05 Jun 2019 Cremation fees across the UK have risen by an average of 21% over a four year period compared with general inflation over the same period of just 6.3% according to Royal London.

Analysis of data, gathered from 267 locations in the UK over a four year period, shows cremation fees in Inverness, Scotland, saw the largest increase (56%) from £580 in 2014 to £904 in 2018. Bath in South West England had the second highest increase with cremation fees going up from £630 to £915, which is a rise of 45%. Eight of the 10 locations with the highest increase in cremation fees were public crematoriums, which reflects the budget pressures that local council are facing.

While almost all of the crematoriums increased their fees, Manchester North was the only location which saw a decline in fees, with the cost decreasing by 6% (£715 in 2014 to £674 in 2018). Glasgow North maintained their fees at £625 over the four years.

South West England was the region that saw the highest increase, with the average cremation fee rising by 24% over four years (£691 to £855), followed by the East of England which saw fees increasing by 23% (£686 to £843). In 2018 the South West and East of England regions also had the highest average cremation fees in the UK, with fees averaging £855 and £843 respectively. Northern Ireland had the lowest fees in 2018 at £380, with prices increasing by 9% over a four year period (£350 in 2014).

The latest Royal London National Funeral Cost Index shows that eight in 10 (79%) funerals were cremation funerals. Data gathered from the 289 crematorium locations across the UK reveals that all of the top 10 locations with the highest cremation fees in 2018 were by private crematoria.  The highest cremation fee was £1,070, which was charged by nine of the top 10 locations all of which are private crematoriums: Beckenham; Chichester; Northampton; Dundee; Nuneaton; Moray; Oxford; Leatherhead; and Crawley. Belfast in Northern Ireland had the lowest cremation fees at £380.

Commenting on the research Louise Eaton-Terry, funeral expert at Royal London, said:

“While private crematoria continue to have the highest cremation fees, we have seen public crematoria introducing much greater price increases. Local authorities raising burial and cremation fees is one of the factors contributing to high funeral costs. As councils continue to be squeezed by central Government budget cuts, increasing fees is a way to raise revenue and plug the shortfall in funding. But the rise in fees is also making funerals unaffordable and forcing bereaved families into debt.”

03 Jun 2019 What’s the cheapest way to borrow? What do lenders think about me? How many cards should I have? Just some of the questions that people have when thinking about credit cards. And, as recent findings suggest, questions that not many people know the correct answer to.

A 2019 OnePoll survey of 2,000 people, commissioned by credit experts TotallyMoney, reveals that alarmingly over half of people didn’t think a higher credit score meant better credit deals.

Just one shocking statistic uncovered by TotallyMoney’s poll — but it doesn’t stop there. Only 49% knew having a credit card would affect your credit rating, and less than one fifth understood the company you bank with isn’t more likely to accept your credit card application.

Over time, such financial fables have been compounded, instead of alleviated — causing confusion for consumers nationwide.

Alastair Douglas, CEO of TotallyMoney said: “Among credit card veterans and novices alike, there still exists many misconceptions which could be holding them back.

“Rumours and stories have spread over the years — and stuck. At TotallyMoney, we break down what is good and what is bad about each card, so our customers know exactly what they’re getting.

“Understanding what’s best for your needs is the first step to building a better financial future. As a TotallyMoney customer, you’ll get alerts and updates about the latest credit products and offers tailored to your credit rating — so you’re always in the know.

“But, there’s still some confusion out there. So, we’ve debunked some of the most common credit card fictions to help set the record straight.”

Fact is Stronger Than Fiction

Myth 1. I’m more likely to be accepted for a credit card from the bank I’m with

Why people believe it: If your bank already knows you, they trust you enough to give you a credit card.

The facts: This isn’t considered when the bank processes your application. Sometimes, your current bank will limit the perks available to you, as you’re already a customer. Another provider may offer you a greater range of perks to encourage you to become their customer.

The findings: Less than one in five people (19%) of people know that your current bank isn’t more likely to give you a credit card.

Myth 2. If I have a card, I should spend something on it each month.

Why people believe it: If you don’t use your card, there’s surely no point having it, so the lender will take it away.

The facts: If you’ve got a card, it’s absolutely fine to use it as sparingly as you’d like — but be sure not to use over 25% of your available credit, as this can lower your credit score.

