For many of us, gone are the days when we’d choose a bank account, an energy deal or a mortgage and sit back and stay with it come what may.
There’s arguably never been as much choice out there as there is now, and no shortage of account providers and suppliers looking to attract new customers.
And it’s not just switching companies – with energy providers and mobile phone contracts, your own provider may have introduced new deals that are far better for you than the one you’re on at the moment.
And with highly competitive markets like mobile phone, energy, broadband or insurance, once an introductory deal is over many people allow their contracts to roll on to higher rates without even realising it – so they end up paying more each month for the same thing.
The Bank Of Mum and Dad is often thought of as a bottomless pit of financial assistance for children needing a leg up after they’ve ‘flown the coop’ – but a third (33%) of parents have been under financial pressure as a result of bailing their children out financially.
Over half the parents Experian surveyed last month said their children (aged 18+) have ‘used’ the Bank of Mum & Dad an average of four times – and to the value of £6,000 – since becoming financially independent.
The slippery road to financial independence
Our research found that 41% of parents were called upon as their child had no savings to cover for an unforeseen expense, with almost a quarter (24%) admitting that their child is simply bad at managing money and ran out of money. 15% of children had to ask for help as they had got themselves into a debt they couldn’t afford to repay. Continue reading →
But for those of us who’ve been watching Eurovision since childhood and the days of Abba, Bucks Fizz and Terry Wogan, like most things in life it’s gone through a whole lot of generational changes in the past 30 years.
1. The number of participants – By 1987 the number of countries taking part had reached 22, which was unofficially set as the limit. However, the fall of the Berlin Wall two years later, and the subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, quickly led to a massive rise in entrants peaking in 2018 with 43 countries. And that’s before Australia were invited to take part last year!
Being a wedding guest should be great fun, but for some of us the ‘wedding season’ can be a source of financial pressure and domestic strife.
In this week’s news, one wedding guest said on the Mumsnet forum she was left ‘utterly gobsmacked’ after being asked to ‘adjust’ the £100 cheque she’d sent, the bride and groom emailing her with the suggestion her gift wasn’t generous enough. The post has so far got over 1,000 replies, the vast majority in support.
An Experian survey* in August 2015 suggested that the rising cost of weddings can rock the boat for many couples, and not just for the bride and groom.
Many homeowners may find that once that their deal comes to an end, their interest rate and mortgage payments may well go up. This could be a good time to check out whether you can re-mortgage and get a lower rate elsewhere.
In this case you are generally going to be taking out a mortgage which is the same size as the one you already had. Your monthly payments may be higher or lower than you currently pay, depending on the mortgage you go for. Alternatively, you may just want the stability of a fixed rate, if you’ve been on a variable rate that you think may fluctuate.
It can take a few months to process a mortgage application, so it’s best not to wait until your current deal ends before you start looking around. Watch our new #AskExperian video to find out what some of the options are.
These tend to be couples and singles aged 65-plus, who have chosen to move to green and pleasant market towns for their retirement . Places with a thriving community of all ages, small enough to have a ‘villagey’ feel but large enough to have all the regular amenities and social needs that they would be used to.
“Old age and retirement used to be a more homogenous group,” explained Richard Jenkings from Experian.
“In the past people would go on holiday to the seaside and then a lucky few would then retire to those same resorts. Today we still see this happening, but a rising trend is for better-off retirees to move not to the traditional sea-side resorts, but instead to pleasant, often historic, cathedral cities and quality market towns. Continue reading →
At a time when younger people are finding it harder than ever to buy their first home, it’s not exactly a surprise to find out that many of them are relying on family support to make buying a property a reality.
Experian research has found that over a quarter (27%) of Britons aged 55+ have provided support to their children or others to help them buy their own property – regardless of how financially comfortable they are, and a significant proportion (15%) of those people say they are ‘not at all’ financially comfortable.
It’s a far cry from how things once were. 60% of 55s and over who have ever owned their own home paid £20,000 (that figure, in 1986, would be around £54,000 in today’s money) or less for their first home, compared to recent figures showing the UK average cost of smaller homes today as £182,926.
When my bank asks me security questions I always fail, even though I know what they say about me is incorrect. When I dispute this they advise me the information comes from my credit report. The information on my credit report is clearly incorrect. How can I get access to it and correct any errors?
Sorry to hear you’re having problems confirming your identity with your bank. It’s important for banks and lenders to take steps to verify your details when you get in touch to help keep your money and details safe.
When you first open an account it is quite common for companies to carry out quite rigorous checks which can include asking questions based on the contents of your credit report held by one of the three credit reference agencies. Now if, as you suggest, questions and answers based on your credit report suggest there may be some incorrect information held about you it would be a good idea to order a copy of your report from the agency in question and check it through very carefully. If you do this and spot any discrepancies you can ask the agency to help you put this right.
It’s important for the information on your credit report to be accurate and up to date. The easiest way to check your report is online, where you’ll find more information about your options including obtaining a copy of your £2 statutory credit report. Read more about correcting any mistakes on your credit report in this previous Ask James question.
Once you’ve opened an account with a bank or lender, for example, you usually set up some personal security details, such as a username, password, memorable word and PIN. If you’ve done this and are having problems accessing the account its best you contact the bank’s customer support team for advice as I’m sure they’ll be able to help.
Get tips on keeping your money and details secure when your online from the identity protection area of our website (April 2016)
To see the latest questions answered by James, visit our Ask James Q and Asection on the blog.
The mortgage affordability rules introduced in April 2014 take into account not only how much you are earning, but how much you are spending, and whether you actually have the money to make your monthly mortgage repayment. It could even lead to longer-term mortgages, potentially taking people past 65.
The consequence for many people though is that credit refusal can often lead to more attempts to get credit – and making multiple applications in a short space of time could have a serious impact on your chances of getting credit in the future.
There are a number of reasons you might be turned down – and finding out what they are could get you back on track.