Nearly one in five of us to ‘survive beyond 100’

Nearly one in five people currently in the UK will live to see their 100th birthday according to the government.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said its figures suggested 10 million people – that’s 17% of the population – would become centenarians.

This will put substantial pressure on both the NHS and the pensions system.

Read the full article at bbc.co.uk

VAT rise to add £158 a year to essential household bills

The magic of Christmas came to an abrupt end for consumers on the 4th of January as VAT increased from 17.5% to 20%.

The hike will add an estimated £158 a year to essential household bills according to new research from uSwitch.com

Petrol, food and phone bills will be hardest hit.  The increases to essential household bills are a further blow to households following a recent report estimating that retail purchases for the average consumer are likely to rise by up to £500 next year as a direct result of the VAT increases.

Charity at the cash machine

The government has said that people could give to charity every time they use bank cards in shops or at cash machines.

This is just one proposal of many in a government paper calling for charitable giving to become a ‘social norm’.

According to the BBC, a working group will be set up to look at how the new proposals could be implemented.

Read the full article here.

How to fulfil your New Year’s resolution and save more

On the 1st of January, most of us would have made the New Year’s resolution to stop wasting money, sort out our finances and start saving.  So we’ve pulled together a few tips to help you fulfil your resolution…

  1. Budget – make a list of your incomings and outgoings and draw up a budget to ensure your income covers all your expenditure (including putting some money away for a rainy day).
  2. Find extra income – from selling unwanted Christmas presents to working overtime or finding a second job, try to bring in a little extra money each month to reduce any debts you have.
  3. Cut down on luxuries – small things like taking your own lunch to work rather than visiting the sandwich shop every day or walking to work rather than paying for public transport can make a big difference to your bank balance at the end of the month.
  4. Get organised – set up direct debits for all your bills to ensure you don’t miss any payment dates and register for online banking so you can see your day to day spending.
  5. Be savvy in the sales – most Christmas decorations, cards and wrapping are heavily reduced in the January sales so stock up and put them away for Christmas 2011.

If you are struggling with debts, contact us today.  We may be able to help you.

Credit card borrowers to be offered more leniency

A new set of rules soon to be introduced will give credit card users a better chance of avoiding a sudden interest rate increase.  The more lenient regime, which starts this month, will allow customers to pay off their credit card debts faster.

The new rules are being brought in voluntarily, after a government demand for fairer treatment of customers, according to the report on bbc.co.uk

The major change is that repayments will be used to pay off the most expensive debt first.  In the past, many providers have used money sent in to pay off the cheapest debt, allowing them to carry on collecting interest at the highest rates.

To find out more about the new set of rules which could affect you, read the full article here.

Most Brits are marathon runners when it comes to money

A survey by Scottish Widows has looked at the different ways people deal with their money and has identified six different types of financial athletes:

  • Sprinters – save up quickly but spend it all just as fast
  • Marathon runners – in it for the longer term, diligent and thrifty
  • Javelin throwers – only save when there’s a windfall but will also spend lots of money all at once
  • Hurdlers – lurch from one financial crisis to the next
  • High jumpers – don’t save at all and happy to run risks
  • Long jumpers – only save for specific things (e.g. a holiday or a car)

Nearly a third of people surveyed described themselves as being ‘diligent’ or ‘thrifty’ with their money and are ‘in it for the longer term’.

Only 4% don’t save anything at all and are prepared to take risks (high jumpers) and a mere 6% only save when they receive a windfall (javelin throwers).

Pay freeze or cut for many in 2011

According to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), more than half of UK companies plan to freeze or cut their employees’ pay in 2011.

The article, which featured on bbc.co.uk, goes on to report that while 45% of firms surveyed said they would give their staff a pay rise, 49% said they would freeze salaries and 6% said they would be reducing wages.

Read the full article here.