Stock markets crashing tend to put savers off investing in shares, but there has been a sizeable rise in new investors in Britain during lockdown, reports suggest. That came as savings rates plummeted (again) and people decided to go hunting for a bargain amid the stock market turmoil in March and April. But who are these novice investors and what do you need to think about to get started? On this week's podcast This is Money editor Simon Lambert tells host Georgie Frost what first timers need to know about building an investment portfolio - and gives some tips on easy ways to get started and why British isn't always best for investors. Managers can invest in their own fund or investment trust, but how do you find out if they do - and whether they're buying or selling, and does it matter? Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs backed Marcus Bank has pulled its best buy easy-access savings account – assistant editor Lee Boyce reveals why and how we are set to see rates tumble even further. Should you gamble on taking a European summer holiday in July, August or September and if you are tempted, what do you need to know? Euro 2020 should have been starting today, but at least for sport-starved fans Premier League football returns next week. However, you'll need a major tournament-style wallchart if you plan on catching the action, with Amazon Prime, BBC, BT Sport and Sky Sports all having games on – how do you watch for the cheapest price? And finally, property sales in England have started to edge up but apparently million-pound-plus homes in the country are leading the way. Are buyers really swapping Millionaire's Row for Millionaire's Lane?
Since lockdown began in March, there has been a huge uptick in cycling and walking, as people got out and about while staying at home. But while before coronavirus we were all told public transport was a good thing, now with restrictions easing and Britain slowly going back to work, Britons have been told to actively avoid it. Does that mean the inevitable return of the car, or with the Government promising billions to create a new era for cycling and walking, is there a brighter and greener future for mobility. Could one of the keys be electric bicycles and scooters? Editor Simon Lambert reveals all to host Georgie Frost and assistant editor Lee Boyce after giving a GoCycle GX folding electric bike a trial. How good are the batteries, how long do they take to charge, how much do they cost, what schemes are available to purchase them and what is the point of them? Meanwhile, the car industry has been rocked by Covid-19, with job losses aplenty and sales grinding to a halt. Registrations sank 89 per cent to the record-lowest May since 1952, but despite that, sales of electric vehicles were up 22 per cent – and the Tesla Model 3 was the best seller. Could it be time to head to a showroom to haggle a bargain, will there be yet another scrappage scheme and why has Fiat launched a pay-as-you-go model of ownership? This weekend could also be a good time to fill up, with petrol prices set to head higher after weeks of lower motoring costs: many Britons have been able to find unleaded for under £1 a litre. And finally, with more people using their cars to make deliveries, are they properly insured?
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) Good Work Index provides a snapshot of UK working lives, including opportunities for homeworking and job flexibility as we went into lockdown. In this interview, Peter Urwin speaks to Jonny Gifford, Senior Advisor for Organisational Behaviour at the CIPD. He describes how UK job quality indicators compare to those of other countries; arguing that any encouraging headline figures hide concerns over UK job quality inequality. They consider the role of government and employers in tackling such inequality, and flag worrying trends in UK work-life balance. For instance, recent years have seen a decline in reported wellbeing from the UK Working Lives survey – and the latest instalment of the survey allows us to ask how this, and other trends, has been impacted by the pandemic.
It's nearly June, the sun is shining, and right about now people would usually be eagerly anticipating summer breaks they’ve booked, or planning where to go away. Meanwhile, the sunny weather over the past few months would usually have led to thoughts (and lots of features) on a staycation summer. But this isn’t any given year. Coronavirus and the lockdown means we are advised not to travel abroad, don't know when we will be able to, and might have to take an extra two weeks off to quarantine when we get back. That should means it’s Cornwall, Devon, Norfolk, Wales, or a week in Skegness on our minds, instead of France or Spain. Overnight trips are still barred though, the domestic holiday industry is unsure when it will be back up-and-running, and some locals are reportedly not too keen on visitors. So, will we get a holiday this summer and how can you protect yourself when booking and paying? On this podcast, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost talk holidays: where to go, when you might be allowed to, and the all-important financial side involving booking, cancellations and refunds. There is also the thorny question of how travel will look in the future and whether the holiday industry will bounce back while people still have long waits and fights for refunds on cancelled trips fresh in their mind? And finally, what about opting for van life instead? Volkswagen revealed this week that quotes for its California campervans have soared in lockdown – and Simon fill us in on what it’s like to go away on a 2,000 mile road trip in one, having done so the summer before last. He’s also got an idea, involving buying a campervan and renting it out, so that it pays for itself and turns a profit. Classic man maths or solid money-maker, you decide?
Tamara Gillan is joined by Zahra Pabani, Family Law partner at Irwin Mitchell, to talk about how to protect yourself and your family in life, love, and money. Zahra shares her top tips for getting your personal affairs in order, and where individuals and couples should be focusing their attention – especially in a time of crisis, when security and protection are at the forefront of our minds.
A This is Money investigation has revealed a string of women who have been underpaid their state pension, but are they just the tip of an iceberg? On this week’s podcast, our pensions agony uncle Steve Webb and pension and investing editor Tanya Jefferies tell the stories of the women paid thousands less in state pension over the years than they should have been - and discuss their probe into the matter. Steve estimates that there could be tens of thousands of women who have been underpaid state pension. This is Money has called for a full review, but the Department of Work and Pensions is reluctant to act other than on a case-by-case basis. Should more be done?
