The property market in the UK and the stock market in the US appear to be pulling off gravity-defying feats. The coronavirus crisis is still here, waves of job losses keep on coming and almost everyone is agreed there is more bad news to come. Yet, shares in the US and house prices in the UK are on the up. Is there anything behind this other than cheap central bank money and the belief that it will keep flowing and propping up asset prices? Perhaps, we have underestimated the resilience of the high flying tech stars and the British home buyer? On this week's podcast Simon lambert and Georgie Frost look at the parallels and differences between the British and American national obsessions of the property market and stock market. Plus, the mortgage crunch that is locking out first-time buyers from the party and the Metro Bank customer cruelly scammed twice are on the agenda. And finally, missing Eat Out to Help Out already? We reveal how to keep supporting the economy / wasting money / stuffing your face (delete as applicable depending on your view) for at least the rest of this month.
A large chunk of workers are unaware that their pension savings are invested in the stock market. When asked in a recent survey what they think happens to their cash, the most common answer was that they had 'no idea.' It doesn't make for pretty reading – Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost look at why it matters, and what can be done to get people more interested in their retirement pots. It comes as a reported rift has broken out at the top of government over the state pension triple lock. A key election promise, but there is a problem: With it rising on whichever is highest: inflation, average earnings growth or 2.5 per cent, it could go up a huge 18 per cent in 2021 under those rules. What changes could happen?From next month, your teen could be much richer as the first Child Trust Funds mature. What can your 18 year-old do with the cash? One option is not to buy private flights. Lee puts his weekly Consumer Trends column in the spotlight to reveal how much it costs to charter a flight, after one company reports a surge of interest. And what on earth is a hard seltzer? Sales in the US are booming and they have now come to Britain, will they prove as popular this side of the Atlantic?
Since the start of lockdown in March, more Britons have ordered supermarket shopping online to be delivered to their door to dodge the crowds and beat the queuing mayhem. This could be perfect time for Marks & Spencer, who will start its long-awaited tie-up with Ocado at the start of September, as the latter ends its 20 year long relationship with Waitrose. M&S is starting a 'back to basics' assault, lowering the prices on everyday items and it comes as its clothing division continues to struggle. Meanwhile, most major supermarkets are now offering same day – and in some cases, next hour – deliveries, are the days of doing the 'big shop' in large stores over? Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost take a look. This week saw a shock rise in the cost of living: why has it happened, where will the inflation figure go next and just how many savings accounts now offering more than 1 per cent interest? Seven US firms - Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft and Tesla – have seen stratospheric value growth this year. Is it another dotcom bubble waiting to happen? The Department for Transport is mulling over how to allow self-driving cars on the motorway from next year, we take a look at how it works. And lastly, we celebrate our pensions agony uncle Steve Webb, who this week wrote his 200th This is Money column.
We are in the worst recession in living memory for the UK with GDP plummeting by 22.1 per cent in the first six months of 2020. But strange as it may sound, does that matter? We knew things would be terrible as the coronavirus lockdown pressed the pause button on the economy and people’s lives. Shops were shut, businesses were shuttered, everyone who could worked from home, almost 10million people were furloughed, international travel was halted, property sales were frozen and children didn’t go to school for four months. If you’d have predicted that was what 2020 would bring last New Year’s Eve, nobody would have believed you and they might even have called for help. So, it should come as no surprise that the ONS released figures this week showing that this year’s astonishing actions crashed the economy – although the fact that the UK suffered more than any other major economy other than Spain is a cause for concern. The question is, what next? On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost dig into the GDP figures to find out why the UK was hit so hard, whether we can read anything into the ONS’s figures and what to watch out for to identify if the economy is recovering better or worse than expected. Also on this week’s show, they discuss how amid all that carnage some households are getting their finances on track, how to buy a property in pandemic if you are an aspiring first-time buyer and how to keep your pension on track. And finally, the Government in its wisdom has decided to push on with getting Brexit fully done - even if it means no trade deal by the end of the year – and that will mean imported cars get more expensive. But fear not, new car buyers, because we’ve got the best British-built options instead – from a Nissan Juke shopping cart, to a gorgeous McLaren and the wonderfully bonkers Ariel Atom.
On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost discuss negative rates: what’s the point, do they have any positives and beyond costing savers’ interest how would they prove harmful?
They also talk gold and why the price of the precious metal has soared 35 per cent this year, to rise above the $2,000 mark and whether it can keep going.
Buying gold and taking rates negative are seen as glass-half-empty measures, but are things brighter than we think?
The housing market is doing better than expected, car sales have posted a surprise 11 per cent annual rise and Britain went mad for eating out at the start of the week, thanks to Rishi Sunak’s discount deals. Are these indicators of a V-shaped recovery?
The job losses that continue to pile up will weigh on that and the team have tips on what to do if you are made redundant or it is a threat.
And finally, if you do fancy splashing out and have your eye on a new car, you might think it is time go electric. Simon runs through What Car?’s new special awards for the best electric cars in every category.
