Which is better – an Isa or a pension?

There’s only a few weeks left of this tax year so now is a good time to decide what and where you should invest from the next tax year. For many years, I’ve put money every month into an Isa and into a pension via a Sipp (self-invested personal pension). But, work being hard to come by, I can’t real...
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False economies: when it’s better to replace than repair

Few things annoy me more than malfunctioning appliances. A computer which refuses to boot up or a dishwasher that breaks down mid-cycle can have me in floods of tears. I can’t fix them: I wouldn’t even try. But actually my reluctance to go through the hassle of repairing bust items might be sensible...
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Why you need an emergency fund

The past decade has not been much fun for savers. While low interest rates are great for borrowers they are not much good for savers – who after all massively outnumber borrowers. So perhaps it isn’t surprising that Britons are saving less. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that i...
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Where can you get cash when there’s no ATM in your town?

I was in the local mini-supermarket a couple of Sundays ago. In front of me was a man who bought a single bag of crisps with his debit card – and got £50 cashback. The lady behind the till told me there had been plenty of others that morning doing the same thing. There isn’t a single cash machine in...
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Should you switch your kids’ Junior Isas?

I have been neglecting my son’s Junior Isa. Not having the spare cash to put anything in at the moment is one reason. The other is that half of it is invested in the Neil Woodford fund Jane wrote about last month – see here - so it’s not performing well. Anyway, there isn’t much money in it – less t...
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Should you put in a PPI claim as deadline looms?

Payment protection insurance (PPI) was one of the great personal finance scandals of the past decade or so. This insurance was sold to those taking out personal loans, mortgages and credit cards. The idea of it was that it would cover repayments if you couldn’t make payments. But lots of those sold ...
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Should you get a 0% credit card deal?

You don’t get something for nothing is a good maxim. And it’s certainly true when it comes to borrowing money. Take 0% interest balance transfer credit card deals. These seem the best idea since sliced bread. If you’ve got a debt on a credit card, then you’ll be racking up interest of close to 20%. ...
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What every woman should know about pensions

I used to be scared of pensions. They seemed complicated, boring and too far in the distant future for me to worry about. But getting older has made me reconsider pensions. And you know what, there’s nothing complicated about them at all. Yet many women have rubbish pensions. Frankly, it’s time to f...
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How safe is your holiday?

The failure this weekend of airline Flybmi has thrown the plans of many travellers into disarray. The travel industry in general is having a hard time what with Brexit seemingly putting many of us off the idea of heading off to European sun spots this year. It seems unlikely that Flybmi will be the ...
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Are the new banks any good for savings accounts?

Here’s some good news. Inflation fell last month to 1.8%, which is its lowest level for two years. While that’s obviously good news when you go shopping you may not realise that it also has an effect on your savings. If inflation is at 1.8%, then you need to earn at least that in interest otherwise ...
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Should I fix my mortgage?

Thanks to Brexit, these are uncertain times. If you’ve got a mortgage then uncertainty is the last thing you want. After all, if your monthly repayments skyrocket you might not be able to afford your mortgage and could lose your home. So why not fix your mortgage? At the moment there are more fixed ...
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Price cap is going up – so fix your energy bills NOW

Warning: unless you get your act together and fix your home gas and electricity bills soon, you’ll be paying more come April. It was announced this week that the government’s energy price cap is going up by more than 10% from 1 April. That means if you are on a variable rate tariff, your bills will ...
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Are Premium Bonds worth it?

From this month, you can invest in Premium Bonds for just £25. And in another rule relaxation, you can now buy Premium Bonds for any under 16 year old – not just a child or grandchild – and you can also set up a regular monthly savings plan. But should you bother with Premium Bonds? Here are our tho...
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What is lasting power of attorney?

It’s not a cheering subject but do you know what would happen if one of your elderly relatives was suddenly incapacitated and unable to make decisions about money matters and health and welfare? If they had a lasting power of attorney (LPA) set up then they know who will be looking after their inter...
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What are the best savings accounts?

Do you know if your savings account is any good? With inflation currently at 2.1%, you need to get at least that not to see the money in your savings account losing its spending power. Sadly, that’s impossible with an easy access account. You can beat inflation on fixed rates, however. Here’s our pi...
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How to sell your home faster

Thanks to economic uncertainty (and Brexit, of course) house price growth is at a six year low according to Nationwide Building Society. Remember, though that what’s happening to the value of your home actually doesn’t matter much unless you want to move, or you have a large mortgage with little equ...
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What to do with your credit card debt

January is meant to be the most depressing month because it’s cold and we are all broke. But if you’ve got a debt on your credit card after splurging on Christmas, what should you do? I have a few hundred pounds on my credit card most of it spent on our trip to Edinburgh last month. I’m hoping that ...
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How to save money on spring cleaning

It’s all very well to save money on food shopping – but what about the other stuff? I reckon that at least a third of my shopping bill each week is on non-foodstuffs. Admittedly we have three cats who will only eat expensive cat food: I buy three boxes of 12 pouches a week for £11 and that just abou...
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State pension: should YOU top up?

Do you know when you’ll get your state pension? And how much you’ll get? I know that I will get the full basic State Pension – currently £164.35 a week – on my 67th birthday. To get the full basic state pension you need 35 years of National Insurance contributions. I’ve been working since I was 21 s...
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How to diet cheaply

I’m gradually getting back on the dieting bandwagon. Last year I lost four stone, but what with Christmas and near-compulsory chocolate eating I’ve put six pounds back on. That means I still have nearly two stone to lose before I’m no longer considered overweight. That feels like a huge mountain to ...
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