The idea of the Bank of England raising base rate by 0.5% at the same time as warning about a long and painful recession would have been unthinkable a year ago. But things have dramatically changed and central banks are desperately trying to get a grip on runway inflation that just seems to keeo getting worse. Base rate has risen from 0.1% in December to 1.75% now and is set to keep climbing, but why trigger a recession to get inflation driven by outside forces under control. Georgie Frost, Tanya Jefferies and Simon Lambert discuss the rate rise and potential recession and what it means for borrowers, savers, the economy and our financial near future.
This summer has seen travel demand rebound and for many, it could be their first overseas jaunt since before the pandemic. For that reason, there may be some rusty holidaymakers out there. But fear not, Lee Boyce, Helen Crane and Georgie Frost are at hand to help get you in the holiday mood (kind of). They talk about what you need to think about before a trip, from sorting out your passport with plenty of time to why it is imperative to have good quality insurance. It may not be sexy, but it is vital. Then, while you're away, what to think about in terms of spending money and little tips and tricks to save cash. We also ask if the days of cheap flights are over thanks to fuel price rises, whether chickenpox just before you go away means an automatic refund and more pearls of wisdom from decades of travel experience. Elsewhere, there are dire pension warnings linked to inflation. A new study believes that fewer than two in five households will be on course for a decent retirement due to the soaring cost of living. What can be done about it? And a large factor of that soaring cost of living is energy bills. Next month, we'll fully know just how high the price cap will head. Many are facing bill rises that they simply cannot afford. One part of the cost that is a real bugbear for many are standing charges. What are they and why can they not simply be cut?
Financial independence and retiring early sounds great, but could you sacrifice enough of your spending to get there? The so-called FIRE movement ('Financial Independence Retire Early') involves living a frugal live, saving as much of your income as possible – 50% or more – and investing to build a pot to retire early on. Ideally, this needs to be 25 times your annual spending requirements, so that you can follow the 4% rule on how much of your pot you spend each year. Advocates of financial independence will tell you that this requires giving up much of our modern-day consumer lifestyle but that it’s worth it in the end, as they can then live their lives on their own terms. Could you do this and would Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert be able to stomach the hardcore budgeting and saving it requires? The team discuss financial independence, its attractions and the drawbacks of getting there. And don't miss our second special bonus podcast this week, where Simon speaks Barney Whiter, of The Escape Artist blog, who helps others to try to achieve the same financial independence he has. Also, inheritance tax is catching more people in its net; what can you do about that and is it time for the tax to change? Plus, why inflation is causing problems for the national debt (now £2.4 trillion) and should a reader use a £60,000 sum sitting in a low rate cash Isa to pay off some of their mortgage?
Ten money rules from Simon on how to have a richer life — When will the big banks start paying interest? — Re-assuring words for first time buyers — Recovering costs of travel disruption. Listen in to Georgie, Simon and Lee
Boris Johnson finally came unstuck this week and resigned as Prime Minister after one scandal too many caught up with him. Whatever you thought of the PM - and he certainly has the ability to divide a room almost as well as he can entertain it - there is no doubt that this ushers in another bout of 'what next?' instability for Britain. The economy is struggling, an inflation crisis is in full swing and the Bank of England is raising rates into a recession, yet at the end of a tumultuous week we are not just down one Prime Minister but a Chancellor and aren't quite sure if the new man in the job will be sticking around very long. The new Chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, reportedly has designs of his own on the job next door at Number 10 and even if he makes an unsuccessful leadership bid, will a rival want him sticking around? Georgie Frost, Tanya Jefferies and Simon Lambert look at what the change in Prime Minister could mean for the UK's economy, businesses and households - and what a new Chancellor might do and the challenges they will face. Also, some big UK name household shares have taken a beating this year, but which would the experts pick as having fallen too far and as ripe for a bounce back? The team look at whether, with rates rising, a ten-year fixed rate mortgage is a good move and Tanya talks us through the latest round of state pension mistakes and what the DWP is doing. And finally, will you end up with a bit more cash when you get paid this month? Yet, another National Insurance change is kicking in, here's what it means.
In recent times, private parking firms have come under scrutiny from motoring organisations, the Government… and This is Money. Many motorists will have received a dreaded charge in the post and in some cases, unjustifiably so. If that’s you, it’s time to fight back. Georgie Frost, Simon Lambert and Lee Boyce take a look at whether private parking firms are playing fair. It comes as Lee received a third private parking charge in the post in four years, and for the third time appealed and had it magically cancelled. He explains his case and questions how he was issued the charge despite paying the correct amount and displaying the paid-for ticket in the windscreen. Also, is it fair to remove parking machines and replace them with apps? Halifax has been embroiled in a Twitter storm this week when it comes to pronouns and its bank branches – but what about the move to reduce new build deposits from 10% to 5%? Is it good news for first-time buyers? The energy price cap is set to surge to around £3,000 in October. Is it wise to try and find a fix with your supplier? Also, Simon explains why five FTSE-100 firms have seen their share price fall more than 40% since the start of the year, including Ocado and Royal Mail. And lastly, This is Money business doctor Dave Fishwick answers the question on many small business owner’s lips: how do I pass on price increases without annoying the loyal customer base?
