Was the blockbuster Coinbase stock market listing a coming of age for bitcoin and cryptocurrency or a top of the bubble moment? The world’s leading crypto exchange platform listed on the US stock market this week and at one point hit a hefty $100billion valuation, before slipping back to $60billion. That’s still a very big number, especially for a business that made $322million last year. But Coinbase is profitable, its earnings are growing rapidly, it can cash in whether bitcoin and crypto prices rise or fall, and the cryptocurrency genie is well and truly out of the bottle. So, could it prove to be a Facebook or Google of the crypto world? Georgie Frost, Tanya Jefferies and Simon Lambert look at the Coinbase float and what it means for the crypto and investing world. They also discuss the Spac frenzy, how it’s leading to lucky dip investing for some but also more companies coming to market, and whether once you know what’s in a Spac it could ever be worth investing. Also, the team look at low risk investments that could be an alternative to a paltry 1 per cent five-year fixed rate cash Isa and Tanya updates on the women underpaid state pensions. And finally, Barclaycard has slashed customers’ credit limits and left many of them baffled and annoyed, so what on earth is going on?
On Monday, we take a step towards normality – you can get your hair cut, have a beer outside at the pub and visit a clothes shop. But what about the future of the office? Will we ever go back full-time, or is a hybrid model more likely – and if you're tempted by a shed office, what should you look out for? On this week's podcast, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost discuss the future of work and the pros and cons of WFH life, including the 'shoffice.' Elsewhere, should you claim home working tax relief and how much could you get for doing so? And what can you do if you want to change career, whether that is a huge leap or a 'bridging' one. Plus, are workers heading for a horrible shock when it comes to retirement and what can be done to navigate it?
Financial scams are on the rise. The coronavirus lockdowns have seen a fresh burst of investment cons with fraudsters impersonating legitimate companies to steal tens of thousands of pounds. Unwitting savers are being lured into fake savings and investments, such as fixed term bonds or share schemes, and transferring large sums to fall victim to clone fraud. What’s behind this burst of crime and how can people protect themselves? On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert discuss the rising tide of fraud, how to stay safe and what more can be done to combat it. Also, on the show, the pair look into the cases of the mortgage prisoners, trapped paying high rates ever since the financial crisis while others have seen their monthly payments slashed. The Deliveroo float is also on the agenda – why did the shares slump as it hit the stock market? And finally, campervans are in hot demand, making this a good time for VW to be launching its new mini Caddy California: with sleeping space for two and an optional tent that turns into a home on wheels for all the family. Would you want one?
The headlines are telling you the property market is running hot, that the stamp duty holiday extension is stoking the fires, and buyers are ignoring the economic slump to pile in. There’s just one problem: your home is on the market and you aren’t even getting any offers. Perhaps you are in a property coldspot. As property watchers will tell you, the house price index-driven view of a national housing market is something of an illusion. In reality, there are lots of different local property markets and they don’t all blow hot and cold at the same time. At the moment, while some areas are running hot, others are cold – and it’s not as simple as city vs village, or urban vs rural. Even within London, there are some areas with high demand and others just a few miles away where it is tough to sell. On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost, Adrian Lowery and Simon Lambert look at how to take the temperature of your local property market and how that can help you buy or sell. They discuss what next for house prices – and whether they can possible keep rising at such a robust pace from here, or if we could see more stability and an end to Britain’s casino property market. Also on this week’s show: how to invest in companies that will help improve the environment, the FCA’s warning on thrill-seeking young investors and the best Isa investments of all time. And finally, the electric car grant has been cut and will be axed for all cars costing more than £35,000. Is this foolish as we try to wean the nation off petrol and diesel, or a wise move to stop subsidising those already wealthy enough to buy an expensive brand new motor?