The findings: Over a third (37%) of those surveyed knew that you don’t have to spend something on each of your credit cards every month.

Myth 3. If I don’t use a credit card, I should cancel it.

Why people believe it: Why keep a card that you don’t use?

Fact: Closing a credit account reduces the amount of credit available to you. So, depending on how much you’ve used across your other cards, could increase your overall credit utilisation. Using over 25% of your available credit is not looked upon favourably by lenders, so your credit score will decrease if you do.

The findings: Less than one in five people (16%) knew that you shouldn’t necessarily cancel the credit cards you no longer use.

Myth 4. Getting a credit card won’t harm my credit rating.

Why people believe it: There’s no harm in simply having a credit card. It’s how you use it that matters.

The facts: If you’re accepted for a card, your credit score will drop temporarily. Use your credit sensibly, and you’ll start to see your credit score increase. However, being rejected for credit may harm your chances of acceptance in the future, and if you keep applying and keep being rejected, the situation will only get worse.

The findings: Less than half of people (49%) know that getting a credit card will harm your credit rating.

Myth 5. When looking for a new card, the most important thing to consider is the APR.

Why people believe it: High APRs mean you’ll pay more interest, which you want to avoid.

The facts: There are a lot more important things to look at when considering a card. For example, a purchase offer gives you a period of interest-free spending, and there may also be fees attached to a card. And, if you make sure to pay your balance off at the end of the month, you won’t pay any interest at all.

The findings: Nearly one in two (49%) think that APR is the most important thing when they apply for a credit card.

Myth 6. I won’t build any interest if I make my minimum payments.

Why people believe it: If you’re still paying the bank back something, that’s enough to avoid interest.

The facts: Unless there’s an interest-free period, the only way to avoid paying interest is to pay off your balance every month — in full.

The findings: Almost half of those surveyed (46%) didn’t know that making the minimum payment each month still incurs interest.

Myth 7. A balance transfer won’t help me save.

Why people believe it: It’s all about paying your balance off and not building any debts — not moving your money.

The facts: Balance transfers could help you save money. They allow you to move a balance from one card, with a higher APR, to another card that usually has an interest-free period. This means you can pay off a balance over a longer period of time. 

The findings: Only just over one third of people (39%) of people are aware that a balance transfer card could be an easy way to save money.

Myth 8. I only want one credit card. Having too many will damage my credit score.

Why people believe it: Lenders only want you to have one card — their card. If you’ve got multiple cards, lenders will think you can’t be trusted to make your repayments across all of them.

The facts: Lenders are more concerned about whether you make your repayments. If you make your repayments every month across all your cards, there shouldn’t be any negative effect to your credit score.

The findings: Only a third of respondents (31%) know that having two or more cards isn’t necessarily bad for your credit score. 

Myth 9. My credit score doesn’t affect the credit deals and offers I can get.

Why people believe it: Your credit score doesn’t mean much. Banks don’t really look at it.

The facts: Your credit score is a representation of how favourably lenders view you. The higher the score, the greater the trust. The more they trust you, the better the rates you’re likely to get.

The findings: Staggeringly, more than one in two people (54%) don’t think that a higher credit score will impact the deals and offers you can get.

Myth 10. Maxing out my credit card is fine. They gave me a credit limit, so why not use it?

Why people believe it: The bank has given you a certain amount of credit. There’s no problem in using it all, otherwise they wouldn’t have set me this credit limit.

The facts: Going over 25% of your credit limit across all your cards can lower your credit score. If you spend too much, lenders could think you’re at risk of maxing out. This suggests to lenders that you’re struggling and having to resort to credit for day-to-day living, and risk building up a balance you can’t pay off.

The findings Only around one in three (23%) knew that keeping your balance below 25% of your credit limit is good for your credit score

30 May 2019 Energy comparison website, Simply Switch, commissioned a survey of nearly 1,500 British dual fuel customers to find out how satisfied they were with the service, and to compare energy rates across the six biggest suppliers in the UK. And the outcome seems to be a triumph for smaller, more independent service providers. Out of ten suppliers reviewed, the top three all fall into this category, with the bottom six being occupied by the ‘big six’.
 
However, the survey found that despite the likes of British Gas; SSE; E.ON; Scottish Power; EDF; and – the very lowest ranking in terms of satisfaction – npower, all ranking at the bottom of the league, they collectively have 67% of all UK customers!
 
