What needs to happen to improve people’s personal finance skills

When it comes to personal finances, many of us assume that we’re just naturally quite good at it. Until, that is, you get to a point in life when something happens to demonstrate that you’re not. For example, when the budgeting goes awry or you realise that you’ve totally forgotten to add Stamp Duty on to the price of a property purchase. If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you feel like a bit of a financial dunce then you’re certainly not alone. A survey by pollsters Ipsos Mori shows that many Brits are way off the mark when it comes to having a realistic perspective on personal finances, from the cost of raising kids to how much you’re likely to need for retirement. And the survey says… The survey by Ipsos Mori, conducted in 2015, highlights some fairly serious knowledge gaps within the UK population. For example, those surveyed thought that the total cost of raising a child was around £50,000. Most recent studies peg this closer to £229,000 per child
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Gambling – What’s the Problem?

Problem gambling is, more often than not, something we associate with other people. It might happen only to the desperate; perhaps it’s just an issue for someone who already has an addictive personality. Most of us feel that we’re unlikely to have a problem with gambling. However, the reality is that it’s a growing phenomenon that is becoming increasingly costly – last year punters lost £13 billion via gambling habits. Gambling addicts come from every walk of life It’s not just those who are desperate for cash who might risk it all on a gamble. Premier League footballer John Hartson is perhaps one of the most high profile people who has admitted to having a gambling habit. Despite the huge income that being a Premier League footballer generates, he still turned to gambling and his finances suffered enormously as a result. Hartson is now clean and free of the habit that cost him so much but is just one example of the many people in the UK who become trapped by this habit. Ho
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Is being self-employed the new 9 to 5?

More people than ever in the UK are choosing to be self-employed. The number of self employed people in this country now accounts for 15% of the workforce and numbers rose by an impressive 133,000 last year in just 12 months. In 1975 just 8.7% of the British workforce was self-employed and pre-recession in 2008 this figure was 13%. So, are we gradually heading towards a workforce where self-employment is the norm for many? Why do so many choose self-employment? There have been many reasons put forward for the rise in these figures. Jobs in many industries have been scarce since the start of the recession in 2008 and self-employment is a better option than no employment at all. Then there are those working past pensionable age, choosing self-employment either out of a desire to keep working or the need to maintain an income. The government has also made it increasingly difficult to get employment benefit, pushing people towards self-employment instead, which of course creates much more
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Why people will always need short term loans

It is easy to be critical of the short-term loan providers, especially given the high-profile mistakes they have made in recent years. Certainly there was highly misleading advertising and dubious, unregulated practices by some companies within the industry that came to light back in 2013. And these will not be quickly forgotten even though the market is now highly regulated and closely monitored. But did you know that over 1 million people in the UK alone would not pass the credit checks required to open a regular current account at a high street bank – that s one million people who won t have access to the normal banking facilities that the majority take for granted, let alone access to any form of mainstream credit. By any standards that is a huge minority so to be critical of the short term loan market fails to recognise the needs of those million people here in the UK. Just like anyone else they have emergency situations that they cannot cover with cash and where many people wo
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Why a Will is important and how to make a will

Making a will is important and yet it’s thought that more than half of people over the age of 50 have not written one and made no provision in the event of their death. A will sets out what happens to your estate – your money, all your possessions and your property – when you die. If you don’t make a will, then the courts will end up deciding how your estate is apportioned after your death and this may mean that your relatives do not get the inheritance that you or they want. Everyone s impression of what a will looks like something formal and dull. But it is critical you have one and making one need not be hard.   What’s important about a will? When you make a will, your family and friends will have a much simpler time sorting out your estate after your death. If you die without making a will, then it’s almost guaranteed that this will be more complicated, take longer and cause unnecessary stress and anxiety for your loved ones. When you die without a will being in pla
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Tax tips for self-employed people

There are many joys to being self-employed. Being your own boss, working flexible hours and directly benefiting from your own creativity are just a few. However, whether you’re a freelance artist, accountant, mechanic or writer, you still need to manage your income and pay tax. If you’ve switched from a full time job then managing your own tax affairs will be new. HMRC certainly doesn’t make it easy. However, there are ways to make sure that you’re on top of your obligations, as well as minimising the amount that you need to pay. Register with HMRC When you become self-employed you’re obliged to register with HMRC. There are time limits that apply to when you need to register. The latest date by which you can register without incurring penalties is 5th October after the end of the tax year for which you need to file a tax return. Tax years run from 6th April to the following 5th April. Make record keeping a priority Many people leave their tax affairs and records until month
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