At least one in every seven (14 per cent) people retiring this year has made no provision for their retirement and will be either totally or heavily reliant on the State Pension to provide a regular income when they retire, according to newly released research.

The findings are parts of a unique annual study carried out by Prudential which tracks the finances, future plans and aspirations of people planning to retire in the year ahead. This year’s retirees – the Class of 2016 – provide the ninth set of comprehensive insights into the post-financial crisis retirement landscape.

Prudential uses the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s (JRF) Minimum Income Standard for a single pensioner of £182.98 a week2 as the benchmark income to support an acceptable minimum standard of living in retirement. To illustrate the risks of relying solely on the State Pension, a pensioner whose retirement date is after 6 April this year and whose only income is the full new flat-rate State Pension will have a weekly income of £155.65, or nearly £8,100 a year – a significant shortfall on the JRF standard of £27.33 a week or over £1,400 a year.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement income expert at Prudential, said: “We are in the midst of some once-in-a-generation changes to pension rules – change that the State Pension has not been immune to. Most of this year’s retirees will be eligible for the State Pension under one of two very different arrangements depending on their retirement date. It is very important that they understand what this means for their total income after they give up work.”

The results of Prudential’s research also highlight the value of the State Pension to all of this year’s retirees – even those with retirement savings of their own. On average, members of the Class of 2016 estimate that the State Pension will account for more than a third (35 per cent) of their income in retirement.

Vince Smith-Hughes added: “Even those who receive the full new flat-rate State Pension will find that it alone doesn’t provide the level of income required to sustain a comfortable retirement. However, given the significant contribution the State Pension makes to most retirees’ incomes it is important to make sure people do everything they can to make sure they qualify for the full amount – for example by making voluntary National Insurance contributions to cover any career breaks.

“The clear lesson from our figures for anyone saving for retirement is that someone expecting to live in any degree of comfort needs to have made some sort of pension provision of their own. There are very few better alternatives than saving as much as possible as early as possible in our working lives and the majority of people will benefit from professional financial advice when planning for retirement.”

Hull, next year’s City of Culture has come bottom of a league table revealing average broadband speeds in 42 major UK cities and towns, according to price comparison service

The data, which shows actual speeds rather than available top speeds – and therefore provides an indication of fibre broadband take up across the UK – reveals that residents in Hull recorded average download speeds of just 12.42Mbps for a six-month period between August 2015 and February 2016. Meanwhile, Aberdeen and Milton Keynes are the UK’s second and third slowest cities for broadband, with speeds of 15.67Mbps and 17.10Mbps respectively.

While industry and Government have made ‘superfast’ broadband available to 90% of the country, 20 of the towns and cities in the league table have average speeds slower than the 24Mbps superfast threshold​. This suggests that barriers to the take up of fibre broadband, including awareness of availability as well as pricing, could be improved in urban areas.

Worryingly, the data also reveals that three in 10 tests (30%) logged actual speeds of less than 5Mbps​. Those attempting to spend a night in with a movie might have to resort to traditional TV – as downloading a high definition film at 5Mbps would take two hours​. At the other end of the spectrum, just one in ten (10.4%) consumer tests recorded speeds of above 50Mbps​.

Meanwhile, 22 towns and cities are enjoying superfast average speeds above 24Mbps, with Middlesbrough (34.46Mbps), Belfast (34.34Mbps) and Brighton (33.8Mbps) currently the UK’s fastest cities for surfing the web​.

Two glaring omissions from the superfast 22 are London and Edinburgh. Both capital cities fall short of expectation with residents recording average speeds of 22.44Mbps and 21.07Mbps​.

Some residents may find they have a very different broadband experience to friends and family in neighbouring towns and cities. In Huddersfield, for example, broadband users enjoy superfast speeds of 27.71Mbps, yet just 15 miles away Wakefield residents and businesses are recording a sub-superfast 17.49Mbps. And Brighton, known as ‘Little London by the Sea’ and less than an hour away by train, has starkly different speeds to the capital – 33.8Mbps compared to London’s 22.44Mbps​.

Ahead of the upcoming bank holiday weekend, please see below comment and stats from home insurer Policy Expert around the amount of DIY Brits will be attempting.

