Welcome back to the Share Your Story series. Last week Weird ‘n’ Liberated Blogger shared her story on why she had an abortion and the events leading up to that point. The reaction was full of support for her but contempt and disgust for her (now ex) partner. This week I have Natalka from I Want To Buy A House sharing her story on her experience with inheritance.
I Want To Buy A House
Natalka is a part-time Masters student, full-time waitress, and has spent the majority of her adult life conquering the big bad world of money and finance in her effort to buy her own house. She is as passionate about writing as she is about budgeting, and now she’s sharing her knowledge on the subject.
What Comes After Grief? Inheritance
This is the post I wish I had read. You see, there’s a lot of great articles out there. Great people sharing their stories and helping others. I know everything there is to know about grief, and how to not feel angry/guilty/lazy/lost after losing someone close to you. For that, I thank everyone who has bravely started the conversation. But, there lies the problem. We learn how to cope with death. We’re told it’s okay to cry, and how to move through the grieving procedure. But that’s where the story ends. What happens after that? This is my story.
Where it all Started
Five years ago I was bouncing onto Bournemouth University Campus full of hope, ambition, and excitement about my future. Three weeks after that, my Dad fell down his stairs onto the slabbed kitchen floor, and died that evening in hospital from blood loss. Losing a parent is one of the hardest things anyone has to go through. And there I was, in a strange city, surrounded by new people who had only seen me drunk fumbling my way through freshers week. Just trying to cope.
I didn’t tell anyone at first. Just carried on getting drunk every night, ditching parties early to ball my eyes out into my pillow. I travelled back and forth between Bournemouth and my Dad’s town, crying throughout the entire three-hour train journey. I spent hours on the phone to my mum. Or my gran. Or anyone I could shout at. I was mostly angry.
Being alone in a new place and finding out your Dad has just died can have that effect on you. But I was angry that I hadn’t been told until it was too late. And angry that not one member of my Dad’s side of the family had been in touch, or offered to come and see me. It felt like I was on my own. Like my life was crumbling around me, and nobody cared.
Then I started reading blogs. I read, and I watched videos, and I Googled A LOT. I kept smiling, kept busy, and tried to be around people as much as possible. Truth be told that would usually lead to me going home full of guilt. Why am I laughing when this terrible thing has just happened? I should be sad. I am sad.
But it does get better. Eventually I told a few people. Then the funeral came around. And before I knew it I was back on track with my assignments, making life long friends, and not even thinking about the fact that I’m halfway to being an orphan.
This is where the inheritance comes in. Of course, as you’ll find out over on my blog, my life revolves around money. But this inheritance should have changed my life. Should have. A year before I lost my Dad, my Baba had also passed away from old age. Baba, for anyone who wants to know, is the Ukrainian term for Grandma. My Baba wasn’t a wealthy lady, when she died we were all given £50. But she did have a house, and seeing as there was no one left to live in it, my Dad and his siblings decided to sell it.
It just so happens that the house sold just before I was starting uni. My Dad had called me, sooo excited, asking me for my bank details so that he could transfer some of his share into my bank. I turned down the offer. At that point, I thought my student maintenance loan was a lot of money and couldn’t see a reason why I would ever need more. Clearly, back then I didn’t want to buy a house.
No Will? The Inheritance goes to the Next of Kin
Let this be a lesson. Write a will. Luckily for my step mum, I’m a nice person. But the law states that if the deceased doesn’t have a will, then the entirety of their capital will go to the next of kin. My Mum and Dad got a divorce when I was very young, and neither have ever had any more children. My Dad had been with his partner for over ten years, and they were engaged, but she was entitled to nothing. Write a will if you want to make sure the right people are getting inheritance when you pass.
I decided to split my inheritance 50/50 with my step mum. She had been left with a lot of debts and things that she needed to pay off. Plus she had put up with my Dad, for which she deserves a medal. My Dad was one of four, which means the total of the house sale was split four ways to give them all equal amounts. That split was then split again, into two, making up mine and my step mums inheritance. So it wasn’t millions of pounds, but it was enough money for me to put down a 40% deposit on a house. And that’s as much as you need to know.
What did I do with my Inheritance?
Okay so I’ve skipped a few steps. I’m sure you don’t want to read about the back and forth I had with solicitors. All you need to know is that I was Twenty years old, and had just had the largest sum of money deposited into my bank that I had ever seen. So much money in fact, that the bank wouldn’t let me access it until I had gone in to speak to their financial advisor. He was maybe about Twenty Six, and I clearly remember him telling me that him and his girlfriend were working two jobs just to try and save that much money to buy a house. And there I was, sitting on my inheritance, no idea how lucky I was.
Guess how much money I have left. Absolutely nothing. I spent every penny of that inheritance like it was pocket-money. And I’m not proud of it. There were a few things that I’m happy about. I went on holiday a lot, which my Dad would have loved because he had already travelled the world twice before he died. I learnt to drive, bought a car, and paid off a years car insurance. But mostly, I wasted that inheritance on food and clothes. I was shopping in Waitrose on a daily basis. Waitrose!?!?
Someone, Somewhere, is Laughing Now
I was the girl who could have whatever I wanted with the tap-tap of my card. Whenever the shops bought out their new season ranges, I bought it all. I had smashed avocado everyday for lunch. If I wanted something, I would literally just buy it. Until I spent a year working unpaid as part of my universities placement scheme. That was the year that I dropped into my overdraft, and found no money in my savings account to get me out of it.
Here I am now, working 60+ hour weeks alongside studying my Masters Degree. All I want to do is buy a house and paint a wall any colour other than beige. But because of my lack of care, lack of thought, and lack of knowledge, I’ve had to start from zero.
What you should learn from my story:
Please don’t read this and think that I am entirely at fault. As children, we’re not taught how to manage money. Our Mums tell us we can only choose one sweetie, but don’t teach us about the pennies. We go off to uni, with the media telling us that only 30% of people will ever pay their student loans back. At Twenty years of age, we’ve probably had little to no experience with money. You can blame the education system. Or you can blame the media. You might even blame yourselves. But if you’re children were given the option to have every sweetie they ever wanted, and a trip to Disney Land, do you think they’ll stop for a second to think about the effects that sort of spending could have on their future?
Teach your kids to be humble. Spend their money on memories, because that is what I wish I had done both before and after my Dad passed. Teach your kids to be grateful, and to never expect anything and be thankful when they get it. And teach your kids to budget. Tell them how hard you’ve worked to get where you are. Explain that one day they’re going to have to earn, and save, their own money to afford fancy things and holidays.
I hope that you, or your children, never have to live through something like this. I hope that if and when you receive inheritance, you’re smarter than I was. And if this post has helped you, even just a tiny bit, then I’m pleased. If you’ve got this far then the chances are you might like some of my other posts, so why not check out my blog…
Thank you for sharing your story Natalka, sorry to hear about your Dad! I think at 20 we would all be guilty of spending money carelessly. It’s not until we are older that we think about buying houses!
If you would like to read some more of Natalka’s stories of saving for her house then head over to;