Money: latest news
15 September 2021
Gender pensions gap widens to more than £180,000
The gender pensions gap has widened to more than £180,000 among the over 55s, according to new research from equity release lender more2life and the Centre for Economics and Business Research. The gap has increased by more than £26,000 since last year due to the impact of Covid-19. Despite women contributing a higher proportion of their income to their pension, they will still need to work an additional 14.5 years to reach the same pension savings as their male counterparts. Find out more in our article Women and the gender pension gap.
Santander offers £130 current account switching incentive
Santander is offering £130 cashback to anyone who switches their current account to its 123 current account. The account, which has a £4 monthly fee, also offers up to 3% cashback on selected household bills, capped at £15 a month. To be eligible, you must pay at least £500 a month into your account and transfer two active direct debits when you switch. Before switching to a new account, check the account details carefully first to make sure it’s right for you.
British Gas takes over energy supply to PfP Energy and MoneyPlus Energy customers
British Gas is now supplying gas and electricity to PfP Energy and MoneyPlus Energy customers, after the two energy companies ceased trading. Ofgem, the energy regulator, is advising customers not to move away from British Gas until it has been contacted by them. At this point, customers can switch without penalty. You can search for new energy deals and switch online using this energy comparison tool.
Pandemic prompts millions to consider alternatives to care homes
Six in 10 UK adults worry about moving into a care home after seeing how rapidly Covid-19 spread in them. This rises to 65% of over 55s, the LV=Wealth and Wellbeing latest quarterly monitor shows.The survey found that most people (61%) would rather stay in their own home and have it adapted to meet their care needs. Learn more about being cared for at home in our guide Home care: the pros and cons.
Scams: are you too polite to say no?
The number of impersonation scam cases more than doubled in the first half of 2021 to 33,115, says banking trade body UK Finance, with these scams resulting in criminals stealing £129.4m. Impersonation scams involve criminals pretending to be from a trusted organisation such as a bank or the police, and tricking their victims into transferring money. UK Finance says that 92% of people admit to saying ‘yes’ to giving personal information because they don’t want to appear rude. Find out how to spot a scam in our guide Types of scam and how to avoid them.
15% of employees aged 55 and over anxious about their finances
More than one in 10 employees (15%) aged 55 and over feel anxiety about their current financial position, reveals research by financial wellbeing platform nudge Global, which wants to see employers better support employees to build financial acumen. The research suggests that improving employees’ financial wellbeing is likely to have a positive impact on their mental state, with two fifths of employees (39%) tying their self-worth and contentment to the amount of money they have in their bank account. Find out more about money and mental health in our guide Are money worries affecting your mental health?
Money: latest news
08 September 2021
Pension triple lock temporarily scrapped
The pension triple lock, which pledges that the State Pension will increase in line with inflation, 2.5%, or earnings growth, whichever is higher, will be temporarily scrapped in the 2022/23 tax year, the government has announced. This follows a surge in wages which would have meant a state pension increase of more than 8% next year. Instead, the state pension will increase in line either with inflation or 2.5%, with inflation expected to be the higher figure. Find out more in our guide What is the pension triple lock?
National Insurance rise to fund social care
Millions of taxpayers face a hike in National Insurance contributions (NICs) under Government plans to reform the social care system. The rate of National Insurance will rise by 1.25% from April 2022 to help tackle the growing care crisis. The new levy will also apply to working adults over State Pension age. You can read more about the government’s proposals at Gov.uk.
British Gas raises standard variable tariffs by £140 a year
Millions of British Gas customers will soon see their energy bills rise by an average of £140 a year after it became the latest energy provider to hike prices following the announcement of the higher Ofgem price cap that will kick in from October. On average, bills for British Gas customers will rise by 12.23%, and the average cost of a standard variable tariff will rise from £1,138 to £1,277. However, direct debits will be frozen at current rates over the winter months to help customers manage the rise. Our energy comparison tool can help you find the best energy deal to switch to.
City regulator to review pension transfers
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the City watchdog, is preparing to review its redress guidance for unsuitable pension transfer advice by the end of 2021. The guidance states how firms must work out any redress due, and clarify what it expects of them. At present, compensation should include personal pension charges up to a maximum of 0.75% a year, and regular adviser charges on top. Read more about the pros and cons of transferring your pension in our article Should I transfer my final salary pension?
Nationwide launches its lowest ever mortgage rate
Nationwide Building Society has introduced a 0.87% two-year fixed rate mortgage deal, its lowest ever mortgage rate. The deal is only available to those with a 40% deposit or equivalent amount of equity if remortgaging, and has a £1,499 fee. If you’re looking to find the best mortgage rates today this mortgage rate comparison tool can help you compare the best deals available from over 90 lenders.