But these unhappy customers seem to be sticking to their suppliers despite their low rankings, meaning they’re also losing money in the process. This is because most fixed rate energy deals will last for between 12 and 18 months. After this period, customers are automatically switched onto a standard variable tariff (SVT). These are invariably the most expensive tariffs available, so switching before this happens will save cash. However, the survey also found that 62% (equivalent to 11.9 million households) hadn’t switched their energy supplier in the last 18 months, whilst 15% had never switched suppliers before
 
Simply Switch also discovered that just 41% of respondents had a smart meter installed. Suppliers to customers with the most smart meters were British Gas (54%) and Ovo (52%), whilst smaller suppliers like Octopus (24%) and Bulb (14%) had the fewest. Interestingly, it was these independent suppliers, however, who fared best when ranked by their customers. 
 
Respondents were asked to rank their energy supplier out of 10 in the following categories:

  • Value for money
  • Customer service & communications
  • Complaints handling
  • Bill accuracy 

Simply Switch also asked whether or not respondents would recommend their supplier to a friend or family member. Out of 10 suppliers, Octopus Energy emerged victorious at number one with a score of 8.59, based on an aggregated ranking across all four categories. Bulb came in second with a score of 8.37. The big six all filled up the bottom half of the table, with npower scoring the lowest – a very poor 6.44.
 
Over 90% of both Bulb and Octopus’ customers said they would recommend them to a friend, whilst just 60% of npower, and 67% of EDF customers said they would endorse their supplier:

Despite this, 67% of survey respondents were signed up with a big six supplier. So shake off that winter sluggishness and embrace spring, along with lower energy bills and a higher customer satisfaction rating. Simply Switch has your back!
 
Mike Rowe, COO at Simply Switch, says:
 
It’s wonderful to see smaller suppliers like Bulb and Octopus demonstrating their commitment to providing their customers with a great service – the massive portion of their customers who’d recommend them to a friend is testament to this. Meanwhile, despite being ranked worse than their competitors on almost all counts, the big six still served 67% of the energy users we surveyed.
 
It’s unfortunate that such a large portion of energy users hadn’t switched their supplier in the last 18 months, given the savings that could be made, and given that a large portion are still with suppliers they wouldn’t recommend. A large number of these customers will now be on expensive standard variable tariffs, which should generally be avoided by anyone who wants to save money
.’

28 May 2019 New research from AIG reveals workers expect to be physically capable of doing their jobs until past their 68th birthday, beyond the age they can start claiming the State Pension even when it is extended to 67 by 2028.  Almost a third believe they could work into their 70s and beyond with one in 14 confident they could keep going into their 80s.  

AIG’s independent nationwide study demonstrates the impact rising life expectancy and health improvements are having as people adapt the way they work and live. Longer working lives highlight the support financial protection delivers for individuals and their families.

Most people will live healthy lives, but illness can disrupt plans as AIG Life’s data shows the average age for a critical illness payout last year was 47. While many people make a full recovery following an illness, for some it could mean a longer recovery, and might lead some to consider working part-time or not working at all.  Financial protection can often provide important choices for individuals following an illness.  

The detailed study shows on average workers believe they will be fit enough to work until 68. Men are confident they could work until 69, while for women it is slightly lower at 67.  The older people are the longer they believe they will be healthy enough for work – over-55s expect to be able to keep going to nearly 73 compared to around 66 for the under-35s.

Their confidence in being able to continue work backs up changes to the State Pension Age which is due to be increased to 66 by next year for men and women and 67 between 2026 and 2028 and then to 68 from 2037.

Almost half (47 per cent) of people believe the current average 21 years spent in retirement is just about the right amount of time to spend not working.  But there’s a variety of views in the research with around one in seven (14%) adults believing that 21 years of retirement is too long. In London 28% – twice as many as the UK as a whole believe it is too long. But it is bad news for others as one in four (25%) believe 21 years of retirement is not long enough.

AIG Life’s research found on average people expect to live to nearly 82 and to be healthy and active until around 77.3 years of age. Around one in five (18%) believe they will live past 90 showing the benefits and opportunities that taking a realistic and practical approach to planning ahead financially. AIG Life believes rising longevity is making it even more important for people at all ages to think about the money they might need in life and how they protect their families and their future.

