The art of “good” borrowing

By: Oliver Jones Feb 29, 2016 The art of “good” borrowing Debt is something that most of us have become accustomed to, but how do you stay in control of it – how do you borrow “well”?. While borrowing – loans, payday loans, credit cards etc – beyond your means is never a good idea, using debt to help take advantage of life’s opportunities can be really useful. Good debt vs. bad debt Essentially, the art of good borrowing is based on the distinction between good debt and bad debt. Good debt is the kind that is an investment in your financial future – this will leave you better off in the long term, allow you to deal with a short-term issue or shortfall, and there will be a specific reason as to why you want to use the debt in the first place. Most importantly, good debt is not going to have a negative overall impact on your finances in the long term or leave you in a financial hole that you are unable to get out of. Planning is key Borrowing money is a great way to do many things


How to be your own personal finance adviser

By: Alex Hartley Feb 25, 2016 How to be your own personal finance adviser A financial advisor provides advice and guidance on how to keep your finances in check and the best ways to make the most of the income that you have to achieve your future goals. Of course, if you want the help of a financial advisor then you’re going to have to pay for it, as this kind of assistance doesn’t come for free. For most of us, paying for a financial advisor simply isn’t good sense but that doesn’t mean you can’t introduce this kind of guidance into your life. Change your mindset, get money smart and there’s no reason why you can’t be your own financial advisor – here’s how. Getting on top of pensions One of the first steps a financial advisor would most likely direct you to take is to make sure that you have enough set aside for a comfortable retirement. Make sure that you’re up to date with National Insurance Contributions that will entitle you to a state pension – if you’re

The true costs of being a parent

Oct 13, 2014 Blog RSS feed There is no doubt that being a parent is expensive – even those who don’t have children themselves can see that providing the essentials for a small being continually growing out of everything is going to take its toll on bank accounts and savings. However, what you may not have realised, is that the cost of raising a child to the age of 21 now outstrips the cost of buying a house – by about £13,000. Experts from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) have estimated that the cost of raising a child, from the first nappies and dummies, through to funding a child through university, is in the region of £231,843 – per child – while the average UK semi detached house in now £219,255. So, parenting is very expensive but what are the biggest costs involved and are there any steps that can be taken to reduce them? Childcare According to the report from the CEBR the biggest cost hands down is childcare, which amounts to an eye-watering £

You underestimate your annual bills by £1500

Oct 13, 2014 Blog RSS feed At the start of 2016, when we were all busy trying to stick to those New Year financial resolutions, reports appeared in the media that could throw light on why many of us struggle to keep on top of our money. A survey carried out for the banking group Santander revealed that Brits underestimate what we spend on our household bills by around £1,500 a year. That’s a pretty substantial margin of error. Perhaps it’s a symptom of just how much many of our regular payments have gone up in recent times but it would seem that very few of us really understand what our annual outgoings are – and that’s the first step on the road to bad budgeting. The survey says… The Santander survey highlighted the misconceptions many of us seem to have about how much it costs to meet our annual household bills for council tax, TV, utilities, broadband and phone. While an Office for National Statistics Living Costs and Food Survey indicated that the average Brit thought t

Valentine’s Day – how to be romantic on a budget

By: Alex Hartley Feb 11, 2016 Valentine’s Day – how to be romantic on a budget It’s almost the most romantic day of the year again – although the cost of the average Valentine’s Day can be a sticking point. Roses suddenly double in price, if you want to book a restaurant then get ready to pay a hefty fee for a set menu, and if you’re thinking about splashing out on artisan chocolates then anything in a heart shaped box is likely to cost you at least twice the price of something less romantically wrapped. This cynical profiteering is particularly hard to take when it comes to something like love – if you don’t go for the whole ‘flowers and dinner’ package then the implication is that you just don’t love that person enough…isn’t it? The cost burden of Valentine’s Day has traditionally fallen on men although a more egalitarian approach in recent years has turned the day into a gift giving event of epic proportions. Forget the single rose that might have sufficed in

Hacks, scams and frauds that could affect your finances

By: Oliver Jones Feb 09, 2016 Hacks, scams and frauds that could affect your finances We live in a fluid digital age where few of us are really aware of the real risks when it comes to everything from identity to finances. In reality, all hacks, scams and frauds have one thing at their focus: to allow the hacker or fraudster to get their hands on something that belongs to someone else, whether that is money, possessions or documentation. Most of us coast through our lives without even being aware of most of these threats – until the worst happens and we find ourselves at the centre of one. So, what hacks, scams and frauds do we need to be aware of and how can we stop the worst of the impact? Phishing Probably one of the most common scams, phishing was also one of the first digital attacks and has remained one of the most effective fraudster tools. It essentially involves a fraudulent email or message designed to look like a genuine communication from a sender you might recognise, su

Why you should make a will

By: Alex Hartley Feb 03, 2016 Why you should make a will Last year, industry polls established that around half of adults in the UK don’t have a will. The number of those without a will in older age groups has risen substantially in the UK since 2009. In 2009, 41% in the age group 50 to 59 had not made a will, a figure which has now risen to 54%. So, if almost half of us don’t think it’s important to have a will, do we actually need to make one? We think the answer is yes and there are some very good reasons to support that way of thinking. A will ensures your wishes are respected There’s just no other way to divide up your wealth other than by leaving a comprehensive will. Many of us don’t want to think about death during life – especially under the age of 40 –  but the reality is that, unless you plan for that event, your assets will not be distributed to the people you want to have them. A written will avoids disputes It’s part and parcel of easing the process of you