General

Home improvements to add value to your home


Evidence suggests that many more of us are putting down roots and choosing to stay in our current homes for longer. The average time a homeowner in the UK stays in their property is 21 years. This contrasts with the 1980’s, when a fast-rising property market encouraged a move every eight years on average. However, […]

20 Reasons to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Through Remote Working


When you set your goals for 2020, I’d be willing to bet you didn’t imagine the events of the last few months. For many people who have lost loved ones, or have been ill, or have had their jobs or businesses badly affected by Covid-19, it’s been a devastating time. We offer you our sincere […]

20 Reasons Why You Should Be Using a Financial Adviser


In 2020 we’ll have been in business for 20 years! To celebrate, each month we’re sharing 20 top tips about topics that are closest to our heart. Our aim is always to provide you with the best possible information so you can make informed financial decisions. This month we’re talking about how we can help […]

Spring Budget 2020


Newly appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, delivered his first Budget on 11 March, against a backdrop of uncertainty following the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent financial losses. It was the first of two Budgets to be delivered in 2020, with the second to follow in the autumn. COVID-19 and the NHSThe Chancellor wasted no […]

You’re not average


What does average look like? Information released by the Office for National Statistics shows the average British man, Mr Average, is 38, will live to 85 and earns £31,103. The average British woman, Ms Average, is 40, will live to 88 and earns £25,308. The LV= risk reality calculator gives you a rough idea of […]

What does Brexit mean for you?


Whichever side of the Brexit debate you have been on, Friday 31 January 2020 undoubtedly marks a momentous point in the country’s history. For at the stroke of 11pm, the UK will cease to be a member of the EU: the divorce will finally have been sealed. It’s clearly been a long and rocky road […]

What music do you want played at your funeral?


What music do you want played at your funeral? A quick look at the current top 10 funeral songs turns up some predictable results. ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra is favourite, followed by ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ in second place. Another more ironic choice is ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ from Monty […]

Where is the happiest place to live?


A new survey has revealed the South West is the happiest place to live in the UK, with Wales coming in as the least happy. The survey by Lloyds Bank and YouGov looked at factors such as: home ownership, salary, household size, knowing your neighbours, loneliness, crime rates, local services and unemployment to create a […]

The electorate has spoken – Conservatives win a majority


The Results Are In Following six weeks of intense campaigning, the result is in. The electorate has delivered its verdict. In Britain’s first December general election in nearly 100 years, the Conservative Party has won a very comfortable majority, soaring past the magic 326 seat mark in the early hours of Friday morning. With the […]

Cost of Raising a Child


We all know raising a child can be expensive. Research has shown, the cost of raising a child to age 18 in the UK varies dependant on whether it’s a girl or boy, with boys coming in at £79,176 and girls a staggering £108,884. As a parent you are committed to doing all you can […]

Home improvement


Whether you’re renovating your home because it’s too expensive to move, or you’ve only just bought the place and you’re keen to make your mark, it’s important to stick to jobs that will add value rather than risk reducing its future sale price. Before you embark on improving your home, follow our tips to help […]

What is Private Medical Insurance?


If you’re a resident of the UK, chances are you’re covered for free healthcare from the government. However, you will find yourself limited to NHS facilities, which can include long wait times, work against your schedule, and not cover certain specialists. Private medical insurance not only covers you for procedures and benefits you may not […]

Spring Statement


March has traditionally been the month for Budgets, but no longer. In Autumn 2016 the then-new Chancellor, Philip Hammond made clear he thought the propensity of previous Chancellors to turn their Autumn Statements into second Budgets was not a good idea and that he wanted to make only one set of tax announcements each year […]

7 Questions You Should Ask a Financial Adviser Every Year


When was the last time you did a personal financial review? If it was more than a year ago, you should get in touch with a financial adviser today. Here are seven questions you should ask a financial adviser every year to ensure you achieve your financial goals. How will recent changes in my personal […]

Why Crowdfund The Cost of Your Healthcare?


Crowdfunding is becoming increasingly common among people who need healthcare that’s not freely available through the NHS. Protection Websites such as justgiving.com, crowdfunder.co.uk and gofundme.com are full of campaigns from families trying to raise funds for treatments, or seeking help to avoid the financial hardships that a serious illness such as cancer or stroke can […]

The matter of trusts


Taking out a life insurance policy gives you valuable peace of mind: you know you’ve protected your family against financial hardship, should the worst happen. But how can you make sure your policy will pay out quickly, to those who’ll need it most, if you died unexpectedly? The answer might be to write your policy […]

Lasting Power of Attorney


A will deals with matters in the event of your death, but what if you became unable to handle your affairs while still alive? As you get older, a physical or mental illness could affect your ability to manage personal affairs. If the prospect of this worries you, you should consider setting up a Lasting […]

Don’t Pay For Your DIY Disasters


Are you covered if your DIY goes awry? With a free supply of hints, tips and video guides available at the click of a button, you might feel confident about saving a bit of money and tackling tasks that you would otherwise leave to an expert. Before you get started though, it’s worth bearing in […]