Inheritance disputes rise
The number of people enquiring about inheritance disputes jumped by 111% in the six months from October 2020 to April 2021, according to law firm JMW Solicitors. However, inheritance disputes were already rising in England and Wales, with one in four adults now contesting a will if they didn’t feel it was correctly distributed. However, the cost of contesting a will can amount to around half the estate’s value, even without a trial, warns the firm. Find out more in our article How do I contest a will?
Money: latest news
30 August 2021
Homeowners aged 55 and over plan to stay put
Fewer older homeowners are planning to downsize in the aftermath of the pandemic. Around 200,000 fewer people aged over 55 plan to sell compared to three years ago, according to research by Legal & General Financial Advice. The main reason is because they do not want to leave their community, after its value was reinforced during the pandemic. However, one in four, or 24%, still plan to move to a smaller home. Learn more about the pros and cons of downsizing in our article Five questions to ask yourself if you’re considering downsizing.
Millions of people receive less than £100 per week in State pension
The UK State pension currently amounts to £179.60 a week, but not everyone receives the full amount. According to latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions, there are more than 2 million pensioners who are receiving less than £100 per week, with women likely to receive less than men. Hargreaves Lansdown, which analysed the figures, is urging people to check their State Pension entitlement, and boost this if it’s not as expected. You can find out more about ways to do this in our article How the State Pension works.
Energy suppliers raise prices
A string of UK energy suppliers are raising the prices of their standard gas and electricity tariffs to the maximum cap set by the regulator. The cost of standard tariffs is increasing from an average of £1,138 a year to £1,277 from October. Ovo Energy is raising the price of its standard dual-fuel tariff to about £1,276 from 1 October, while EDF Energy is raising prices to an average of £1,277 a year on its dual-fuel tariff, and others are expected to follow. Our energy comparison tool can help you find the best energy deal to switch to.
Surge in scams see consumers demand regulation of online adverts
Consumers have demanded that online adverts are checked more thoroughly amid a surge in scams during the coronavirus pandemic. According to a report by insurer Aviva, more than half of internet users do not trust that the adverts they see on search engines are from legitimate companies. It found that 87% of consumers want the government to force social media firms and search engines to ban the promotion of scams and phoney ads. Learn more about how to avoid scams in our article Don’t let scammers steal your retirement.
People in 50s and 60s may delay retirement if they can work from home
People in their 50s and 60s who are working from home during the pandemic say they are planning to retire later than workers still commuting to their office. That’s according to new research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This shift could boost the economy as people choose to stay in work, rather than retire. More than 5% could be added to the UK GDP for those aged 50 to 64 who are employed to the same degree as those aged 35 to 49. When you are thinking of retirement, read our article Preparing for retirement: Your six-step pension checklist.
Contactless limit rises to £100 for consumers
Britons will be able to spend up to £100 using contactless card payments from 15 October. The limit on spending is more than doubling from £45 (after rising from £30) in March 2020 amid the pandemic, in an effort to reduce contact at the till. Around two-thirds of all transactions are made through the ‘tap and go’ contactless transactions. Find out more about increasing your spending power as you shop in our article Shop loyalty schemes: What are your points worth?.
Money: latest news
25 August 2021
Rise in later life mortgages
Over a third (34%) of homeowners think it is becoming more acceptable to have a mortgage in later life. According to the latest Home Advantage report from the Equity Release Council (ERC), an estimated 32% of those with a mortgage do not believe they will have it paid off by the time they retire. Almost two-fifths (38%) of homeowners in their 60s view their mortgage as an investment in their future as a result of building up an asset over time, while over half (57%) of this age group mentioned they are interested in accessing money from the value of their property in later life. Find out more about equity release in our guide Equity release – what is it and how does it work?
Investec boosts rate on Fixer Rate Saver account
Investec has increased the interest rate on its one-year term Fixed Rate Saver account from 1.05% to 1.33%. The account can only be opened with a minimum investment of £5,000 and the maximum deposit is £250,000. You can find out more about this account at Investec. Read our article Five ways to boost your savings returns for tips on how to make your savings work as hard as they possibly can for you.
Retirees to lose £12,000 in state pension triple lock tweak
Britons would be nearly £12,000 worse off by the time they reach age 85 if Chancellor Rishi Sunak ditches traditional metrics used in the “triple lock” policy. The State Pension is on track to grow at the fastest rate in more than a decade, rising £822 in 2022, because of rules dictating the benefit must rise by inflation, earnings growth or 2.5% – whichever is highest. Earnings data published by the Office for National Statistics showed growth stood at 8.8% due to mass redundancies, wage cuts and furlough caused a steep fall in average earnings 12 months ago. However, the Chancellor is considering amending the figures to avoid using skewed economic data. Learn more about how the triple lock works in our article What is the pension triple lock?
