Money: latest news
9 June 2021
One in five women leave their pensions in the hands of their partner
More than one in 10 people say they leave their long-term finances to their partner to sort out, with women twice as likely to do this as men, according to research by Hargreaves Lansdown. The investment service warns that leaving your financial future to someone else means you lose touch with your plans. Our article Preparing for retirement: Your six-step pension checklist explains how to reconnect with your pensions.
Tax credit renewal season sparks scam surge
HMRC is warning tax credit claimants to be on their guard, as fraudsters frequently target people in June and July when tax credit renewal notices are sent out. In the 12 months to the end of April this year, HMRC responded to more than 1.15m referrals of suspicious contact from the public, with more than 576,960 of these offering bogus tax rebates. Find out more about scams in our article Types of scam and how to avoid them.
Half a million homebuyers set to benefit from stamp duty holiday
The current stamp duty holiday is set to see an estimated 76% of all homebuyers pay no stamp duty, with total savings reaching in excess of £3.4bn. According to research by estate agency comparison website GetAgent.co.uk, 539,972 transactions are forecast to complete before the stamp duty free threshold reduces from £500,000 to £250,000 on June 30. Read more about stamp duty in our guide Stamp duty explained.
Eat at Nando’s today with someone aged 65 or over and get 50% off your bill
Eat out at any Nando’s restaurant before 11pm on 9 June with someone aged 65 or over, and you can claim 50% off your total bill, including drinks. To qualify for the offer you have to sign up online at Nando’s who will send you a unique code to present when you pay. You can find more special offers and discounts in our article The best discounts for people in their 50s, 60s and beyond.
Are you missing out on your State Pension entitlement?
A quarter of a million people could be missing out on their State Pension and may not be getting their full entitlement, reveals research by consultants Lane, Clark and Peacock. This may be because some don’t realise they have to claim their pension, as it is not paid automatically, and because there is little understanding of the right to a pension based on the record of a spouse, late spouse or ex-spouse for women in the pre-2016 scheme. Read more about this in our article Women owed £3 billion in backdated State Pension payments.
Petrol prices reach highest level in two years
Petrol prices have soared to their highest level in two years, according to the RAC. It says that the average cost of a litre of unleaded petrol has reached 129.27p, the highest level since August 2019. You can search for the cheapest fuel prices in your area at Petrolprices.com, which has data for nearly 8,500 petrol stations across the UK.
Money: latest news
2 June 2021
Nationwide cuts mortgage rates to less than 1%
Nationwide Building Society has cut its mortgage rates for first-time buyers and home movers by up to 0.20 of a percentage point. It is currently offering a two-year fixed rate deal at just 0.99% for homeowners looking to remortgage, with a £1,499 fee. Only those who own at least 40% equity in their homes will be eligible for this deal. You can compare remortgage deals from the whole of the market using this mortgage comparison tool.
£26,000 needed for a comfortable retirement
Two-person households need an average annual income of £26,000 for a comfortable retirement, according to latest research from consumer association Which? Its analysis found that retired couples spend an average of £18,000 a year on essentials, rising to £26,000 when including spending on recreation and leisures, alcohol, tobacco, and short-haul holidays. Find out if you’re on track to retire with the help of our article Preparing for retirement: Your six-step pension checklist.
Boost returns when saving for children or grandchildren
One in three parents are using low or 0% interest current accounts to save for their children, despite the fact there are other options available offering potentially much higher returns. Learn more about different ways to give financial gifts to young children in our article Financial gifts for young children: what are the options?
Marks & Spencer to offer cut-price summer beauty box
Spend £30 across clothing, homeware or beauty at M&S from Thursday onwards and you can pick up a beauty box containing 11 beauty buys worth over £140 for just £20. Items in the box include L’Occitane Shower Oil, REN Dark Spot Cream and a Nails Inc Watermelon Polish. Find out more about the offer here.
Charity urges government to provide further support for renters
Evictions for rent arrears were able to resume from June 1, but charity StepChange is warning that tenants need more financial support to address the £360m black hole of rent debt built up during the pandemic. It wants to see the introduction of grants to help low-income households who have been unable to keep up with rent payments. If you’re struggling with debts, our article How to take control of your debts explains where to go for help.
Less than a month to go before Stamp Duty holiday ends
Homebuyers have less than a month to go to complete their purchases before the temporary Stamp Duty holiday, which removes Stamp Duty on property purchases up to £500,000, finishes on June 30. The tax-free threshold will fall to £250,000 from July 1 and then return to its standard £125,000 threshold from October. Find out more in our article Stamp duty explained.
