Investment and Junior Isas – the weekend money sections blog

This weekend saw investment stories back on top, having increased from 22 per cent to account for 30 per cent for all personal finance coverage in the nationals, while tax articles dropped from 21 per cent down to 8 per cent and utilities from 5 per cent to just 1 per cent. Meanwhile, pension stories rose to 13 per cent from 10 per cent last week. A story that caught our eye was Jo Thornhill’s article in the Mail on Sunday (@mailonline) which focused on the campaign to block the pensions assault on the 50-something women who will be penalised by the reforms to the state pension coming in. Although savings stories fell from 18 per cent to 16 per cent a subject that was widely covered was the launch of Junior Isas. This scheme has generally been very well received – Holly Thomas (@holly_thomas_) at the Sunday Express covered the ins and outs of how they will work. However, Merryn Somerset Webb (@MerrynSW), FT Money highlighted concerns that investors should be first of all thinking about their own finances before their children. Still on the subject of children’s savings Leah Milner (@leahmilner) wrote in The Times about how to teach kids to be wise with money which should be coming from both home and school. The most prominent investment story was on Invesco Perpetual’s Neil Woodford and his view that now is the time to buy UK equities. Kathryn Cooper in The Sunday Times (@thesundaytimes) is backing him all the way while Julian Knight (@ukmoneyguru) in the Independent also looked at his investment views.  And the rest of...

Taxing the Budget –it’s the weekend papers blog

As was only to be expected following Budget week, the money sections of this weekend’s newspapers guided readers through the highs and the lows of the Chancellor’s much-debated policy changes. Tilting the scoreboard towards tax, there was a nine per cent rise in articles to 21 per cent as the papers drilled down to the finer details of Osborne’s Parliamentary speech. In the Mail on Sunday (@MailOnline) Stephen Womack presented readers with a clear rundown of exactly when and where the core tax changes will bite, whilst Rosie Murray West in The Telegraph (@TeleFinance) explained how to make the cuts work in readers’ favour, with tips on home buying options and Enterprise Investment Schemes. Looking at the Budget lows Alexandra Goss in The Sunday Times (@thesundaytimes) warned that the supposed gains of a raised tax threshold may not appear quite as kind when ballooning national insurance contributions are taken into account. In Saturday’s Times, Laura Whateley (@LWhateley) highlighted the possible knock-on effect to utility bills if energy companies pass the costs of carbon floor price tax on to already over-stretched households. Taking a more positive look at post-Budget savings, the biggest cheers were for the return of NS&I’s savings bonds, which were heralded in the Sunday Times  (@thesundaytimes) and by Emma Wall in The Telegraph (@TeleFinance) as a bit of good news in the bid to beat inflation. With The Daily Express (@dailyexpressuk) alerting savers to the need to act quickly to avoid the inevitable “stampede”, The Mail on Sunday (@MailOnline) also noted that the certificates are bound to prove popular and may not be around for too long…...

Mortgages steal the show in the weekend money sections

While last weekend’s money sections focussed on the political unrest in Egypt and the effects this would have on investing in the country, this weekend’s money sections were all about mortgages. These stories jumped from 8 per cent last week to 17 per cent this week and credit cards also saw a hike in coverage – quadrupling from just 2 per cent last week to 8 per cent. The overwhelming theme on mortgages was that although low rates have been good news for homebuyers up to now, nothing lasts forever. In the Independent, Julian Knight (@ukmoneyguru) and Chiara Cavaglieri highlighted the unparalleled stability of low interest rates that we are experiencing at the moment and how this translates to good news for mortgage holders. However, with the Confederation of British Industry predicting an imminent interest rate rise, anyone looking for a low fixed rate ought to act now. Rosie Murray-West in the Telegraph (@TeleFinance)  also drew upon this theme, pointing out that while many lenders are already putting up the price of fixed-rate mortgages, this trend only likely to continue as swap rates are soaring on the expectation of a Bank of England rate rise. Which?’s campaign against the surcharges placed on credit cards was responsible for a spike in credit card stories this week (@WhichMoney). The consumer body will launch a ‘super-complaint’ to force the Office of Fair Trading to examine these ‘rip-off’ charges. Simon Read’s column in the Independent looked at the companies who are guilty of excessive charges on credit card transactions. While each transaction only costs a business 20p to carry out, the consumer is...