· 67% of Brits will be doing DIY this bank holiday

· 57% are confident in their abilities, but 20% have had a costly disaster in the past

· Over half of those surveyed (51%) think men are better than women at DIY

· 40% don’t or aren’t sure if they have accidental damage included in their home insurance policy

· Gardening is the most popular task, with painting & decorating following closely second

Policy Expert customer survey carried out in March 2016, with a sample size of 2936 adults.

Adam Powell, Head of Operations at Policy Expert commented:
“DIY can be rewarding and a great money-saver, but it can also end up costing you dearly if you’re too ambitious or have an accident. Simple DIY projects, such as painting or putting up shelves won’t affect your home insurance, but for much larger projects – i.e. ones that require a considerable amount of knowledge and skill, such as re-wiring a house, or even building an extension – it’s important to tell your insurer before you begin. If something goes wrong you may be exempt from making a claim as the original terms of the policy may no longer apply.

“The chances are any damage your insurer considers to be caused by your own actions won’t be covered under a standard policy – fire damage caused by electrical DIY projects for example, or flooding/water damage caused by plumbing could all leave you out of pocket.

“If you’re not confident with your toolbox but want to have a go yourself, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance provider first. Ensuring you have accidental damage included in your policy is a cost effective and straightforward way of making sure you’re not in for an expensive surprise this bank holiday.”

Using a mobile phone in EU countries will cost Brits less from the end of this month, as the European Commission (EC) reduces mobile roaming charges further by introducing lower caps on charges for calls, texts and data. However, price comparison and switching service u-switch says people still need to keep a close eye on the new charges to avoid getting caught out, as over a quarter  incorrectly believe it does not cost extra to use a mobile in other EU countries.

The cost for Brits making and receiving calls in the EU has dropped substantially since 2007, with charges set to be abolished completely in June 2017. The new caps, introduced on the 30th April 2016, restrict mobile providers to charging a maximum of the domestic price plus €0.05 per minute for a call, €0.02 to send a text and €0.05 per MB of data used.

But despite falling roaming charges, more than six in 10 (62%) UK mobile customers are still afraid to use handsets in other EU countries for fear of bill shock when they return home – and 34% don’t use mobile phones abroad full stop.

A spokesman from USwitch said: “These price drops are especially good news for any Brits planning a summer trip to the Continent – and football fans heading to France for the Euros, too ­– but until EU roaming charges are fully abolished consumers should still be aware of the pitfalls.

“For example, a £40 cap applied by networks and designed to protect mobile users from bill shock only covers charges for data, and not calls or text messages. Our research reveals that more than a quarter of mobile customers who know about the £40 cap are completely unaware of this.

“Although some networks are going above and beyond to make sure roaming is affordable, like Three’s Feel At Home and iD’s TakeAway plan, networks across the board could do more to reduce consumer vulnerability to additional charges.

“We’d like to see more transparency in the form of real-time updates on out of tariff charges and reminder notifications after users have opted out of automatic caps.


Comparison website GoCompare is urging travellers heading to unfamiliar destinations to plan ahead and make sure they know the laws of and have the required travel documents and inoculations for the country they are visiting.

Intrepid travellers are also warned not to assume that all hotels, retailers and ATMs in the country they are visiting will accept international credit cards or travellers’ cheques.

The warning comes as ABTA’s 2016 Travel Trends report shows that 18% of British holidaymakers are planning to travel to a country they’ve never been to before.  The report, which was compiled in association with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, identified 12 destinations that are expected to capture the public’s imagination in 2016 including; Abu Dhabi, China, Hawaii, Iran, Peru and Sri Lanka.*

Alex Edwards from Travel Insurance commented, “Travelling to far-flung, exotic places is becoming easier and more accessible thanks to low cost air operators and the availability of more direct flights.  But, the culture, laws and criminal justice systems of some of the destinations highlighted by ABTA’s report are very different to the UK.  So, it is crucial tourists understand and respect the local traditions, customs, laws of the country they are visiting to ensure they don’t cause offence or act illegally.  Otherwise, the penalties can be severe.

