Since the stamp duty holiday came in last summer, there has been a property market mini-boom despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Is it losing puff yet and if not, when is it going to run out of steam and will we see the tax holiday extended? The typical home added £20,000 of value in 2020 according to the Office for National Statistics, while prices of detached homes are growing far quicker than other housing stock. On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost take a look at the latest property market data to dissect what it means. On 3 March, we will have a Budget. Will it give an indication as to how we could foot the huge bill linked to the pandemic? Will there be tax rises? And are there simple ways to protect your wealth? How many shares should you hold to diversify and is fund manager Neil Woodford really about to stage a comeback. Meanwhile, Lee gives a free wine course from Aldi a go as part of his consumer trends column – does he have what it takes to become a Master of Wine?
The double dip recession is off. The GDP figures are in for the final three months of 2020 and the UK economy grew by 1%, according to the ONS, despite widespread expectations that it would shrink again. This means that even if the latest – and hopefully last – lockdown shrinks the economy in the first quarter of 2021 then we will avoid the dreaded double-dip – as you need two consecutive quarters of negative growth (forgive the economics speak) for a recession. Of course, we don’t know when this lockdown will end or how heavy an impact it will have on the economy, so what happens in the first half of 2021 is up in the air. But why didn’t GDP fall in the final stretch of last year, is there any way we could we claw our way to growth in the first chunk of this year, and how bad was the coronavirus year of 2020 for the UK? On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost, George Nixon and Simon Lambert dive into the GDP numbers to take a look at what this all means. Also on the show, are we finally going to see an end to the scam refund lottery from banks for those conned into sending money to fraudsters, George explains what people need to know about that and also the issue of disabled children child trust funds. Plus, why has Tesla bought bitcoin, what does it mean and what on earth is Elon Musk playing at with his crypto tweets at the moment. And finally, should you head for Oxbury Bank – the farmer-focussed lender with a new top savings rate?
‘It’ll end in tears.’ How many times did you hear your parents sound that warning - and how often did you actually pay attention? The army of traders playing with fire in the GameStop stock market frenzy this week have had their warning from a plenty of those who supposedly know best. But it’s fun, they feel a common sense of purpose, they’re giving the big boys a bloody nose, and for now they’re winning. And so the game continues? But should it have been allowed to get this far? Should the trading platforms have tried to nip this in the bud, should watchdogs have stepped in, or in a free market should we just let people get on with stuff – even if it’s punting call options on ramped up shares? On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert discuss the Reddit-led rebellion, where small traders got together on the Wallstreetbets thread to take GameStop from a beaten-down and heavily-shorted stock to a cause celebre. The bedroom traders piling in realised that by combining forces they could make the share price rise and beat the hedge funds at their own game, putting them in a short squeeze. But is this really a rallying point for a financially disenfranchised generation still angry at the financial crisis and its after effects, or a get-rich-quick bandwagon that’s being jumped? Will those who hold the line win out, or as with any bubble will it be the little guys and girls who lose big? Also on this week’s show, the team discuss the property tech tricks that can help you get a hedgie-style edge when buying a home (or at least convince you that you know a little more than the next person) and whether a five-year fixed rate mortgage is a no-brainer. The latest Grace on the Case investigation that won £13,500 for a widow given the runaround by VW Financial Services over her late husband’s car is explained. And finally, just in case we are ever allowed to fly anywhere ever again, is it worth taking Nectar’s new Avios deal.
More than five years since pension freedom arrived a solution to take the pain out of investing in retirement is being lined up. Before pension freedom many savers were locked into buying an annuity with their personal pensions or defined contribution work schemes – and a lot of them felt they were getting a raw deal. That’s meant that keeping a pension invested and drawing on it as you choose in retirement has proved a very popular option. It is also a very tricky one to navigate – but now some simple help is at hand, so will it crack the conundrum of pension freedom without the pain? Tumbling annuity rates, an industry that failed to make sure people shopped around and the gamble on life expectancy that meant if you died early then you and your family would lose out, made annuities hugely unpopular. So, Chancellor George Osborne came up with a big bang approach that meant nobody had to if they didn’t want to anymore. The problem is that many people had simply opted for a ‘pay money into my pension while working and not think about it’ approach and so had no real idea how to invest for retirement. Now the industry has come up with a solution that involves savers being offered four ready-made investment deals when they first dip into their pension pots, if they do so without financial advice. On this week’s podcast George Frost, Tanya Jefferies and Simon Lambert, discuss whether this is the answer that savers need. They also look at the tsunami of pension and investment scams, what people can do to protect themselves and ask whether it’s the FCA or Google and the social media companies that should be doing more to crack down on it. Simon outlines his theory on why just as we are about to be able to get out and enjoy ourselves again, some big ticket inflation might hit. And the team look at another Santander 123 account rate cut – is it time for customers to finally give up, or is it a deal still worth having?