A spokesman for AIG Life, commented: “Retirement has changed massively in recent years as improvements in life expectancy and health plus changes in the law mean millions are living longer and can work longer if they want to.  It is interesting those closest to hitting retirement, the over-55s, are the most confident in retiring later and feel healthy enough on average to keep working into their early 70s.

“It is clear that we all need to think about what we want, what might happen along the way that could derail that and take practical steps to plan for the future as early as possible. Whatever the future we want.”     

23 May 2019 Retired homeowners are increasingly using property wealth to clear unsecured debts and mortgages to strengthen their later life finances, new data from the UK’s leading independent equity release adviser Key shows.

The number of customers using money from their homes to pay off credit cards and loans hit a three-year high of 35% in Q1 2019 which is 5 percentage points higher than in Q1 2018 (30%).  In addition, 28% used property wealth to clear outstanding mortgages compared with 21% in 2018.

Key’s data shows the numbers using property wealth to clear debts in the first three months of the year was the highest since the third quarter of 2016 and the third highest on record since Key started the Market Monitor in 2007.

New Lending Rising:

Key’s Q1 2019 Equity Release Market Monitor shows new lending rose to £839.58 million with a further £340.42 million in new potential drawdown facilities also arranged. This takes the value of the market in Q1 2019 to £1.18 billion up from £1.03 billion in the first quarter of 2018 (£777.1 million initial advances and £252.9 future potential borrowing).

Plan sales rose 6.6% year on year to 11,190 (Q1 2019) compared with 10,495 in 2018.

Customers released an average £75,032 during the three months and the most popular use of the money remains paying for home and garden improvements. 60% of people used their equity release for this purpose with many of these  using some or all of the cash to future-proof their home for retirement. Around one in three (31%) chose to pay for holidays while 30% were able to use some or all the cash to help family.

A spokesman for key, said: “Typically the equity release market has a quieter start to the year but the latest Q1 results suggest that we should see continued growth in 2019.  The current challenging economic environment has seen a move away from holidays and home improvements to people tackling pressing immediate issues such as to pay off debt.

“Nearing or entering retirement with an income that might be exceeded or matched by debt repayments can be hugely stressful and may mean people need to make fundamental changes to their plans such as working longer.  However, this will not solve everyone’s issues and is not even viable for some so looking into downsizing, equity release or other later life lending options might be the right answer.  Not only will making sensible choices around property mean that people are less stressed but it will help to set them up for a more comfortable retirement in the future.

“Good independent expert advice is key to ensuring that older homeowners receive the most benefit from their property wealth and use it in the most appropriate way for them and their families.”

Around the country

Key’s Market Monitor, which analyses data reflecting both Equity Release Council members and non-members, found the biggest increase in value released was in the West Midlands where total value rose by 24% with the East Midlands and North East seeing gains of 20%.   Interestingly London (- £7.4 million) and the East Anglia (-£250,000) actually saw modest falls in the amount released as property owners reacted to house price fluctuations by taking lower amounts of equity.

The biggest rise in plan sales was in Northern Ireland at 39% with the West Midlands and Yorkshire & The Humber recording 26% gains and the North East seeing a 19% rise.

22 May 2019 We all have dreams of finally saving enough to be able to jet off on a five-star holiday, throw a picture-perfect wedding or get our hands on a shiny set of wheels. With many financial experts suggesting that we should save 20% of our take-home salary for big purchases, how long will it take us?

A new study from Compare the market bases the average 20% saving figure on the widely-recognised 50/30/20 guideline that suggests 50% of your income should be spent on essentials such as housing and utilities, 30% on non-essentials and entertainment, with the remaining 20% being saved.

The findings shows people how long it will take them on average to save for their biggest life purchases. All figures are based on the average UK salary of £29,832, which amounts to a post-tax, take-home figure of £1,985 per month.

Please note: figures for the cost of a holiday are based on UK average spending. You should not spend more than you can afford on any item of expenditure.

For more expensive items such as a car or wedding, it would not be possible to save the required amount within a 12-month period based on the average salary. Figures are supplied for illustrative purposes only.

Summer saving

While not quite as large a purchase as a new car or dream wedding, holidays still come with a hefty price tag that has to be factored into a saving routine. According to the ONS, most people spend around £670 each on their trips abroad.

If you were to save for one year for a holiday, this would mean putting aside £56 each month, amounting to 3% of your monthly income if you earn the UK average salary. However, dedicating the full 20% of your monthly income to saving for that dream vacation means you could be heading off in just over two months by putting away £397 each month.