A mortgage stress test designed to stop borrowers overstretching themselves will be scrapped, it was revealed this week. The mortgage industry has long bemoaned this supposedly unrealistic test that makes lenders check if borrowers can afford their repayments at a level higher than the fix or tracker deal they may be taking, their lender's standard variable rate plus 3%. Yet, isn't a bit of an odd time to finally get rid of this, just as interest rates are finally rising and the base rate has jumped from 0.1% to 1.25% in six months? What's more, it's forecast by some to keep rising and go as high as 3% by the end of the year: meaning almost that entire 3% rise which the stress test uses. Georgie Frost, Simon Lambert and Lee Boyce discuss why the Bank of England is doing this and whether it is the right move, or could lead to risky lending and even higher house prices? Also, the team discuss inflation and how to (at least) try to do something to combat it with your savings - and also, why investors are finding it so hard to buy the dip and be greedy when others are fearful in the inflation storm. The renewed fervour for offering bumper deals on current accounts also goes under the microscope, but is a bung to join, an interest rate on your balance, or the ability to categorise your spending the best readon to switch? And finally, you live in an end of terrace house, someone wants to build next door using your wall and making your home a mid-terrace: surely that couldn't be allowed? Or would it? Listen to the end to find out.
Base rate has gone from 0.1% to 1.25% in the space of six months, in a flurry of rate rising that would have been considered unthinkable a year ago. Yet, as the Bank of England delivered another 0.25% raise, voices were raised in some corners to demand why it hadn't gone further. Why not a 0.5% jump or even a 0.75% one, as the Fed had delivered in the US? With inflation running at 9% and expected to head north into double digits, the onus is on the Bank of England to show it has a grip and we aren't heading back to the 1970s. But is rapidly raising rates the right thing to do and how will it affect savers, borrowers and investors? Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert discuss the case for and against rate rises and what the impact is for the economy and people. Mortgage rates have risen even faster than the base rate, so what can those who need to remortgage do - and will this sink house prices? The team assess the prospects for the property market and offer their tips on what borrowers should do to prepare and protect themselves. Meanwhile, over in the US, it's the stock market that's suffering as rates rise. Why is that, and how bad could this bear market be? And finally, petrol prices keep hitting record highs and we want people to switch to electric cars but the Government has swiped away the £1,500 grant that helps people buy more affordable models. Will that make a difference, or has electric car demand reached a level where ditching a bung to help out is wise?
Women have already been hit by a huge state pension blunder in recent years, but now it seems the DWP is messing up again. After This is Money's Steve Webb and Tanya Jefferies exposed a £1 billion women's state pension scandal, which emerged from a reader question sent in to his column, you'd think the Government would be keeping on top of payments. But it has turned out that more women appear to being told they aren't due the right amount, or in one case that we reported on this week, anything at all. Tanya joins Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert to talk through the problems. Plus, are we saving enough for retirement? Steve sounded a warning this week that auto-enrolment was lulling people into a false sense of security and said that employers need to do more. The team discuss what you can do to make sure you are putting enough into your pension and why the self-employed need to pay particular attention. Also, the investment themes that could run for years and make you a profit, and is it time for investors to weigh up buying back into Scottish Mortgage after its 40% slump this year? And finally — petrol prices are rocketing, so is it time for a VAT cut to ease the double whammy of tax?
Just when you thought it was safe to go back on holiday... Britain descended into holiday chaos this week, as airlines cancelled hundreds of flights, airports struggled to cope and even Eurostar ended up with a day of disruption. For those who suffered at the hands of airline chaos, it was a harsh and unfair experience - with many of those travellers taking their first post-Covid trip abroad and others heading off for what were meant to be celebratory family events. Both airlines and airports let their passengers down - after all, they knew how many would be travelling, as they'd all booked tickets - and then got involved in a finger-pointing blame game with the Government. Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert discuss where the blame lies for the disruption, what people's rights are if their flights are cancelled and what we can all do to protect ourselves if we hope to go away over the summer. Also, the team talk about why some of the best mortgages are currently being offered by lesser-known building societies and how long you'd have to wait for an electric car's lower running costs to pay off. And finally, from travel chaos to energy firm blunders: how did Bulb swing from telling someone they were owed almost £2,000 and refunding them their cash when they moved, to declaring six months later that the customer now owed Bulb almost £2,000? Helen talks through a recent Crane on the Case, where Bulb seemingly decided Ofgem's one-year back billing rule didn't apply to it.
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