2019-2021 - a rollercoaster for first-time buyers At the beginning of 2020, this article started by saying "95% mortgages are back in fashion" and pointed out how many more 95% mortgage offers there were compared to a few years ago. But with the pandemic, mortgage lenders ran scared, concerned that house prices may fall for the next year or two. Even a small fall will leave someone with a 95% … [Read more...]
I write about a lot of Personal Finance that isn't directly about problem debts. Those articles are gathered here.
Spending - reducing or controlling it is usually essential if you want to reduce your debts. So Budgeting is another big topic.
Your grandparents used a pen and paper, but now we have Apps to make all this easier.
Mortgages - sometimes thought of as the only good sort of debt!
Credit ratings - important if you have too much debt or very little!
Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) helps people with the cost of their mortgage if they aren't working. It was paid as a benefit from 1948, but in 2018 this stopped. SMI is now only given as a loan that is secured on your house, see the gov.uk page on SMI. How much help does SMI give? If you lose your job, you can't claim SMI for 39 weeks. Many people don't have enough redundancy pay, … [Read more...]
A few taps on your mobile and that handbag, those kids' clothes or this kitchen gadget is on its way to you. Very convenient with busy lives and little time to go to the shops. Or when the shops are shut because of lockdown! But when money is tight or you want to save for something important, or you are just bored with being at home all the time, it can be just too easy to overspend. … [Read more...]
Have you made some New Year Resolutions about savings, budgeting or debts for 2021? 2020 has been a strange year for many millions of people's finances. Half the country is better off, half is worse off. Some have gained from losing their commute costs and not being able to go on holiday or eat out as much. Others have seen their business destroyed or lost their job. And many are still in … [Read more...]
Want to lose weight or get fit? A depressing number of people found they were eating and drinking more in 2020 because of the lockdowns. So millions of people will have this as their main New Year's Resolution for 2021. In many areas gyms are closed. That may be good news as too many people who join a gym in a fit of enthusiasm in January go once or twice in February and then hardly at … [Read more...]
Want to be better with money in 2021? If you ate, drank and sat on the sofa far too much over Christmas, you may be thinking of detoxing your body and getting fit. A Money Detox is the same approach for your finances if your bank balance looks sick and your credit card bill looks bloated. Perhaps this isn't just a nice-to-do but you NEED to be better, because you have lost your job or … [Read more...]
A reader asks: Help! I have just been made redundant and I don't know how I am going manage, especially as we have debts. I'm only getting a few weeks redundancy pay. What should I do? A lot of firms are closing or making some staff redundant because of Coronavirus. If your firm has just closed suddenly, you may be worried about getting the pay for the weeks you have already worked, the pay … [Read more...]
Ms F asked: "I have been in debt management for five years after my marriage breakdown. After an inheritance, I want to pay off my DMP as it will carry on for years. I could pay in full but my house needs some urgent work and my car is on its last legs. I asked about my credit score if I offer a partial settlement and was told this would show as partially settled on credit score file. Will I … [Read more...]
UPDATE - September 2020 - now Credit Ladder are proposing to charge you £60 a year to report to both Experian and Equifax. I suggest you don't bother! As a means of paying to try to improve your credit score this seems unnecessary, reporting to two is very little better than reporting to one. Do yourself a favour and pay that £5 a month off a debt instead. Or add it to your savings account if … [Read more...]
Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs) are arrangements that allow friends to save together and withdraw lump sums from the scheme. ROSCAs are unregulated, relying on trust. The Money Advice Service says "those who use [ROSCAs] say they encourage savings and allow people without bank accounts access to credit." They have different names around the world, including tanda in South … [Read more...]