New car craving

Whether your current car is reaching the end of its lifespan or you just feel like treating yourself, nothing quite beats that new car feeling. The most popular car in the UK is the Ford Fiesta, with an average retail price of £15,665. So, how long do you need to save to drive off in a brand new car like this?

It might be unrealistic to try to save for this purchase in just one year, as the study shows this would mean saving £1,305 each month – 66% of the average take-home salary. Instead, if saving the recommended 20% (£397) each month it should take around 40 months (a little over three years) to make this purchase outright.

Wedding fund

Aside from a house, a wedding is probably one of the biggest items of expenditure most people will make in their lifetime. A wedding isn’t just one purchase, of course: from the venue, to the dress, to the flowers, it is tens if not hundreds of smaller purchases that, on average, add up to £32,273.

Many people go into an intense saving mode in the run-up to their wedding and there have been countless articles written on how to cut back and make savings for the big day. If you’d rather save sensibly and slowly, our handy tool demonstrates how long it may take the average bride and groom.

Following the 20% model, and saving £397 each month, would mean a £32k wedding pot would be ready in 81 months (just under seven years), although two people putting these savings aside would halve this time. It would be virtually impossible for someone on an average UK salary to save for this kind of wedding in just one year. They would have to somehow set aside £2,689 each month, which is 136% of the average monthly take-home pay.

To see the full breakdown and adjust the figures for your own salary band, please click here.

Please note: figures for the cost of a holiday are based on UK average spending. You should not spend more than you can afford on any item of expenditure.

16 May 2019 Credit blacklisting, criminal records and unpaid student loans. These are just a few of the credit myths that continue to confuse consumers, reveals credit experts TotallyMoney.

The survey revealed some unnerving findings. For example, only 14% of respondents understood there’s no credit blacklist. And just over a quarter realised their address doesn’t affect their credit rating.

But the most surprising (and worrying) result is the connection between credit score and the electoral register.

A huge 58% of adults surveyed didn’t know that being on the electoral register affected your credit rating. This could mean over half of UK adults eligible for credit products are missing out on an easy boost to their credit score.

Alastair Douglas, CEO of TotallyMoney, warns myths breed credit danger and missed opportunities. Douglas said: “The world of credit is already, at times, a complex and confusing place.

“Myths about blacklists, unpaid student loans, and some addresses being more favourable than others, adds to the confusion. And can even be damaging.

“Believing the fictions might influence someone’s decision whether to press ahead and get the support of a credit card or loan, or not. And sometimes the financial support of credit products helps with life-changing decisions.

“It’s terrible to think some people put off certain financial decisions because they believe they’re blacklisted. Or that someone looking to improve their credit score doesn’t know about the benefits of getting on the electoral register.

“If people avoid applying for credit they’re entitled to and make compromises because of misinformation, it can have a real impact on their financial decisions. And our findings show there’s still a lot of confusion among consumers.

“One way to clear up some of this confusion is to get your free credit report. TotallyMoney’s unique credit report analysis shows you what really goes into your credit score and report, and gives you the facts to better understand your financial position.”

Based on TotallyMoney’s Annual Financial Awareness Survey for 2019, here are the most common credit fictions, some theories on where the myths come from, and the OnePoll survey data.

Sorting credit fact from credit fiction

Myth 1. There’s a credit blacklist

Why people believe it: Being ‘blacklisted’ is a commonly used term in the credit industry. It refers to those who make multiple unsuccessful applications, which damages their credit rating and causes more rejections. People have come to believe this is an actual list they’re added to if they have poor credit history. 

The facts: There is no blacklist used by credit companies or Credit Reference Agencies. But every credit company has their own criteria, so there are circumstances when a lender won’t accept a credit application.

The findings: Our survey found that the majority of people thought the credit blacklist was a document that existed. Only a handful of respondents (14%) were aware this isn’t the case.

Myth 2. Credit Reference Agencies decide who gets credit

Why people believe it: CRAs hold all the information needed to determine someone’s credit score and create their credit report.This can lead people to believe that because the CRA holds the information, they tell the lender whether to accept or reject a credit application.

The facts: A CRA is like a huge data library. They pull information from lenders and public bodies to create an individual’s credit report, but the information they hold is for lender reference only. It’s the lender (a.k.a the credit company) that makes the final decision.