Happy new year, happy new lockdown. 2021 has seen off 2020, but schools and large chunks of the economy have shut down again and people have been ordered to stay at home, as across the UK the nations adopt their own version of lockdown. It’s probably been the gloomiest start to a year for as long as many can remember and a tough winter for people, businesses and the economy lies ahead. So what happened? The UK stock market jumped, of course. Contrary as this may seem, there is some logic to investors buying into the hope that better times lie ahead. We have Covid-19 vaccines being rolled out that will hopefully make this national lockdown the last people have to endure – and we also have a Brexit deal. On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert look at what the fresh lockdown means for the economy and why investors are choosing to look straight through it and develop a new appetite for buying British. Are UK shares undervalued and a great opportunity for 2021 and beyond – and will a strong consumer rebound once the economy is reopened prove the catalyst the FTSE needs? The team also discuss the potential implications of the Brexit deal for people’s finances and businesses. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100’s gains may have been substantial for a week on the stock market, but they are nothing compared to bitcoin’s continuing rise. The cryptocurrency cracked $40,000 this week: what’s going on, are people making real money out of this, and is there any idea what could happen next? Also, on this week’s podcast, the team talk moving home and getting your property looking attractive for a sale and with everyone stuck at home again, how to improve your wifi.
Making predictions can be a mug’s game and never has that proved more true than for any made at the start of 2020. It’s been an astonishing year, when the lives and freedoms we took for granted were dramatically disrupted – and one where ordering people to stay at home triggered the biggest economic crash in the UK since the Great Frost of 1709. While looking forward to what might happen in 2020 will have proved fruitless, looking back certainly provides a few things to talk about. On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert look back over 2020 and by popular podcast listener demand combine it with the return of a socially-distanced Zoom Christmas taste test. The team look at the low points, the high points and the bits in the middle of the year that has passed so far – and probably still has more to give. From the economic nosedive, to the flirtation with negative rates and the stock market and housing market’s surprising buoyancy, they pick through the main issues. And they look for the stories that provided some light relief, including Britain’s unlikely pandemic spending spree and hot tub boom.
Is buy now, pay later the demon it’s made out to be? Klarna, Laybuy and the rest of the delayed spending crew are coming in for lots of scrutiny at the moment. Shoppers love them and shops pay them, but there are concerns on over-spending and the cost of not meeting payments. Yet, surely spreading the cost of a purchase interest-free is a sensible financial move? On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert discuss the rise of the buy now, pay later firms, how they work, how they make their money on interest-free credit, and why there are worries over what on the surface looks like a great deal. On the topic of shopping, the team also talk trying to avoid Amazoning everything this Christmas – and where to turn to get things from local shops with convenience. Also, the team looks at why the Bank of England held interest rates even as more tiers pain descended on Britain, the website that matches start-up ideas and the people who can do the work and finally Grace Gausden joins the show to discuss her Grace on the Case consumer column.
This week, a new in-depth report from the Wealth Tax Commission recommended a one-off 'wealth tax' on the richest households rather than hiking taxes for the masses. It comes as the national debt has spiralled this year as the Government spent more than £280billion tackling the pandemic and its financial fallout, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak claiming the 'economic emergency' has only just begun. How would it work, could it be a good idea and how unpopular would it prove? Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost take a look. Elsewhere, millions of mortgage payment holidays have been handed out since March - an agreement with lenders to help homeowners during the coronavirus crisis. But for one couple who extended the payment holiday, it turned into a credit report headache when they looked to downsize. In the property market, a new report suggests that stamp duty savings are now being wiped out by house price gains in recent months. Should investors run to the hills if one of the companies that you are invested in or are tempted by has a big pension scheme? And lastly, we give yet another update on the port fiasco in Britain, with the perfect storm of coronavirus, Brexit and Christmas.
December had barely begun when two of Britain's biggest High Street names collapsed.
Sir Philip Green's Arcadia, the group that contains Topshop and Miss Selfridge, fell first - followed swiftly by Debenhams. Bonmarché, owned by retail tycoon Philip Day, then also slumped into administration. So how bad is the crisis on the High Street, if these stores couldn't even make it through the Christmas trading period? Can traditional bricks and mortar compete against the online giants and upstarts? Have the likes of Boohoo and Asos, put the fashion High Street online-only and there is no place for the likes of Topshop anymore? Or is there more that lies behind this story, such as financial engineering, debt, sale and leasebacks, and the lack of wriggle room that leaves when things take a downturn? On this week's podcast, Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert discuss the pre-Christmas High St collapse. Plus, why you should avoid gift vouchers and cards this year, the art of flipping houses for a profit - and why those after a quick buck should beware - and why it is worth having a pension.
'Be greedy when others are fearful.' Warren Buffett's investment adage was tested this year when the coronavirus crash hit and sent stock markets tumbling in late February and early March. But as nations went into lockdown, economies nosedived and draconian measures surpassing most seen in living memory were introduced, it was hard for most investors to get up too much of an appetite, however many times they may have heard that line. There seemed to be no way that markets would recover for some time and the most likely course was down. Then the rebound came, but still it all looked to good to be true - as if it was just fools and their money being parted in a FOMO rally. Except, it turned out to have legs. The world's dominant stock market, the US, has been on a tear since late March and many other countries have bounced back too. So, has the opportunity to go bargain hunting passed? Could our own humble stock market be one of the last places left where you can do it? Are we missing a trick and ignoring the fact the world has changed and there is no point talking about cheap value investments, just get on the tech train? On this week's podcast, Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert discuss investing bargains: what that means and whether there are any left? Also, while the stock market has been on the rise, the economy has been taking another lockdown beating. Chancellor Rishi Sunak updated us this week on the state of the UK economy, so how bad was the news? Also this week, NS&I and Marcus cut rates, so what can savers do now, and finally, is triple glazing worth splashing out on?