What you need to know about money each week and what the news means for you, from the UK's best financial website.
Should we worry about the banks... and why raise interest rates now?
50:45Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water... A banking crisis has seemingly emerged out of nowhere, in a system that we've been told is stable, well capitalised and far from its parlous state when the credit crunch and financial crisis struck. So, what is going on and why did both the Federal Reserve in the US and the Bank of England see fit to raise interest rates this week? On this week's podcast Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert talk interest rates: whether we have hit the base rate peak, when they might fall, why central banks keep raising them and what the impact will be for savers, borrowers and investors. Plus, what's going on with the banks? Why the sudden wobble? What's it got to do with rising interest rates and government bonds? Is this just a shake-out taking out those that weren't very well run anyway, or something more dramatic? Also on the show, Simon explains why he thinks some people might need to sell some investments now. (But not for the reasons above.) And finally, are Pokémon cards really an investable asset? The This is Money team dived into the world of collecting hem this week, Simon explains what they found out.
The Budget verdict: Pensions, childcare, energy bills and dodging recession
59:09Jeremy Hunt had a spring in his step this week as he delivered his Budget. It was a considerably different air to the gloomy warning of trouble ahead in his November Autumn Statement. The headline act was a major shake-up of pension saving rules, removing restrictions that limit the amount that can go in without tax penalties. The lifetime allowance was abolished rather than raised, the annual allowance got a big bump, and rules to stop pension recycling were eased. Was this a bung for the rich shovelling cash into their pension - and doctors - or a move that will help many more young professional savers aspiring to a decent retirement, who may not realise the lifetime limit could be hit? On this week's podcast, Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert delve into the Budget and joining them to explain the pensions element is a special guest, This is Money's retirement columnist and ex-pensions minister Steve Webb. Also in the Budget was news on the economy, a ray of hope on energy bills, and a big expansion of free childcare... but it won't come in for some time. The team look at all those elements and more. And finally, as the Budget claimed the headlines something else was rumbling on: a mini-banking crisis sparked by the Sillicon Valley Bank collapse. What is going on there and should we be worried?
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Can you trust the state pension system as more blunders emerge?
46:36You'd like to imagine that when it came to the state pension, you'd be dealing with a more robust system than the ones that deliver the average customer service nightmare. Savers could be forgive for questioning whether that was the case after a string of recent blunders. First we had the underpaid women's state pensions scandal, now we have the pension top-ups system creaking at the seams, at the same time as it turns out there may be a serious problem with the records of those who have received Universal Credit. The common thread running through exposing these problems has been This is Money's pension and investing editor Tanya Jefferies and retirement columnist Steve Webb. They have worked tirelessly to help those affected and bring these issues to light. This week, we had a state pension double header of news with an admission of the problems over Universal Credit and the Government finally extending the deadline for boosting state pension via top-ups. On this podcast episode, Tanya talks us through the problems and discusses what they mean for people, with Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert. Also, the team talk about why you should put your savings in a cash Isa, where to find the best ones and why transfers might be the most important thing you can do. Plus, who are the Dividend Heroes, what have they got to do with the Rolling Stones and what can we learn from them on long-term investing? And finally, rising interest rates have severely hampered the amount of mortgage a monthly payment can buy, so, could you afford your home now?
How to make the most of saving and investing into an Isa
58:12There's not long left until the end of the tax year - and that means it is time to sort your Isa if you haven't already. This year's Isa allowance runs out as the tax year ticks over on 6 April and it pays to get everything you can into the tax-free shelter for savings and investments. But what are the important things you need to know, the tips for making the most of your Isa - and why does it matter more this year than it has done before. On this Isa saving and investing special podcast, Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert talk all things Isas - from finding the best saving rates, to how to invest and how to boost your chance of investment success if you already have a stocks and shares Isa.
Would you dispute an inheritance if you thought it was unfair?
53:53Where there's a will, there's often a grumble... and potentially a full on dispute. The amount of money involved in inheritances derived from even modest homes these days can be life changing and when someone feels they have been unfairly cut out or not given their dues, arguments can ensue. There's been a sharp rise in inheritance disputes, but why are they occurring, what can you do to protect your legacy and would you argue if you thought you'd been treated unfairly? That's up for discussion on this week's podcast. Plus, will energy switching make a return, how much has an energy saving drive actually saved Simon, why is the state pension top up system such a mess and have you got what it takes for financial independence and retiring early?
Why is food inflation so high and when will it stop?
