November 2013

Merry Christmas - or misery in January?

Whatever your view of Christmas, there’s one thing we all know – it’s going to cost us money.  And more than we can afford, unless we’re very careful.

For many families, their enjoyment of the season is spoilt by the worry of how they are going to afford all the extra spending. 

Unlike Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, none of us can produce wonderful clothes, presents and banquets with a wave of our magic wand.  But we can make sure that we don’t let Christmas leave facing horrendous debts in January.

Payday lending rate cap welcome but far from the whole solution

News that the Government is to introduce further controls on payday lenders, designed to “cap the overall cost of credit”, has been welcomed by Debt Advice Foundation.  But the charity warns that the real harm is done by the aggressive marketing techniques of the industry, which pressures people struggling with debt to take out more and more loans.

FCA clamps down on marketing that flouts regulations

Financial services companies are flouting marketing and promotion rules on a regular basis, according to new figures. 

More than 200 promotions have had to be changed or withdrawn in the past year on instruction from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  The figures were released in response to a freedom of information request by financial services regulatory consultancy Bovill.

The news comes as calls intensify for controls on the advertising of payday lending during children’s programmes.

Family finances and the last taboo

A new report from savings and investment company Standard Life has delved into that trickiest of family problems – not talking to each other about money.  

They surveyed more than 4,000 people for The Family Financial Tree - developed with personal finance expert, Sarah Willingham - and established not only that this is probably the last taboo subject for families, but highlighted some of the startling contradictions in our financial family relationships.

Of bread and bankers...

As a rule we offer debt advice to individuals, not businesses – and certainly not the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

But just occasionally a comment intended for the Government’s economists resonates within our sphere.  One such came from Dirk Bezemer, an associate professor at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, writing in the Financial Times.   He said:  “Banks create debt much as bakers make bread.”