Unitended Consequences of 3% Stamp Duty Surcharge

Written by Karen Bryan

The 3% Stamp Duty Surcharge, introduced in April 2015, is having unintended consequences. It was meant to be an additional cost for buy-to-let landlords. There were few critics of the surcharge as most people thought that buy-to-let landlords were fair game as a source of additional tax revenue.

However, even if you have no intention of being a landlord, if you buy your new home before selling your current main residence, then you are slapped with this additional 3% Stamp Duty. The surcharge has to be paid upon purchase of the second property.

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How to Save Money on Your Business Car Effectively

Written by Karen Bryan

Want to save money on your business car? Then read on to find out how best to achieve savings:

Install a Telematics System

Install a telematics system in your business car, and you’ll have access to information that will help you better understand driving behaviour, route information, fuel usage, location and speed. Using this information you can make informed business decisions, which could ultimately help you to make savings long-term. Such systems can be integrated with other business applications to help you give better customer service, such as accurate delivery time information.

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Admiral Charge £5.95 If You Pay For Your Insurance by Credit Card

Written by Karen Bryan

When doing some research on home contents insurance, I was taken aback that Admiral charge a £5.95 fee for payment by credit card.

This seems excessive, especially considering that the quote was for £160. That’s more than an additional 3.5% for using your credit card to pay for home insurance.

I couldn’t believe that it cost so much for Admiral to process a credit card payment.

I did an online search for ‘average cost for UK merchant to process a credit card transaction’. According to an article on the This is Money site., the average cost is 0.8%. That’s way below what Admiral is charging.

I suppose that you need to put it into perspective. If Admiral do offer you the lowest price quote for insurance, look at the total cost you’ll pay if you pay by credit card. Or use your debit card, which incurs no additional fee.

Utility Saving Expert Can Help You Save Money

Written by Karen Bryan

With the price of gas and electricity increasing, comparing energy tariffs is just one of the ways that you can save money on your utility bills. The Utility Saving Expert price comparison website enables you to quickly search through the tariffs available with various suppliers.

Utility Saving Expert was set up in 2014 by Chris Richards, a social entrepreneur. Chris’ experience in a not-for-profit organisation helping people who were in debit with local authorities, highlighted that many people in debt spend a high percentage of their income on utility bills. Chris decided on a two-pronged approach. He developed an easy to use online tool to help people find the lowest price to reduce their fuel expenditure. Plus, 10% of the profit generated by Utility Saving Expert is donated to fuel poverty related charities.

If you are on a standard tariff at present, there’s a good chance that you could save money by switching to another supplier.

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Why Bother Running the Tram from the City Centre to Edinburgh Airport?

Written by Karen Bryan

It costs £1.60 for a single ticket between any two stops in Edinburgh, except for the Edinburgh Airport stop, when the price of a single ticket shoots up to £5.50 (£8.50 for a return). It’s not as though there is an express tram going to the airport, every tram halts at each stop on the route.

Why should passengers have to pay more so much more for a tram ticket to travel to the airport?

This pricing structure is incoherent, You can take a the 35 standard service Lothian bus to Edinburgh Airport from the city centre for flat fare of £1.60. This journey takes approximately 60 minutes. Unfortunately, the 35 doesn’t go along Princes Street past Waverley railway station, so it’s not that convenient for most passengers.

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Have You Thought About Care Home Fees in Your Retirement Plans?

Written by Karen Bryan

You may believe that you have planned for a comfortable retirement. Ideally, you will receive income in retirement from a variety of sources such as the State Pension, personal or occupational pension, investments and cash savings. If you have paid off your mortgage, it may look as though your retirement income is generous enough to leave a decent disposable income after paying living expenses.

But have you thought about the impact which care home fees could have on your finances?

According the Money Advice Service (MAS) the average annual UK care home fee is £29,270, rising to £39,300 if nursing care is required.

Any income which you receive, such as the state or personal pensions, benefits and interest on savings, would be used towards paying your care home fees. If your income doesn’t cover the full fees, then your assets would be assessed.

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Will You Be Able to Afford to Retire?

Written by Karen Bryan

Recent research by Lending Works highlights that 34% of non-retired UK residents are not saving any money towards their retirement. This doesn’t bode well for their post-work years. Even if they have paid the required 35 years of National Insurance Contributions to be eligible for the full new State Pension of £155.65 a week (which is payable to those retiring since 6 April 2016), it will be hard to achieve a comfortable retirement on that amount of cash.

Infographic: 22 per cent of Brits think they'll never be able to retire

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Profile Of Popular eToro Trader Jaynemisis

Written by Karen Bryan

The eToro social trading network, which launched in 2007, now has over 6 million registered users.

The benefits of a social trading platform are shared knowledge and communication between users, making eToro a more fun, transparent and social way of online trading.

The eToro platform recently won the Best of Show award at FinovateEurope 2017.

You can set your own Contract for Difference (CFD) on a variety of trades including the Dow Jones and NASDAQ, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), currencies or commodities.

If you are not that confident, or knowledgeable, about trading, there is the option to follow successful eToro investors. You can watch other users trading in real time to get a feel for their modus operandi. If you wish you can elect to automatically copy other users trades.

One of the most popular eToro investors is Jay Smith, known as Jaynemesis. Over the last 12 months Jay has turned a profit of over 85%.

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Three Mobile Offer Existing Customers Good Discounts

Written by Karen Bryan

Last year, when the 12 months term was up on my Three Mobile SIM only contract, I was happy to continue on a flexible one month rolling plan.

The  £15 a month plan included 200 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited data (with a 4GB tethering limit) suited my needs. The plan also included Three’s Feel at Home scheme, enabling me to use my UK plan in several European countries free of charge.

I had read about some Three customers who, like me, had stayed on their original plan after the initial 12 month contract expired, being told by Three that they could no longer continue on these plans, with less favourable plans being offered as an alternative.

I had a feeling this might happen to me soon. Sure enough, I recently received a letter from Three informing me that it was time to select a new contract.

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Airbnb Should Offer the Option to Pay in Local Currency

Written by Karen Bryan

I’m going to Malaga in southern Spain for one week in April 2017. I am meeting up with Gary,  one of our sons, who has given up his senior developer job in Scotland to become a remote worker.

I said that I would organise our accommodation.

I had a quick look at hotels in Malaga. It appeared that a twin room with a private bathroom, on a room only basis, would cost around £300 for one week

I then looked at apartments in the city centre with at least one bedroom. We thought that renting an apartment would enable do our own things without disturbing each other. I usually go to bed and get up earlier than Gary, so sharing a hotel room doesn’t work very well for us.

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