I have about 10k GBP in my bank, and I know for most of you that is not a huge amount. However, I will finish university soon and I would like to have in the back of my mind about how to start investing money and handling it.

I have read a few threads on here but they seem to be focused on 401k's etc and seem to be US oriented. If it makes any difference I hope be going into a career of software development.

I would appreciate any advice on the topic, and any recommendations for books for a beginner like me.

PS - maybe its offtopic for this stackexchange but if anyone has advice on how to break into the finance sector as a programmer, that would be great!

  • Is this question helpful? If you ignore the information about 401(k)'s and IRA's, many of the answers still include information that's good advice for any young investor. Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 19:04
  • Get a Financial Life seems like a great buy for me, but again I am a little worried its US oriented. If anyone has any similar books for the UK market - would be great.
    – viperfx
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 19:35
  • I don't know anything about that book, but I think the key advice to take away is a) know the importance of saving for emergencies, b) understand your country's retirement system, whatever it may be, c) picking individual stocks is difficult and more prone to loss than using cheap index funds, d) know the importance of dollar cost averaging, and e) be sure to find investments that are appropriate for your time horizon. Basically, the non-US-specific portions of this answer. Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 19:44

3 Answers 3


There are books like, "The Millionaire Mind" that could be of interest when it comes to basics like living below your means, investing what you save, etc. that while it is common sense, it is uncommonly done in the world. Something to consider is how actively do you want your money management to be? Is it something to spend hours on each week or a few hours a year tops? You have lots of choices and decisions to make.

I would suggest keeping part of your savings as an emergency fund just in case something happens. As for another part, this is where you could invest in a few different options and see what happens.

There would be a couple of different methods I could see for breaking into finance that I'd imagine:

  1. IT of a finance company - In this case you'd likely be working on customizations for what the bank, insurance or other kind of financial firm requires. This could be somewhat boring as you are basically a part of the backbone that keeps the company going but not really able to take much of the glory when the company makes a lot of money.

  2. Brains of a hedge fund - In this case, you may have to know some trading algorithms and handle updating the code so that the trading activities can be done by a computer with lightning speed. Harder to crack into since these would be the secretive people to find and join in a way.

  • Thanks for the response. I would say my way of living is quite minimal, I tend to just keep everything in bank that I do not spent. If I had goals it would be trying to help my parents out of current financially difficult situations and for the future save up for a house at the same time. I would also have to pay of some uni debts. They are big goals in terms of money but if I start now I am sure it would be easier in long term.
    – viperfx
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 19:22
  • 1
    @viperfx - some other books you may want to consider starting with include "The Millionaire Next Door", "The Riches Man in Babylon", "Rich Dad Poor Dad". Then as JB says you need to decide how active you want to be in investing your money and maybe look for books on different areas of investing you may be interested in. You can easily do this by doing a search on Amazon or the Book Depository.
    – Victor
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 21:49
  • That should have been "The Richest Man in Babylon".
    – Victor
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 23:20
  1. Keep enough money for three to six months' expenditure in an instant access account.
  2. Put as much as you can each year into low-cost index-tracking ISAs, up to the annual limit.
  3. Join your employer's pension scheme, if they make contributions.
  4. If you pay higher-rate tax, consider making AVCs to your employer's pension scheme or taking out a SIPP (self-invested personal pension)(which again should go into low-cost index-tracking funds).
  5. Don't tinker. Invest your money and then leave it where it is -- it's only worth changing it in order to rebalance your asset allocation between different investment classes, but you need to have a lot of money invested for that to be worthwhile.
  • the ISA interest rates seem to be quite low in the UK, I have only checked the main banks - are you referring to some other ISA?
    – viperfx
    Commented Jul 7, 2013 at 10:05
  • 2
    By "index-tracking ISAs", Mike is not referring to cash savings account ISAs that pay interest. This means: Stocks & Shares ISA wrapper (e.g. from a platform like Hargreaves Lansdown), in which you buy funds or ETFs that are "index trackers" i.e. they aim to closely track the performance of a stock market index (such as FTSE 100 or FTSE All Share) while charging lower fees than for actively managed investment funds. Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 10:16

I think "Rich Dad Poor Dad" is a good read for understanding the basics of personal finance in a non-technical format before actually starting investing.

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