28 Dec 2017  Many UK families will enter the New Year with a resolution to sort out their finances and research from OneFamily has revealed that forgotten pension pots may be a good place to start.

Millions of savers admit to losing track of their pensions savings, with just 47% saying they know who their provider is. Savers are also in the dark about how much they have put away with one in three workers (32%) saying they have no idea what they have saved and a further third (37%) saying they only have a vague idea.

To help people get on top of their retirement savings this January, OneFamily has the following advice:

  • Contact old employers. If you think you may have had a pension through an old job contact the HR team at the company who should be able to point you in the right direction
  • Combine your pots: Sometimes multiple pots can seem like too much to manage – over one in 10 people (13%) has three or more to keep track of – you can combine all your savings into one account to make it easier to keep track of, however you need to check any fees you may need to pay if you are moving money
  • Track down lost pots: Get in touch with old providers so you can map out what money you may have sitting with them. The Government provides a handy Pensions Tracing Service to help you find lost pots
  • Start young: There are lots of options to help top up your retirement savings. While many people might take advantage of a Lifetime ISA for the money towards a deposit on their first property, they are also a great product for under 40s to start putting extra money away for retirement
  • Check just how much you are saving for retirement: While auto-enrolment has seen more people than ever saving into a pension, at present the minimum saving is 2% (of which at least 1% must be paid by your employer). While there are plans to increase this over time to a total of 8%, you may not be putting an adequate amount away to reach your goals for retirement, so check now to avoid problems down the line. Your provider should also send you an annual statement which you can review.
  • Talk to a financial adviser. Taking financial advice when you are thinking about how much you need to save for retirement, or when you are getting close to could help you make the most of your pensions savings and inform you about other products that might help both before and during retirement
  • Make the most of what you have once you reach retirement: For those nearing retirement, they might feel their existing savings will not enable them to achieve the level of income they need. However, there are other ways to boost the cash you’ll need for retirement. Many people are using equity in their home and releasing it using products like OneFamily’s Lifetime Mortgages to help them achieve their goals.

Simon Markey, OneFamily CEO, commented: “The start of New Year is a great opportunity for savers to get their existing investments in order, plus think about the future and what they might need. Tracking down and keeping on top of existing savings is the first step, but also thinking about what you might need in your later years, and how you plan to fund them, is equally important.

“For those nearing retirement who may find they don’t have as much put away as they hoped, there are a number of alternative ways to fund it. Lifetime mortgages are becoming an increasingly popular option as people take advantage of the value hidden in their homes, and over the last year, the number of people using these has increased by nearly 60% as homeowners take advantage of the house price increases we have seen over the last few years.”

For useful information on managing your finances visit the OneFamily Hub and the Pensions Tracing Service can be found by clicking here. 

27 Dec 2017  Financial New Year’s Resolutions from Samantha Seaton, CEO of Moneyhub Enterprise


  1. Change unhealthy spending habits

Notice when you’re engaging in bad money habits, whether it’s unnecessary daily spending, prioritising short term goals or not taking financial advice when it’s needed. Once you have identified if you’re engaging in these kinds of behaviours then you can begin to put plans in place to enable you to take control of your financial wellbeing. Traditional guidance would have been to put aside an hour a week to undertake financial admin but modern money management tools like Moneyhub will make this easier and help you understand how to make your money work harder for you.

  1. Make realistic budgets and set spending limits

Make sure you have an accurate list of all of your outgoings including your rent or mortgage, utility bills, council tax, fuel and food. The more realistic you are about your spending the easier it will be to get results from your plan, so factoring in things like eating out and socialising is essential. Modern money management tools make this easy by tracking and categorising your spending for you and tracking your goals for you. Remember, assign as much as you can to debt repayment as the sooner you can pay off your credit, the less you’ll pay in interest, saving you money in the long run.

  1. Use platforms to keep track of finances in one place

Use money management tools to see all of your spending and saving in one place. This makes it easier to understand your money as the spending analytics can show you exactly where your money goes each month and nudges can remind you if you’re about to exceed a spending goal, if a bill is due for payment, and even identify opportunities to save.

