Interest rates rise by the highest amount for decades: what does it mean for your money? But despite rising rates, are savers losing out and what can you do about it? Plus 'stealth' taxes — are they more palatable? And gas prices fall, but does it mean lower energy costs? And finally — should you invest in a BTT? Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert help to steer you through the money maze.
The tense situation between tenants and landlords is escalating: the former have seen rents spiral but the latter have faced a big jump in costs jump too. Meanwhile regulation has become a bugbear between the two sides, is there not enough of it or too much? What can be done to improve things in the rental market and have we come down too hard on buy-to-let? That’s the question asked on this week’s episode, as Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert debate the problems in the rental market. But before that, it’s time for Rishi Sunak. He was once the Chancellor tasked with calming our nerves during the pandemic, but now Rishi is the Prime Minister expected to settle things down after a bout of financial chaos. Will he be able to pull that off, soothe jittery markets, navigate Britain through a painful cost of living crisis winter, and somehow please the nation while taking money off people instead of dishing it out? The team look at what Prime Minister Rishi could mean compared to Chancellor Rishi – and what the implications for our finances could be. Also on the agenda, there was good news for savers from NS&I this week, as rates were raised across the board, but they can get better deals elsewhere, so what should they do? Plus, what can you do to track down old pension pots and why is John Lewis annoying its loyal credit card customers?
With the Chancellor gone, the Prime Minister going and the financial plan torn up - what does it all mean for your money? It looks like the triple lock on pensions is here to stay, but are we approaching a house price crash? And how much energy usage should you budget for? Georgie Frost, Simon Lambert and Helen Crane discuss.
When gilts hit the headlines it’s a clear sign that trouble has not only been brewing but has been unleashed. Government bond yields only tend to break through into the mainstream when things aren’t going well and they have been firmly in the spotlight since Kwasi Kwarteng’s ill-fated mini-budget. But what is a gilt, why does its yield matter, what’s that got to do with prices and why do we worry about such things? Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert, take a step back from the maelstrom to explain gilts, why investors worry about government bonds, what’s causing ructions in the pensions industry and what this all means for normal people. Chancellor Kwarteng has now departed – in fact, news of his imminent exit from the job while the team were recording the podcast, triggering a breaking news style interruption – but will Chancellor Jeremy Hunt fare any better (and last longer)? The team discuss why the mortgage market is key to the answer to that and also look at what first-time buyers should do in this scenario. There are some for whom the current rapid rate rises aren’t bad news though and that is savers. We now have a top savings rate above 5% for the first time in many years, but is it worth taking? It requires locking in for five years, but that’s the sort of return knocking on what could reasonably be expected from the stock market, where you also have to take the risk of losing money. And finally, investors are hunkering down at the moment, but when share prices fall the stock market is on sale – and if you look at some investment trusts there is a double sale going on, as discounts have widened to 13% on average. Should you be greedy when others are fearful, as Warren Buffett is often quoted as saying, or exercise some caution rather than having your head turned by knockdown prices?
Rocketing rates have sent the average two and five-year fixed rate mortgage through the 6% barrier. This is a level that would have been considered unthinkable a year ago, when there were fifty mortgage deals on the market at below 1%. The Bank of England belatedly playing catching up with inflation has sent base rate from 0.1% last December to 2.25% now - and with inflation far from tamed and the US Federal Reserve going in all guns blazing on monetary policy, rates are likely to keep going up from here. But the catalyst for the past month's big jump in mortgage rates has been the turmoil triggered by the Chancellor's ill-received mini-Budget and the flurry of borrowing Britain will have to do to fund it. So, what happens next to mortgage rates, what should people who need to fix now do, and will this send house prices sinking? Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert dive into the mortgage market to look at what is happening and why - and what borrowers can do about it. Are expensive fixes now worth taking, what should you do if you are buying a home and is a variable rate mortgage really now the answer? They answer these questions and more. Plus, while rate rises are bad for mortgage borrowers they are proving good news for savers, who have been starved of decent deals for many years. The top fixed rate savings are knocking on the door of 5%, but how high will savings rates go and should you fix and risk losing out on better ones in future? The ill-fated mini-Budget also brought about the abolition of the 45p tax rate, except that's now been abolished itself as Kwasi Kwarteng staged a screeching U-turn this week. Nonetheless, Simon has some middle-class tax cutting ideas that he reckons make more sense and could be popular. And finally, a reader wrote to This is Money telling us they had some letters written to them in the 1960s by a rock star who then died young and they could be worth £20,000... but will they have to pay tax if they sell? More to the point, who could the mystery rock star be?
