Personal Finance

The beauty of workplace pensions

By Ros Altmann, December 22, 2015

Pensions are vitally important and, as Minister for Pensions, I'm on a mission to ensure everyone gets the chance to save for a good retirement.

Throughout my career, I have been trying to help make pensions as clear and straightforward as possible both for ordinary savers and the employers who support them in putting money away for later life.


Bringing happiness through a mobile

By Candice Krieger, April 4, 2012

Oded ran left his role as head of consumer marketing for Windows Phone UK at Microsoft to join start-up Touchnote because, he says: "I thought: 'Why didn't I think of that?'"

Touchnote, founded in 2008 by Raam Thakrar and Paul Burdin, enables users to create and send printed personalised postcards across the world via their mobile phone, tablet or computer.


It's carnage in the housing market

By Allister Heath, October 6, 2011

Forget about making money in the current volatile environment. The best most of us can hope for is wealth preservation.

With the global equity markets facing never-ending turmoil, mounting sovereign debt fears and rock-bottom interest rates, savers and investors have been having a torrid time.


Homeowners: avert your eyes

By Allister Heath, April 21, 2011

It is not looking good for homeowners. The economy is recovering and the stock market has bounced back but the housing market is stuck in the doldrums.

The crazed bubble that coated bricks and mortar with a gilded veneer did not properly deflate when the rest of the economy imploded in 2008-09; it was artificially propped up by low interest rates, quantitative easing and cash from abroad.


The UK job situation is one to celebrate

By Allister Heath, November 25, 2010

One of the great, widely-believed myths about the UK recovery is that it is jobless. Yet the reverse is true.

Job creation has been consistently robust over the past six months, repeatedly taking most commentators by surprise; unemployment is going down, albeit slowly.

The great news is that the private sector is bouncing back fast enough to create far more jobs than the public sector has been shedding. This is a result of the government's much-needed austerity measures.


Time to tough it out as market declines

By Michael Ranis, June 10, 2010

Over a few weeks in May the MSCI World share index lost 13 per cent of its value. A sovereign debt crisis in Europe, new concerns about the prospects for growth in China, regulatory government initiatives aimed at curbing financial institutions, and even technical glitches all seemed to conspire to bring markets down in a hurry. Investors were surely baffled by the downward impetus and many may have wondered out loud: " I thought we were coming out of the terrible recession of yesteryear."


Finally, some positive news about pensions

By Ros Altmann, June 3, 2010

A new government brings a new era for our finances and, despite the desperate need to reduce public-sector debts, there is actually some good news on taxes and pensions.

Although not immediately affordable, the government says that it will substantially increase income tax thresholds and eventually everyone earning below £10,000 will pay no tax. Another piece of excellent news is that Equitable Life investors will at last receive compensation. This huge scandal should have been sorted out years ago and the sooner victims receive money, the better.


What we now know

By Allister Heath, April 8, 2010

If most commentators were to be believed, the causes of the financial crisis were straightforward: it was all about greed, stupidity and even corruption. But as economists continue to study what really happened, it is becoming increasingly clear that the forces that caused the irrational exuberance and stupid decisions of the bubble years were far more complex than usually understood.


Savers: good news and bad

By Ros Altmann, December 29, 2009

Last year was a roller-coaster ride for investors. For savers, it was a disaster.

The Bank of England slashed base rates to half a per cent as it tried to stimulate the economy, so base rate tracker savings accounts generate virtually no income. For example, £25,000 in an account offering 6 per cent interest last year, paid nearly £30 a week. But with interest rates at 2 per cent, income falls below £10 a week, and, if your account just pays the 0.5 per cent base rate, you will receive only £2.50.


Got cash overseas? Time to declare it

By Shimon Shaw, November 12, 2009

UK taxpayers with overseas bank accounts face some tough decisions this month. Since September 2009, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been offering individuals the chance to come clean about any unpaid taxes under the New Disclosure Opportunity (“NDO”).