Monthly Archives: June 2016

Ask James: credit questions answered

Every month Experian’s James Jones answers a selection of your questions about credit and fraud in his ‘ask the experts’ style column here.

Jack from Cheadle wanted to know if claiming benefits would affect his credit rating, and would be part of a future credit check.

James from Worthing wants to know why his Experian Credit Score has gone down when nothing has changed with his financial profile, while Susan from Bury St Edmunds asked Why can’t the pre-app checker identify me?, about not being found on a credit card eligibility calculator.

Finally, Diana from Exeter would like to know why she was unable to change her gas meter from pay as you go to direct debit,

You can also find more Ask James questions answered in our Ask James archive.

If you have a specific question and can’t find an answer here or you wish to contact us to query something on your credit report, please contact us – find all the ways you can contact us here.

 

How do you work from home?

Working from homeThe work environment has changed a lot over the generations.

From the cheery local shopkeeper who knew everyone, to the zero-hours contractor who lives from day to day.

From the days of rows of ‘worker bees’ in hot, sweaty factories, to, well, ‘worker bees’ in air-conditioned, open-plan offices.

(Video: See how the working world has changed over the generations)

Perhaps that’s why so many people nowadays choose to work from home, even if only for part of their week.

People work from home for all sorts of reasons. Perhaps they want more freedom and want to fit their work around their lives more, perhaps their employers feel they’ll be more productive, or maybe they are self-employed or a freelance.

Figures to mark 2016’s National Work From Home Day last month found that a record number of over 1.52m people now work from home, an increase of a quarter of a million over the past decade, with women accounting for 65% of the increase.

We asked some of our favourite bloggers to tell us their top tips for working from home, why they recommend it, and how to ensure you get the most out of it.

Sally Whittle, who runs the super Who’s The Mummy blog, told us how important it was to make sure you’ve got the right environment to work in – and not just sat at the dining table: “Invest in a good, adjustable chair (even if you use it at the kitchen table), a decent worklight, ergonomic mouse and a proper screen to plug a laptop into.

Gina Caro, whose Gypsy Soul is one of our favourite lifestyle blogs, agrees: “Have a designated work space, whether that be a small desk in the corner of a room or a complete office. It’s really important to have an area that is purely for work.”

The temptation to let your mind drift when you’re working, and conversely to feel that you’re ‘always on’ day and night – is something you may need to avoid.

Sara Williams from the incredibly useful Debt Camel blog has this advice: “If you need to get something done, stop checking your emails and social media.”

After many years, I ditched my laptop at home because the temptation to be “always on” was impossible to resist” added Sally Whittle.

“With a desktop computer on a desk in a single room, I’m a lot less likely to be distracted while I’m cooking dinner, watching TV or whatever.”

Gina Caro recommended getting into work mode as soon as possible : ”Always get up, get dressed and ready for the day as if you were going out to an office. It helps you to feel more motivated and stay in work mode.

And how about balancing flexibility with deadlines? Sally has this to say: “I generally do religiously keep evenings free between 4 and 9 when my daughter is around, and then I know I do have those ‘spare hours’ if I need once in a while to take a day out, or go to sports day.”

Sara Williams adds: What I love best is no commuting – and being able to have a dog.”

Gina also told us why she loves working from home: “It gives me the flexibility to work around my children without the need to pay out for childcare.

“I love being my own boss and setting my own targets, although you do have to be self motivated which some people can struggle with.”

So there you have it – to work from home you need to be motivated and disciplined, but it can be rewarding both in time management and family life.

Do you work from home? Share your tips and recommendations with us at @ExperianExperts and we’ll re-tweet the best ones!

 

How working life has changed: future-proofing your finances

The working landscape has changed immensely in the past 50 years, and in many ways is unrecognisable from that of a generation or two ago.

Types of jobs
There are high-frequency job titles that didn’t exist a generation ago, many of them arising from the internet and the rise of technology – web developer, digital marketer, social media manager, SEO specialist and so on – but also elsewhere, such as Zumba instructor, dietician or app builder.