“Travel insurance, which covers medical expenses, lost baggage and documents, cancellation and delays is also a must for any trip abroad.  But, insurers will expect you to take care of yourself and your possessions and, not behave recklessly or illegally.  So, for example, if you’re heading to an area which has life-threatening infectious diseases you need to make sure you have the right vaccinations.  Otherwise, if you fall ill with a disease for which you haven’t been vaccinated against or taken the required medicine – your insurance may not cover your medical treatment.”

Alex Edwards continued, “Money is another important consideration.  Some countries like China, are mainly cash economies with limited use of ATMs and credit cards.  Not all shops, restaurants and hotels in Peru accept international credit cards or travellers’ cheques and, in Sri Lanka travellers’ cheques aren’t normally accepted.”

“While most travel policies include cover for money, cover limits, excesses and exclusions vary considerably.  So, if you need to travel with a large amount of cash, you need to make sure you buy a travel policy which has the appropriate cover.”

New research from Moneycomms shows that customers with the big banks could make massive savings on their loan and overdraft costs – simply by making use of the money transfer facility offered by a handful of credit card providers.

The money transfer facility is currently offered to new customers by MBNA, Virgin Money and Tesco Bank gives borrowers the opportunity to clear costly overdrafts and smaller personal loans and save hundreds of pounds in interest in the process.

A money transfer gives you the flexibility to transfer funds from the card to your current account with a low one off transfer fee – for example the current offer with the MBNA Platinum card it is just 1.49% with 0% interest for 32 months.

If you’re credit rating is in good order then this option gives borrowers the chance to wipe out that nagging and expensive bank overdraft once and for all.

The latest research shows that those permanently in the red by £1,000 could be paying as much as £365 per year for the privilege. The 32 month 0% money transfer option gives you the opportunity to clear the £1000 balance at a total cost of just £14.90 (Money Transfer Fee).

If you’re financially disciplined, 12 monthly payments at £84.58 or 24 months at £42.29 would see your £1000 overdraft totally cleared and without paying a penny in interest.

It’s also a much cheaper option than a personal loan if you’re only looking to borrow a relatively small sum.

The MBNA money transfer option along with peer to peer providers Zopa and RateSetter offer by far the cheapest options for a loan of £3,000 – streets ahead of the 20% plus APR charged by some of the big high street banks.

Even though there is a personal loan price war going on at the moment, the ultra-low 3.5% APR rates are only on offer if you want to borrow £7,500 or more whereas the average rate if you want to borrow £3000 is more than for times that, with Lloyds Bank advertising a rate of 24.9% APR


More than six out of 10 over-55s worry about the cost of continuing to live in their home city in retirement but want to avoid the hassle of moving, new research* from over-55s finance specialist Key Retirement shows.

Its unique study of the cost of living in the UK’s top 20 cities found 62% of over-55s are worried about making ends meet in retirement where they live –  but two out of three (66%) do not want to move out.

Key’s analysis shows the most expensive city for pensioners to live in is Brighton where the average annual cost is more than £13,266 a year, followed by London on £12,941 and Bristol on £12,058. By contrast pensioners in Cardiff enjoy the lowest annual cost of living at £9,723 – around 36% cheaper than Brighton – with Birmingham and Coventry joint second cheapest at £9,897.

Despite the possibility of major savings from relocating the study shows over-55s are reluctant to move – 63% say they like where they live while 35% say they don’t want the upheaval of moving and 29% are concerned about losing touch with family and friends. Younger people are more likely to relocate, the study shows. Around 57% of 18 to 34-year-olds say they would relocate when they retire.

Key believes property wealth can be a major factor in helping people stay in their homes – on average homeowners can release enough money from their homes to fund four years of living costs. In London the average homeowner can fund seven years of living costs.

Dean Mirfin, technical director at Key Retirement said: “Moving out of the city to save money can make financial sense but it is not an easy decision to make in retirement with the costs of moving as well as the risks of losing touch with family and friends to consider.

“But apart from all that, quite simply most people like where they live and want to stay there if they can afford it despite the rising costs.

“Property wealth can make a major contribution to increasing retirement income and enabling pensioners to strike the balance between living where they want and being financially comfortable.”

