Life will never be the same after a baby. I knew that. I expected that. And when Brodie arrived on the scene 10 weeks ago, I was prepared for things not being the same.
Maybe not completely prepared for how amazing it is to be a Dad, but I was certainly prepared for sleepless nights and more Saturday nights in front of the telly.
But what has caught me out a little, was how our family’s spending has shifted in just a few short weeks. And I discovered this when my wife and I started to shop around for a mortgage.
First things first – I downloaded the Affordability Passport, allowed it to access my transactional data across my bank accounts and put my financial life under the microscope. 10 minutes later it was neatly categorised into 155 categories of spending and 29 categories of income.
The Results Are In
There were some pleasant surprises. My utility bills were 20% less than I had estimated. Not being accustomed to long, hot summers, perhaps I’d factored in more heating consumption than we actually used.
And then there was the baby factor and the changes young Brodie has made to our financial landscape. First of all, the Affordability Passport highlighted the baby-related spending. It seems the start-up costs of launching a baby are pretty high with all those cots and cribs, rockers and rollers, baby gyms and lullaby mobiles. There was a definite “spike” in spending in John Lewis and Mamas and Papas this summer.
The Affordability Passport also flagged up that I had spent more than I’d expected on on-line betting during the World Cup. I hadn’t been watching the games in the pub with friends – I’d been at home with my family, and some evenings had had bets on three games at a time.
And then the take-away category reported a high count of curries and pizzas – significantly higher than usual as recently we’ve not been going out and are often too tired to cook.
What Does The Data Mean?
So what would a broker make of my Affordability Passport report? First off, he or she would be able to identify the recent lifestyle change that comes with a baby. He would see the high spend on start-up baby equipment, but also that normal spending in John Lewis has now resumed. He would look at our ordering-in profile and see that, whilst a lot of chicken madras was making it over the doorstep, we were spending much less on restaurants and nights out. He would also look at the World Cup on-line flutter and recognise that too as a spending blip, associated with being at home with a baby.
My financial profile over the last few months is not the same as it was at the beginning of the year as we’ve entered a new chapter in life. And that story is told with incisive clarity across the pages of the Affordability Passport report.
So, I’m confident that when I work through my Affordability Passport with my broker, he will have an unprecedented level of insight into my finances. He will be able to read the story behind my financial behaviour and he will be able to factor that in to his decision making process.
The Affordability Passport has arrived and the mortgage space has been changed. Things don’t stay the same. They move on. Disruption happens, and things are transformed for the better. Whether that’s a baby or a clever piece of fintech!