As the school holidays come to a close, parents up and down the country are making sure they’ve bought enough stationery, school uniforms and so on ahead of another year of education for their children.
But as well as the essentials, there’s often a hidden cost. New research* (from Sainsbury’s Bank) has found that almost half (48%) of parents feel they need to spend money on items for their children based on peer pressure, such as the latest smartphones, the trendiest clothes or the biggest parties.
This can add £865 to the average annual family household outgoings – making nearly £6 billion in total across the UK.
What are the main ‘peer pressure’ costs? Not surprisingly, the desire to have the latest technology like phones or tablets tops the list (44%), with fashionable clothing (43%) and school trips/excursions (42%) next up.
A new world of university life is shortly set to open up for thousands of teenagers.
Most new students realise they’ll leave university with a loan they’ll spend years having to pay back once they’ve made it into the world of work.
But new research shows that new graduates will face average debt levels over a third of the average outstanding mortgage.
By the time they start paying back their loans – maintenance and tuition fees – their debts will be well in excess of £41,000, according to The Money Charity, which is 35% of the average outstanding mortgage (£117,162).
Post in other people’s names It’s great to come home and find letters waiting for you on your doorstep but when the letters turn out to be for a previous resident or even someone that has never lived at your address it can be frustrating. If it’s a demand for payment it can also be understandably worrying.
The good news is that as long as you have no financial connection to the individual (such as joint account) then their information will not affect your credit report in anyway.
This is because all credit checks are done by name, and not address, so lenders won’t see or use information relating to the other person when checking your report.
The best thing to do is to return the letter unopened to the sender clearly marked as “not at this address”. The lender should then look for their customer elsewhere.
Sadly we can’t prevent a person from using an address to apply for credit, or stop lenders from contacting their customers at an address, but by regularly returning the post the lender will stop trying to contact them. Continue reading →
Yesterday, one month later than most experts had predicted, the Bank of England announced a historic change in interest rates, the first change since 2009 – and rather than the upward rise that had been widely predicted for the past few years, it fell from 0.5% to 0.25%.
So what does this mean in practical terms?
Mortgages – For those on a tracker mortgage, as long as your lender passes on the cut to its own base mortgage rate (or if it is linked directly to the BoE base rate), your rate (and monthly payment) should go down. In all, there are about 1.5 million trackers in the UK.
However, some banks and building societies have a ‘tracker floor’, which means there is a limit to how low the percentage can go above the Bank of England base rate. In this case, your rate (and mortgage payment) would be unlikely to change. If you have a fixed rate mortgage, you wouldn’t be affected if the rates went down during your fixed period, but when the time comes to re-mortgage – or if you’re a new homebuyer – , the options open to you could potentially be more favourable, with some experts suggesting long-term fixes even going below 2%.
For pension savers who are using an annuity, a rate cut could make annuity rates fall by putting pressure on the long-term. This could have a potential negative effect on employee pension schemes too.
Needing currency for holidays – While interest rate cuts can oftenmean a weakening of the pound, it may well be the case that the currency markets will have been factoring in a cut for some time already – hence there may be little change if it does eventually happen. Interest rate cuts can be done sometimes to provide an economic stimulus – to encourage people to spend rather than to save – so perhaps this could help improve consumer confidence and boost the pound.
Many homeowners, particularly those who’ve joined the market in the past seven years, will have never been faced with an interest rate rise, and tighter borrowing conditions in the future could make it harder to cope with a rise.
How your credit score could help – Having a higher credit score could mean you get better deals or lower interest rates on credit, loans and mortgages. The Experian Credit Score is a guide to help you understand your Experian Credit Report, and how the way you’ve managed the credit you’ve had in the past might affect applications you’re making now.
It can also help you to monitor your progress as you get your finances in order before you apply. Getting your credit score up could open up the potential chance to get better rates.
(original post 14 July 2016, updated 5 August 2016)
The day you get married is as special a day as they come, but wedding costs can often be higher than you think.
Here we take a look at how much weddings can cost, from dating and engagement all the way through to the big day itself – for the bride, the groom, the family, and even the guests,
Estimates vary as to the average cost of a wedding in the UK. Some experts say £17,000, some say £20,500, some, after itemising various parts, say as much as £30,111.
What we found Experian research in 2014* found that the average couple (meaning those either planning to get married, are married or that have been married) say the budget came in at just under £4,000 (£3,998).
However, once they were asked to itemise separate costs, such as the dress, the venue, the rings and the honeymoon, the total average cost leapt up to £6,627 – suggesting that perhaps many of us underestimate how much a wedding will cost. Continue reading →
You might think that a deep knowledge of all things techie might help protect people against identity theft, but according to new research from Experian* tech-savvy consumers are much more likely to be victims of ID fraud compared to other, less technologically-literate users.
The study found that the most digitally-savvy group – the most prolific users of mobile and social technology – made up almost a quarter (23 per cent) of all ID fraud victims in 2015. This group also saw the biggest increase in ID theft over the past year, rising by 16.7 per cent over the previous 12 months.