to a mansion in Mayo and take up fly fishing, then you might need to up the 15%. If you want to keep your hand in at work past 65, you might need less.

For your play day goal you are saving over a long period, so there are lots of investment options from low risk to higher risk that should offer attractive growth. To set up a pension and work out what approach would best work for you, it usually makes sense talk to a qualified financial advisor. You can check out our recommended pension financial advisors near you here.

Step 6 – The Irish money guide to the final ascent

Money zen 1x1 photo

Congratulations! You are money fit, debt free and with emergencies and retirement sorted, money worry free.

Time to push for the summit, total money zen.

With your rainy day fund and play day fund already in place, you can use any remaining surplus for the final ascent.

How you use that surplus will depending on the size and timing of your Sunny day goal. If it’s a short term or small goal then popping it into a savings account might make perfect sense even though you will earn very little interest.

However, if it is a longer term goal like saving for your kids financial security it probably makes sense to invest to grow your money. You need to do this to combat inflation, the rate of reduction of how much you can actually purchase per euro.

You probably need to get a return of over 3% a year if you don’t want to lose money in real terms. As with a pension, the return will vary depending on the risk you are willing to take.

At this point you will need to consider investing to get returns. This usually means buying things that usually appreciate in value, known as ‘assets’. Investment assets include gold, bonds, shares and even rare collectables. Who knew a mountain of Grateful Dead t-shirts would end up being part of your financial strategy.

You probably need to buy a basket of different things to spread the risk, known as a ‘diversified investment portfolio’. There are lots of new digital platforms that now let you do this yourself. These platforms are attractive, because they don’t eat up much of your return in fees.

You may however simply want set your goals and appetite for risk, agree a plan with a financial advisor and let them manage the buying and selling of assets for you. The advisor usually charges around 1% of your fund per year, which if you are getting a return north of 5% or so might make sense due to the lower hassle factor. You can check out our recommended investment financial advisors near you here.

The Irish money guide to what’s next?

So you are at the summit of your own personal money Everest. You have achieved money zen. The feeling of having no money worries, with a huge sense of personal achievement and with the world at your feet.

To help you follow the sherpa’s 6 steps and reach money zen we have created a range of Irish money guide resources and tools.

You can check out our savings calculator here.

You can check out our money saving tips and tricks here.

You can check out our comparison of the best mortgage products here.

and you can check out our recommended financial advisors for pensions and investments near you here.

Good luck on your journey to money zen!

Moneysherpa – the Irish money guide.

Ten Top Money Saving Ireland 2022 Expert Tips

money saving ireland

Based on months scouring the Irish market for savings and my inside knowledge of the Irish finance world, I’ve narrowed down this list to the top money saving tips that will deliver bang for your buck in 2022. I’ve used all these tips myself and they made a huge difference to my own bank account. 

The really great news is it’s not as hard as you think to save money in Ireland in 2022. With many businesses moving online and comparison sites that will do the heavy lifting for you, big savings are often only a click away.

money saving tips ireland

Most of what you read online is focussed on pouring over spreadsheets and logging your spend daily. 

With these money saving tips, you will be able to take control and get saving with no spreadsheets required. 

Here’s each money saving tip and how much you will save on average.

1. Money saving Ireland 2022- Get all the tax relief you’re owed (save €1,000)

2. Money saving Ireland 2022- switch your mortgage (save €2,650)

3. Money saving Ireland 2022- switch your electricity or gas (save €300)

4. Money saving Ireland 2022- switch your Broadband and TV provider (save €300)

5. Money saving Ireland 2022- don’t blow it, avoid the urge to splurge (Save €1,270)

6. Money saving Ireland 2022- ditch the branded groceries and go German (save €1,664)

7. Money saving Ireland 2022- become a DIY barista & chef (save €1,521)

8. Money saving Ireland 2022- cutting out cigarettes & alcohol (save €3,232)

9. Money saving Ireland 2022- becoming debt free (save €900)

10. Money saving Ireland 2022- living the good life, for life (save €500,000)

Keep reading to find out how to save over €12,500 a year and over €500,000 by the time you retire.

mountain

1. Money saving Ireland 2022 – get all the tax relief you’re owed (save €1,000)

gift

How do I know how much tax back I’m owed?

There’s a smorgasbord of different tax reliefs you are entitled to as an Irish citizen or resident. The citizen’s information board is always a good place to start  (link at the end of this article), but cutting to the chase the big ones are,

  • Marriage tax relief
  • Medical or dental tax relief 
  • And, particularly in 2020/2021, working from home tax relief

Example average tax relief saving Ireland 2021 = €1,000

The good news is there are lots of online services out there that will even file the tax paperwork for you in return for a cut of the refund. The average money saving refund received by Irish consumers is just under €1,000 [2].

Next, once you’ve supersized what’s coming in, the next step is supershrinking what’s going out. You can do this two ways. 

  1. Buy for less
  2. Buy less 

Let’s start with the easiest, buy for less. Switching suppliers usually does pay off as companies know most people don’t bother to make the effort. This allows them to keep prices high for existing customers whilst offering sweet introductory deals for new customers.  

