2016: the money year in review

New Year is loading nowHere we take a look back at 2016 and some of the more significant things that may have affected our finances.

January  We focused on our Millennial Me report, which found that 45% of Millennials manage to save at least a quarter of their disposable income each month, compared to just a third (34%) of 35-54 year olds.

February  With a busy year of voting ahead, we focused on National Voter Registration Drive (1-7 Feb), which not only encourages young people to register to vote to increase their voice, but also to help boost their credit profile – as lenders use the information on your credit report to help confirm your identity which could help you when you apply for credit.

March  March saw George Osborne’s final Budget  as chancellor (though he didn’t know it at the time) , and the main points we focused on included changes to the personal allowance, spending cuts, changes to savings and infrastructure projects.

April The National Living Wage came into effect on 1 April, a £7.20 an hour rate for workers aged 25 or over, allowing more than a million low-paid workers a pay rise. Those workers yet to reach 25 remain on the national minimum wage of £6.70 an hour for age 21 and over (£5.30 for those aged 18-20).

May We looked at the government’s Lifetime ISA, introduced in the Budget for the under-40s, in which for every £4 they save up to the age of 50, the Government will give them £1. The ISA limit has also been increased from £15,000 to £20,000.

June  You may be aware that on 23 June the referendum on the UK’s membership of European Union  resulted in a narrow victory for the ‘Leave’ side.  We talked about what leaving the EU may mean, while both sides continued to argue their case in the months that followed. In the immediate aftermath of the vote the pound plummeted to historic lows but it has stabilised since then.

July  With the pound taking a bit of a hit in the immediate weeks after the Brexit vote, we looked at the pros and cons of Staycation v Vacation – from hotels to weather, from travel costs to food & drink. 

August  After seven years of remaining stuck on 0.5%, on 6 August the Bank Of England lowered interest rates to 0.25%. We went on to the streets to ask how this might affect us.   While interest rates went down, rail fares went up, as news emerged that from January 2017 regulated rail fares in England and Wales would rise by 1.9%.

September  From 1 September, all new cars for the next six months now have the new 66 number plateBritons bought more new cars than ever before in 2015 – over 2.5 million, and many predict that 2016 could end up seeing an even higher total as motorists try to avoid car tax reforms set for next April.

October  The iPhone 7 flew in and out of shops  – and one of the newest apps you can use with it is the Experian CreditExpert app.  If you’re an active CreditExpert member, you can get quick access to key important information from your Experian Credit Report, see your Experian Credit Score and get alerts to certain changes to your report.

November  A big month started with the shock win for Donald Trump in the US Presidential Election on 8 November, followed by the new Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 23 November in which we highlighted positions on housing, taxes and infrastructure. Finally the month ended with the annual online shopping bonanza of Black Friday, which began earlier than ever with some big names starting their discounts a week early.

December  In December we named Leicester as the UK’s Christmas capital, the city where residents enjoy festive fun, spend more and budget better than anywhere else in the UK.  Also, figures released in December show that around one in five first-time buyer purchases are now supported by the Help to Buy scheme. Launched on 1 December 2015, it’s a first time buyer scheme in which the government will make a contribution towards the deposit on a house purchase.

And finally….

In 2016, for the first time, the Experian Credit Score is now FREE forever, with Experian CreditMatcher.

Experian CreditMatcher is a free independent service that helps you compare credit deals, based on your credit information. Now Experian can help you find credit cards and personal loans you’re more likely to be accepted for, and it won’t negatively impact your credit rating.  We are a credit broker not a lender, working with selected lenders.  

†Experian acts as a credit broker and not a lender in the provision of its credit cards and personal, car finance and guarantor loans matching services, meaning it will show you products offered by lenders and other brokers.

Experian acts independently and although CreditMatcher shows products for a range of lenders and other brokers it does not cover the whole of the market, meaning other products may be available to you. CreditMatcher services are provided free however we will receive commission payments from lenders or brokers we introduce you to.

CreditMatcher is provided by Experian Ltd (Registered number 653331). Experian Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (firm reference number 009743). Experian Ltd is registered in England and Wales with registered office at The Sir John Peace Building, Experian Way, NG2 Business Park, Nottingham, NG80 1ZZ.

Copyright © 2017, Experian Ltd. All rights reserved

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