An Aladdin’s cave of weekend money news

This weekend’s money sections were a colourful collection, taking readers on a personal finance treasure hunt. Whilst the many offerings haven’t impacted our weekly tally too much, MRM has continued to see a rise in savings stories which are up from 15 per cent last weekend to 18 per cent. Ali Hussain in The Sunday Times took a festive look at savings, highlighting the best financial gifts to buy children this Christmas. Although the Government will scrap CTFs from next year, Hussain notes that there is still time to open one for a baby born before the first of August 2010. He also highlights gold and silver coins as sensible ‘hard’ assets which can double up as interesting presents. As Jo Thornhill at The Daily Mail looked at the security of cash in Irish banks, Eurozone savings were also in the spotlight at the Financial Times, where Tanya Powley reported on the increasing numbers of savers seeking to move banks as the crisis rages on. Whilst the levels of investment (27 percent) and utilities (13 per cent) stories continued to fluctuate, the noticeable change was in the tally of pensions pieces which almost halved since last weekend, falling from nine per cent to five percent. What caught the eye of MRM however, was the repeat reference to the new pension on the block – immediate vesting personal pensions (IVPP). After a debut appearance in last Saturday’s Telegraph , Matthew Vincent at the Financial Times gave a critique of these tax-relief products which can provide attractive returns. Digging into the far corners of the money section cave, we also came...

‘Tis the season to…punt holiday stories: the weekend money sections

Looking at the tally of themes for this weekend’s money section it looks to be all quiet on the western front with no noticeable shift in column inches dedicated to each topic. However, we have noticed a theme emerging which is apt since it has become distinctly chillier in the last week. Yes, winter has arrived with a vengeance and the holiday season will be soon upon us. Travel insurance, more specifically ski cover, was picked up in several of the money sections. Mark King (@markking1974) in the Guardian warned fans of the mountains not to cut back on insurance in the recession as it could end up costing you a staggering £25,000 plus should you have a mishap. Esther Shaw (@EstherShaw79) seconded this view in the Sunday Express advising readers to ensure they are sufficiently covered when they hit the slopes. Ali Hussain in The Sunday Times kept his travel insurance piece more general, informing readers how to beat the rise in insurance premium tax in January that will most likely be passed on to consumers. The pinnacle of the holiday season, Christmas, gave Alexandra Goss in The Sunday Times an excuse to pull together 10 tips to cut spending over the festive period, while Richard Evans in The Daily Telegraph suggested shoppers carefully consider their credit card selection for Christmas spending. In other news it would be remiss not to mention the plethora of coverage that Ireland’s banking crisis received from The FT, Daily Mail, Guardian and Sunday Times. General sentiment seems to suggest that savers are advised to double check if their savings come under any...

The not-so-happy news about mortgages and pensions in the mid-week money sections

This week the money sections have decided to delve into the worlds of pensions and mortgages and we are sad to report that it does not make for a cheerful read. James Coney in Money Mail focused on how UK mortgages are giving unfortunate homeowners the worst value in the world with the highest mark up.  James Coney and Lauren Thompson went on to highlight, by way of a special investigation, that banks simply are not lending to would-be homeowners, as a report from Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reveals that the amount of money handed out to homeowners in August was the lowest for a decade. In light of this CML research, along with the latest lending figure from Halifax, Joanne O’Connell in the Daily Express gave some handy tips for those looking to get on the first rung of the housing ladder. She cited options such as living for free (in vacant homes through either property guardianship or short life housing) and asking parents for help. Pensions also made their way onto the pages for the money sections, looking at how to save enough for retirement and close the pension gap. Both the Express and the Mail looked into pensions on the back of the latest report by Aviva which revealed that Britons need to save an extra £10,300 a year for a comfortable old age – Holly Thomas (Daily Express) looked into the options for saving such as ISAs and employer schemes, while James Salmon (Money Mail) concentrated on the sad state of the nation’s pension provisions with payouts at record lows. In other news, Graham...

