Sneaker investing – those in the know don’t call them trainers, apparently – has become a big thing in recent years and as values have risen, so has the volume of fakes. It’s not just knock-offs aping standard sneakers anymore, some of the counterfeiters are dabbling in shoes that could go on to be worth thousands of pounds. Can anything be done, does it matter and what’s the attraction if investing in sneakers anyway? This is Money’s Grace Gausden went behind the curtain with eBay, which has its own crack team of fake sneaker spotters, to find out more and tells podcast listeners all about it here. Alongside, Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert, Grace discusses the tests that can spot a fake and why eBay is cracking down. Meanwhile, Simon looks at the comparisons between sneaker investing and other more established alternatives, such as art, wine and classic cars and, of course, the new kid on the block, crypto.
Also, the team discuss the courses for those who haven’t driven in years and the best cars to insure new drivers on. Simon looks at why smart Chancellors can’t help inflating house prices and why the holiday part was the problem with the stamp duty cut. And back on an investing tip, if sneakers are a bit too down to earth for you, how about backing a space investment trust?
Does loyalty pay, or is it just a bizarre concept we have allowed businesses to convince us might exist while they take advantage? As banks and building societies hint at better rates for those who have stuck by them and insurers find themselves forced at regulatory gunpoint to at least not sting existing customers, we look at the loyalty reward and penalty. At what point does the corporate idea of loyalty rewards meet the reality of whether it’s worth sticking with the same provider? Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert discuss loyalty, its rewards and its drawbacks on this week’s podcast. Plus, Britcoin, a new idea for the Bank of Mum and Dad and beach huts - are they a cheap property goldmine?
Another week, another house price index stating record growth. This time it was the turn of Nationwide, which said prices had risen 10.9% in the year to April, reaching a new high of £242,832 - up by £23,930 compared with 12 months earlier. Most experts say this is down to people's changing lifestyles during the pandemic and the incentive provided by the Government's stamp duty holiday. But are there other forces at play? Fred Harrison, a British author and economic commentator, successfully predicted the previous two property crashes years before they occurred - and his 18-year property cycle theory says that house prices should continue to boom before crashing in 2026. His theory is based on analysis of 300 years of data, and suggests that the underlying force behind rising prices in the property market is the finite supply of land. This, he says, combines with greed and speculation to turbo-charge sentiment and send prices spiralling before a bubble bursts. Given that early predictions of a house price crash during the pandemic were wildly inaccurate, does his model provide a better idea of what might really happen? Georgie Frost, Tanya Jefferies and Helen Crane also look at the other factors shaping the housing market, including tantalisingly cheap mortgages with two-year fixed rates as low as 0.99%. But aside from these headline-grabbing rates, the typical mortgage has actually become slightly more expensive in the last year - so why are experts saying locking in for five years is still a good idea? One group that isn't so happy about this year's house price increases is first-time buyers - especially those who took out Help to Buy loans a few years ago and are now paying back inflated sums into the Government coffers based on their homes' increased values. Helen discusses whether they should hold off paying back the loans in the face of spiralling interest - and whether today's first-time buyers should still consider using Help to Buy at what is widely tipped to be the top of the market. Do you want an 'essential', comfortable or luxurious retirement? New research explains how much you will need to put away to get the lifestyle you want in your later years. Away from housing, we talk about the latest research telling us how much we need for a decent retirement - depending on whether we want an 'essential', comfortable or more luxurious time of it in our older years. Tanya explains how much people should be putting away, and how that changes if you are single rather than part of a couple. We also discuss controversial comments made by Paul Johnson from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), who said most people don't need to worry too much about saving into their pension until they are in their 50s. Is it really wise for younger people to push pensions down their list of financial priorities? Finally, we answer a question from a reader who took £20,000 out of their pension pot to deal with Covid cashflow issues - but is now worried that their tax-free annual allowance has taken a hit.
Tamara Gillan, Founder & CEO of WealthiHer Network chats with Tracy Browne, Director at Tilney Investment Management about the importance of bringing everyone on the journey to make finance more equitable for women, ensuring the financial futures of all.
Have Premium Bonds turned you into a savings winner, or are you one of the losers who have been missing out on prizes for years? We dive into Britain’s beloved savings lottery, looking at who holds the most Premium Bonds, who wins and who doesn’t. NS&I revealed exclusively to This is Money this week that an astonishing 43% of bonds are held by just 4.3% of savers – that’s £56billion out of the £107billion total. Or to put it another way every £2 out of £5 saved belongs to less than one million savers out of a total £21.4million. That may go some way to explaining why close to 75% of Premium Bonds savers haven’t won a prize in 14 years. Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert dig into the statistics, deliver a theory on how much you might need to hold to bag at least one prize a year, and look at whether Premium Bonds are worth having. They are certainly popular and that’s why Nationwide has launched a savings lottery – is that worth signing up to as well? In crypto-corner this week, we discuss the crash, the rebound and the slump again, along with banned adverts and Chinese crackdowns: is this the end of the recent hot phase or just another average week for bitcoin to take in its stride? Also, paying bills with commemorative coins – and what legal tender really means, why self-storage is the latest thing in short supply and who's investing Czech Sphinx?
