This is Money Podcast
This is Money Podcast
About This is Money Podcast
What you need to know about money each week and what the news means for you, from the UK's best financial website.
Jeremy 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?
You'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?
There'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.
Where 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?
Inflation 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.
Are 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.
Those 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.
An 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.
What do you picture in retirement? Is it an early exit from the rat race to travel the world, a gradual step back and a bit of golf, or working until state pension age and then spending some time treating the grandchildren? We will all have a different image in our heads of what our retirement years might look like, but whatever that is it is important to think about another question: could you afford to do those things? While most of us will be saving into a pension, we often have little idea how much income it will need to provide when we retire and how big the pot will need to be to do that. Stepping into that gap is the now regular report from the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association, which helps paint a picture of what a minimum, moderate and comfortable retirement would look like – and crucially what it would cost. On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost, Simon Lambert and This is Money’s pension and investment editor, Tanya Jefferies, delve into the report and look at what it found. How do those retirement standards translate into reality, how much will the state pension cover, how much on top of that will people need and why has the minimum retirement income rocketed 20 per cent – far above official inflation? Simon speaks to Sam North, of eToro, for our weekly market update, who explains how a bang on expectations US inflation figure was received and why the FTSE 100 has made a good start to the year. Later on the podcast, the team look at inheritance tax, why it is catching more people in its net, how high house prices mean more families are seeing hundreds of thousands pocketed by the taxman and what can be done to make the much-hated tax work better and feel fairer. And finally, does using cash help you budget or is it a false economy. Simon says for him it’s the latter, but what do Georgie and Tanya reckon?
The New Year has arrived and with it promises of inflation falling and a ray of hope on energy bills. But even if Rishi Sunak halves inflation, as he claims he will, it would still be running at 5 per cent and his promise to get Britain back to growth may prove harder than the simple maths that sees inflation slow. Meanwhile, a slowdown in the rise of the cost of living doesn't mean things will get cheaper and the better energy price forecasts will still see costs at more than double what they were a year ago. So, will 2023 prove better or tougher for our finances? Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert delve into the prospects for the year ahead on this podcast. Plus, what is on the cards for the property market, for pensions and savers and why is Divorce Day tipped to be even bigger this year? And finally, the year is going to better financially for at least one person: the lucky January £1million Premium Bond winner who bagged the jackpot with less than £5,000 saved. Is it time we all stuck more in Premium Bonds, as the prize find is boosted?
Tumultous is a word that doesn't really do 2022 justice. Most people were looking forward to a year of calm as the Covid pandemic faded, but instead got turmoil and the cost of living crisis. In the UK, we mixed the global unrest dealt by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the inflation spike, with our own dose of political instability. A year in which you get through three Prime Ministers and four Chancellors is no ordinary one and the mini-Budget chaos led to the UK's own little self-inflicted financial crisis. That was dealt with by new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and new PM Rishi Sunak reversing all of Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss's giveaways and adding some tax hikes on top for good measure. So, where do we stand at the end of a year of double digit inflation, rapidly rising interest rates and a general sense of gloominess? Will next year be better? Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert take a look back at the big financial events of 2022 and look forward to 2023 on this special year end podcast.
First we had the great resignation and now we may be seeing a new trend emerge 'unretirement'. Amid the turmoil of the pandemic, Britain's economy threw up the puzzle of a dramatic rise in economic inactivity - as about 565,000 people dropped out of the workforce to a position where they were neither working or looking for work. These missing workers aren't claiming unemployment benefits but are somehow getting by under their own steam. The phenonomen is great enough that the ONS and Bank of England have looked into it and an inquiry by a House of Lords committee says that early retirement among those aged 50 to 64 may be the main driver of the trend. But there are also tentative signs of some of these people 'unretiring', so what is going on? On this podcast, Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert delve into the issue. Why do people want to take early retirement, why may some now be returning to work - and what would tempt more back to boost productivity and the economy? Plus, the team look at the stock market winners and losers of 2022 - and why the FTSE 100 managed to keep its head while other major markets suffered. Also on the agenda are log burners: can they really be cheaper than your central heating or are they just a feature for the home? And finally, used car prices have continued to defy the usual way of things and rise again this year, is that now coming to an end and what were the models that rose the most in value over 2022? Merry Christmas.