After a great deal of fuss about air bridges and people being able to go on summer holiday, things suddenly changed last weekend. A swift about turn saw a 14 day quarantine period imposed for those arriving in the UK from Spain at just six hours’ notice, hitting tens of thousands of holidaymakers who are there already, those with trips booked and leaving Britons hoping for some Spanish sunshine stuck in travel limbo… again. So is this the end of summer holidays for 2020? Are holidays to Spain off the cards for some time, and can you go to France, Italy, Greece or anywhere else safe in the knowledge you can come home and not have to take an extra fortnight off work? On this week’s podcast Georgie Frost – in Spain and facing a 14 day quarantine if she can get back – is joined by Simon Lambert and Grace Gausden to talk holidays, travel insurance, refunds, air bridges and whether even a staycation is safe. Plus, as savings rates take another tumble should you lock your money away for five years at 1.1 per cent just to protect against further falls? And finally, is buy-to-let back? A stamp duty cut, low rates and a weaker property market has got property investors interested again but are they saving money now just to lose it in future?
The Chancellor has ordered an urgent capital gains tax review which could hit many homeowners and investors, depending on the outcome. With Rishi Sunak and the Government looking at ways to foot the coronavirus bill, will CGT be changed and will they keep their manifesto pledge to not raise income tax, national insurance or VAT? On this week's podcast, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce, and Georgie Frost look at what could happen to CGT and why. We discuss the problem facing 'cladding prisoners' – people who are trapped in flats wrapped in dangerous materials that are unable to sell, or take advantage of the stamp duty cut, with banks nervy to lend to would-be buyers. A reader contacts us about an unusual letter from their bank seemingly randomly asking if they are a tax resident of Egypt, with no connection to the country whatsoever. Are you an aspirational recycler? We talk you through our guide on how to recycle, properly. Travel is still on our lips, with Georgie booking a trip to Spain: What do you need to consider if you're tempted to do the same? And finally, we look at the cheapest cars to insure, with a surprising choice at number one: a sporty, two-seater convertible.
The showstopper was a big stamp duty cut, the important element was about keeping jobs afloat, and the rabbit out of the hat was a great British meal deal. But the question is, was Rishi Sunak splashing the cash in the summer statement enough to get the nation’s confidence back in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, or will real recovery require more down the line? On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce, and Georgie Frost run the rule over the Chancellor’s performance (spoiler alert, he’s good) and the substance of his speech (you’ll have to listen to the show for the verdict on that). They also ask the awkward question of how are we going to pay for all this – and does that even matter right now? Plus, was that a killer blow for the ‘bad tax’ that is stamp duty; will a £1,000 bung be enough for a company to keep someone in work; how badly will the hospitality industry be hit; and just how crazy would you have called someone who forecast at the start of the year that by summer we’d have an official Eat Out to Help Out scheme? Listen to the podcast to hear the team’s verdict on all this and more.
The Chancellor’s coronavirus rescue plan for the British economy has been bold and big, but one important part of the workforce feels somewhat hard done by. A chunk of the self-employed have been excluded from Rishi Sunak’s support in a way that employees have not. More than 9million employees are having 80 per cent of their wages up to £2,500 a month paid by the taxpayer under the furlough scheme, with no limits barring high earners from help. In contrast, anyone who is self-employed and has made more than £50,000 in recent years gets no help whatsoever. Those hit by the £50,000 cap are not the limited company directors who can pay themselves in dividends, they are sole traders paying national insurance and income tax in full on their earnings. At a time when the government is throwing hundreds of billions of pounds at the coronavirus crash to support people and boost the chances of recovery, is it fair to exclude this group of the self-employed? On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Georgie Frost and Tanya Jefferies look at how this has happened and whether there is any hope left for those affected that things might change. Tanya also updates listeners on her ground-breaking investigations into widows underpaid state pension, which have seen her win tens of thousands of pounds back for those who got less than they should have. Simon reveals the best and worst performing funds of the year so far and tries to tackle the question of whether the US stock market can just keep on trucking. And finally, recent podcasts have featured how Britain has gone mad for hot tubs in lockdown but there is a new hot property in town – the awfully-named ‘shoffice’.
In an unpredicted turn of events, the coronavirus lockdown has been good for some when it comes to their bank balances. People collectively tucked away £30billion in savings accounts in March and April, around three times as much as the two months previous - with this credited to surplus cash and moving money to safety. A large slab of that went into easy-access accounts despite plunging rates. Meanwhile, we cleared a record amount of personal debt, according to Bank of England figures. The ONS says households are spending £183 less a week, but while some might be lucky to salt that away, many wouldn't come anywhere near it. Lockdown saving is not a universal picture. Many are facing up to lost income or losing their jobs entirely. In this podcast, editor Simon Lambert, assistant editor Lee Boyce and host Georgie Frost take a look at the figures. Much of the money stashed away at big banks pays 0.1 per cent or less, meaning collectively, billions of lost interest – where are rates heading? National Savings and Investments currently has a few best buy accounts, how long can it prop up the market and are we turning our backs on stocks and shares Isas? Meanwhile, the IMF says the crisis will wipe £10trillion off the global economy: what's happened to the V-shaped recovery? With pubs and shops slowly reopening, will Britons head back and spend their cash to help the economy? Simon talks about investing like Warren Buffett and what opportunities are out the post-lockdown world. With the heatwave that has smothered Britain this week, we take a look at how much it costs to run items that are designed to cool us down, and those trendy garden gadgets.