Put on your party hats, it's Isa season! After years in the doldrums could we have a proper Isa battle on our hands in 2019? Santander and Coventry Building Society have launched two best-buy easy-access tax-free deals, and that appears to have put some wind in the sails of This is Money assistant editor Lee Boyce. Editor Simon Lambert and host Georgie Frost – along with Lee – talk all things Isa´s: whether they are worth it, the options and importantly, are the new top rates a potential catalyst for more competition? Elsewhere, we take a look at new fintech firm Dozens, offering a five per cent return spotted after a recent London Transport advertising blitz.
There is a victory for This is Money readers, as Virgin Money refunds credit card customers stung by charges after unwittingly setting minimum payments rather than paying the full balance when changing card. Simon runs the rule over a 95% interest-only mortgage launched by Newbury Building Society.
ETFs (exchange traded funds) have revolutionised the investment world, offering a wide range of new opportunities for private investors. A new book on the funds has just been published called ‘The Ultimate ETF Guidebook’. Beginners can easily read the book, and more experienced investors will probably find fresh insight as well. In the latest edition of The Big Call, Ed Bowsher talks to the co-author of the book, David Stevenson.
In this week’s episode of the IEA’s podcast, the IEA’s Associate Director Kate Andrews sat down with Francis Boulle, who recently took part in the BBC Two’s ‘Mastermind’, braving the black chair to win the coveted Mastermind trophy. What made this particular episode of Mastermind special was Francis’s choice of specialist subject for the interrogation-style question and answer session. Francis chose Friedrich Hayek as his specialist subject, one of the most important liberal thinkers of all time. Kate asked Francis to take him through his journey of becoming interested in Hayek’s work, why he decided to pick him as his specialist subject, if Francis believes Hayek is relevant in 2019 and how his body of work can help us navigate through our current political and economic woes – especially given that amongst young people socialism is now in vogue.
In any society there are ‘elite’ positions that command a high income and, more importantly, high status. Unsurprisingly, there is intense competition for these positions. But what happens when a society turns out more people qualified for these roles than the number of roles actually on offer? On this week’s podcast, the IEA’s Head of Education Dr Steve Davies discusses what he calls the ‘over-production of elites’ in society. The problem, he explains, is that elitism, unlike many things, is a zero-sum game – to be in the elite means you are not like 90 per cent or more of the population as a whole. As a result, the ever-increasing number of UK university graduates or American PHDs students leads to bitter resentment towards those with similar qualifications, who have managed to secure elite jobs. Steve talks about how elitism affects our views of a fair society, what it means for the concept of meritocracy, and how societies go about addressing perceived issues of unfairness.
A year ago bitcoin could do no wrong – now it has slumped to 79 per cent below its peak. So what went wrong for the much vaunted cryptocurrency? The mania of a year ago gave way to a bust after Christmas and apart from a few short-lived rallies bitcoin has been mainly on the slide since. That’s not to say it has no use - the cryptocurrency and underlying technology are fascinating - but just because something has some value does not mean it can’t end up in a bubble. On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Georgie Frost and Myron Jobson look at what went wrong for bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies and what we can learn from the boom and bust. Also on this week’s show, they look at some more durable investments, companies that have paid a rising dividend for a decade or longer – and how some have seen big rises in their share price. And finally, Simon talks us through the 2,100 road trip he took with his family to test out VW’s California campervan – and whether swapping your family car for a van that’s ready for adventure could ever be a smart move?
As stock market turmoil spreads across the globe, the advice is to keep calm and carry on, folks. In the latest This is Money podcast, editor Simon Lambert and host Georgie Frost discuss what's causing it, how long will it go on for and how concerned we should be. Because we're a positive bunch, we also reveal the shares that have rocketed over the last five years, some by more than 1,000 per cent. Also, we answer a reader query about state pensions - can couples inherit it from each other and how much might they get? Elsewhere, we take a look at the best way to clear your buy-to-let loan and discover how to bag a property bargain.
The New Labour government introduced a national minimum wage (NMW) in 1999. At first this was opposed by the Conservative party, but they have since joined a growing political consensus. The Low Pay Commission (LPC) are tasked with recommending NMW rates that 'help as many low-paid workers as possible without any significant adverse impact on employment or the economy’. The LPC’s apparent success in achieving this, may be one reason for growing political census, so it is perhaps worrying that a National Living Wage (NLW) is being set without these considerations. Len Shackleton, Professor of Economics at the University of Buckingham and Editorial and Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, sets out these issues and more in a recent IEA paper on Restructuring Minimum Wages. Prof. Shackleton argues that the system has become overly complex and recommendations made by the Taylor Review will only add to this complexity. In this interview we consider his proposals and what the future may hold for UK minimum wages.
Adam talks to Destiny Onisile and Jessica Tonwe, two millennials, about their attitudes to saving money to coincide with British Savings Week. They discuss how ignorance and confusion lead to a reluctance to save and how student debt create poor financial habits that can make debt attractive and saving something they believe is for older generations. They also explore if there’s anything that would encourage young people to save or learn about finance.
Host Georgie Frost is joined by Assistant Editor Lee Boyce and motoring Editor Rob Hull. It’s the cash and cars edition. Are reports of it’s death greatly exaggerated? If not, are we as a society and our financial institutions ready to go cashless?! Big Brother claims at Lloyds; Aston Martin Gears up for a £5bn float and £48.5m for a Ferrari anyone? Bad luck, that one has just sold – but don’t worry. What about a Lada for the bargain price of 75 grand?!