Simple ways to cut your spending


Most of us would like to reduce our outgoings and put a bit more money away each month, so here are our tips to help cut out unnecessary spending. Write a budget Creating a monthly budget plan can seem like a hassle at first, but it is the most effective tool to track your spending. […]

The New £1m Inheritance Tax Allowance


In the wake of the 2015 General Election, the Conservative Party confirmed it would deliver on its Manifesto promise that parents could pass their property up to the value of £1m to their children free of Inheritance Tax, thanks to a new ‘family home allowance’. The allowance is called the Resident’s Nil Rate Band (RNRB) […]

Just About Managing


Two thirds of working households in the UK consider themselves to be ‘just about managing’ financially, according to research. The Resolution Foundation, which researches the living standards of those on low to middle incomes, has identified six million Jams (as they have become known) spread across Britain. Jams tend to have at least one person […]

Inflation: this time it’s personal


Much is made about the impact of inflation on the ‘real’ value of your income and investments. That is, the impact inflation has on your ability to continue affording your lifestyle. The magic number The Bank of England Monetary Policy Framework has an inflation target of 2%. The remit is not to achieve the lowest possible […]

Managing your money as a freelancer or contractor


Research carried out by the Small Business Research Centre at Kingston University revealed there are an estimated 1.9 million freelancers in the UK, representing 36% growth over the past eight years. Almost two thirds of all freelancers work in four main industry groups: Education, health and social work (21%) Professional, scientific and technical (20%) Arts, […]

US ELECTION BULLETIN


This has become a very divisive election. It appears neither candidate is well liked and it sometimes feels this will be a vote for the lesser of two evils. However, it is a binary result: one of them has to win. According to the major polls, Hillary Clinton has a narrow lead over Donald Trump. […]

Lasting Power of Attorney


A will deals with matters in the event of your death, but what if you became unable to handle your affairs while still alive? If you’re worried that, as you get older, a physical or mental illness could affect your ability to manage your personal affairs, you should consider setting up a Lasting Power of […]

The value of financial advice


Everyone is unique. We all think – and work – differently. Some people are good with words, and others, numbers. The same might be true when it comes to planning and managing our finances. But however different our approaches might be, we probably all have similar goals for our money. Whichever way you come at […]

Dividends Allowance


Dividends Allowance As of April 2016 the Dividend Tax Credit has been replaced by a new tax-free Dividend Allowance. This means you won’t have to pay tax on the first £5,000 of your dividend income, no matter what non-dividend income you have.  Any dividends you receive over £5,000 will be taxed at the following rates: […]

Financial top tips for service personnel


Service personnel and their families can find it difficult to access commercial products and services because of the time spent outside of the UK. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has been working with the financial sector to improve the ability of armed forces personnel to access financial products. Credit ratings Credit reference agencies hold factual […]

The Budget 2016: Headlines


Mr Osborne’s third Budget in the space of a year included a number of re-announcements from his Autumn Statement, but there were a few surprises. Lifetime ISAs From April 2017, adults under 40 will qualify for a new Lifetime ISA. The maximum annual contribution will be £4,000 to which the government will add a 25% […]

Cost Of Dying Rises By Nearly 4%


The average cost of a funeral in the UK has risen by £140 in the last year to £3,702. It’s hardly the most cheery subject, but updated figures suggest that funeral costs are on the rise, increasing faster than the rate of inflation over the past year. But it’s clear that while £3,702 might seem […]

Should We Be Ditching Cash?


Apple Pay has now arrived in the UK. Paypal has now outgrown eBay. Visa Europe is said to be in talks to be bought back by its larger sibling Visa Inc. In short, digital payment systems are big business in every sense of the phrase. Notwithstanding this, cash is still very much a part of […]

What Next For Inflation?


The UK has now experienced deflation for the first time since records began in 1996. The Office for National Statistics believes that the last time the UK experienced deflation was in the 1960s. This was so long ago that you may well be asking yourself “What exactly is deflation and what does deflation mean for […]

Does It Make Sense For Britain To Quit The EU?


However it is eventually phrased on the ballot paper, the underlying question is essentially the same. “Should Britain stay in the EU?” Sometime between now and the end of 2017, the great British public will be required to answer it. So, is the grass really greener on the other side of the EU fence? What […]

10 Things To Do To Get Your Finances Ship Shape


As spring moves into summer, people can start to think about their physical shape and how good they look in their holiday clothes. How about also taking a few minutes to look at your financial shape? Making sure you’ve ticked off all the boxes in this 10-step check-list will help keep them looking good too. […]

Ten Financial Tips For New Graduates


With university fees of up to £9,000 a year and predictions that students might be paying back their loans in their 50’s, financial planning after graduation has never been more important. This blog article will explore the top ten most important financial considerations for new graduates and the spending, saving a borrowing pitfalls to avoid. […]

Want To Pay Less Tax? Ideas To Help Reduce The Amount You Pay


Paying tax is an onerous duty and one we all wish we didn’t have to do. Judging by recent newspaper headlines, it seems that if you are rich and famous tax avoidance is almost compulsory. Whilst actual tax evasion is illegal (ie stashing it under your mattress), tax avoidance is not, it is simply the […]

Will The Next Budget Be Radical?


