Beware the financial dangers of the festive season

The festive season can be a particularly bad time for young people getting into debt.

After all, there’s peer pressure fuelling spending on nights out, party clothes, taxis, and all the other associated expenses of the season. It’s when the lure of high APR credit cards and pay day loans to cover such a period can be especially prominent.

Fife-based financial advisor turned first time author, Max Horne, who has already written a book The Money Instruction Book, an easy to digest guide to money management for 16-22 year olds, has put together a few additional tips on how young people can best manage the financial excesses of the festive season.

His advice is for all young people whatever their situations, from leaving home to attend university; going out into the working world to take on their first proper jobs, or just learning how to save, and manage money better.

Max said: ‘It’s very easy to get carried away with Christmas time, pressure to buy presents, going out to parties. It all involves money, but it doesn’t need to be a lot.

‘Take party nights. If you can mix and party with fellow students, for example, where you are all in the same boat, there is no pressure to spend lots of money. All you need is a venue. If you are in a job, look upon the subsidised works night out as being the main event you would go to, as this is probably a much cheaper night out than others. There is a great temptation to spend a lot of money on alcohol at this time of year too, but just go easy and avoid overspending.’

Max, whose experience as a financial advisor, saw him rise to within the top 1% of all financial advisors in the world, also addressed the issue of pressure over providing expensive Christmas presents.

He added: ‘Whether you are in further education or starting work, the pressure to buy Christmas presents for everyone can be intense. Some of the best presents I have had from my relatives who have been in further education, or are just starting out to work, are ones that they have just made themselves, such as Christmas cookies or jams etc, wrapped them up in an innovative way. They have been much better received than expensive, one time only, gifts.’

Max also pointed out that when young people return from college or university to see their parents at Christmas, they often want to see a lot more of them, and will often ask, ‘are you eating well?’

Max continued: ‘A novel present would actually be to let them get dressed up and you cook them a meal from scratch, to show off your any newfound cooking skills you now have.

‘All you need to buy are the ingredients. It’s a way of spending time with your relations, and can easily be extended out to aunts, uncles, cousins etc.’

To sum up, Max is keen to stress that he believes no one expects any youngsters to buy expensive gifts, as the very last thing they would want for them is to take on credit cards, and wonder where the payments are coming from after 1 January: ‘Don’t feel bad about other relations buying you expensive gifts at this time either, when you cannot reciprocate. You have a lifetime to do that when you can afford it!’

The Money Instruction Book is available from Amazon

For further details on the book, visit