Money: latest news
26 May 2021
Beware broadband price hikes
Thousands of broadband customers will see the 18-month Black Friday deals they signed up for in November 2019 come to an end this month, and should start looking round for a new deal. According to Uswitch.com, these customers could end up paying £114 a year more than they should on average if they do nothing and move onto their suppliers’ more expensive standard tariffs. You can compare broadband prices using this broadband comparison tool.
Nationwide launches monthly prize draw
Nationwide Building Society has announced the launch of a monthly prize draw which gives its members the opportunity to share a prize fund of £1m each month. Members are defined as those with at least one Nationwide mortgage, savings or current account and they will be automatically entered into the draw each month. The draws begin in September and will run for a 12 month period. There will be 8,008 prizes to be won each month, with one member winning £100,000 each time.
More than one in four don’t understand pension tax relief
Only 15% of people fully understand how pension tax relief works, a survey by Royal London found, while 27% said they had heard of pension tax relief but didn’t understand how it works. The research found that once people do understand it better it has the potential to change how they view their pension, with 25% saying they would be more likely to increase contributions as a result. Find out more about pension tax relief in our guide How pension tax relief works.
Is your bike protected?
Cyclists are being warned to check their home insurance as only 16% of home insurance policies cover bikes away from the home as standard, according to research by independent financial information business Defaqto. Of those that do include cover, the limits are often low with 5% offering less than £5,000 of cover and 20% less than £1,000. If you’re looking to buy standalone insurance to protect your bike, you can compare quotes using this bicycle insurance comparison tool.
Lidl scam warning
Lidl is warning shoppers to watch out for a new email scam that promises them a Lidl voucher if they complete a survey and hand over their bank details. If you think you’ve fallen victim to this or any other type of scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and you can find out more about some of the scams currently doing the rounds in our article Types of scam and how to avoid them.
Virgin Mobile to hike prices from July
Virgin Mobile phone customers who took out a SIM only or pay monthly contract before 5 May this year will see prices rise by 1.5% from 1 July. Pay as you go customers won’t be affected. If you want to move to a different provider as a result of the price hike, you’ll only be able to do this penalty-free if you’re out of contract. If you are out of yours, or you’re nearing the end of it, you can use this Mobile Phone comparison tool to compare deals.
Money: latest news
19 May 2021
£8.4bn at risk due to lack of travel cover
More than 22m British people are planning to holiday in the UK this year, spending an average of £660 each, but 13m of them will go uninsured and one in six admits to never buying travel insurance. Find out why travel insurance is important whether you’re holidaying at home or abroad in our article Do I need travel insurance?
Uber and OpenTable join forces to offer diners 50% off
Transport company Uber and online restaurant reservation service OpenTable have joined forces so that diners taking a trip to one of the restaurants listed at opentable.com in cities including London, Birmingham, Bristol, Brighton and Manchester can get 50% off the cost of their Uber journey there, up to a maximum of £6. Users must enter the code DiningIsBack in the wallet section of their Uber app before booking a trip. The offer ends on 30 May.
Is your fixed energy tariff ending?
There are 88 cheap fixed-term energy tariffs expiring in the next two weeks, according to personal finance site Forbes Advisor UK. Those who forget to switch could be hit with a price hike of more than £331 a year if they roll over automatically onto their supplier’s standard energy tariff. If you think your fixed tariff is ending this month, or you’re already on a standard tariff, you can compare deals and switch using this Energy comparison tool.
Homeowners unlock more than £1 billion of property wealth in first three months of 2021
Rising house prices enabled older homeowners to release more than £1 billion in property wealth between January and March this year, the equivalent of more than £11.3m a day, according to data from equity release adviser Key. The average equity release customer released £103,710 a 25% increase over the £83.242 released in the first three months of 2020. Learn more about equity release in our guide Equity release – what is it and how does it work?
‘FOMO’ costs savers £385 a year
Fear of the open market option (FOMO) or in other words, failing to shop around for the best annuity rates, is costing annuity customers and average of £385 in income a year, or £7,700 over a 20-year retirement. Insurer Canada Life says that these figures are based on the average purchase price for an annuity (£60,515) and comparing the best and worst annuity rates available in the open market. Find out more about how annuities work in our article Annuities explained.
Nearly half of early retirees forced out of work by poor health or redundancy
Nearly half (48%) of people who retired earlier than they’d expected did so either due to ill health or because they lost their job and were unable to find another. Research by retirement specialist Just Group found that only one in four people aged 55 or more stopped working early because they felt their pension and savings were enough to enable them to retire. If you’ve had to stop work sooner than you’d have liked, read our guide How can I manage the financial impact of early retirement?