On 8th July 2015, George Osborne will deliver the first completely Conservative budget since Kenneth Clarke in 1996. Given that George Osborne delivered his last budget on 18th March 2015, you could well we asking yourself “Why do we need another budget now?” The answer is essentially that the last budget was a combined Tory/Lib […]

Protect Your Portfolio


This effect of change in the performance of the stock exchange can often be noticed around election times in general, so you might want to consider how to protect your portfolio. Sterling and the Importance of Image Outside of the Euro zone, most individual countries have their own currency (at least officially). Therefore in order […]

How To Benefit From Low Oil Prices


As the old saying goes – what goes up must come down. Recently oil prices have been coming down quite spectacularly. This has naturally raised the question of how investors can benefit from this. To answer this question, we need to understand why oil prices have fallen. There are essentially three theories on this. Oil […]

When You Need Financial Advice


Human beings, in general, are notoriously bad at calculating risk and weighing up reward, it’s almost hard wired into us. Our survival, millennia ago, was based around our inability to think too much about the future and focus on ‘eating today’. This, while useful hunting wild animals, is less helpful when planning our financial futures […]

Preparing for Your Children Leaving Home


The late 1980s TV series “Home to Roost” saw Henry Willows (John Thaw) have his life turned upside down after his 18-year-old son Matthew came to live with him. Today practical economics has made adult children living at home a reality in many families. The current generation of young adults face a number of challenges […]

Entertain the kids this half term


Spring half term: Is it a time for all the family to come together, or a long, frequently wet week during which your kids demand to be entertained? All too often it can feel like the latter, and while teachers take a well-earned break from the classroom, your role as a parent is to find fun […]

How To Protect Your Finances During Divorce


If you are going through a divorce, money is probably the last thing you want to talk or think about. Experiencing something as difficult as the end of a marriage cannot be helped by asking questions about your financial future, can it? Unfortunately, money cannot simply be an afterthought when your are ending a marriage, […]

The Best Christmas Present for Your Children


Type “unwanted gift” into eBay and see how many results you get.  In theory it may be the thought that counts, in practice these days it’s far from unusual for recipients to turn gifts they would prefer to forget into cash via sites like eBay. Some people might find themselves the unwitting donors of such […]

Financial Conversations Every Couple Should Have


It can be hard to define the point when two people become a couple, planning to be together for the years to come.  When it does happen however it can be an appropriate time to make sure that all practicalities are addressed.  This means ensuring that you and your partner are aligned financially as well […]

Stay On Top Of Your Money In Just A Few Minutes Everyday


For people who lead busy lives, managing the family finances may be just one of many important jobs to do.  Fortunately taking care of your personal wealth can take less time than you might think.  Here’s a quick guide to what you need to do and how often. Once a year – review your goals […]

Steps For Making Better Financial Decisions Today


Watch our video on how you can make better financial decisions starting today.

How To Turn Money Into Happiness


As the Beatles pointed out in their 1964 hit “Can’t buy me love”, there are some things money can’t buy, at least not directly. Money can, however, influence happiness – if used wisely. Here are some tips on how using your personal wealth wisely can help to make you happier. Health Money can’t buy good […]

China’s Crash: How Will It Affect You?


They say that when China sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. So when China suffered the financial equivalent of a massive heart attack at the beginning of the week, the world’s financial markets duly went into full-scale panic mode. But what does this mean for your investments? Black Monday, as it was […]

When To Ask For a Pay Rise


It’s been a long, long six years since 2008, which for many of you might have been the last time you had an over inflation pay rise. For some people reading this blog, it might have been the last time you had a pay rise at all. Between 2010-2013 real wages overall fell for three […]

Simple Steps For Making Better Decisions Today


Watch our video on how you can make better financial decisions starting today.

House Prices, Pensions and the Recovery


In the past few months the clouds have parted, the gloom has lifted, and Britain is booming. Unemployment is down, investment over the past three years is up, and all is well. The recession is over and no one needs to worry about anything. The relentless upbeat forecasts and the fact that a general election […]

Financial Tips For Debt-Burdened Graduates


The late, great, Rik Mayall and his fellow Young Ones lived in a very different era from modern students.  While the trials and tribulations of house sharing may ring familiar bells, the financial landscape facing the modern student is very different to that of their 1980s counterparts, fictional or otherwise.  With universities opening their doors […]

The Ombudsman – The Consumer’s Champion


While the Financial Standards Authority might have become a familiar name, it is now no more. As of April 2013 regulation of the financial services industry was divided between the Financial Policy Committee (FPC), Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) still exists and carries on in its […]

Beating The Breadline


Marie Antoinette was probably framed.  The infamous comment “Let them eat cake” was almost certainly a corruption of a remark made by a previous French queen.  Nevertheless the lack of bread was one reason why Marie Antoinette lost her head in 1793. A hundred years later, in the depression-hit New York of the 1890s, the […]