It’s an incredible shrinking world!

This article is for information only and no recommendation is being made or should be construed from the contents of the article. Always seek independent financial advice prior to taking any action.

It was two fingers from Cadburys when they reduced the weight of their Chocolate Fingers packs in 2015 and official figures show a whopping 2,500 products have shrunk in size but not in price since 2012!

Labelled as “shrinkflation” by the Office for National Statistics, their research shows products from chocolate bars to toilet rolls have all got sneakily smaller, giving us less for our money than before.

While smaller Crème Eggs, Toblerones and Dairy Milk bars may be a bitter truth to swallow, what’s really hard to stomach is how much your savings will have shrunk if you’re banking on a bank to look after them.

Just like some of our favourite foods, banks have shrunk what they give us by reducing interest rates in recent years, to the point where what we get falls short of the rate of inflation. This means, in terms of what your money is worth, your savings are actually shrinking!

While it’s a good idea to have cash you can access immediately in an emergency, many people just don’t realise that relying on bank savings accounts and cash ISAs comes at a cost, particularly if you plan to keep your savings there for three years or more.

Read more

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

This article is for information only and no recommendation is being made or should be construed from the contents of the article. Always seek independent financial advice prior to taking any action.

 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

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

This article is for information only and no recommendation is being made or should be construed from the contents of the article. Always seek independent financial advice prior to taking any action.

 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

This article is for information only and no recommendation is being made or should be construed from the contents of the article. Always seek independent financial advice prior to taking any action.

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!

This article is for information only and no recommendation is being made or should be construed from the contents of the article. Always seek independent financial advice prior to taking any action.

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!

Read more