Why are Credit Unions in decline?

We hear a lot about credit unions: about how they serve the communities they are based in, about how they help consumers who wouldn’t be able to borrow anywhere else and about how they offer loans at lower interest rates than other types of finance. But credit unions – often hailed as the antidote to payday loans and other forms of sub-prime finance – are in decline. Figures released last year showed that while there were 835 credit unions operating in the UK in 2001, that number had fallen to just 523 in 2014. Find your local credit union. While some of that decline can be put down to consolidation in the market and the creation of very large credit unions designed to compete with the high street banks, it’s clear that this relatively young financial sector has not boomed in the way that many economic commentators had been expecting. Some analysts are now painting an even bleaker picture for credit unions. These institutions have two arms that support each other – savings


How to earn more from your employment

Increasing your earned income as an employee isn’t an easy task. Short of blackmailing your boss, sometimes it can seem as if there’s no other option than to be stuck at your current level of pay. However, there are some simple ways that you can give yourself a fighting chance of increasing your monthly take home. Whether you choose to stay put at your current job, or move elsewhere, you can make 2017 the year that your professional value goes up. Increasing earned income staying in your current job The key here is to be able to give your employer a reason to increase your salary. That could be anything from highlighting skills they may not have known about, to acquiring new ones. Now: Ask for a pay rise Particularly for women in the workplace, one of the most significant factors in not getting a pay rise is simply not asking for it. Although sectors vary, a Association of Accounting Technicians study found that 61% of women have never asked for a pay rise. So, if you feel like yo

Is the Rise of Consumer Borrowing storing up problems for the future?

Personal borrowing is still rising with the average Briton continuing to lean heavily on credit cards, overdrafts and loans. Figures released by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) show that in December last year the average growth in consumer credit was 6.6% with most of the demand being for low-cost personal loans. The figures from the BBA show that net borrowing rose by £330 million at the end of last year prompting warnings from debt advice charities that many people attracted by continued record low interest rates were “sleepwalking” into debt. But despite the warnings, economic analysts said that the ratio of household debt to income remains manageable precisely because interest rates are so low. They said that interest rates will have to rise significantly if the cost of borrowing is to match that last seen on the eve of the financial crisis in 2008. Other figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showed that secured debt reached £20.4 billion at the end of 2016

Free Debt Advice: Where to get it if you need it now

It’s easy to stick your head in the sand when you are struggling with debt but it is never a good idea. While you might like to think that not opening bills or responding to telephone calls will make your debts go away, your creditors will continue to pursue you for what you owe and will eventually take legal action to recover the debts. It is never a good idea to ignore debt. Fortunately, there are plenty of free debt advice services that you can turn to no matter where you are and no matter how large your debts. But what is the best service for your needs: The Money Advice Service This free online resource at http://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk has a wealth of information about debt, handling your money and how to behave responsibly even when you are struggling with your finances. The service has online advisers who will be able to point you in the right direction or you can call them on 0800 138 7777 for free debt advice. It also has a section on how to deal with a debt adviser and ho

The new online ways to buy or sell your cars

The internet is a fantastic marketplace you can buy and sell everything online now, from houses, to suitcases. Those selling online are often able to offer lower prices than the costs of products in bricks and mortar stores. Plus, the internet has connected individuals who are looking to sell to each other, cutting out the middleman. Cars are perhaps one of the most expensive purchases that we make. If you’re looking to reduce your up front purchase costs – or get a good price for an old vehicle – selling or buying online offers a great, simple option. What are the choices? There are lots different choices when it comes to selling or buying a car online now but most of them come down to the same structure. Normally, a website or app serves as a database, either distributing your car details to dealers or showing you the buying options available. These are four of the most popular: Carwow – this site works on the basis of comparison. Find the car you want to buy and you’ll be

Is 2017 the year of the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things has become a term of common currency. All it really means is that equipment and devices are connected by the internet, sharing data. The most common example is a fridge that could let you know when you were out of butter or milk. Aside from the more ridiculous Internet of Things fantasies, 2016 was a big year for pushing this concept forward, as it began to get traction outside of just businesses and geeks. So, in theory 2017 should be the year in which Internet of Things enters all of our lives, whether we like it or not. It all depends on 5G For the Internet of Things to really take hold, 5G mobile communication needs to happen. Before it does, most experts predict that networks won’t be fast enough or have the capacity to create an effective Internet of Things. Speed is one of the key differences between the 4G networks we have now, and 5G. An SMS takes 40 milliseconds to send on a 4G network and just one or two with 5G. While that might seem like a pointle

Why decluttering your life is good for you

You might think that decluttering is simply tidying up. However, a whole way of thinking has developed behind ideas of decluttering that extends from your physical space, to your mental wellbeing. If 2017 is the year in which you want to see changes to old habits, bad relationships and lacklustre progress, decluttering could be your ticket there. What is decluttering and how can it help? The definition of declutter comes in two parts. The first is “to remove unnecessary items” and the second, “from an untidy or overcrowded space.” So, the central ideas behind decluttering are basically to get rid of what you no longer need to make life less crowded. This has obvious relevance to physical spaces but can go much further than that too. So, what areas of your life can you declutter and what benefits can you expect to see as a result? Your home There are many reasons why a decluttered home might be good for you. From basic hygiene and making spaces easier to clean and access, to ma