The UK’s official inflation figure more than doubled to 1.5 in April, it emerged this week, as the stronger than expected recovery continued to push up the cost of living. Meanwhile a wave of demand is meeting a shortage of supply for some items, sparking fears of an inflationary spike. But while this is bad news for the pound in your pocket – which will buy less – and for savers, who will see their measly interest rates fail to keep up with how inflation erodes their cash, wasn’t the whole point of all that money printing and rate cutting to get a stronger recovery and inflation back towards the 2% target? Georgie Frost, George Nixon and Simon Lambert look at why inflation has become a hot topic, how it will affect savers and investors, and what it could mean for the game we all thought we could stop playing for some time: when will interest rates rise? George runs through the impact for savers, who now can't find an account that beats inflation, but he explains a trick to get a better rate through laddering; and Simon discusses what inflation could mean for investors and why the jam-tomorrow growth stocks that have delivered over the past decade may not be the ones to hold for the next ten years. Or will they? We also discuss moonshot investing and how backing disruptive companies that if they get it right, can absolutely take off and compound spectacular gains, has paid off for investors such as Scottish Mortgage. Simon highlights the academic research showing why most stocks don't make money and the most successfully often fall by 40%, as Scottish Mortgage's James Anderson highlighted in his recent fund manager's note. But is this attitude the same as that of the bitcoin true believers, who have been having their faith tested again this week?
Holidays abroad are back on… or are they? The much-heralded green list proved to be something of a damp squib, with the only popular British holiday destination on there being Portugal. There was no place for Greece, France, Spain, Italy, the US, or other regular stars in the list of Britons’ favourite travel spots. Some rushed to book trips to Portugal, but travel giant Tui reported this week that holidaymakers are cancelling and delaying bookings and rival On The Beach scrapped all its summer holiday departures before the end of August. Concerns over Covid variants and worries about countries being rapidly pulled from the green list for travel are likely to prevent many from booking, but there is still a big desire from many vaccinated Britons to enjoy one their beloved trips abroad. So, will there be a surge of bookings, a last minute wait and see game, or a race to grab the few remaining staycation places during the summer holidays? Georgie Frost, Simon Lambert and Grace Gausden look at the state of play for the travel industry and holidaymakers – and how to protect your hard-earned cash if you do book. Highlighting the need to do just that, Grace explains why Teletext Holidays is under fire for still not refunding some customers for last year’s cancelled trips. Also, Simon runs through his anecdotal inflation theory and why trying to buy bikes or garden furniture, find a builder, or fill up a car tells a very different story to the official 1% inflation rate. He also explains why worries over higher inflation are causing markets to throw a wobbly. And finally, we all know about how the Bank of Mum and Dad has to fund many of their children when it comes to buying a home, but what if you need to help your parents buy a property? A reader asked if there is a potential tax trap – the team explain the answer.
This week saw the launch of new book - 'Never Go Broke: How To Make Money Out Of Just About Anything', co-written by This is Money personal finance editor Lee Boyce. In this podcast special, Lee is joined from Los Angeles by his co-author, Storage Hunters TV star Jesse McClure, to explain all to Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert. Jesse and lee discuss how they met, how the book was created, and their three-step approach to putting more money in your pocket with a little bit of entrepreneurial endeavour and reselling. The book is broken down into three parts: how to build up a cash pot, learning the resale blueprint and investing the pot for resale profits. Step one is all about properly selling items in your home, making cash legitimately – and safely – online, and even making money from stuff you might think is trash. This is good both for your wallet and the environment. Step two sees Jesse outline some of the tips and tricks he uses everyday as a professional buyer and seller, while step three is all about hunting down spots to buy items to make even bigger profits – from car boots, to charity shops. While it won't make you a millionaire overnight, the pair believe it can be a great hobby, a way to stay afloat, or to set the foundations to becoming a professional at it. The authors also share some of Jesse's big wins and tips for getting started straightaway.
Are you itching to spend or planning to save? Lockdown savers are forecast by the Office of Budget Responsibility to have stashed away £180billion by the middle of this year. That collective cash pile has been built up by those who have been fortunate enough not to see their finances hit by the pandemic, but have seen their outgoings drop substantially. We’ve already seen some big spending themes come out of this, as people splash out on everything from home improvements, to luxury garden furniture, expensive pizza ovens and hot tubs. The expectation is that as lockdown eases and people are released into the hoped for freedom that vaccines bring, they will go on a spending spree. But will that definitely happen and will the economic rebound be strong enough to create a virtuous circle that delivers the much-talked about Roaring Twenties? Or will people be more cautious and adopt their newfound savings habit more permanently? Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert, dig into the save vs spend debate and look at how the giant behavioural and psychological experiment that lockdown represents might play out for the economy and people’s personal finances. Also on this week’s episode, the team look at both investing in the big themes of the coming decades and buying a holiday let for profit. And finally, if a fence comes down how do you find out who has to pay for it and is there any truth in the old ‘yours is the one on the left’ rule?
Life is tough for first-time buyers. House prices were already expensive before the coronavirus lockdowns and defying all logic a mini-boom has sent the average house price up £20,000 further over the past year. At the same time mortgage lenders have indulged in a flight to safety, canning the vast majority of 95% loan-to-value mortgages and bumping up the gap between rates on 90 per cent mortgages and those for borrowers with more equity. 'Once more into the breach' has stepped the Government, with taxpayer aid for banks and building societies to offer more 5% deposit mortgages. But is this a wise move? Should we stop meddling in the mortgage and property market, as short-term assistance ends up meaning long-term pain as more credit is extended and house prices climb ever higher? And could it be that while the 95% mortgage push is the wrong move at the national economic level, on a personal level taking one might prove a good move for some, who could end up paying less than they do in rent? Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert discuss the 95% mortgages, the rise in house prices and whether buy-to-let is still a good investment. Also this week, the lowdown on the Barclaycard customer service meltdown as long-standing customers see their credit limits slashed. And finally, you want a shed-office (aka a shoffice) to work in down the bottom of the garden, but can you power it with solar panels?