What’s the point in an Isa? This is a regular grumble as savings rates are now so low that earning 1 per cent would be a big deal. But wouldn’t you rather have all of a small amount instead of a small amount minus tax? And if you are investing, an Isa makes a lot of sense – embracing your gains and dividends in a nice tax-free wrapper. On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert talk Isas: from the classics, cash and stocks and shares, to the upstarts the lifetime and junior strands. The team discuss why an Isa is worth having, even a cash one when the personal savings allowance exists and rates are rubbish. And Simon gives his quick guide to investing easily in an Isa, with a whistle-stop tour through the ‘why, how and what’ that could help you grow your wealth long-term. The team also discuss whether a lifetime Isa is worth having and whether a junior Isa or a slice of your own is the best place to save for children. And finally, if you’d like to both turn a profit and make your money do some good, what about ethical investing? Is the ESG label (environmental, social and governance) just a marketing ruse and how ethical are these funds? We run through the spectrum of investments that try to be ethical and give some ideas on what might fit the bill.
Is the economy primed to bounce back? That might sound like a strange question when you’ve just had the news that UK GDP fell by 2.9 per cent in one month, but January’s lockdown slump was nowhere near as deep as expected. It seems that despite a tough lockdown being imposed, shops and big chunks of the economy being shut and schools being closed, the UK has adapted to restrictions better than thought when it comes to doing business. On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost, Jayna Rana and Simon Lambert discuss the prospects for recovery and also the businesses that have pivoted and started-up over the lockdown year. While economies have suffered, stock markets have rebounded strongly – and in the case of the US and its growth star stocks, repeatedly surpassed previous record highs. That’s been good news for UK investors backing the growth story, particularly the legions of savers with money in the giant Scottish Mortgage investment trust. But a growth stock wobble in the US has sent Scottish Mortgage sliding – with the trust down 27 per cent at one point on its January peak – followed by a rapid bounce back to erase some of those losses. Should investors be worried or is it a buying opportunity – and what is the one key investing lesson that Simon says this highlights? Also on this week’s show, the mortgage that lets you fix for life – bringing potentially a 40-year fixed rate until 2061. And finally, would you buy your local pub to rescue it from the threat of closure? If the answer’s ‘yes’ then there’s some good news: Rishi Sunak wants to help you.
The Budget this week was notable for two things: Firstly, The Chancellor decided to delay settling the coronavirus bill to another day and, secondly, the true scale of the women's underpaid state pension scandal was laid bare at £3billion. The collossal short-changing of married women on their state pensions was uncovered by This is Money columnist Steve Webb and journalist Tanya Jefferies just over a year ago. Their investigations, campaigning and tenacity has paid off and now women affected should get what they are owed - to the tune of an astonishing £3billion, according to Budget documents. Tanya joins Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert to explain the issue on this week's podcast, as the team also trawl through the Budget to explain what it means for people. One day Britain might have to try to balance the books and pay the bill for the coronavirus rescue, but that day didn't arrive with the Budget. The Chancellor Rishi Sunak openly indulged in some stealth taxation by freezing personal allowances and income tax thresholds in the future and said corporation tax would rise, but kept the cash flowing to aid economic recovery. Furlough was extended, there will be an encore at the stamp duty holiday party, the business investment of Eat Out to Help Out was launched, and a new 5% deposit mortgage scheme has been launched (without being called Help-to-anything, so that's something at least). The self-employed also got some more help, with new entrepreneurs getting assistance, but bizarrely those who previously earned more than £50,000 as sole traders and paid lots of tax are still left out in the cold. The tax burden is set to rise but this was no austerity Budget and Britain's debt and deficit are scarily big. So will Rishi's third Budget in a year be what Britain's economy needs to achieve escape velocity as lockdown eases (and hopefully never comes back)?
Rumours are swirling ahead of the Budget that Rishi Sunak will extend the stamp duty holiday by three months? The idea is that this would help stop the collapse of chain after chain as buyers pull out, renegogiate or have to find more money if they miss the deadline. The excuse being given is that conveyancing delays are holding up sales. But wouldn't a three-month delay just kick the can down the road by another 12 weeks and lead to another cohort of buyers potentially affected? Would it be better to just make the stamp duty holiday a permanent vacation? Cut the tax properly, with no time limit, accepting that high stamp duty tax is a barrier to people moving? On this week's podcast, Georgue Frost, Grace Gausden and Simon Lambert discuss the stamp duty break, whether it was a good idea and whether it should be extended or the tax cut altogether. Also this week, Grace fills us in on the latest Grace on the Case and Simon puts forward his idea for improving Isas. And finally, you might be bold enough to book an overseas holiday but would you be brave enough to start a travel company now?
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?