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The GuardianMortgages are now the most affordable since the mid-1990s, says HalifaxThe GuardianUnsurprisingly, the 10 least-affordable areas are mainly in London and the south-east. The London boroughs of Brent and Haringey are said to be the least affordable places in the country, with average mortgage payments on a new home loan eating up 61.1 ...
The TimesJoin the race to remortgageThe TimesBorrowers are scrambling in record numbers to take out fixed-rate mortgages before an expected rise in the Bank of England base rate. This month 25 lenders, including Barclays, Halifax, NatWest and TSB, raised the cost of mortgage deals, including 11 ...and more »
The TimesGood news for landlords looking for a mortgage dealThe TimesLast year buy-to-let lending fell to a four-year low, according to the Bank of England. Buy-to-let loans now make up 12.7 per cent of total mortgage lending — in 2016 it was 21.4 per cent. John Eastgate of Kent Reliance, a specialist buy-to-let lender ...
The Times'Daughter can't use my ticket gift'The TimesI bought two tickets for Hamilton the musical as a present for my daughter and her friend to see the show in July. I paid with my bank card, but I will not be attending. The booking confirmation, however, says: “You will receive your tickets via ...and more »
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To Save or To Clear the Debts?

You may have noticed that your savings aren’t doing a lot to pay their way these days. Pensioners are badly hit as many of them use the interest from their life savings to pad out the weekly amount they get from the state. Many mortgage payers are happy as their payments have come down, but just about everyone else with savings is in the situation where the real value of their money is falling because interest payments aren’t as high as inflation.

 The average rate for UK instant access accounts including current accounts was around 0.17% at the end of February and we’ve had another cut in the Bank base rate of half a percent since then. Despite that, with credit hard for many people to come by; credit limits being cut by the card companies and worries about job losses, if you can, it’s best to have some savings on hand for an emergency. And the latest figures show that people are saving more. There’s nearly £1,000 billion of savings in our banks and building societies and another £90 billion in National Savings.  

In terms of interest you may as well keep your money under the bed – but then that’s probably the first place a cash strapped burglar is going to look. Fixed rate bonds pay slightly higher rates than instant access accounts. National Savings and Investments products are increasingly popular because people want to know their money is safe whatever the interest rates and they have a 100% government deposit guarantee. It’s never been more important to shop around and don’t be slow to move your money to higher interest rate paying accounts. Keep a close check on any accounts you do have to see what interest you are being paid. The financial pages of the newspapers are good for advice on which accounts are paying the best rates but these change frequently. 

Once you’ve got your emergency fund in place if there’s any money left over think about clearing expensive debts. There’s no point in having a lot of money sitting in an account getting 2.5% interest if you’re paying off loans or credit card accounts at interest rates in the high teens and 20’s. Homeowners are paying off their mortgages too. Some who’ve seen their monthly payments fall are continuing to pay at the old rate so that they clear their mortgages more quickly.

If you have a lot of savings think about getting some financial advice. Your money may not be doing as well for you as it could and a good Independent Financial Adviser can be worth his or her weight in gold. Visit more than one and choose the advice you feel happiest with. Family, friends and colleagues may be able to recommend advisers they’ve used and found helpful.

If you’re lucky enough to have money to put aside it’s time to take stock and nurture it so that it can nurture you back in the future.

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