  1. Make a repayment / savings plan

Once bills are covered each month then your focus should turn to debt repayment and savings. Repaying debts should take priority over saving as the interest due on loans is likelier to be higher than any interest earned in cash ISAs, leaving you out of pocket in the long run. Don’t forget, if you can afford to pay off a larger percentage of your loan then make sure you won’t be charged for paying them back early.

  1. Ask for help if you need it

At this time of year, it may seem like every other TV and radio advert is for a debt management company. While this may feel like a tempting option if you need support, remember that their help comes at a cost. There are numerous charities and government organisations that are set up to help people struggling with debt, for free. Companies like National Debtline, the Money Advice Service, Stepchange and Citizens Advice offer free debt advice, and some can even contact the credit providers on your behalf to set up a payment plan that works for both of you. Once you have a plan modern money management tools, like Moneyhub analyse your data for you and give you nudges to help you stay on track and identify opportunities to save more money.

26 Dec 2017 During the festive season, pension and retirement planning is rarely top of people’s “to do” list. But once the excitement of Christmas has passed, organising your future finances can be a great way to kick start the New Year, making sure you save enough for the retirement you’re hoping for.


Peter Bradshaw, National Accounts Director, Pension Monster offers five top tips to help people put their finances in order ready for the New Year:

  • Swot up on your financial future: It’s crucial to understand how to provide for your future. There are many tools and services available that will enable you to forecast your budget and create a savings plan. One great example is Pension Monster which explains different options and offers free online guidance in just a few clicks.  It helps you to plan realistic savings goals and see how much you need to budget in order to meet them.www.pensionmonster.com
  • Start saving now (if you havent already!): It may sound obvious but the sooner you start your contributions the longer they have to grow ahead of retirement, plus building up a ‘nest egg’ removes temptation to use it for something else and encourages a regular saving habit.  So, don’t delay, start saving today!

  • Changing jobs? Dont forget to keep track of your existing pension entitlements. : For many, the start of the New Year means the chance to rethink career choices. Don’t forget to stay in touch with your former pension schemes to receive annual statements, that way you’ll know just how much you’ve got tucked away, before you consider your next savings.

  • Talk to the professionals: It will help clarify exactly what your options are and help you get the best returns to achieve your retirement objectives.

  • Stay on top of your finances: Once you have set a financial plan, make sure to review it regularly and budget accordingly. Yearly statements and forecasts are available for all pension plans, making it easy to monitor your savings and view how well your long-term savings are performing for you.

20 Dec 2017  Five money-saving tips for drivers over the festive period, by Freddy Macnamara, CEO and founder of pay-as-you-go insurer Cuvva

  • Plan your parking

o   Shopping centres are infamously overpriced for parking, so side roads, local public car parks, and apps which let you rent other people’s driveways by the hour are alternatives which shouldn’t be overlooked – with a bit of research, you can avoid hefty charges.

  • Shop around for petrol

o   If you’re driving up and down the country over Christmas, check online before you leave to find out where the cheapest petrol is en route – whatever you do, don’t get stuck topping up at a motorway station.

  • Time your journeys

o   Christmas traffic is always a bore, but it also hits your wallet – keeping your engine running whilst you stop and start will see you get through far more petrol . The afternoon and evening of Friday 22nd is set to be the busiest for drivers, so consider whether early morning journeys are feasible for you to avoid the jams.

  • Only insure yourself for the time you need to drive

o   If you’re staying with family for a week or two and want to get insured on someone else’s car for the odd journey, rather than paying for a full month or week’s insurance, it may be more cost-effective to use a pay-as-you go policy. With Cuvva, you can pay by the hour so you only pay for the time you’re behind the wheel.

  • Look out for car-sharing opportunities

o   Avoid huge public transport costs by coordinating your journeys. Whether it be planning with friends & family or using lift sharing sites, splitting the cost of car journeys is often cheaper than a train ticket.

20 Dec 2017  For those planning to do some last-minute Christmas shopping – you have been warned: 12pm on Friday 22 December is set to be the busiest time for cash withdrawals at Santander ATMs across the UK.