The Bank of England has hiked base rate from 0.1 per cent to 3.5 per cent in the space of 12 months, a move that would have been considered unthinkable not so long ago. But with inflation looking as if it has peaked, the economy probably already in recession, households and businesses feeling the squeeze, have we nearly reached the end of the rate hikes? When the mini-Budget chaos struck there was a belief that the Bank may have to go as high as 5.5 to 6 per cent with interest rates, now expectations have been downgraded and some suggest the peak may be 4 per cent. That would mean that we are nearly there. How likely is that and what would it mean for our finances and the economy? On this week's podcast, Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert look at how close we are to the end of the rate cycle and what it all means for mortgages and savings. Plus, it's not just the rate on their mortgage causing households concerns, the rapid rise in energy bills is hurting them too. Even with the energy price guarantee, bills are double what they were a year ago. A mild autumn cushioned the blow somewhat but as a cold snap and snow rolled in, households across Britain found themselves reluctantly reaching for the heating on button and thermostat. The team look at what people can do to keep themselves warm but save on energy and what might happen next to bills: Is an electric heater in one room cheaper than the central heating? Would insulating your home pay off? Will energy bills go back to normal? All that and more is up for discussion in an affording the heating special section.
The mortgage crunch has stalled the pandemic property boom and sent house prices down, but could they fall 20 per cent? The risk of a severe house price downturn of that magnitude was flagged by Rightmove founder and property market veteran Harry Hill. Hill’s CV includes setting up property giant Rightmove and selling estate agency group Countrywide for £1billion a year before the 2008 banking crisis. Hill told the The Mail on Sunday and This is Money: 'My view on the housing market is that it's going down in every direction. Transactions are going to go down. Prices are going to go down.’ He added that a bad recession would mean ‘we could see 20 per cent price reductions’. Could house prices fall 20 per cent from here? Why would it happen? How bad would that be? On this week’s podcast Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert discuss the prospects for the housing market, how the rapid rise in mortgage rates is affecting it and what prospective home movers or first-time buyers should do. Plus, they are joined by a very special guest: Lee Boyce, now Money Mail editor, is back on the podcast to discuss the Wooden Spoon award for the worst customer service of the year. Who are the runners and riders, what did they do wrong, and why does Simon nominate a couple of firms that aren’t even on the shortlist? Savings rates have been a rare bit of good new recently and Simon talks through the attraction of small building societies and how some are offering market beating rates but you might struggle to secure them. And finally, it’s time for a second special guest, John Mayhead, of classic car specialist Hagerty, who is joins Simon to discuss the insurer’s Bull List of ten classics it tips to rise in value next year. How do these classic cars get on the list, what makes them ripe for appreciation and what’s a Citroen BX doing rubbing shoulders with a Lamborghini Diablo?
Many people have not had to worry about paying tax on their savings and investments for some time. The advent of the £1,000 personal savings allowance combined with savings rates near record lows meant basic rate taxpayers would need big cash pots to incur 20 per cent tax on their interest. Meanwhile, even higher rate taxpayers with their lower £500 personal savings allowance needed reasonably large cash pots to pay 40 per cent tax on their interest. Many investors also didn't need to worry too much about capital gains tax, with a tax-free allowance of £12,300 per year. But things have changed: rising savings rates and fiscal drag pulling more people into the higher rate bracket mean that many more savers will now have to pay tax on interest - while Jeremy Hunt's tax raid on investors will see the capital gains tax allowance slashed to £6,000 and then £3,000. So do you now need to worry about tax on your savings and investments and what can you do? Georgie Frost, Tanya Jefferies and Simon Lambert dive into the world of savings and capital gains tax on this podcast. Unsurprisingly, the benefits of an Isa feature strongly, as do some other tips and a discussion of what this means for buy-to-let landlords and second home owners. Plus, there is a special guest podcast appearance from our pensions columnist Steve Webb to talk through a major victory for someone told by the DWP they were owed much less from a delayed state pension than they actually were - and an update on pension credit. And finally, has the used car price boom come to an end? Simon talks us through why some second hand cars - including popular electric ones - have seen their prices drop.