The findings: Nearly one in three respondents (31%) believe it’s CRAs that decide whether someone’s application for credit is accepted or declined. 

Myth 3. Where you live impacts credit rating

Why people believe it: When applying for credit you need to give your address. The mistaken belief is that you’re asked for your address because where you live counts towards your credit score.

The facts: Addresses don’t influence your credit rating. Lenders ask for this information to help them find an individual’s credit file and confirm their identity. The only time addresses can cause a problem with credit applications is if the applicant has recently moved house and not updated the CRAs (this makes it harder for lenders to find the right details). Some lenders also hesitate if they see multiple house moves in a short space of time.

The findings: More than a quarter of those surveyed (26%) understood that your address and the area you live in don’t impact your credit rating.

Myth 4. Two scores become one when you’re a couple

Why people believe it: Many couples choose to apply for a joint mortgage, make big purchases together and open joint bank accounts. It’s easy to assume that, as a couple, you have one credit score for both of you.

The facts: Everyone’s credit score is individual to them — even if you’ve been with your partner for a long time. While you can be financially linked to your partner and some lenders will look at both of your scores when considering your application, you still have your own individual credit scores.

The findings:  More than 1 in 2 (52%) were unaware that your partner’s poor credit history could affect your individual borrowing ability, although when you’re a couple, your partner’s credit score is not linked to your own. Around 1 in 5 (18%) thought that your marital status directly impacted your credit score, whilst a few more respondents (37%) knew that any savings — solo or joint — had no influence on credit rating.

Myth 5. A monthly salary improves credit score

Why people believe it: Mostcredit companies ask consumers to make monthly repayments. Some people wrongly believe that because you have the security of a monthly income, it proves to lender they’re in a strong position to pay their credit bills.

The facts: Getting paid a monthly income doesn’t prove to lenders how well you’re able to manage your money or credit. For that reason, when you get paid, or even how much you’re paid, won’t positively or negatively influence your credit score. The best way to prove you can handle credit is making repayments in full and on time.

The findings: Just under a third of people (30%) realised a regular, monthly salary has no impact on credit ratings. It doesn’t put you in a stronger or weaker position compared to someone who’s paid weekly, fortnightly or sporadically (like a self-employed person or freelancer).

Myth 6. Criminal convictions impact credit score 

Why people believe it: This could tie in with the myths about earnings and address history impacting credit scores. Going to prison can affect both of these, so consumers mistakenly believe criminal records negatively impact someone’s eligibility for credit.

The facts: Having a criminal record or being fined doesn’t show up in your credit history, because it says nothing about your ability to make repayments. So, this won’t impact your score. What will affect your score is a County Court Judgement (CCJ) or filing for bankruptcy. A CCJ remains on your credit report for up to six years and declaring bankruptcy prohibits lenders giving your credit for 12 months. 

The findings: Only one fifth of respondents (20%) were aware that even if you have a criminal record, it won’t affect your credit score.

Myth 7. Unpaid student loans damage credit rating

Why people believe it: Part of being accepted for credit is based on how you repay loans and borrowed money. So, it’s fair to assume that because a student loan is a loan, how it’s paid back is taken into account when working out credit scores.

The facts: Students loans aren’t visible on your credit report, so don’t impact your credit score. This is because they’re paid back through salary deductions. However, any credit cards or additional loans you take out as a student — so anything other than your tuition fee or maintenance loan — will show on your credit report. 

The findings: Of those surveyed, just over a quarter (28%) knew that a student loan can’t affect your credit rating.

15 May 2019 Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money has analysed its Travel Money currencies to identify which destinations are on the rise for travellers looking to get away from mainstream tourist locations.

Four currencies have jumped up in use over the past four years, indicating the growing popularity of the countries. British travellers are choosing to stay closer to home as European destinations dominate some of the most bought currencies. 

The top currency climbers

Currency 2018 position 2015 position
Polish Zloty 7 14
Czech Krona 8 12
Hungarian Forint 13 20
Islandic Krona 15 18

Polish Zloty has leapt up in popularity, moving from the 14th most bought currency in 2015 to the 7th in 2018. Tourism data also demonstrates the growing attractiveness of Poland for international visitors as the country has seen record-breaking tourist numbers in the past two years. Its emerging music scene may be the reason for its growing number of visitors. Electronic music fans can join the floods of music lovers at Unsound Music Festival in Krakow and its popularity has led to expansion into other cities including New York, Prague and Minsk. For holidaymakers who love music, Poland could be a place to visit this year.