Inheritance Tax raises £2.1 billion for taxman in three months to July
Inheritance Tax receipts were £2.1 billion for April to July this year, according to HMRC data released this week, £500m higher than in the same period last year. Rising house prices have pushed growing numbers of people into the Inheritance Tax (IHT) net, and with the threshold above which IHT becomes payable having been frozen at £325,000 until 2026, this trend is likely to continue. Learn more about Inheritance Tax and whether you’re at risk of leaving your loved ones with a tax bill when you die in our article Understanding Inheritance Tax.
Fewer than two in 10 take advice or guidance before retirement
Most retired people stopped work without seeking any help or guidance on their pensions. Just one in 10 retired and semi-retired people aged 55 or above saw their own financial advisor, 4% saw an advisor arranged by their employer and 4% used the government’s free Pension Wise guidance service. Four in 10 said they conducted their own review of their personal finances to assess their income and outgoings in retirement, a figure that was nearly twice as high among men (51%) than women (27%). Learn more about the importance of pension advice and how to go about finding it in our guide How to get advice on your pension.
Tesco Bank launches market-leading purchases credit card
Tesco Bank has introduced a new credit card which charges 0% interest on purchases for up to 22 months from account opening. Depending on your credit score, you may be offered a 0% interest period of 18 or 14 months instead. Cardholders can collect Tesco Clubcard points almost everywhere they use their card, plus their usual points in Tesco. You must have an annual income of at least £5,000 and a good credit history to apply. Learn more about the card at Tesco Bank.
Money: latest news
18 August 2021
Nationwide offers £125 switching incentive
Nationwide Building Society from 18 August is offering a £125 cash reward to existing customers who switch their current account to the building society, and £100 to new customers switching to it. To qualify for the incentive, switches must be made using the current account switch service and a minimum of two active Direct Debits must be set up on the new account. Find out more about its range of current accounts at Nationwide.
Fake parcel delivery texts are the top smishing scam
Parcel delivery scams are the most prevalent type of text message scam, according to new data provided to UK Finance by cybersecurity company Proofpoint. These scams are designed to get the recipient to click on a link which will request personal or financial information that will be used to steal money from them. Always avoid clicking on links in text messages and forward any suspected scam text messages to 7726. Learn more about scams in our article Types of scam and how to avoid them.
State Pension pays less than minimum wage
The UK’s State Pension now pays retirees less than the minimum wage, according to a new report. Britons face the largest shortfall of working income to retirement income of any major economy, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). UK pensions receive just 28% of their working incomes in retirement, compared to the OECD average of 57%. Find out more about how you can plug this gap in our article How much should I save for retirement? and about the State Pension in our guide How the State Pension works.
Majority of homeowners using equity release involve family
Homeowners aged over 55 who are cashing in on property wealth regularly involve their family in decision-making. According to equity provider Key’s research, 60% of equity release customers consult their family before going ahead, with 29% choosing not to. It also found that more than £32.6 billion of property wealth has been released over the past 20 years. Learn more about equity release in our guide Equity release – what is it and how does it work?
Earn 0.65% on easy access savings
Tandem Bank has increased the rate on its Green Instant Access Saver account, which supports a range of green lending initiatives, by a quarter of a percentage point to 0.65%. This makes it the top-paying instant access account currently available. You can find out more about the account at Tandem Bank. If you want to find out how to increase your savings returns, particularly given the potential for rising inflation, read our article Five ways to boost your savings returns.
Charity condemns scrapping of free prescriptions for over-60s
Millions of people aged 60-65 will have to start paying for their prescriptions if government proposals go ahead, warns Age UK. The charity has launched a campaign called ‘Save Free Prescriptions’, stressing the change risks people failing to take their medication because they can’t afford the extra cost. Currently people receive free prescriptions from age 60, but there are plans to raise this to age 66, in line with the State Pension age. If you’re currently paying for your prescriptions, find out how you might be able to cut costs in our article How to beat the NHS prescription cost hike.
Gardens get a makeover during pandemic
Britons spent an average of £250 each giving their garden a makeover in the last year, according to new research from Lloyds Bank. This is an extra £109 on top of the £141 they typically spent on their outdoor space pre-pandemic. Yet more than a third, at 35%, don’t know if their home insurance covers any additions to their new and improved gardens. Find out more in Your Essential Guide to Home Insurance.
Money: latest news
11 August 2021
Gender pensions gap in retirement rises to £180,000
The gender pensions gap has increased to more than £180,000 among the over-55s in retirement. Research by equity release lender more2life and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that men expect an average retirement income of £20,712 a year, while women estimate that their income will be around £14,964. Given average life expectancy, this amounts to a difference of as much as £183,936 in retirement. Find out more about how to beat the gender pensions gap in our article Women and the gender pension gap.
