Saturday, December 31, 2005

Sitemap: Story So Far

During the last few weeks we’ve looked at a number of different areas.


Banking: Top Value Current Account, Banks are Coy About Part 1
Consumer:How to Slash your Fuel Bills

Credit Cards & Loans:
Lower your Credit Card Bill, 5.6% Personal Loan, Money Watch: Personal Loans, 0% Balance Transfers...Be Careful, Credit Cards, Unhappy Marriage
How to Haggle (Part 1 & Part 2)
Financial Advice:
1st question to Ask an Adviser, Banks don't Tell You Part 1
, Health Warning: Advice Free Products
What is Home Insurance?, Reduce Home Insurance Premiums I, Virgin's Insurance Gimmick What is Critical Illness Insurance?, The Cost of Smoking
Civil Partnerships
Lottery/Premium Bonds:
Premium Bonds
Love & Money: Couples, Most Difficult Thing to Discuss, Cost of a Wedding & Insurance, Credit Cards, Unhappy Marriage, Marital Bliss & Inheritance Tax, Wedding Gifts from the Taxman
Misc: 3 things Men don't like Admitting, 10 Ways to Ger Richer in 2006, The Cost of Smoking, PFBlogs, Identity Fraud: Misplaced Hysteria, What's in your wallet?, Has Martin Lewis Jumped the Shark?
Mortgages: Save £2 500 pa, Free Mortage/Remortgage for Readers
State pensions, Final Salary,
Phone Bills:
Mobile Calls 1p per min, Call Mobiles for 3p/min, Cleverates not so Clever, Free Landline Calls, Free Calls: VoIP, Cheaper International Calls
Savings & Investments:
ISAs Part 1, ISAs 2: Mini & Maxi
Tax: 7 Ways to Beat the Taxman, What is Inheritance Tax?

Site Reviews:
Lifehacker, Simply Thrifty, Digg

Friday, December 30, 2005

Haggling Part 2: How To

There are several ways you can get money off the full price.

1 “Would you throw in the ……. for free?”. Especially for electrical products, ask for the batteries, cables etc to be added in without paying the extra.

2 Look for flaws, scratches or dents on electrical appliances or marks on clothing. Say “you’re unlikely to sell the item with that dent/flaw/scratch/mark at the full price”.

3 Use internet prices to negotiate. Take in a print out. Ask them to the match price. Cut out/fold over mentions of delivery charges….

4 Cash Price. If the store is offering 0% interest deals, ask for the cash price: usually it’s 5% cheaper

5 Buy out of season. Winter clothing in summer, summer clothing in winter

6 Don’t be afraid to walk away. If they want the sale they’ll negotiate

7 Pausing helps. Gives the salesperson time to consider & offer you a better deal.

Finally The worst thing that will happen is that they say no!

Based on article in Martin Lewis's book "The Money Diet"

Haggling Part 1: when & where
Award winning Current Account

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Mobile Calls: 3p per min (update)

Update 31/01/06

It is possible once again to get mobile calls fro 1p a minute.

Update 19/01/2006

Cleverates have increased their prices to 3p & the dial up number changed to: 0844 896 2525.

Clever Rates Not So Clever

Call mobiles for 1p per minute. How?

The special offer is from
Dial 0844 721 2525 from your landline. Then dial the mobile number.
Note the number you are dialling must in international number format.

Eg the number is 07712 345678 (international number is 00 44 7712 345678)
You dial 0844 721 2525 00 44 7712 345678

Normal BT charges are 12-21p/min weekdays.

Note it is a promotional offer, so keep a look out for price rises in the future. Thanks to Martin Lewis for the tip.

Related: Free Landline Calls, Free Calls: VoIP, How to Slash your Fuel Bills

Monday, December 26, 2005

Financial Advice: first question to ask...

Do you offer products from across the market?

ie are you independent or are you trying to sell me products from one firm?

Bans typically offer their own products only and some firms are "multi-tied". This means they offer from a restricted range of products & services.

Independent Financial Advisers use the IFA logo

Award Winning Current Account, Banks are Coy About

Haggling: where & when

Now, we're in the January sales period. Time to look at at haggling.
First thing to consider is when & where

1 The shop should be pretty deserted eg weekday mornings
2 If you are approached quickly by a sales assistant, they're on commission and want your business. Tell them you’ll find them in a minute. They’ll be more eager & ready to discount or offer something extra for free
3 If prices are already reduced, the shop should have more flexibility.

Based on an article in Martin Lewis's book "The Money Diet"

Haggling Part 2: How to
Award winning Current Account

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Civil Partnerships: financial implications

Civil Partnerships mean gay couples will have the same financial rights as heterosexual married couples.

This means they can benefit from
pensions if their partner dies & have inheritance rights to property. They can also divide up assets to reduce income & capital gains tax liabilities

However there are some downsides too, in the event of a “divorce”.
A court can order maintenance payments to paid, property transferred and pensions agreements altered.

Further information is available by
emailing me or visiting Swindon Gay Men's Health site.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Final Salary Pensions: important?

Rentokil has announced it is abandoning its Final Salary Pension Scheme. What does it mean?

Person works 40 years, final salary of £25 000.
They get a pension of 2/3s £25 000
=£16 667 a year.

Under Rentokil’s plans they would get £8 000 a year.
Quite a big difference.

The government & companies are trying to get us to sort out our pensions & retirement savings.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Award Winning Current Account

Is your current account rubbish? Yes

Would you like a 0% overdraft for a year? Yes
Interest free overdraft up to £2 500? Yes
Earn 5% interest paid on balances? Yes
Want £25 Cashback? Yes

It is possible through the Alliance Leicester Premier Current Account.

It has recently won the:

2005 Observer Cash Heroes Award
2005 Moneywise Magazine Best Current Account

The Cashback offer is only available through Financial Advisers
If you go to the branch/the internet: no cashback….no £25

When you apply: you also qualify for:

  1. Premium Regular Saver, pays 10.00% gross p.a./AER
  2. Get a credit card with 0% on balance transfers
  3. Chance to get further £50 bonus

Sunday, December 18, 2005

State pension: why the problem?

It was the 1925 Contributory Pensions Act that first enshrined 65 as the pensionable age for men, though it was 1946 before the scheme became universal.

In 1925 act, the life expectancy of a newborn male baby was about 56. Retirement was never envisaged as a stage that almost everyone would reach - and even those who did so could not expect to enjoy it for more than around 11 years, on average.
Compare that with today. Since 1946, life expectancy at birth has increased by about 10 years, and people who reach 65 can look forward, on average, to almost two more decades of life.

Apply the same reasoning as in 1946, and we would not be arguing about a rise in pension age from 65 to 67. We would be talking about working until you were 75 or 80, today's life expectancies for British men and women. Much as that might thrill the Treasury, it is a suggestion that would, one suspects, put the current furore in a certain amount of perspective.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

SIPPs: Fine wines, yachts & property

You may have read recently about SIPPs
These are Self Invested Personal Pensions. It was thought that you would be able to put property, fine wines & yachts into them from April 2006.

However the son of a Scottish Minister, Gordon Brown has halted the plans.

state pension plans in disarray it wouldn’t be good if the richest members of society were able to enjoy 40% tax relief on them.

ie the tax payer foots 40% of the bill.

Related State Pensions, Final Salary Pensions

Independent Financial Adviser Swindon

Welcome to my my Consumer & Financial Blog.
Hope you find the contents useful.

I am a local IFA (independent financial adviser) working for a national group of advisers, A.P. Financial Services.

I am a member of the Institute of Financial Planning & the Personal Finance Society.