Analysis of Santander’s own data shows that in the last two years, the last Friday before Christmas has seen a spike of ATM usage, with midday being the busiest time. Around £10 million has been withdrawn in this hour alone in the last couple of years.

Separate research commissioned by the bank – which looked into people’s spending habits around the festive period revealed the top reason for taking out cash during this period is to give as Christmas gifts.

When it comes to buying the Christmas tree, going out for festive drinks and shopping at Christmas markets, cash is also the preferred method of payment. However, the most popular way to pay for Christmas presents and food for Christmas lunch is to use a debit card.  Over a quarter of people (28 per cent) say they now use cash less than they did a year ago.

Santander’s research also revealed that 70 per cent of money conscious Brits will be monitoring their expenditure over the Christmas period. Twelve per cent will spend only cash in order to keep a rein on their finances. A third (33 per cent) will be checking their bank balance regularly while a fifth (19 per cent) will be sticking to a festive budget. However, one in five (21 per cent) admit to not monitoring their spending and simply hoping for the best.

Santander is urging shoppers taking out their Christmas cash to keep themselves safe – worryingly only two thirds (64 per cent) memorised their PIN when they last used a cash machine and only 62 per cent shielded the number pad when entering their PIN.

Matt Hall, Head of Banking and Unsecured Credit at Santander commented: “It’s tempting to splash the cash in the run up to Christmas, especially if you are buying things at the last minute. From mobile banking to overdraft alerts and our Spendlytics app, we offer many ways to help customers keep an eye on their money and expenditure.

“And remember, if you’re planning a last-minute dash to the cashpoint, keep your money and details safe. Busy cashpoints can mean rich pickings for criminals.”

14 Dec 2017  A new set of insurance products are being launched that have been designed to cater specifically for the burgeoning sharing economy of AirBnB hosts and parking space rentals by a new entrant to the market.

The new company, Inlet, claims to have spotted a significant gap in the market that is being under-serviced and overcharged by current insurance policies. Louise Birritteri, CEO, explains, “The sharing economy has really taken off in the last couple of years but what people don’t realise is that, in most cases, their standard home or landlord insurance policy won’t cover them for losses or their liability for these types of short term letting activities – whether that’s letting a room in their house or renting out a parking space.”

“Some insurance providers do offer a level of cover for these sorts of arrangements in their annual policies but it often falls short of what the customer actually needs. It means that they don’t have the right cover and also end up having no choice but to pay over the odds for year-round insurance when, in most instances, they only need cover for a limited number of days a year.”

Inlet is launching with ten products covering four main product areas and plans to grow that to around 35 during 2018. The products areas that are available now:

·         Host insurance – cover for homeowners, tenants and landlords for the letting of rooms, annexes and whole houses

·         House swap – cover for homeowners and tenants who are house swapping

·         Landlord protection – cover for landlords to protect themselves should tenants sub-let their  property, with or without their knowledge

·         Parking host – cover for people letting their garage, driveway or allocated parking


These add-on products retail at around £1/day for Parking host and from £1.50/day for Host insurance. For clients to be eligible for cover, they must have an annual home insurance policy in place.

Birritteri continues, “With Inlet’s insurance products, people can buy cover they need ‘on-demand’, from a broker or direct, at a fixed daily price, for pretty much any period they like. Using the Inlet website, it takes no more than 2-3 minutes to arrange and costs from as little as £1 a day. We’ve also recognized that paying by the day can get expensive quite quickly, so we also offer packages for 35 and 90 days’ cover, as well as full year cover. Our aim is to make sure people only pay for what they need, at the most appropriate price, so they don’t end up wasting some of the valuable income they earn from asset renting on insurance they don’t need.” 

Inlet has designed its products to run alongside standard home and landlord policies on offer from any insurance provider. It means that the generation of AirBnB-ers can now get best of both worlds – the best deals for both their standard and shared economy cover avoiding the need to be tied into expensive home or landlord policies that offer both.

13 Dec 2017  Thousands of UK adults have no idea that they are credit checked for financial products, from utility bills, mortgage applications and credit cards, according to a new study from Amigo Loans.