Czech Krona has climbed up the charts from 12th position to be the 8th most popular currency. Tourism data echoes the travel money trend with the country receiving a record 13.2 million international visitors last year. Since October 2013, its annual Signal Festival has showcased Prague’s architectural features using light art and new technology, where it  has been named among one of the best light festivals in Europe.

Hungarian Forint has experienced the biggest increase in popularity, flying up to the 13th most popular currency in 2018 from 20th place in 2015. Tourism statistics support the currency trend as visitors have increased by 5% in the past year . Budapest attracts hundreds of thousands of festival goers for its six day long Sziget Festival in August. Last year Brits dominated the festival as the second majority ticket buyers after local residents. Previous headliners such as Stormzy, Kendrick Lamar, Dua Lipa, Kasabian, Rihanna and David Guetta make it a must-see international music event.

Icelandic Krona’s popularity has been on an upward spiral in recent years, moving from the 18th most popular currency to the 15th. Iceland has experienced a recent tourism boom years with 2.2 million people visiting the country in 2017, a 24% increase on the year before(. Its popularity has been helped by the filming which took place there for the popular TV show Game of Thrones. 

Simon Taylor, Head of Travel Money at Sainsbury’s Bank said: “Our currency data shows that European destinations are popular with holidaymakers who are looking for cheaper short-haul flights for a cost-effective trip. When preparing for your getaway, make sure to check out the latest travel money deals beforehand to get the most bang for your buck so you can save your money for holiday treats instead.”

Top money tips for your next getaway from Sainsbury’s Bank:

1.     Deals: Check out deals on offer to save you from spending your money on holiday must-haves before you’ve even left the house. Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money is offering customers who take out a Sainsbury’s Bank travel insurance policy £5 off when they spend over £500 on travel money.

2.     Panic at the airport: Airport travel money kiosks often have poor exchange rates, which can leave you getting less holiday money in your pocket. Be sure to leave plenty of time before your holiday to get your vacation cash.Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money has an online exchange rate calculator which calculates how much more you could get for your money with a Nectar card.  You can also order travel money online with Euros and US Dollars for collection at any of our 260 Travel Money bureaux the following day.

3.     Friendly finances: If you’re heading away on a trip with friends, have a conversation with them before you go about how much they are planning to spend. This way you will all be on the same page while you’re away.

4.     Budget: On holiday it can be easy to get carried away with spending. Make a budget before you go and try your best to stick to it. Have a look at apps which split bills for you to save the hassle of working out how much everyone has to pay while you’re at the dinner table.

5.     Don’t get caught out: Did you know that without travel insurance you’re not covered if your holiday is cancelled or you’re not able to go? Don’t leave taking out travel insurance until the last minute, or you could end up out of pocket if anything happened to your holiday plans. Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance offer Nectar cardholders up to 20% off their travel insurance .

15 May 2019 The annual cost of being retired mounts up to £11,830 a year or nearly £230 a week, new analysis from the UK’s leading independent equity release adviser Key shows.

Costs mount up from spending on the basics such as food, clothes and utility bills while leaving some spare cash for eating out and entertainment, the analysis of the latest Government spending data shows.

The weekly bill of £227.50 per person needed to fund the basics amounts to 35% more than the full basic State Pension of £168.60 available for those who qualify, underlining the need for other sources of income in retirement.

The national average cost of retirement at £11,830 a year does not paint the full picture for the UK as a whole – the cost of retirement in the South East of England is nearly £4,000 a year more at £14,270 than in the West Midlands where the cost is £10,280.

Retired people in the South East, South West, London, East Anglia and the East Midlands all need to find more than the national average while the less expensive areas of the country include Wales, Northern Ireland and the North East of England.

Key’s analysis shows the two biggest weekly costs are utility bills – gas, electricity and water – and food with both accounting for 20% of spending. Both cost around £2,370 a year on average.

Transport, including the cost of running a car, eats up around 16% of bills while spending on entertainment costs around 23%.

The basic costs in retirement underlines the need to maximise income from all sources available including property. Key’s data shows retired homeowners using equity release plans take an average £76,500 in property wealth from their homes which is enough to fund six-and-a-half years of the basics without spending on anything else. The property wealth released would be enough to cover the shortfall between the State Pension and basic spending for nearly 25 years.