Savings and mortgage rates rocketed after what must now always be known as the 'ill-fated mini-Budget', but even as the Bank of England continues to raise rates have they already peaked. The top fixed rate savings deals have edged down from their highest levels - a five-year fix can no longer be had above 5 per cent, for example, while the best two year fix is at 4.75 per cent. So, if you want to lock into a good savings deal, should you grab one now? Or did rates simply race ahead of the Bank of England and the next round of base rate rises will bump them up some more? On this podcast, Georgie Frost, Helen Crane and Simon Lambert look at the potential future of savings rates and why even if they are slightly off their peak, you should still move your money from old accounts. But if a dip in the top savings rates is bad, the easing of mortgage rates is good news. Average two and five-year fixed rates rocketed all the way to above 6.5 per cent. The best five-year fix is now down to 5.95 per cent. But this is still way higher than it was, so where will mortgage rates settle and is it worth holding off? The team discuss that and the implication for both house prices and first-time buyers. And finally, an energy double header: On a serious note the energy price cap (which we won't pay due to the energy price guarantee) has jumped again, this time to £4,279 for the average household over a year. If we won't pay that, why does this matter? And on a lighter note, what happened when Harry Wallop (who refuses to let his family turn the heating on) tried out a bunch of oddball devices designed to warm the person not the room, ranging from an odd foot warmer, to a heated gilet, and a wearable sleeping bag that makes you look a bit like a crazy caterpillar?
‘Jeremy Hunt’s mini-Budget was like the tax part of the Corbyn manifesto with none of the benefits of the extra spending.’ That was This is Money editor Simon Lambert’s verdict on the Chancellor’s tax-hiking spree that painted a miserable picture of the years ahead, hit higher earners, and hammered small investors. In a blizzard of hikes – through threshold drops and stealth tax freezes – Hunt worked his way through a painful Autumn Statement, where good news was thin on the ground. The silver linings came from the government sticking by the pension triple lock and uprating benefits by inflation but the focus was on painful years ahead. Was this the right move? Why did Hunt feel the need to inflict tax pain – and spending cuts later on? How did we go from Rishi Sunak as Chancellor with a margin to hit his fiscal rules to Rishi as Prime Minister with a fiscal black hole? Georgie Frost and Simon discuss these questions and more and look at what the Autumn Statement means for people’ finances on this podcast. How much more tax will you pay? How much will your energy bills rise by? Who came out best and who came out worst? And can Simon come up with a note of optimism to end the show on? Listen to this Autumn Statement tax raid special to find out.
‘If they could tax the air you breathe they’d do it.’ That age-old moan about taxes going up has sprung to mind over the past week, as rumours about pretty much any tax you can think of being hiked were spread about. So many kites were flown about potential tax rises that even taxing selling your own home and bringing back the 50p rate were floated as potential Autumn Statement ideas troubling Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak’s minds. If all this came to pass it would surely become known as ‘the everything tax raid’. But will it come to pass? Probably not. You get the sense this is a massive exercise in softening up the nation, so that when some but not all taxes go up on Thursday, people breathe a sigh of relief. Yet could this bout of not-officially-encouraged-but-definitely-not-discouraged speculation do lasting harm to the economy? Simon Lambert argues that case on this week’s podcast, where he says with sentiment already heavily depressed going into a recession, striking the financial fear of God into the population might not be the best move. Simon, Georgie Frost and Tanya Jefferies discuss the tax hikes that have been rumoured and how likely they are to happen: one gets a minus two in five chance of occurring but others seem more likely. Also on this week’s podcast, will Hunt stage a raid on pension, either via tax relief or the triple lock? Plus, the story of how Tanya helped a podcast listener win back money after paying over the odds for her mother’s care home. And finally, if among all this gloom you’ve still got room to save, should you save or invest the money, or overpay your mortgage?
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