The research found that more than 51% of UK adults have never checked their credit score, meaning that thousands could be in for a nasty shock if they are declined when applying for financial products. Utility bills including electricity (63%) and gas (62%) and mobile phone contracts (37%) were amongst the everyday financial products that individuals didn’t realise could impact on their credit.

Almost a quarter of consumers also didn’t know they would be credit checked when applying for a credit card meaning they are potentially hindering their chances of getting one. When you are credit checked and declined it can actually damage your credit score further. This means unknowingly, many Brits could be making future applications ever harder. The numbers are even higher amongst 18-24 year olds with 42% failing to realise that an application for a credit card can impact their credit score if they are refused.

With property rentals on the rise, it’s concerning that 60% of adults didn’t know that in order to rent the property their credit could be checked first. And nearly a quarter of UK adults also hadn’t realised their credit would be checked when applying for a mortgage.

Lenders and banks use your credit score to judge how trustworthy you are and the level of risk involved in lending to you. Damaging it could severely impact an individual’s ability to be able to borrow from a lender, especially a mortgage or a loan.

Kelly Davies, Chief Communications Officer at Amigo Loans, which commissioned the study said: “Credit checking, credit scoring and pretty much the whole ‘credit history’ system is more mysterious than the Bermuda triangle for most of us Brits. It’s so clandestine and it needs to change because not knowing can really mess up a person’s chances of borrowing. The whole system needs reviewing; I’m not a fan of credit scoring because it can alienate people unfairly.”

There are a number of credit reference agencies available which allow people to check their score before applying for credit including EquifaxExperian and TotallyMoney

Top things people DIDN’T know you were credit checked for:

  1. Electricity direct debit payment – 63%
  2. Gas direct debit payment – 62%
  3. Property rental – 60%
  4. Retail finance – 51%
  5. Overdraft extension – 50%
  6. Store cards – 47%
  7. Car finance – 38%
  8. Mobile phone monthly contract – 37%
  9. Personal loan – 26%
  10. Mortgage application –24%
  11. Credit card –23%

Top tips for improving your credit score:

  1. Double check you’re on the electoral register. Lenders use the electoral register to confirm an individual’s address and location and fight against identity fraud.
  2. Try not to have a high balance on your credit card. Lenders may view this as excessive debt and think you have an inability to repay.
  3. Make sure to pay your bills on time, or ahead of time, a good credit score will be built up over time.
  4. Do not make multiple applications for credit as this can impact your record negatively.
  5. If you notice anything unexpected on your credit report you could be a victim of identity fraud, i.e. someone could have applied for credit in your name, contact the credit reference agency who will try to resolve the issue, alongside the lender.
  6. Only apply for credit which is necessary – applying for more than four a year can lower your score.
  7. Cancel old credit card agreements and out of date credit cards, such as store cards you no longer use, as this will still show on your file. Lenders will be cautious about the possible size of your debt.
  8. If you are divorced or separated, cut all financial ties and make sure your former partner’s details are eliminated from any joint accounts. The credit history of anyone you are financially associated with, such as a joint bank account with a spouse, can affect your credit rating.

12 Dec 2017  With shoppers set to spend nearly £700 in total on Christmas this year – £100 more than last year – M&S Bank is encouraging motorists to check their car insurance before heading out Christmas shopping, ensuring the gifts they’ve purchased aren’t at risk from opportunistic thieves this festive season.

Research from M&S Bank has shown that the average Christmas shopper is expecting to spend £411 on presents and £289 on food and drink, a total of £700.

Festive shoppers will make between three and four trips to the shops to stock up for Christmas, with the main shopping trip expected to increase the vehicle’s contents by over £550 on average, which includes around £300 on presents and £257 on food and drink, which could be put at risk if left in an underinsured car.

Nearly half (46 per cent) will put their Christmas shopping at risk over the next few weeks by leaving it in the car – an increase of 10 per cent on last Christmas*. This includes taking presents back to the car in between shops to reduce the amount they have to carry (29 per cent), taking presents back to the car before heading out to dinner, the cinema or to Christmas markets (10 per cent), or keeping presents hidden in the car when they get home (seven per cent).