Also, on this week’s podcast Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost discuss the reopening of the property market, who might be brave enough to buy and sell now, and what the forecasts are for sales and house prices. Estate agents Knight Frank predict a 7 per cent drop, while the Bank of England says property prices may fall 16 per cent, but agents claim that lockdown has created pent-up demand. And, as the furlough scheme is extended, we look at the implications of 7.5million people having 80 per cent of their wages picked up by the state and how Britain weans itself off that.
Over two months into lockdown here in the UK, you may well be wondering when life is going to get “back to normal” once this is all over – but many are already convinced that things will never be the same.
Vicky Sayers is joined by Ian Jenkins, CEO of Intrinsic Insight and author of a report projecting how behaviours could change following the COVID-19 outbreak, to talk about what the “new normal” might look like.
The latest Santander 123 account rate cut, trying to turn a profit on mortgage holidays, how we pay for the coronavirus crisis and furlough scheme and the crash in car sales all feature on this week’s This is Money podcast. Once upon a time, Santander’s 123 could lay claim to being the king of the current accounts. As banks battled to customers to switch, Santander’s cashback and 3% interest-packing deal was one of the main challengers for the crown. The shine came off slightly when that interest rate was chopped to 1.5% in 2016, but now the 123 account has been doubly dented with a rate cut to 0.6% announced on the very same day the rate was already being cut to 1%. In all but name it’s now the Santander 1, 2, 0.6 account and that doesn’t quite have the same attraction. But when letters are coming through the post telling you that your savings account has been chopped to 0.01%, perhaps it is still worth bagging a current account paying 0.6%. On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost look at why Santander has chopped again, if the deal is still worth taking regardless, and whether the great current account switching push has fizzled out. Next up on the podcast is mortgage holidays. Figures show almost 2 million people have taken up the option of a break from their mortgage payments, but some who don’t need to take one have been wondering if it might be a financially savvy move to do so anyway. Could you save or invest the skipped payments and make money in the long run? And even if that is possible, is it ethical? Plus with 6.3 million people furloughed, can we really expect the mortgage holidays to end in June – and how does the nation pay for the colossal coronavirus rescue package? And finally, Britain’s best-selling car in April was Tesla’s Model 3 but astonishingly it wasn’t the most sold vehicle. That accolade went to a van, the Mercedes Sprinter, but will the motor industry be changed by all this?
It’s been called the Fomo rally, as shares picked themselves up off the floor after a diabolical March and bear markets turned bullish. The FTSE 100 closed a notch below 5,000 on 23 March, the day it was announced Britain was going into lockdown, but somehow managed to bounce 23 per cent to the middle of this week before slipping back. In the US, April was even more astonishing – the S&P 500 had its best month since 1987. So, what’s going on? Is this the stock market signalling the start of a coronavirus recovery, or have investors merely been piling in driven by Fomo – the fear of missing out. The big US tech names’ star turn has helped drive confidence and in the UK it has been the big names hit hard that have rebounded over the past four weeks, including housebuilders, Next, Cineworld, ITV and the FTSE 100’s top riser is cruise ship firm Carnival – up 63 per cent as brave investors buy in. But are investors getting ahead of themselves and simply all chasing in the same direction like kids with a football? On this week’s podcast, we look at the rally, what’s driving it – beyond Fomo – and the history of false dawns in stock market crashes, known as the dreaded dead cat bounce. Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost also discuss how Britain gets back to business and how the plans might shape up for getting us back into factories, offices, shops, pubs, restaurants and everywhere else. Plus, would you dare book a holiday now? If so, the podcast duo discuss what you need to consider. And finally, the clock has have passed by quickly for a generation of cars that some of us grew up with and the Metro, Fiat Panda and early Vauxhall Astra are now 40 years old, tax exempt, and theoretically classic cars… but are they?
Should you save cash and accept low interest rates, or invest and take the risk that you could lose money? This is the perennial dilemma for those with some money to set aside, who are looking to build their wealth. And it’s not been made easier by a rollercoaster 20 years. Since the turn of the millennium, we’ve had three hefty stock market crashes, but we’ve also had the past decade of historically low interest rates. In response to paltry savings rates, more people have been encouraged to invest in shares for a better return, but the coronavirus crash has left the UK’s flagship stock market index, the FTSE 100, below its level on 31 December 1999, and burnt the fingers of many recent investors. So, is it worth investing, or should you just stick with the relative stability of cash? On this episode of the This is Money podcast, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost look at our exclusive statistics on who is investing, who is bowing out of the market, and what the new generation of younger investors are doing. They also dive back into the question asked last week: how long do you need to invest for to avoid losing money? With some charts and data sent through to the team by Duncan Lamont, head of research and analytics at Schroders, they compare how putting money into either cash or the stockmarket fared over the past 150 years against inflation – and what the likelihood was of losing money over varying time periods. The team also look at what might happen next to house prices after the coronavirus lockdown put the property market into a deep freeze. Simon dives into the varying predictions of how much property prices could fall – and the bullish suggestion of one estate agent that it’ll all be fine. And finally, we discuss the businesses that we spoke to this week who are fighting veteran insurer Hiscox, because they believed they should be covered against coronavirus with policies that cite infectious or contagious disease… but it says they are not.