The Government wants to scrap gas boilers in new homes by 2025 – but what are the viable alternatives? And how much will they cost? This week, This is Money editor Simon Lambert, reporter Grace Gausden and host Georgie Frost explore the options. And on the energy theme, you can now ask Alexa: when will my electricity bills be cheapest? Energy company Octopus has teamed up with Amazon, the creator of Alexa, and will pay customers to use electricity at off-peak periods. Sound too good to be true? We also talk 'dumb' smart meters and reveal which energy firm we're leaving en masse... Plus the team teach you the tips of the successful haggle as it emerges which telecoms giants are easiest to bargain with.
With all the shenanigans in Westminster last week you could be forgiven for failing to register we had a Spring Statement at all – let alone clocked its finer points. Editor Simon Lambert, assistant editor Lee Boyce and host Georgie Frost fill you in on what you may have missed. It includes forecasts from the Office for Budgetary Responsibility on the UK economy, along with income growth, interest rates, the pound and house prices. We also have the true scale of the tax burden on families and businesses, with the overall tax take equivalent to 34.6% of Britain's economy, a level not seen since Harold Wilson was Prime Minister. Income tax receipts will rise nearly £54billion in the next five years, with steep rises forecast for National Insurance, VAT and Corporation Tax. A hike in probate 'fees' was waved through without a vote or debate in parliament by classifying it as a fee not a tax – but the ONS is now calling it a tax. The OBR also reveals that two flagship savings schemes have not been anywhere near as popular as planned, while boilers are out – as are feed-in tariffs from solar panels.
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.
National Savings and Investments has launched Ernie 5.0 – its fifth generation machine that draws the Premium Bond numbers. It now takes just 12 minutes for numbers to be generated by the Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment compared to 10 days back in the early 1970s. This week, editor Simon Lambert, assistant editor Lee Boyce and host Georgie Frost answer the question – what would you do if you gained a windfall, big or small, either from the Premium Bonds or by other means? What does it mean to win big and what are the first things you need to think about if you’re lucky enough to come into some cash? We also discuss a 57-year-old reader who was the latest star in our regular Money Pit Stop series, who wants to make sure his own investment portfolio can withstand downturns and provide him with a good income at retirement.
A will may be considered the expression of someone’s last wishes, but more of them are being challenged. High property prices and increasingly complicated families are being blamed for the rise in disputes, but would you challenge someone’s will? In this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost dive into why inheritance rows are more commonplace and how difficult it is to try to overturn a will. Also this week, alongside some money-saving tips for millennials a heated debate kicks off about buying flat whites vs saving for homes at a time when house prices are sky high compared to ages. Simon reveals his lessons from holding Lloyds shares all the way up, all the way down and then all the time that they have bumped along since the financial crisis. And we dig into the case of a car park prang that led to countless phone calls from ambulance chasers – and how this manages to happen.
Inflation has slipped to 1.8 per cent - below the 25 per cent target - and the Bank of England has downgraded the UK's growth prospects and indicated interest rate hikes are on hold. But at the same time, wages are rising by more than inflation and unemployment remains low. So has the clock already started ticking on a slowdown in the UK economy, or is this just some pre-Brexit jitters that could eventually be followed by a bounce? Elsewhere, we talk about the property market and a recent slump in prices in London and the South, along with why you should consider carefully how long your mortgage term is for. And finally - with holiday season on the horizon, and with all-inclusive trips on the rise, we ask: are they actually a good idea?
Investing has proven to be the best way to beat inflation and grow your wealth over the long-term, but how do you get started? And if you do already invest but feel you’ve lost track of your goals or ended up with a jumble of investments, how can you improve things?
In this second edition of a two-part podcast special on saving and investing, Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost dive into how to be a smarter investor. They bust the jargon and look at why people should invest, how to get started, what investments you can choose and how to find the right ones for you. Simon discusses his experience of investing, what he got right along the way and importantly the things he got wrong. But why should you invest? Well, between 1900 and 2017 owning UK shares would have delivered an average return of 5.5 per cent, beating cash savings at 1 per cent and property at 1.8 per cent, according to the respected Credit Suisse Investment Yearbook. There’s no guarantee that history will be repeated, but companies should always have the ability to put money to productive use and reward investors with rising share prices off the back of their profits, dividend payouts, or interest on bonds.
In part one of two This is Money podcast specials, we tackle savings. When savings are mentioned, the first thought that springs to mind for many is: rates are low, what's the point? In the latest This is Money podcast, assistant editor Lee Boyce and host Georgie Frost are joined by James Blower, the Savings Guru to explain why savings are important. James has inside knowledge of the industry, having helped a number of challenger banks set up their savings business. We talk about what the point of saving is and what you need to consider at different stages - and ages - of your life. How do you save for your children, what about Isas, does higher risk equal higher reward and how do you save for a house? We also talk about why the Financial Services Compensation Scheme is important and whether saving in cash over investing is ever a worthwhile exercise. James takes us behind the scenes at how rates are set and reveals why he believes better deals are on the horizon for savers.
Inflation is within a whisker of its long-term target of two per cent – does that mean an interest rate rise off the table in 2019? Assistant editor Lee Boyce and host Georgie Frost talk about the latest inflation figures in the This is Money podcast – including why it has fallen, where it is heading next and what it means for savers. Savings rates are up, with nearly 100 accounts now matching or beating inflation. Lee explains a nifty trick on how to beat inflation with a one year fixed-rate savings account and boost the rate even further. We also discuss the House of Lords report which let rip over RPI and CPI, and why it matters to the pound in your pocket. Meanwhile, we reveal why it is important to not penny pinch on your travel insurance and how the zero per cent beer market is booming – and it's not just because of 'dry January'. This week, we don't have one, not two, but three coin stories for your enjoyment. How euro coins rattling around in your home could be worth a pretty penny and why 50p coins have had a moment in the sun.
Not such Merry Christmas for the high street. In what’s been called the worst festive trading period – the team cast a critical eye over the retail sector and find out who were the winners and the losers. Also…Jaguar Land Rover shed more than 4000 jobs in the UK, how to get your dream job in 2019 and a new website that has your back if you get dumped before heading on holiday.