Brits will need to tighten their belts ready for this wedding season, with new research from Policy Expert suggesting guests will be shelling out over £600 for each wedding they attend.

The average UK wedding guest will be totting up a total spend of £644 on gifts, food, new clothes, accommodation and stag and hen dos. More than a third (35%) of us even splash out on engagement presents, kicking off the spending spree long before the big day.

When it comes to choosing gifts for the bride and groom, the research found well over a third (37%) tread carefully and stick to the preapproved list, with other typical choices including cash and gift vouchers. Just 3.5% of those surveyed showed a little more imagination, stating they gave handmade gifts.

Unsurprisingly, mothers or fathers of the couple splurge the most at their children’s weddings – spending over £700 on presents alone. Second to this, grandparents spend around £245, followed by £144 for siblings, £78 from aunts and uncles and £57 for close friends.

If you’re looking to be showered with the most expensive gifts, don’t forget to invite your Scottish friends and family to watch you say ‘I do’, with the research finding that that on average Scottish guests spent the most (£58) on gifts, compared to a tight-fisted £39 in the South East.

Adam Powell, Head of Operations at Policy Expert commented: “If you or a family member is set to walk down the aisle this wedding season, it’s important to remember to check that the gifts received from generous guests as well as wedding rings and other valuables are covered in your home insurance policy. Policy Expert offers an additional 10% contents cover the month either side of your or your children’s wedding as standard, meaning you can cross the threshold on your return from honeymoon without any nasty surprises.”

With the children back at school this week after Easter, people will soon be looking ahead to their 2016 summer holidays.

Lots of planning goes into getting the cheapest flight and best value hotel for the money, but when it comes to holiday plastic, many people stick with their everyday credit card and are paying over the odds.

Andrew Hagger of Moneycomms said it’s worth applying for a credit card that doesn’t charge overseas usage fees or cash withdrawal fees – you could easily save around £6 on every £100 currency equivalent ATM withdrawal and around 3% on every purchase made with your card.

Too many people rely on the cards they use in the UK but don’t realise how much they could save by picking the right card to pack with their passport.

For example, the new MBNA Everyday plus credit card doesn’t charge any foreign currency charge or cash withdrawal fee, so makes a perfect cost effective holiday companion.

Other credit cards worth a look are Metro Bank and Nationwide Select (although a current account is required) or alternatively Saga (over 50’s), Halifax Clarity or Post Office.

The table attached shows just how much the cost can stack up on a two week summer holiday – surely an £80 plus saving makes it worth taking the time to apply for a more suitable card to take away when you travel.

Even if you’re only going abroad for a few days the potential savings mean more money in your holiday kitty rather than adding to the profits of the banks.

New research from Churchill Car Insurance exposes the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ personality of UK motorists.  More than 57 per cent of drivers admit they behave differently when behind the wheel, acting more aggressively than they would normally.

Churchill compared displays of aggression on the road with those in person and found that while 31 per cent have sworn at strangers in the car, only 12 per cent have done so face-to-face. While 26 per cent of motorists have shouted at others while driving, less than half of that amount have done so in person. 

 One of the biggest catalysts for so called “Jekyll and Hyde” style driving is the mistaken belief that this behaviour is acceptable when in the car. Indeed when questioned, 27 per cent felt this was acceptable and psychologist insights support this. 

Drivers feel disassociated from their environment, their car a safe place allowing them to express anger and frustration at another driver and even at life in general without the risk of direct conflict. There is no one to criticise or in close contact, so people feel detached from situations and more able to express their feelings. 

Psychologist Donna Dawson said: “One of the reasons drivers exert such different behaviours when on the road is the belief that their behaviour is justified by the circumstances – we tell ourselves ‘the other driver caused me to react this way due to their bad driving. In other words, I am a perfectly reasonable person, reacting normally to another person’s bad behaviour.’”

Churchill’s research shows how dangerous the roads can be, with 29 million motorists (58 per cent) admitting to behaving aggressively while driving. Aggressive driving ranges from beeping horns (33 per cent) and swearing at other drivers (31 per cent) to deliberately tailgating (11 per cent) and chasing someone’s car in anger (four per cent).