Tax-free investing It's time to talk

Posted by Rebecca Harbrow on Wednesday 17th February 2021

With the first wave of Child Trust Funds maturing this year, there’s a great opportunity to talk to your children about the benefits of saving and investing.

If one of your children has recently celebrated their 18th birthday then there’s a good chance they’ll have some money in a Child Trust Fund (CTF), which they can now access for the first time. It could be worth thousands of pounds depending on how much you’ve contributed over the years.

Although this might sound like a brilliant present, the responsibility that comes with r...

Could you live on the State Pension?

Posted by Rebecca Harbrow on Wednesday 10th February 2021

Let’s be honest, on the morning of 21 October few of us were waiting with bated breath as the latest UK inflation stats were revealed. But, for millions of people, that moment was significant.

That’s because the September (Consumer Price Index) CPI inflation figure forms part of the government’s ‘triple lock’ formula used to determine the forthcoming rise in the level of State Pensions.

Triple lock
The triple-lock safeguard was introduced by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in 2010 and aims to ensure that the value of the S...

‘No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow’

Posted by Rebecca Harbrow on Wednesday 3rd February 2021

As we entered the new year with further lockdowns and history making world events, the hope of spring hangs in the air, an enticing prospect, this year, more than ever. While we’re waiting for the green shoots of spring to emerge, why not use the time effectively by getting your finances in order before the end of the tax year?

The tax year ends on 5 April 2021, which is Easter Monday this year, so don’t wait until the last minute to double-check you’ve taken advantage of all the tax-efficient allowances available to you. To avoid a last-...

Get mortgage fit for 2021

Posted by Rebecca Harbrow on Monday 25th January 2021

Estimates suggest that well over one million borrowers have lapsed onto their lender’s default standard variable rate (SVR). Has this happened to you? If so, now could be the perfect time to consider a remortgage, to get your finances in good shape for the year ahead.

Do you know your mortgage rate?
If your current tracker, fixed rate, or discount mortgage deal has ended, you are likely to be switched onto your lender’s SVR and could be paying way over the odds, perhaps without even realising. It has been found that borrowers on an SVR cou...

The Bank of...Granny and Grandad?

Posted by Rebecca Harbrow on Friday 8th January 2021

The Bank of...Granny and Grandad?

For many younger people struggling to get a foot on the property ladder, the Bank of Mum and Dad is the only option. With rent taking a huge chunk out of their income and the requirement for increasingly onerous deposits, two in five renters do not believe they will ever be in a position to buy a property, despite a desire to own a place of their own. That’s where Bank of Mum and Dad come in, as well as ever more frequently, the Bank of Granny and Grandad.

Among the UK’s largest lenders
If the Bank of...

Could you ‘nudge’ your way to a healthy retirement?

Posted by Rebecca Harbrow on Monday 21st December 2020

Nudge theory was popularized in 2008 by behavioural economist Richard Thaler and legal scholar Cass Sunstein. In simple terms it is about making it easier for people to make a certain decision that is ultimately in their own self-interest.

In the short term there are some financial nudges you can do to apply nudge theory to your own finances.

Put your decisions into context – During lockdown, local or national (or whatever COVID-19 throws at us next) do you really need to buy another plant, candle or pair of joggers. 

Set simp...

Do you know your State Pension age?

Posted by Rebecca Harbrow on Monday 14th December 2020

Did you know that the State Pension age (SPA) increased to 66 for both men and women in October 2020 and it’s set to rise further? Knowing your SPA, together with how much you can expect to receive, is an important part of your retirement plan that is often overlooked.

Why do I have to wait longer?
In 1908, when the first State Pension was introduced in the UK, you would have to wait until the grand old age of 70 before being able to claim. This was at a time when life expectancy at birth was around 40 years for men and 43 for women, and w...

Preparing emotionally for retirement

Posted by Rebecca Harbrow on Monday 14th December 2020

You’ve retired from work, you’ve waved a cheerful goodbye to your colleagues and you’re ready for the rest and relaxation you so rightly deserve. It’s exciting! For a couple of weeks. Then the doubt sets in.

What will you do with your life, you might find yourself asking? How will you fill the long daytime hours? How will you manage without the comfort of your routine? Where will you find your purpose, if not from work?

Planning – it’s not just financial
Whenever we talk about retirement, it’s all about the pension. If you have enough in ...

Cohabiting couples should make a Will

Posted by Rebecca Harbrow on Wednesday 2nd December 2020

When Tom and Pete bought their first property together, things couldn’t have been going better. They both had good jobs, were pulling in decent salaries and were excited about spending the rest of their lives together.

They chatted about making a Will a few times, but somehow life always got in the way. Until one day, 10 years later, Pete got a call that would change his life forever. Knocked down by a car while crossing the road, Tom had tragically passed away.

The intestacy trap
Grieving for the loss of his partner, Pete then found out ...

Mortgage Payment Update November 2020

Posted by Rebecca Harbrow on Tuesday 17th November 2020


On 17 November the FCA confirmed guidance for homeowners struggling financially due to coronavirus. The mortgage payment holidays scheme, first announced in March and then extended in May, has been further extended until 31 March 2021.

How does it work?

  • Those who have not yet had a payment holiday will be eligible for payment holidays of 6 months in total.
  • Those who currently have a payment holiday will be eligible to top up to 6 months in total. 
  • Those who have previously had payment deferrals of less than 6 months will be ab...