A spokesman for M&S Bank explained: “With just a couple of weeks until the big day, Christmas shopping is now well underway for many people.

“However, it’s often overlooked that the contents of your vehicle can prove a real target for opportunistic thieves, particularly at Christmas time. That’s why we’re urging shoppers to make sure they’ve got adequate car insurance to cover their Christmas shopping, should the worst happen.”

M&S Bank top tips for keeping your shopping safe this Christmas:

  • Keep shopping bags covered and locked in the car boot – they could be tempting for opportunistic thieves if left visible
  • Never leave expensive electrical items in view – make sure smartphones, tablets or games consoles are safely locked away or removed from the vehicle
  • Don’t make it easy for thieves – be sure to fully close all windows and roof panels and always lock the vehicle, even if you’re just getting a ticket for the car park
  • Don’t leave receipts in shopping bags – so you’ve got them to hand should the worst happen
  • Check your car insurance policy – make sure you know what your policy does and doesn’t cover

11 Dec 2017  All of Yorkshire Building Society’s variable rate savings accounts receive a 0.25% interest boost from Thursday (14 December) and there’s no time like the present to start the savings habit.

Variable rate accounts are now a much more attractive option for those looking to build a nest egg

Recent research from Equifax revealed that 43% of British adults don’t have any personal savings set aside for unexpected financial events, however the Yorkshire suggests this is easy to remedy.

For instance, by putting just £50 a month, the equivalent of buying a coffee shop latte every day for a month, into Yorkshire’s monthly regular saver account, which rises to 2%2 on Thursday, a customer would save £605 a year or £1,223 over two years which is the full term of the account.

The Yorkshire Building Society was the first of only one of a small number of providers to pass on the whole of the recent Bank Rate rise to savers.

Louise Halliwell, Savings Manager at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “Variable rate accounts are a great choice for someone starting their savings journey because these accounts offer flexibility to access money easily without penalty.

“They are also great for watching your money grow – little and often is the best way to save.

“Getting started can be a bit daunting, that’s why we offer a saving health check in our branches and agencies to give savers guidance on the best account for them.

“It has been a tough few years for savers so we’re delighted to be able to pass on the full Bank Rate increase. We hope by providing this interest rate boost it will encourage more people to start the savings habit.”

11 Dec 2017 With the Christmas period fast approaching, people across the country are already preparing to make changes to improve their finances in 2018.

In a recent survey to help promote a better understanding of Basic Bank Accounts, Virgin Money found that one in six people expect the cost of Christmas to mean they are likely to use their overdraft over the festive period, which would equate to over 8 million people across the UK. Of those likely to use their overdraft this Christmas, 42% say they will struggle to afford the interest charges that they will incur as a result of being overdrawn.

Although the festive period is not yet in full swing, people are already thinking about how they can improve their finances in the New Year. Over half (53%) want to be more in control of their money than they are at the moment and to achieve this, 41% of people intending to make a New Year’s resolution will look to manage their money and finances better in 2018.

While the research shows that overdraft charges will be unaffordable for some, many are unaware of the benefits a Basic Bank Account can offer. Nearly one in two are unaware of bank accounts that can prevent people going overdrawn and therefore avoid overdraft charges.

Basic Bank Accounts have many of the key features of a current account, but protect customers from the costs of going overdrawn, and charge no unpaid item fees. However, a third of people believe Basic Bank Accounts are only available for the financially excluded who are unable to get another type of bank account.

A spokesman for Virgin Money said: “Although most people look forward to the Christmas party season, the financial hangover can be painful for many. Rather than waiting until January, I’d encourage people to take control of their finances now, by making sure they have the right account to achieve their money goals in the New Year.”

“Many people believe that a Basic Bank Account is only for people on lower incomes or the financially excluded. That could mean some are missing the opportunity to take control of their finances and avoid unexpected overdraft charges. Opening a Basic Bank Account could be the first step towards financial health for a much broader range of people than you might expect.”