1:01:07Inflation is theoretically running out of steam but there's one essential that's still going up in price rapidly: food. Even as energy prices and other recent highly inflationary items slow a bit, the cost of food seems to show no let up - with reports reporting inflation-busting rises. What is going on here? How much have food prices risen, why have they gone up so much, are supermarkets or brand-name makers profiteering, and will costs ever come back down? Georgie Frost, Angharad Carrick and Simon Lambert, delve into food prices on this week's podcast - and look at ways you could save money. Plus, mortgage rates are falling while the base rate is going up: why is that and what happens next? Should you invest in a VCT, not just for the juicy tax breaks but also for the investment opportunities on offer? And finally, we met the founders of Seatfrog to find out how they are helping passengers buy up unused first seats on trains at bargain prices and their plans for making train ticket-buying better.
Could this be the peak for interest rates - and what will it mean for you?
43:57Are we nearly there yet? The Bank of England hiked interest rates again this week, adding 0.5 per cent to take base rate to 4 per cent. That’s a level that it was almost unthinkable we’d reach so quickly a year ago, but rates have gone up hard and fast. The questions now are will base rate stall and when will it come back down again? But while the Bank of England has sent rates up like a rocket, it’s forecast show that they will only fall like a feather. On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost, Tanya Jefferies and Simon Lambert look at how likely those forecasts are to be correct and what this all means for the economy, mortgages, savings and first-time buyers. Also on the show, Tanya explains another potential state pension scandal that her and Steve Webb have uncovered and Steve joins the podcast to talk through it. Sam North, of eToro, gives us a market update and explains why investors have sent stock markets soaring at the start of 2023. The clock is ticking on the tax year and Simon explains why he thinks the next couple of months are vitally important for getting money into an Isa and potentially selling some investments to do so. And finally, do you love your tumble dryer? Many do but worry they can’t afford to run them. Fear not, help might be at hand.
Will the Government raise state pension age to 68 sooner than planned - and what should those about to retire do about it?
39:48Those aged between 43 and 54 may have been concerned by rumours this week that the Government is planning to increase the state pension age to 68 much sooner than planned. Officially, the rise to 68 is set to happen between 2044 and 2046, but ministers allegedly want to bring forward the change to 2035 with the policy being floated for inclusion in the March Budget. It comes as warnings have been sounded that those retiring in future decades generations will face a gap between the income that pension savings and the state pension will provide, and what they need to live even a moderate retirement. This is Money's pensions and investment editor, Tanya Jefferies, deputy editor Helen Crane and host Georgie Frost discuss how likely this is to actually happen - and what pension savers could do to prepare for it. We also look at mortgage rates which, having gone from all-time lows to unexpected highs in the last year and a half, could now be edging down past the 4 per cent mark. Why have a raft of high street lenders cut their rates in recent days, and will they simply hike them back up again if the Bank of England decides to increase the base rate again next week? And what should borrowers in the unenviable position of needing to remortgage at the moment be factoring in when they make their decision? Another group set to be impacted by next week's base rate decision are savers. With NS&I having increased the interest rate on its ever-popular Premium Bonds from 1 per cent to 3.15 per cent in the space of a year, is that now the best place to keep your rainy day fund? EToro's Sam North also lets us know why next week is going to be a big one for the investment market. Helen gives us the lowdown on which companies are doing right by their customers, and which are not. Once renowned for its tip top service (free coffee, anyone?) John Lewis has taken a battering in Money Mail's wooden spoon awards - but it also placed high on a separate survey of the firms that customers liked best. So what is going on? Finally, we dish out some advice on how to spot bargains in charity shops, haggle down prices at car boot sales and then make money selling things on.
Could an Isa tax raid really cap savings at £100,000? Plus Bank of Dave's Dave Fishwick on his Netflix hit
51:20An astonishing idea for an Isa tax raid was outlined by the Resolution Foundation this week, with the proposal that tax-free savings and investments should be capped at £100,000. No more aspiring to be an Isa millionaire, it would be £100k and out under this plan. It said that the nominal money out toward not taxing Isa interest, gains and dividends should instead go in the direction of encouraging those without savings to build up a pot. Is that a good idea, would it be a fairer way of doing things, and is there any conceivable way this could actually happen? On this podcast, Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert discuss the proposal and whether it has any merits. Spoiler alert, Simon strongly disagrees and says this would also perpetuate even greater intergenerational unfairness. Find out why. Also on the show, the team delve into a new American Express and BA card that's been dubbed the best deal ever for Avios points, but are they worth collecting? Sam North, of eToro, joins us to talk through what's been going on in markets over the past week and why newly confident investors had their confidence shaken. Helen fills us in on a very depressing Crane on the Case where Scottish Widows only offered a reader £250 after they were denied their dying wish by its failure to pay out their pension on time. On a much lighter note, why have we been researching the bleeding obvious this week and testing whether putting a jumper on means you could really save money on your energy bills? And finally, we are joined by long-time friend of This is Money, Dave Fishwick, who talks to Simon about the Netflix movie about Bank of Dave and what it's like to see your life portrayed on screen.