Will Hale, CEO at Key said: “With retirees needing 35% more than the full state pension provides, people need to think carefully about how they will bridge this gap.  Workplace and private pensions as well as savings and investments can help but for most people maintaining a decent standard of living in retirement means maximising all sources of income. Property is increasingly a major part of retirement planning with retired households literally sitting on more than £1 trillion of wealth.

“The money that older homeowners can access through equity release is substantial and is being used for a wide range of needs.  This includes helping other family members by gifting, boosting basic levels of retirement income and even paying for unexpected expenses or home maintenance. Good specialist advice is key to ensuring that older homeowners receive the most benefit from their property wealth and use it in the most appropriate way for them and their families.”

The table below shows how retired spending varies around the country:

Region Annual cost of a pensioner Weekly cost of a pensioner Compared to Weekly State Pension
South East £14,270 £274.40 +63%
South West £13,120 £252.30 +50%
London £13,060 £251.10 +49%
East Anglia £12,560 £241.50 +43%
East Midlands £11,870 £228.20 +35.3%
Yorkshire & The Humber £11,850 £227.80 +35%
Scotland £11,730 £225.60 +34%
North West £11,000 £211.50 +25%
Wales £10,520 £202.30 +20%
Northern Ireland £10,420 £200.40 +18.8%
North East £10,400 £200 +18.6%
West Midlands £10,280 £197.70 +17%
UK £11,830 £227.50 +35%

13 May 2019 Only one in three (34%) self-employed millennials, aged 23-38, currently have some form of pension saving, according to analysis from Fidelity International’s report ‘Generation Self-Employed’.

Being your own boss seems to be a compelling prospect for millennials in the workforce with three in ten (30%) saying they would like to work for themselves in the near future.

However, of those who are working for themselves, their finances do not seem to be in the strongest position as almost half (43%) of self-employed millennials do not feel they are saving enough for their future. Furthermore, one in four (26%) say they are struggling financially and another one quarter (24%) say they are not saving on a regular basis. Two thirds (66%) of self-employed millennials have no form of pension savings while three-quarters (74%) of self-employed millennials who are not saving for their future retirement say they simply cannot afford to.

Key reasons why self-employed millennials choose to work for themselves:

1 Freedom to choose where I work 94%
2 Starting their own business 86%
3 Earn a higher salary 82%

Fidelity International’s new report, Generation Self-Employed, explores how the self-employed are managing their personal finances and their attitudes towards saving and investing. It is clear to see the drive to earn a higher salary doesn’t equate with financial security. In fact, the report reveals 40% self-employed millennials have never heard of a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP).

Emma-Lou Montgomery, associate director for Personal Investing at Fidelity International comments: “It is never too early to save for retirement, especially for the army of ambitious millennials who want to work for themselves. The beauty of youth – never more so than when it comes to saving and investing – is that time is firmly on your side. Every penny you put aside in your 20s (or younger) will grow into something worthwhile, thanks to the magical power of compounding. This is when the returns you make on your hard-earned cash start to generate their very own returns. All without you having to do anything more than stay invested.”

“Fidelity’s calculations show investing early while still in your 20s could leave you £60,000 better off in retirement and it shows just how crucial it is for investors to take advantage of compounding by beginning their investment journey earlier on in life.

Investing at the age of 28 vs 38

“If an investor starts investing at the age of 28, putting £2,000 in the stock market every year for 20 years, receiving an annual return of five per cent, at the age of 48, their investment is worth a little over £69,000. If they stopped contributing money at this point, this is when the magic of compounding is ignited. Their savings increase exponentially over the next few years thanks to interest, with the portfolio’s value climbing to £159,154 by the time they are ready to retire at 65.

“If on the other hand an investor waits until they turn 38 before starting to invest, their portfolio is also worth just over £69,000 by the time they stop investing, aged 58. However, the money is given less time to work, as they head towards retirement. By 65, their pot has grown to £97,706 – £61,448 less, despite both contributing the same amount of money for the same period of time.”

Emma-Lou Montgomery adds: “The example shows just how powerful compounding can be and how investing when you’re younger offers significant rewards. There is a perception that becoming an investor requires age and experience and it’s a myth. In fact, the lesson is this – the sooner you plant the seed of investment, the higher your investment tree should eventually grow.”