It has been an incredibly turbulent week for the UK economy as the Bank of England stepped in to protect pension funds, the pound hit a record low against the dollar before rebounding and lenders pulled mortgage deals to re-price them at far higher rates. Georgie Frost, Simon Lambert and Lee Boyce tackle what has been a truly remarkable one in the world of personal finance with a message of: don't panic. So, is the UK economy in crisis… again? How much is the Chancellor's 'mini' Budget to blame? And what can the Government do now? Simon gives an economics 101 on why the pound fell and why the Bank of England stepped in, seemingly with a u-turn on plans for quantitative tightening. What is happening to mortgages? With lenders pulling deals and replacing them with higher rates, how will that impact first-time buyers, those looking to remortgage and the property market in general? Will base rate continue to head higher and what does that mean? And a chink of light for savers: this week, NS&I boosted Premium Bonds, while savings rates continue to race higher.
Britain's new Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng delivered a blistering mini-Budget this week that was anything that small. A wave of tax cuts were unleashed. Some had been heavily trailed, such as spiking the National Insurance hike and a stamp duty reduction, but there were also two rabbits out of the hat: a cut in basic rate income tax to 19p from April and abolishing the 45p income tax rate. Those tax cuts joined a wave of spending commitments, most notably the huge energy price guarantee bailout for Britain's households and businesses. Paul Johnson, of the IFS, said: 'Mr Kwarteng is not just gambling on a new strategy, he is betting the house'. Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert discuss what the going for growth mini-Budget means for people, how much they may save in tax, and whether it will work or cause the UK economy even more problems down the line. One thing was clear in the aftermath: markets didn't like the break from the orthodoxy that they saw, and the pound tumbled below $1.10 while UK gilt yields jumped. But how much does that have to do with the mini-Budget and how much does it have to do with the Bank of England's rate decision that delivered a bumper rise of 0.5%, which was still considered small next to the US Federal Reserve's 0.75% bazooka? And finally, we've heard lots of 'glass half-empty' verdicts on our current economic situation but what is the 'glass half-full' one? Simon has a crack.
The Bank of England is tipped to raise interest rates by at least 0.5 per cent this week, but the pound fell to a 37-year low last week - reaching $1.351, a level not seen since 1985. That comes against a backdrop of inflation edging down slightly to 9.9% - taking Britain out of the double-digit inflation club - with a colossal rescue plan to save households and businesses from spiralling energy prices about to kick in. The details on that energy price guarantee rushed out by new Prime Minister Liz Truss - and how it's potential £150billion cost will be paid for - are still sparse, but are expected to be sketched out in more detail this week. Meanwhile, on Friday a mini-Budget is due to arrive with a rumoured round of tax cuts as Truss and her new Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng go all out for growth. Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert look at the pound, energy bills, inflation and interest rates, how all these issues connect and what could happen next. Also on the agenda are rising savings rates and whether savers should fix or stick with short-term easy access deals, and a question over a life-changing £500,000 early inheritance and where the balance lies between saving, paying off the mortgage or investing. And finally, overshadowing all the financial events of a whirlwind fortnight, Queen Elizabeth II died ending her 70 year reign, and ushering in a period of national mourning that came to a close under the eyes of the entire world with her funeral. But what will happen now to Britain's money and when will we start to see King Charles III on our cash?
This is Money's pensions guru Steve Webb racked up his 300th column answering readers' questions this week. Over the past six years, Steve, with the help of pension and investing editor Tanya Jefferies, has been guiding readers through the retirement maze - with his column regularly among the most popular stories of the week. To celebrate his 300th column, Steve joins Tanya, Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert for a special podcast episode to answer your questions. It's a dive into much of what you need to know about pensions, ranging from saving for retirement, to investing in your pension years and, of course, the state pension and triple lock. Among the questions on the agenda are:
Is it better to put money into my pension or pay my house off quicker?
Why do people retiring under the new post-2016 system get higher payments than me?
My 41-year-old son has started a new job on a four year contract but there is no pension scheme, is that legal?
My pension was valued at £94,000 last year now its worth £74,000 - and I was about to take my 25% lump sum , what can I do?
I paid £692 into my work pension last month and within ten days my fund had lost over £800, am I throwing good money after bad?
Steve and the This is Money team answer all these questions and more and discuss the issues involved.
Belts are already being tightened but as bills head even higher more people will look to save where they can. But are there some things that you should avoid doing or cutting back on at all costs? Campaigns to get people not to pay their bills have obvious flaws, but what about only paying for the energy you use, diverting your pension saving elsewhere or cutting back on ditching saving or investing. Some are at breaking point and will have little choice but to do some of these things, but what about those who are still heading off on holidays, going ou for dinner and drinks, or getting takeways in - should they hammer down on discretionary spending before stopping saving? In his This Is Money column last week, Simon Lambert came up with his five false economies to avoid, but was he right to pick them? Simon, Georgie Frost and Lee Boyce discuss them in this episode. Also, are buy-to-let landlords all bad or a crucial part of the property market, will an electric car still save you money after the energy price cap hike, and how high will savings rates go — as the best buys come in thick and fast.
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