The next three tips will take you straight to where you can save the most money in Ireland by switching in 2022.

sale

2.Money saving Ireland 2022- switch your Irish mortgage (save €2,650)

How do I save money by switching my mortgage in Ireland 2021?

If you are on a tracker mortgage or still on an introductory offer you are probably already banking big savings so can move right along, if not read on.

A third of all Irish mortgages, almost 200K, are on rates of 4% or above, some of the highest rates in Europe. On loans this big there is a massive saving to be had by switching to the 2-3% rates that are available.[3

The process is actually quite straightforward using a mortgage broker and almost all providers give you an additional cash allowance of around €2K to cover your admin costs. So if you are one of these customers on what’s known as SVR or MVR mortgages there’s really no excuse for not switching.

Example average mortgage switching saving Ireland = €2,650 per year

According to the Irish bank’s industry body the BPFI, the average value of mortgage switched in Ireland last year was €243,000. 

Switching that amount to a new provider, with a typical outstanding term of 15 years and loan to value of 90% would save you a whopping €2,650 a year.  

3. Money saving Ireland 2022 – switch your Irish electricity or gas (save €300)

How do I save money by switching my electricity or gas in Ireland 2022?

Your electricity or gas service is the same no matter who you buy it from, the key thing then is to simply get the best price. 

Lots of new providers have entered the market tempting switching with some great money saving deals. It couldn’t be more straightforward to compare and switch using one the comparison sites like Bonkers.ie or Switcher.ie. 

Example average electricity and gas saving Ireland 2021 = €300 per year

The average home in Ireland uses 11K kWh of gas and 4.2K kWh electricity per year and would save over €300 a year by switching based on current prices. [4]

4. Money saving Ireland 2022 – switch your Irish Broadband and TV provider (save €300)

How do I save money by switching my TV in Ireland 2022?

With streaming services now offering not just box sets, but live TV as well there are big money savings to be made by ‘cutting the cord’ from old school TV providers. 

Providers like Sky or Virginmedia typically charge around €25 a month for their entry TV pack, even though there is the same content available elsewhere for free. Ditch your current provider and get your sports and live TV from a combination of free to air & streaming, you will save hundreds and still get the same shows.

Example average TV saving Ireland 2022 = €300

Replacing Sky’s €25 a month pack with free to air, whilst getting your Sky & BT Sports straight from the NowTV streaming service will save you over €300 a year. [5]

Next up, there are whole industries and armies of people whose job it is to get you to part with your hard earned cash everyday. The next three top money saving tips will help you avoid the traps and buy less in Ireland in 2022.    

cups

5. Money saving Ireland 2022- don’t blow it, avoid the urge to splurge (Save €1,270) 

How do I save money by avoiding non essential spend in Ireland 2022?

The best way to avoid temptation? Don’t put yourself in the way of it in the first place. Why do companies spend millions to push their ads, email lists, get your data, offer you easy credit and offer ‘one click’ payment options? 

Yep, so you will spend more. Dun & Bradstreet found We are 12-18% more likely to purchase using credit over cash. [6]

As a savvy money saving consumer cut this off at source, don’t sign up to marketing or to one click purchases. Delete your cards from your phone and move your money by standing order every month to a separate savings account where you can’t get at it easily.  

Example average saving by hiding the credit card Ireland 2021 = €1,270

Around €11,000 per household per year is spent on credit cards in Ireland according to the Irish central bank [7]. So according to the Dun & Bradstreet study switching this spend to cash would reduce this by 12% at least, saving €1,270 a year

6. Money Saving Ireland 2022- Ditch the branded groceries and go German (save €1,664)  

How do I save money by going own label or to Aldi & Lidll in Ireland 2022?

The average Irish household spends over €5,000 per year on groceries [8]. Generic own label products are typically half the price of the leading brands and just as good quality if not better.

Example average own label saving Ireland 2022 = €1,664

Even allowing for the odd luxury in your basket, knocking a third off your grocery bill by switching to own label or the German discounters is pretty easy. This would give a saving of €1,664 a year for the average Irish household.

7. Money Saving Ireland 2022- Become a DIY barista & chef (save €1,521)

How do I save money by paying for less everyday in Ireland?

When you buy a sandwich, coffee or get a takeaway you’re not just paying for the ingredients, but the whole cost of the seller’s business plus the profit that business is making.

According to Irish coffee house 3fe (whose coffee shops I personally love) of the €3.50 you pay for your regular americano only 50c is actually spent on coffee and milk.The rest goes on staff, rent, rates etc.. [8]

That makes it a staggering 7 times cheaper for you to make your regular latte or macchiato at home. I’m not picking on coffee, the same is pretty much true of any takeaway or eat out you can think of, it’s just a great money saving opportunity.

Example average DIY saving Ireland 2022 = €1,521

Irish households spend just over €1K per year on takeaways and eating out [9]. Add to that €7.50 every working day for you to pop out and grab a sandwich and you get just over €3K per year spent on takeaway food and coffees.

