The Bank of England raised interest rates at the beginning on this month – how will this affect your finances?

 The Bank of England (BoE) has increased the base rate to 0.5%. This is a 0.25% increase and is the first time the rate has gone up since July 2007.

Banks are not obliged to follow Bank of England interest rate decisions, but they can influence the cost of borrowing, or how much interest you earn on savings so although this recent change is small, it could have an immediate impact on your household finances.

While the decision brings higher costs for those with mortgages and other borrowings, it is positive news for savers, pensioners and some investors. We have looked at the impacts in further detail. Read more

An inquiry into pensions freedoms has been deemed critical with increasing number of scams and potential misspending.

 This inquiry is being led by MPs on the Work & Pensions Committee and it will cover a wide range of issues.

The outcome of the inquiry will deem whether policy changes are required. This work is a follow up to an inquiry undertaken by the Committee shortly after the reforms were introduced by the Chancellor George Osborne in 2015. Read more

Even with the Gender Pay Gap narrowing, there is still a large gender Pension Gap – how can this be addressed?

 Over the past decade or two, there has been a lot of progress in narrowing the gender pay gap. Positive recent reports from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) now say that the within the UK the gender pay gap for full-time employees is at a record low of 9.4 per cent.

To add to this, the government has put it’s support behind redressing this imbalance by introducing new legislation, making it a legal requirement for all businesses with over 250 employees to report data on the differential between what they pay their male and female staff.

However, one worrying statistic from a financial point of view is that there is still a large gender pension gap which is not being addressed at the same speed, or attracting a similar amount of publicity. Read more

Busted – the 7 biggest myths of investing

Think investing is only for the rich? You’re not alone. There are many myths about investing that simply aren’t true. Understanding what these are will help you become a savvy saver and get your money working much harder for you. Read more

Wake up and smell the coffee – banks Costa you more than you think!

Putting money in a standard UK bank saving account or cash ISA will see your savings shrink, not grow.

How come? Well, typical bank interest rates are below the cost of inflation – the amount prices rise and affect how much it costs us to live.

Let’s say you’ve had £1,000 in a high street bank savings or cash ISA account for the past 10 years. The average inflation rate over that period is 2.6 % (May 2007 to May 2017). Even if your bank paid you 1% interest – and most pay even less than this – this means your £1,000 now has the buying power of around £850 – £150 less than it was worth when you tucked it away!

That’s the equivalent of around 76 cups of Costa coffee down the drain!

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The secret to becoming wealthy – bypass the banks!

Why do the rich just seem to get richer? It’s a fact that money makes money and a key reason for this is due to compound interest.

It may sound like financial jargon but the way it works is simple. When you set up a savings plan, after a set amount of time you usually get a small amount of money added in the form of interest. This means you then have a bit more money than you started with. That slightly larger amount then attracts further interest, which is a larger sum than the first amount because your savings are more than you started with. The longer you keep your savings, the more the pot grows and the larger the amounts of interest you build up.

For example, if you earn the average UK salary of £27,271 and were able to save £227.26 every month (10% of your earnings) somewhere that paid you 7% interest a year, the compound interest would mean that in 10 years you’d have an amazing £39,564 Read more

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