Tax and retirement stole the show in the money sections this week

The mid-week money sections covered a mixed bag of financial goodies. The Mail and the Telegraph opted to focus on tax and the fiasco that is ensuing since the HMRC revealed it had been making errors on our PAYE forms. James Coney and Becky Barrow warned that this might just be the tip of the iceberg and that experts fear many more people could be hit by unexpected tax demands. The Telegraph continued this theme with five helpful ways to check that your tax bill is correct. Holly Thomas of the Express looked at retirement and the issue of urging workers to start saving for their retirement as early as possible. Aviva’s latest report has thrown to light that people starting work today will live an estimated 92 years. Harvey Jones in the Express stayed on the theme of the Autumn of life and suggests that pensioners can unlock their home’s spare capital through equity release, which is an increasingly popular option. The Mirror focused on the dark topic of loan sharks and the outrageous interest they charge (up to 3000%). Campaigning group End Legal Loan Sharking is calling for a cap on rates charged by doorstop lenders and has high hopes that the ConDem government will listen. If you would like to join a campaign about a similarly appalling rate of interest (payday loans) feel free to follow http://2356percent.co.uk/. The rest of the scores on the board this week were as follows: Charity                  12% Credit cards        0% Fraud/scams      12% IFAs                        0% Insurance            6% Investment        0% Mortgages         12% Pensions             6% Regulation         0% Savings                17% Tax                        23%...

Payday loans were in the hot-seat this weekend…

Due to the extensive coverage and in homage to our one and only Mr Ian Thomas (founder of http://2356percent.co.uk/) we thought it was apt to cover the Consumer Focus report recently published. Mark Bridge in The Times focused on the report highlighting that banks need to offer affordable short-term loans as alternatives and that concern over these types of loans has lead to some US states banning them. Simon Read in The Independent warned consumers are turning to payday loans again and again rather than use them as a last resort as the government funded Consumer Focus calls for the industry to be reformed. In his comment for the Independent on Sunday he fully put the blame for consumers turning to these lenders on the banks shoulders and their ‘couldn’t give a damn attitude’. In other news, there were oodles of investment stories in this weekend’s money sections, accounting for over a third of all PF stories. Although the range was expansive what caught our eye was the focus on emerging markets opportunities in the FT Money and Mail on Sunday. Our one to watch this week will be the publication of the latest ONS figures on inflation, rumours are it’s not looking pretty… Round up of topics was as follows: Charity                  0% Credit cards        4% Fraud/scams      4% IFAs                       0% Insurance           9% Investment       39% Mortgages         12% Pensions            7%  Regulation         1% Savings               8%  Tax                       9%...

Hurray, the compulsory annuity has been retired…

The annuity is dead (ok, not exactly dead but at least no longer compulsory) and as our stalwart pensions guru Steve Bee said in the Sunday Times: “What we choose to do with our money has nothing to do with anyone else.” Hear hear. Annuities were a focus throughout the weekend papers with Mark King in the Observer detailing the two-track solution where an investor can choose between capped or flexible drawdown schemes. King stated that a benefit of the annuity changes is that those who still want to purchase one will be able to pick their moment to ensure they get the best possible rates. Stephen Womack also wrote in the Mail on Sunday about the changes set for annuities and the freedom that people will have when deciding what do to with their pension pot. However, on  the other side of the fence was the Sunday Express which featured a piece warning that these changes will only benefit a small proportion, most likely those with large funds. Tim Whiting at The Annuity Bureau pointed out that the vast majority will still need to access income as soon as they finish working so will not be able to defer their buying an annuity. On this same theme Nina Montagu-Smith issued a word of caution in the Sunday Times that relatives who are left pension funds will now face a tax rate of 55% on the money left over. Another potential pitfall mentioned is a pension pot running out if an annuity has not been bought. Still on the subject of annuities Josephine Cumbo at FT Money looked into...

Savers rejoice and commiserate in the mid week money sections this week

The mid-week money sections have gone to town on the news that the banks have been ordered to slash the time they take to transfer cash Isas and pay interest for every day of the process. Tony Hazell and Sylvia Morris of the Money Mail claimed a ‘stunning’ victory after campaigning for two years on this issue while The Daily Mirror’s Graham Hiscott celebrated the watchdog slamming banks for their shoddy handling and put a figure of £20 million as the amount savers will err…save. Not to miss out the Express also covered this monumental ruling with Esther Shaw touting the victory for savers. After all this triumphant saver coverage it seems a shame to bring down the mood but unfortunately in other news the humble saver is not having such a rip roaring time. Tricia Phillips of the Mirror looked at the plight of savers who are not eligible to put their money in the best savings deals and Sylvia Morris wrote in the Mail about the savers who will find their income halved due to maturing fixed rate bonds. But enough doom and gloom – to lighten the mood Rosie Murray-West in the Telegraph money section informed readers of the top five paying Isas as Consumer Focus estimated that a staggering 15 million savers could be losing out on up to £3bn in interest every year – you have been warned! Other saving related story’s included, for the iPhone users among you, the top 10 money-saving apps for the spanking new iPhone (that is once you’ve learnt to hold it correctly) in the Mail. Vouchercloud gets our...