Where can you afford to live?

Rental property

Where can you afford to live?

A new report from the Resolution Foundation, published earlier in July, has found that the cost of renting is ‘unaffordable’ for low-income families in a third of the UK.

The Home Truths report identifies 125 local authorities – 33 per cent of the 376 local authorities in Britain – that were classed as unaffordable to “less affluent working families”. Here, ‘affordable rent’ is defined as not taking up more than 35 per cent of a household’s net income.

The BBC has released a BBC housing calculator, to help families and individuals figure out where in Britain they could afford to live.

Read the full story on BBC News website.

Keeping the bailiffs at bay – what you can (and can’t) do!

Bailiff badge

Bailiff badge

If you find yourself in a situation where you owe the council unpaid council tax, and a subsequent liability order is raised, you could get an unpleasant house call by a bailiff.

Needless to say, this is never going to be a pleasant experience – but as with all things in life, it’s better to be prepared and know your rights (and those of the bailiff).

If you are uncertain, the Guardian has pulled together this useful Q&A, to help you prepare if you think there is a chance a bailiff might come knocking:

the Guardian – What can you do if a bailiff comes to your home?

We get by with a little help from our friends…

I O U noteOr quite a lot of help, as the case may be – with UK households reportedly borrowing around £2,000 each from family and friends in order to make ends meet.

According to the Aviva Family Finances Report, the average household debt has risen by 40 per cent, from £9,000 a year ago to £13,000 now, with around £2,000 of the latter being owed to family and friends.

If you are thinking of borrowing money from someone close to you, it might be worth checking if there is a better solution to help you get on top of your finances.

Have a look at the Debt solutions and Important information pages on our Turn Debt Around website, or call us on 0131 777 3039 for a friendly, impartial, no strings chat.

Source: BBC News

Add-on insurance to be put under the microscope

car-insurance-costThe Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is to take a closer look at so-called ‘add-on insurance’, to check if it is being sold in a fair manner.

Add-on insurance is insurance that is offered at the point of sale of for example holidays, or a car – and they can often be marketed quite aggressively.

Some of the things the FCA will be investigating is whether customers are made aware that they have a choice and can shop around; whether the insurance represents good value for money; and if the consumer is clear on what the insurance does (and doesn’t) cover.

Read the full story on BBC News.

Kids are great…if you can afford them!

The cost of having children

Cute, but not cheap…

Having a child is a momentous occasion – it is, and should be, a life changing experience! But as such, it’s important that you plan ahead as an aspiring parent, and try your best to make sure it’s a fully informed decision.

It appears that for many, their little bundles of joy came with an unexpectedly steep price tag, as recent studies show UK adults are underestimating the cost of having children.

According to a report by Santander, UK parents spend an average of £537 per month on their kids. More than half of the respondents stated that the cost of having children has increased so much in the last few years, it’s “impossible” to be fully prepared for parenthood, financially.

Furthermore, a whole 20 per cent said that if they had known just how much raising a child would cost, they would have held off!

Adding to the above, a recent Aviva study shows that sending children to school in the UK will set parents back on average £1,600 per year, for things like uniforms, school trips, transport, and schools dinners. The figures suggested that parents can expect to fork out a total of around £22,000 on ‘free education’ for their child, between the ages of four and 18.

Read the full story at uSwitch.com.

Debt levels rise…but the debt to income ratio improves!

Protecting a good investment and making money conceptAccording to recent figures from Credit Action, household debt increased in May 2013, compared to the previous month, but the debt to income ratio has improved drastically!

Increases in wages from April to May means that, although debt levels rose, the average UK citizen would have been in a better position to manage their debt.

The stats:

  • £54,024: average household debt (including mortgages) in May, up from £54,002 in April
  • £5,978: average household debt (excluding mortgages) in May, up from £5,966 in April
  • £164 million of interest was paid every day on personal debt in May
  • £1.455 billion: daily value of all plastic card purchases in April
  • 1,545 people were made redundant every day between February and April
  • 898,000 people had been unemployed for over a year between February and April
  • Every 5 minutes 15 seconds someone was declared bankrupt or insolvent during Q1 2013
  • Every 16 minutes 26 seconds a property was repossessed during Q1 2013
  • It cost £67.30 to fill a 50-litre tank with unleaded petrol in June
  • The Government borrowed an estimated £3,286 every second during May

If you know of anyone who might want some advice with regards to debt, there is lots of information to be found on our Turn Debt Around website – have a look at the Debt solutions page, and the Important information page.

Alternatively, they can also call us on 0131 777 3039 for an impartial, no strings chat.

For the full Credit Action story, click here.

Why your bank card pin is one number you should definitely commit to memory…

Card fraud - watch your pin number!

Don’t leave yourself open to card fraud

Last month we published a blog post about BBC’s Your Money programme, which covered the topic of “shoulder surfers”.

The key call to action that came out of that segment of the show, was to be vigilant when taking money out at a cash point – that is; do your best to make sure no one is trying to catch your pin number from behind your shoulder.

Whilst on the topic of cash machine fraud and card safety, you might also want to make an effort to learn your pin number off by heart, so you don’t have to carry a reminder.

This might sound rather obvious, but new research by discount website www.myvouchercodes.co.uk, has revealed that as many of  34% of Britons carry a pin reminder on them at all times! What’s more, 36% of those who play it unsafe by carrying their pin around, keep it in their wallet or purse…presumably right next to their bank or credit card.

Not cool, guys!

Alarmingly, over two thirds of the above 34% had not even considered that writing their pin down, and using their reminder at cash points, might put them at significantly increased risk of card fraud.

Source: Money-Watch.co.uk