Family finance tips for every budget

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Do I need a will?

Do I need a will?I have singularly failed this year to make one of my resolutions: namely, to update my will. And I feel really stupid about it. My current will was written not long after my husband died nearly 10 years ago. It’s a professionally-written, water-tight will which expresses my desires accurately (most ...

The five savings lessons you MUST learn now

The five savings lessons you MUST learn nowIt’s been a long time but at last there has been some good news for savers. Even though base rate has not changed thanks to increased competition there are now some good deals out there. And now is a good time to get your savings strategy in place in time for 2019: here are five ways to ensure you’r...

Be safe sending cash for Christmas

Be safe sending cash for ChristmasUnless you’ve got a turbo-charged sleigh, enabling you to make last-minute deliveries anywhere in the world, then the easiest Christmas present for friends and relatives overseas is cash. Indeed, it’s probably a good option for anyone you’re not going to see over the Christmas period even if they ar...

How to save money on breakdown cover

How to save money on breakdown coverAlong with the rest of the country at least part of our Christmas holiday will be spent chugging up and down motorways visiting friends and relations. My car is a boring reliable Japanese tank but this time last year it refused to start - embarrassingly enough in the school car park. After that, I b...

What to do with unwanted – or faulty – Christmas presents

What to do with unwanted – or faulty – Christmas presentsChristmas is all about giving. But what happens if the gift you so lovingly bought doesn’t work – or the recipient really doesn’t like it? These are two separate problems governed by different rules. And consumer rights law is jolly complicated. It depends how you bought something – and how long it ...

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Best bank accounts for children 11 and over: our guide to the top payers

Best bank accounts for children 11 and over: our guide to the top payersBank accounts for 11 year olds? Whatever next? Scarily it is possible for your tweenager to have a fully functioning debit card of their own at such a tender age. Some parents will worry that this kind of access to cash means going overboard on in-game purchases. The flip side of the argument is tha...

Money gifts which aren’t just for Christmas: pass on wealth now

Money gifts which aren’t just for Christmas: pass on wealth nowInheritance planning might not be on your mind right now – or at least until you see old Aunt Agatha dozing off over her sherry on Christmas Day. But actually the festive season is a good time to start thinking about passing on wealth, for both gifters and giftees. It’s important because there’s ple...

Mums MUST sign up for child benefit or risk losing thousands in state pension

Mums MUST sign up for child benefit or risk losing thousands in state pensionHave you signed up for child benefit? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. Since the system changed in 2013, many parents have decided not to. This is partly because they might not be eligible (child benefit used to be universal, sadly no longer) and partly because the paperwork is offputting. But, by d...

How to sell unwanted gift cards and vouchers

How to sell unwanted gift cards and vouchersGift cards are pretty much all I want for Christmas. In fact, cold hard cash would be nice but I certainly won’t saying no to an M&S voucher if Santa drops one into my stocking. The mini-Minteds are keen for them too: not M&S of course. Game and Urban Outfitters have been strongly tipped as ...

Free stuff, samples and where to find them online

Free stuff, samples and where to find them onlineFreebies – who doesn’t love them? I’m partial to a giveaway and will regularly cross town for a complimentary glass of wine. I wouldn’t say no to a two-for-one or BOGOF deal and am very happy to accept a free sample, especially of the Aperol variety. As my experience of such generosity is limited to...


life insurance

  1. If you have anyone else depending on your income, then you probably need life cover – so pay attention, parents.
  2. Life insurance (also called term insurance) is simple cover: all it does is pay out a lump sum if you die during the term of the policy. And it’s cheap. You could pay less than £10 a month for £100,000 of cover if you are a young non-smoker.
  3. You can have a policy which keeps the sum assured - the amount of cover - the same throughout the life of the policy (level term) or you can have one where the sum decreases (this is often sold alongside mortgages as the amount outstanding goes down over time).
  4. Rather than a policy which pays out a lump sum, you could choose family income benefit which pays an income to your surviving spouse for the remaining term of the plan. It’s even cheaper than standard life cover.
  5. You can buy life cover from brokers, banks or even supermarkets. It really does what it says on the tin – so the cheapest can be best (check out a comparison site for deals).
  6. You don’t need life cover if you have no dependants. And if you’re a member of a company pension scheme, you’ll have death in service benefits. Like life cover, this pays out if you die while you’re employed.
  7. Life cover premiums are based on age (younger people pay less); health (you have to declare pre-existing conditions and if you’ve had a serious illness you could be refused cover or charged more) and lifestyle choices (smokers pay more).
  8. There are exclusions on life cover. Insurers may not pay out if your death is due to drugs, suicide or if you are killed taking part in a dangerous activity.
  9. Often you can add critical illness cover to life cover. This kicks in if you’re diagnosed with a serious condition. See our guide to medical insurance here.
  10. Whole of life insurance is also life cover but without a term and with an investment element. It’s usually sold to older people, sometimes as a method of paying funeral expenses or inheritance tax bills. Take advice before buying it - you may put in more than you get out. Click here for our guide to getting financial advice.

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