£2.9 billion in unused subscriptions during pandemic
Britons are wasting around £2.9 billion in unused subscription payments, according tp research by cashback website Topcashback. Around three-quarters of us, at 73%, are paying for subscriptions and memberships. More than half, at 53%, have subscribed to at least one new service since the start of the pandemic. Yet almost half are paying for services they no longer use over the past six months, averaging £105 per person. Find plenty of tips on savings money in our article How to save money – 17 money saving tips.
Soaring demand for coastal properties
Demand for coastal properties is rocketing in the wake of the pandemic, according to Rightmove. The average asking price of homes in coastal areas has risen by 7% to £275,165 over the past two years, compared to 5% growth in cities. Dartmouth in Devon has seen the biggest rise in property searches, up 117%, while Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, recorded the largest price rise, at 27%. If you’re considering buying a new home, read our article 11 Common mistakes homebuyers make (and how to avoid them).
Vodafone to reintroduce roaming charges
Vodafone will charge £2 a day in roaming fees for new customers and those who’ve renewed their deals on or after 11 August when they use their phones in Europe. The new charges will come into effect from January 2022. EE has already announced it will introduce a flat £2 daily fee for those visiting Europe for new customers and those who upgraded after July 7, although they will only apply from January 2022 onwards. If you’re keen to switch mobile phone providers, you can compare deals using this mobile comparison tool.
Inflation predicted to hit 4% by end of 2021
The Bank of England predicts that inflation could hit 4% by the end of the year. It is expected to remain above the Bank’s 2% target until the end of 2023, making it difficult for both savers and investors to beat the rising cost of living. With inflation currently standing at 2.5%, savers are already losing money in real terms. Find out how to increase your savings returns in our article Five ways to boost your savings returns.
Borrowers have more choice as mortgage market recovers
The mortgage market is showing more signs of recovery, after taking a hit during the pandemic with hundreds of deals disappearing in the midst of economic uncertainty. According to financial analyst Defaqto, there were 2,479 fixed-rate mortgages on offer in March 2020, which fell by 44% to 1,390 in April 2020. However, there are now 2,488 products, up on the number available before the first lockdown. Compare mortgage deals today using this mortgage comparison service.
Money: latest news
04 August 2021
Prepare for steeper energy bills
A new energy price cap which will come into effect from October will be announced this Friday (6 August). Energy regulator Ofgem has warned that increases in wholesale energy prices could mean the cap, which is currently set at £1,138 a year, could rise by as much as £150 per household. If you’re worried about energy costs, check which tariff you’re on and see whether you might be able to switch to a cheaper deal. Our energy comparison tool can help you find the best energy deal to switch to.
£7bn overpaid on mortgages over the past six months
One in 14 people have overpaid their mortgages in the past six months, overpaying at an average rate of £319 per month, according to research by protection specialists LifeSearch. This rises to £469 a month among the over 55s. Overpaying your mortgage can reduce your mortgage term and the amount of interest you repay overall. Learn more about the pros and cons in our guide Should I consider overpaying my mortgage?
UK holidays favoured over foreign breaks
Almost two thirds (62%) of people say they are more likely to book a UK holiday than a foreign holiday this year due to Covid, a survey by Defaqto found, whilst 29% of people who had to cancel a holiday due to Covid were going on a UK break. Its research shows that 12% of travel insurance will not cover cancellation due to a positive Covid test, and only 56% of travel insurance covers you if you have to self-isolate and cancel. Find out more about what you are and aren’t covered for in our article Everything you need to know about travel insurance.
One in three retiring in debt this year
Nearly one in three people are retiring in debt this year with an average £20,650 to pay off, new research from the equity release adviser Key shows. Its ‘Retirement Ready 2021’ study into the finances and ambitions of people expecting to finish full-time work in 2021 found the average amount owed by people retiring in debt is £3,190 higher than in 2020 when the figure was £17,460. If you’re struggling to manage debts, read our article on How to take control of your debts.
Nationwide adds extra prize draw
Nationwide Building Society is adding an extra prize draw to its Start to Save account in January 2022. The account pays 1% interest each year and gives account holders the chance to win prizes of £100 by saving regularly. Savers are entered into draws if they increase their account balance by a minimum of £50 (up to a maximum of £100) in each of the three calendar months prior to the draw. Find out more about how the account works at Nationwide.
3.6m Brits lose track of pension savings
Over 3.6m Britons have no idea how many pensions they have and risk paying more in fees than necessary, according to new research by Scottish Widows. It is calling for action to help savers take control of their finances and at the same time to make the pensions system more efficient. If you think you might have lost track of some of your retirement savings, find out how you might be able to locate them in our article Tracing lost pensions.
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