While few job titles have actually bitten the dust, some common in the 60s or 70s are getting more and more harder to find – the ‘traditional’ office secretary, typesetters, milkmen, high street travel agents.

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5 tips for an ‘ace’, money-saving Wimbledon visit

wimbledon-tennis-strawberries-300A visit to Wimbledon fortnight is, for many of us, a highlight of the British sporting summer, along with the Open and the British Grand Prix.

Most of the tickets for the Show Courts, of course, have long since been sold – that is, if they were ever on sale in the first place, as so many go to sponsors and guests.

Every year since 1924 there’s been a public ballot for advance tickets, as demand for tickets way outstrips supply around four times over. Even if you get a ticket, you can’t request the date or court – you have to accept what you’re given.

Read on for our five top tips for a money-saving day at SW19!

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Stay safe from identity theft at the summer festivals

rock-festivals-300It’s Glastonbury 2016 this weekend, probably the most well-known of the many summer festivals full of revelry, music and (hopefully) sunshine.

From black-clad teenagers to an family taking a ‘different’ holiday, they all want to get away from it all and stop worrying about the daily grind.

However, if you are going to this or other summer festivals, it’s worth remembering that fraudsters like to strike while your guard might be down – so it pays to remember some tips to keep your identity safe while you rave.

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Sarah Willingham: “Baking with the Bambinos”

Today we have a guest post from Sarah Willingham, BBC Dragon,  consumer champion and mum-of-four, about how she used Jangle to help teach her kids about money.

I am at my happiest in my kitchen, especially with my kids.  We LOVE to cook, bake and eat together. I don’t know a child who doesn’t love baking… even those who just want to lick the bowl at the end. So this weekend I set my little ones a challenge using Jangle, the free non-commercial iPad I’ve partnered with Experian and pfeg (Part of Young Enterprise) to develop.

The whole idea of Jangle is to get kids to do activities to earn money whilst working or learning. It’s full of pre loaded suggestions.  I did the ‘bake off’ and got the kids to hold a cake sale for the family.

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Managing debt and future finances – live discussion

Managing debt and future-proofing your finances is a target for many of us.  We hosted a video on June 15th with consumer champion and BBC Dragon Sarah Willingham, Chief Executive of the Money Charity Michelle Highman, and Experian Experts’ own James Jones to provide expert tips on how to beat debt and prepare financially for the future.

The guests spoke about three main topics –
Managing debt – Watch them discuss how and why people get into debt, what the common mistakes are and how we can try to avoid them, and give tips to beating debt and getting back on to an even keel.

Future-proofing your finances – Experian research has shown that the over-55s are worried about their financial future. Our panel discussed how people who fall into that demographic can help ensure they’re prepared for retirement and the probable loss of income that it brings, and also talked about how younger generations can future-proof their finances.

Financial education – The panel also spoke about what parents can do to help ensure they give their children the best start when it comes to financial education.

What do the new pension freedoms mean?

retired-couple-in park-300April 2015 saw the introduction of ‘pension freedoms’, which essentially gave those aged 55 and over wider access to their pension funds.

In previous years, this meant being able to take a quarter of their ‘defined contribution’ pension (ie: one based on how much they paid into it) as a tax-free lump sum, but invariably using the rest of the money to buy an annuity designed to pay out an income each year for the rest of your life.

Video: How we manage money has changed over the generations

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What kind of financial future is in store for us?

What kind of financial future is in store for us when we’re older? With house prices higher than ever and the cost of living making putting away savings a real challenge for many, there is plenty that may make some feel the glass is half-empty rather than half-full.

Almost half (44%) the people asked in a new Experian survey of over-55s[1] say they are concerned about their financial future, with over half (56%) worrying about not having enough savings and (55%) not having disposable income.  In fact, 40% have concerns over high monthly bills.

Video: Money through the generations – the future of money

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Changes in home ownership through the generations

Getting on the property ladder is a lot different to how it used to be. If we compare the home ownership status of young people today to the older generation – the results show a stark difference.  Check out our Mortgage Application Guide for more information about the mortgage process.

changes in home ownership