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Are You Ready for Retirement? – I was a coach at the recent AegonRetiready Bootcamp in London, giving tips on how to save money on everyday expenses to enable higher payments into a pension pot.
Real Returns on Cash ISAs Half- I worked out that real return (the rate of interest minus inflation) on fixed rate Cash ISAs has almost halved in the last two years.
How to Make Your Own PPI Compensation Claim – With Personal Payment Protection (PPI) claim companies charging a fee of around 25% plus VAT of the compensation payout, you could pocket more cash by doing the claim yourself.
There’s been a lot in the media about claiming compensation for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). This product was usually sold alongside credit cards and loans to cover the credit card or loan monthly payments, typically for 12 months, due to circumstances such as illness or unemployment.
However, in some cases, customers were given misleading advice about why they should buy PPI, e.g. it wasn’t made clear that purchase of PPI wasn’t mandatory, or that self-employed workers weren’t covered. That’s the basis for reclaiming the PPI premiums paid, plus interest and a penalty.
You don’t need to use a PPI claims management firm, you can make a claim for PPI compensation yourself. This means that if your claim is successful you will receive the whole payout. Whereas, if you use a claims management firm, their fee of around 25% plus VAT of the payout, will be deducted from the compensation paid to you.
My Santander two-year fixed rate Cash ISA paying 4.1% matured on 1 July 2014. In the weeks prior to its maturity I was on the lookout for a new Cash ISA into which to transfer my savings.
Considering that the Bank of England base rate has remained static for more than five years, it’s disappointing that the rate of interest paid on savings account has dropped so much in the last two years.
The highest rate which I could find for a new two-year fixed rate Cash ISA was 2.3% in a Santander 123 account (you need to hold a Santander 123 Current Account or Credit Card to open the account). I read that existing Santander Cash ISA customers had unti.l 31 July 2014 to fund the account, so I opened an account on 2 June 2014 in order to secure the 2.3% rate. I’m glad I did, as the rate dropped to 2% on 9 June 2014.
Recent research conducted by Aegon highlighted that 9 out of 10 people in the UK aren’t prepared for retirement, with many people underestimating for how many years they’ll live and overestimating their pension income.
Using the AegonRetiready online retirement planning service can help you prepare for retirement. It only takes a few minutes to answer questions such as your planned date of retirement, current payments into your pension and desired income in retirement, to give you a score out of 100 to indicate if your retirement expectations are likely to be fulfilled.
If your retirement aspirations are not looking achievable, you can go on to the Retiready online tool to create a plan, so that your can attain your retirement goals.
I was one of the coaches at the recent Retiready boot camp in London. Along with investment consultant Robert Gardner and healthy living expert Julie Parry-Jones, we gave tips to three people – Derek, Joe and Angela, to help them get ready for retirement.
The latest findings from the UK Disposable Income Index, conducted every three months for the ISA provider Scottish Friendly Society, reveal that households have a higher disposable income (money left every month after paying for essentials such as housing, fuel and food).
In the previous Index, UK households had an average of 5% of take home pay remaining as disposable income. This figure has risen to 8% in the most recent Index. It appears that people are not spending this additional disposable income, they are choosing to save more, with 60% are now putting some cash in savings, up from 55% in the previous Index. Maybe this is in order to build up a buffer against future lean times after suffering through the recession and a change in attitude to debt?
As we have an old boiler, we shell out for British Gas ‘Home Cover’ which offers an annual service and breakdown cover.
We received a letter asking us to book our annual service online.
I logged into the British Gas website and arranged the service. There were no slots available for around ten days and then we were going to be away on holiday.
Between the time of booking the service and the service appointment, we had at least four calls from British Gas asking if the engineer could call around within the next few minutes.
None of these times was convenient. I feel that I was being pressurised into agreeing for the service engineer to come around when it suited them, especially during the final call on a Saturday morning.
I appreciate that British Gas is trying to be efficient by filling any gaps in the service engineer’s schedule, but in this case it all rather defeated the point in arranging an appointment in the first place. Instead, it left me feeling harassed.
I stayed at Travelodge Dundee Central on the night of the Monday Bank Holiday in early May 2014. I paid £26 on the non-refundable Saver rate for a family room. The hotel offers free parking in Travelodgeallocated spaces at the rear of the building, but you need to get a permit from reception. I arrived at the hotel around noon and was able to get a permit then to park at the hotel until early the following evening.
The rooms aren’t standard Travelodge boxes, as the building started life as jute mill.
Online identity fraud is on the rise; it doesn’t take much to have your identity stolen, but you could find yourself losing thousands of pounds in a single day if you aren’t careful. A recent article by MSN Money – source – claimed that “ticketing fraud cost victims over £3.7m last year”, showing just how much this despicable practice is on the rise both in the UK and around the world.
Of course, as well as risking losing money and having to spend hours on the phone and in meetings with your bank trying to reclaim your savings, having your accounts compromised can also damage your credit rating. You don’t want to be desperate for that loan or mortgage five years down the line and unable to get a good deal just because you weren’t a savvy online shopper.
On the 13th of June 2014 I bought an Activ Atlanta Mens Bike with a 21″ frame from ASDA Direct for £90+postage. Once I had paid, I was informed that delivery would be by Friday 20th June. I was looking forward to receiving my purchase, as my old bike had given up the ghost.
On the 17th of June I received a phone call from ASDA Direct, saying that they were going to cancel my purchase as the bike was no longer available. I complained, pointing out that as their product was shown as available at the time of purchase and since they had accepted my money, they should offer me a suitable alternative as opposed to cancelling my order. I also put this in writing on the same day and received an email from ASDA Direct with a case number.