We aren’t going to deny you a weekend takeaway or lunch time pick me up, but if you cut by half you are looking at a hefty money saving of €1,521 you would be able to pop in the piggy bank. 

8. Money saving Ireland 2022 – cutting out cigarettes & alcohol (save €3,232)

How do I save money by reducing smoking and drinking Ireland 2022?

Known to Irish finance ministers for decades as the ‘old dependables’, beer & fags are the first place to go to raise tax revenues. 

This has made both prohibitively expensive and also a smart go to when you want to raise your own bit of revenue by saving money. 

The average Irish smoker spends over €2200 a year on cigarettes [10] and the average irish drinker almost €2K are year [11].

Example average ‘old reliables’ saving Ireland 2022  = €3,232

Based on the averages if you drink and smoke and halve the beer and cut out the fags you would save a whopping €3,232 a year on average. Not to mention the health benefits of cutting down on both.

Next lets get those interest payments down, nailing money saving tips 1-9, will help you get what you’re owed, buy for less and buy less. This gives you a lot more financial firepower, blasting open the doors on the next two money saving tips.

dynamite safe

9. Money saving Ireland 2022 – becoming debt free (save €900)

How do I save money by reducing my credit card and loan debts in Ireland 2022? 

Outside of your mortgage or student loans which are typically low interest, debt is a money saving blackhole to be avoided at all costs. 

Irish households owe €8k on average in credit card and loan debt, paying the 4th highest rate of interest in Europe at 10.3%. [12]

The solution is to start paying down your debt, starting with the most expensive first, almost certainly your credit cards. This is the ‘snowball ‘ effect, where the savings from the interest on one loan can help pay off the next and so on. 

Example average credit card and loan saving Ireland 2022 = €900

With the money savings from tips 1-9 coming to over €12K and the average Irish household debt at €8K, you should hopefully be able to pay off all your credit card and consumer loans. At the average interest rate of 10.3% that’s a money saving of over €900. Plus a big weight off the shoulders.

Finally, totting all the savings up from tips 1-10 gives a saving of €12,837, reaching our savings goal target of €12,500 of €7,500 for our rainy day fund and €5,000 for our trip to see Mickey.That puts you on a sound financial footing and on a plane to Florida for the trip of a lifetime, but we’re not quite done. Now for the big reveal…   

10. Money saving Ireland 2022 –

living the good life, for life (save €500,000)

How do I save money to retire to the Bahamas to drink cocktails?

Now you have the money saving habits from tips 1-10, our €12,500 saving is repeatable every year. The great news is we already have the rainy day fund in place so we can use that money for something else. 

Drum roll please… TA DA it’s a pension, but stay with me. At €38,496, the Irish average income, we’re allowed to put by €7,700 a year tax free. 

Starting a pension early is one of the smartest financial moves you can make, it’s like switching on a magic money making machine (kinda). 

If you’re 26 and keep chipping in this amount every year until you are 68 you will have a tasty €323,400 tucked away. 

However, this is where the magic bit starts, the tax saving turns this contribution into €9,624 a year straight off the bat. 

So by the time you’re 68 you actually will have over €404,000 saved. That’s 100% guaranteed with no assumptions about anything else, just the contributions over time and guaranteed tax saving.

Example average retirement saving fund Ireland 2022 = €500,000

That said, as you would be putting by over a long period then it probably makes sense to put your money into a tax free fund and increase what you chip in line with your tax allowance increases. 

You are putting a proportion of your money at risk by investing in a fund. However, over such a long period, based on the last hundred years or so of investing, you could reasonably expect a return of around 4% a year on average after fund charges.

Based on this return you would have over half a million (€500,000+) stashed away ready for your retirement and for those margaritas under the tropical sun.  

cocktail

So it’s been a money saving whirlwind tour alright, 

  • €1,000 saved, getting what you are owed  
  • €3,250 saved,  buying for less  
  • €7,680 saved, buying less
  • €900 saved, going debt free
  • €12,830, Grand total saved

Most importantly these money saving tips will help you put in place a rainy day fund and regular saving habit that could see you set up for life financially with a retirement fund of over €500,000

Remember, we did all this using only the average national wage of €2,500 after tax, a bit of will power and some money saving smarts.  

Money saving Ireland 2022 – what should I do now? 

These money savings  are based on averages for Ireland, you will have to take your own case and work out what saving it means for you. You should also chat with a professional financial advisor for any big decisions or one of the state’s financial advice support services if you need help. There are some good links for these at the end of this article.

If you want to delve deeper into what you can save and how to do it (and why wouldn’t you?). Our other guides and money saving tools including how to switch your mortgage and invest tax free for retirement can be found here. 

If you need professional financial advice on pensions or investments you can check out our list of recommended financial advisors here

If you want to switch your broadband, tv or energy, we recommend Choosy.ie (not just because I used to work there, but because they are great).

Lastly, if you are struggling to make ends meet, you aren’t alone. More than half of all Irish adults say financial concerns are a threat to their mental health.  

If you are struggling with debt, making ends meet or just need some free independent advice, you should check out the state’s Money Advice & Budgeting Service (MABS) for further help.

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