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Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

Consumers Reclaim Mis-sold PPI

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Following on from the bank charges scandal (which I think most people would have heard about by now), there is another consumer rebellion in the finance industry that I’ve noticed; mis-sold PPI reclaims. It seems a number of firms have been mis-selling the payment protection insurance (PPI) which is used to cover loans. The Citizens Advice Bureau noticed this some years ago, and published information on their concerns.

It’s taken a while but now the Financial Service Authority have looked into it and concurred with the Citizens Advice Bureau, seeting out a number of fines. This has prompted people to start reclaiming their mis-sold PPI from the companies responsible. Many industry analysts believe this mis-selling could be quite widespread and that, potentially, millions of people could have a valid claim.

Article written by Michael from PPI Reclaim Service.

Are We Heading Towards a Recession?

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Stocks CrashThe big question bouncing around this week is “Will the UK’s debts drag the economy into a recession?”. The average household owes almost as much as their yearly earnings now, money has been too easy to borrow and naturally the UK has taken advantage of the situation allowing for bigger and better assets and more disposable incomes.

Huge crashes in the US stock market today have affected countries all around the world, banks are likely tighten their lending habits as the level of risk continues to increase. Will interest rates rise again to dampen consumer spending even more? Will US house prices continue to fall? I can’t help but wonder, “Is this the beginning of the end?” And by that I don’t mean the end of mankind (obviously) I mean the end of the housing boom!

Clearly a recession is a less that ideal situation for the economy, but unfortunately I personally think that’s where we’re heading.

Catalyst For a Crash?

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

WalletInflation has hit 3.1% forcing the bank’s governor, Mervyn King to write a letter to the chancellor explaining why inflation has broken through the 3% level. I suppose the next question is – how high will interest rates go? With the rise in inflation it is likely that interest rates will increase further in order to discourage consumer spending and to decrease the rate of inflation. The base rate is currently set at 5.25% but it is forecasted to rise to 5.5% on 10th May when the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee is due to meet.

However, if interest rates increase by more than this there will be some unfortunate consequences; those who have taken out interest-only mortgages will be hit hard as their repayments will seem more and more unmanageable. The many buyers who opted for a fixed-rate loan may not notice a difference however if they have a short-term contract they could also face steep rises in interest repayments.

Investment bank ABN Amro predict that the base rate will in fact rise to 6% by the Autumn, they are also preparing for a possible house price crash, however many other large banks disagree.

As these minor changes occur in the economy, I also wonder if it’s all heading towards a crash. Although I know this will dampen economic growth, it may also mean I can finally buy a house :).

Further information at The Guardian.

Child Exploitation on Cocoa Plantations

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Fair Trade ChocolateAfter watching Newsnight last night I decided not to pick up my usual chocolate bar when I popped to the garage this morning. In fact I don’t think I’ll be able to eat one for quite some time as I felt disgusted by what I saw and ashamed of large chocolate companies profiting from the exploitation of others.

The program focused on cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast; children are still being taken out of schools and forced to work on the fields missing out on education opportunities and adults are working they guts out every day for little reward. The money made from selling a bag of cocoa is so low it is hardly worth their while; most African’s who work on cocoa fields earn as little as £100 a year.

If we as a nation continue to demand chocolate products then chocolate companies will continue to exploit African workers. However, if all companies worked under the Fair Trade rules life on the cocoa plantations could be a lot better. I am more than happy to buy a Fair Trade chocolate bar even if it does cost slightly more, but until everybody else has this point of view the exploitation of laborers will no doubt continue.

Miscalculated Olympic Bill

Monday, March 26th, 2007

London Olympics LogoThe original estimate of £2.37 billion to host the London Olympics in 2012 was badly miscalculated by the Government. Last week Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell announced that the actual bill had rocketed since the original estimate in 2003 to £9 billion at the expense of the taxpayer. Lottery bosses are furious because it is thought that 1/5 of the entire lottery budget until 2013 will be consumed by the London Olympics.

My main concern is the reliability of these new figures, the construction work hasn’t even begun so will the bill double over the next few years, can anyone really be sure? Read more at This is London.

Minimum Wage on the Rise

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Ten Pence PiecesIn October 2007 we should see the UK minimum wage rise across all age groups. For over 21’s the rate is currently set at £5.35 but will rise by 17p to £5.52. Workers aged 18 – 21 will see an increase from to £4.45 – £4.60 (15p) and workers aged 16 and 17 will see their hourly wage rise from £3.30 to £3.40 (10p). This increase will affect 1.3 million workers in the UK and is also in line with inflation.

Reclaim Your Bank Charges

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

Have you ever spent £2 more than what is in your account and been charged something ridiculous by the bank? If so, there may be a chance you can get your money back.

Recently there was an article in the Sun about a woman who managed to reclaim thousands of pounds worth of bank charges after simply writing a letter to her bank. I’m sure many of us won’t have charges to this extent but even if it’s just £100 I think it’s worth it.

If the amount you have been charged is disproportional to the amount you went over then there’s a good chance you can get your money back, I have just read a great article on Money Saving Expert on how you go about doing this. They include a step-by-step guide on the process and even supply templates for you to use when writing your letter to the bank.

Virtual Money

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

gamers.jpgIf you’ve got as many geeky friends as me you know how popular and addictive online gaming can be. Games like World of Warcraft, Guildwars, are noticing upto 7.5 million subscribers worldwide. Most notorious is a game called Second life – where you can literally build yourself a virtual life and convert real dollars into “linden” dollars to buy yourself property and your dream lifestyle.

This game recently came to the attention of “normal people” in the press, when it was revealed that Anshe Chung had become the games first millionaire by buying and selling virtual property on the game and converting linden dollars into real currency. Even giants such as IBM are setting up virtual offices and meeting inside the game – I guess it’s more fun than a regular business meeting.

According to Money Week if you want to cash in on the rise in popularity of such games without getting involved in the addictive and time consuming games themselves, you should invest in companies that stand to benefit. Companies in the East are gaining most from this sort of gaming, as the hobby is seeing its biggest surge in popularity in countries like china. The companies behind the game are good bets. Blizzard Entertainment are the creators of World of Warcraft also The9 has seen a huge rise in stock price thanks to owning the licence to the game, so get trading!