Money: latest news
12 May 2021
Cost of plastic carrier bags to double
The cost of single-use carrier bags will double from 5p to 10p in England from 21 May, and small and medium-sized shops as well as bigger retailers from this date will have to apply this charge. Under current rules, only shops which employ more than 250 workers have to apply the 5p charge for carrier bags. Remember to take your own shopping bags with you if you want to escape these costs.
Aviva launches new health and wellbeing app for insurance customers
Insurer Aviva has introduced a new complimentary health and wellbeing smartphone app for customers buying its life insurance, critical illness cover and over 50s plans. The app provides customers with access to mental health specialists, nutritionists and a clinical annual health check. Find out more about the app here and you can compare life insurance or health insurance policies using this comparison tool.
Beware pension scams
More than 7.6m adults have been contacted by someone other than their pension provider encouraging them to move or transfer money from their pension, according to a new report from LV=. It says that 14m people are worried that they may unwittingly fall victim to a pension scam, and 20m want to know more about how to spot a scam. You can learn more about pension scams and how to protect yourself in our article Don’t let scammers steal your retirement.
Mortgage debt in retirement set to become the norm
Growing numbers of people are borrowing well into retirement, with 40 year terms becoming the new normal. In 2019, it was estimated that 3m people would have a mortgage past retirement. This is a number that will increase year on year, but according to Sprive.com, an app which aims to help people become mortgage-free faster, this is likely to be close to 3.5m now. One of the quickest ways to clear mortgage debt is by overpaying each month. Find out more in our article Should I consider overpaying my mortgage?
Trade in old IKEA furniture for vouchers
IKEA has introduced a ‘buy back’ service so that you can sell items you no longer want back to the store in return for IKEA vouchers. Furniture must be returned to an IKEA store fully assembled where it will be assessed and its value determined. The maximum you’ll be offered is a voucher for up to 50% of the original price paid for the item. You can find out more and get an estimate for any IKEA furniture you want to sell back here.
‘Death admin’ causes mental health problems for two in five
Nearly nine out of 10 (87%) people who have recently lost someone found dealing with the administrative and financial side of their death stressful, according to research from probate experts Exizent. Two in five saw their mental health decline whilst having to sort everything out, with women twice as likely to be impacted as men. Read our article What to do when someone dies to learn more about some of the steps you need to take when someone dies.
Money: latest news
5 May 2021
New ‘Breathing Space’ scheme launched for those in problem debt
The government this week launched a new scheme to give people struggling with debts some breathing space. Under the scheme, people will be given legal protections from their creditors for 60 days, with most interest and penalty charges frozen, and enforcement action halted. They will also receive professional debt advice to design a plan which helps to get their finances back on track. Find out more about the scheme here.
Beware tax trap when dipping into pension savings
A fifth (21%) of over 55s have experienced a fall in their personal income over the last 12 months, according to Fidelity International, but may be unaware that taking a short-term cash boost from their pension could well restrict their future retirement savings. Learn more about the implications of dipping into your pension to make ends meet in our article Should I use my pension to boost my income?
Watch out for doorstep scammers as lockdown ends
Doorstep scammers are back in action now that lockdown measures are being relaxed, the consumer association Which? Warns. According to Action Fraud £18.7m was lost to doorstep scams in 2020 alone, with scammers often offering gardening or home improvement services and then overcharging or not finishing the work. Find out more about scams and how to protect yourself in our article Types of scam and how to avoid them.
Beat Sky price hikes
Sky home phone customers will see bills rise by up to £24 a year from this month. The amount you’ll have to pay will depend on which package you have, and Sky says it has contacted all those affected. Sky has already hiked prices by up to £72 a year for its broadband and TV customers from 1 April. If you’re not happy about the increases, you can see if you can find a better deal with our broadband, phone and TV package comparison tool.
Multi-jobbers short-changed £76m a year in employer pension contributions
Workers on the lowest salaries with more than one job are losing out on £76m in employer pension contributions due to an ‘unfair’ system, according to a new study from Scottish Widows. It wants the government to scrap automatic enrolment thresholds because no matter how much someone earns in total they’re excluded from being automatically enrolled into a company pension if they’re earning less than £10,000. Find out more in our article Can I join my workplace pension scheme if I’m on a low salary?
Parents fail to prepare for the worst
Fewer than one in five (17%) people surveyed by Harveaves Lansdown say that their parents have a lasting power of attorney in place, whilst only two in five people are certain their parents have a will. Read our articles How to set up a lasting power of attorney and How to write a will to find out more about why these are such important financial tasks, and how to go about arranging both.
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