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Your MoneyHas Britain stopped saving? Don't be so sureYour MoneyIn recent months the Bank of England has admitted it is concerned about the nation's credit use, with credit card spending growing at its fastest rate in more than a decade. This resulted in the Bank ordering banks to be prudent in their lending and ...
AOL UKThe hidden costs of buying a houseAOL UKBefore you even start looking for a property you should make sure your finances are in order. You might struggle to get a mortgage if you have a poor credit score. You may also find it difficult if you've borrowed money or opened a new credit account ...
Hertfordshire MercuryWaltham Abbey man jailed for defrauding people of more than a million poundsHertfordshire MercuryDetective inspector Lee Morton, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "Darren Say used the mechanism of the pension scheme he developed as his personal cash cow; taking money he was responsible for to fund his lifestyle. "He has let ...and more »
AOL UKShould you hoard cash right now like Warren Buffett?AOL UKAnd three years ago -- when Berkshire's hoard was already up to $50bn -- he told shareholders: "We shouldn't use your money that way for long periods." The reason the cash pile has grown is that ... Select financials -- including a new position in US ...and more »
The GuardianLloyds and Halifax customers face up to 52% APR overdraft feeThe GuardianIt might not sound much, but the bank has admitted that it is equivalent to an APR of 52% – dwarfing what credit card firms charge and more akin to those applied by payday lenders. Lloyds said in July that nine out of 10 customers will either be better ...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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