With the tuition fees cap about to be raised and many students already paying £9,000 a year to go to university, the stakes in higher education are much higher than they used to be. As a result of the enormous financial investment that is now involved in getting a degree, there is an increased focus on the quality of the teaching and whether courses are delivering in terms of results and value for money. Many universities are now bracing themselves for complaints, not just about the courses but the facilities – such as accommodation – too. But what can students really do if they don’t feel that their chosen degree has delivered value for money? Degrees vs. goods and services It’s worth remembering that what students pay for isn’t the degree itself. There’s no guarantee that anyone will walk out of university with the degree that they’re hoping for and no amount of cash spent will (or should) change that. What’s being paid for are the services and facilities that enabl
Technology is truly changing the world – at an increasingly blistering pace. And perhaps nowhere is this more apparent right now than in the world of money and banking. FinTech (finance + tech) is the latest buzzword and represents a huge swathe of innovation when it comes to the way that we bank and manage our money. While online banking is well established as the alternative to going in to your local branch to handle transactions or make balance enquiries this is really just the tip of the iceberg. In terms of the future of money and banking there are some pretty exciting developments on the horizon. Artificial Intelligence Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been identified as a new frontier when it comes to helping us better understand and manage our money. Cleo, for example, is a virtual personal assistant that interacts with users of the app as if it were a real person. Ask it questions, request help and the responses are chatty and emoji-filled (the app is aimed at 20-30 year ol
We re big advocates or people improving their knowledge of financial matters. And the typical level of knowledge is very poor. We ve blogged about this issue before see the related stories below but the reality is that most people are ill-prepared for most of life s major financial decisions. Credit has become so readily available in the last few decades that we hardly give it a second thought. But given that the average indebtedness is around £10,000 per head, that millions of Brits have little if any savings, and millions more have a bad credit rating or serious debt problems there is clearly a need for some light to be shed on the realities of credit. In an attempt to contribute to improving people s knowledge we ve launched a new podcast that we re calling Money Matters and yes this does have at least two meanings. You can find our new personal finance podcast here, or access immediately from the podcast player below. You can also find it on iTunes (search Solution Loans or visit
American economist Richard Thaler was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics this year. His work in behavioural economics – in particular, developing “Nudge Theory” – has put him firmly on the map as a problem solver. It has also opened up the idea that behavioural economics might have more of a role to play in helping all of us to do better when it comes to managing our money. What is Nudge Theory? It’s basically the idea that we can be given a “nudge” in the right direction when it comes to our finances. Instead of penalising people who aren’t doing well financially, subtle policy shifts help to create change at the other end of the scale. A good recent example is pensions auto-enrolment, which was introduced in the UK in response to the fact that retirement savings rates among UK citizens were far too low. Under auto-enrolment workers are now automatically placed into a pension scheme and must actively opt out if they don’t want to remain in it. The statistics indic
There is a lot to be said for the old idea that we’re stronger together. Particularly now when times are tough for many, the idea that clubbing together to save money as a community could help with costs and budgets is very appealing indeed. People power could not only give you the means to cut the costs of your essentials but also help bypass the more expensive commercial options that don’t necessarily deliver better results. So, where could you save money as a community? Energy and fuel savings clubs With the cost of energy always increasing and some providers putting prices up by 10% this year it sometimes feels like it’s difficult to see a way out of those huge quarterly bills. However, joining an energy and fuel savings club could give you other options than just to accept the prices you’re quoted or go elsewhere. Using the process of ‘collective switching’ it’s possible to negotiate a better tariff on behalf of a group of consumers than you’d ever be able to get
“Do you want to make money from Facebook? It’s simple. Just go to your computer, turn it off – and go to work!” This is just one of the many jokes that you’ll find online about making cash. Although money is a pretty serious topic for all of us there are times when you need to dial up the humour on subjects like taxes, budgets, not quite living within your means and life envy of the seriously wealthy. And now might just be the perfect moment. After all, it’s that time of year when the sun is even less likely to make an appearance, we’re back to the routine of school and work, and your summer tan has pretty much faded. Right now, we all need a reason to … Paying taxes is no laughing matter… Although maybe it is because over the years HMRC has received what it considers to be some pretty hilarious excuses for not submitting tax returns. Not a joke exactly (although they obviously made the tax office laugh), the tried and test excuses from UK businesses that missed thos
In a recent blog post we explored how popular music seems to talk more about our personal relationships than about our relationship with money. And this is the case even though we probably spend an equal amount of time worrying about each of them we want to be happy in our choice of partner, and we want to feel happy that we have no money worries. And of course relationships and money are linked as the saying goes: Love flies out of the window when money flies out of the door.