January 2014

A happy retirement – or towering debts and depression?

While much attention has been focused on the financial difficulties facing families with low incomes facing steeply rising bills, there has been a steady and growing chorus of alarm about the future finances of the over-50s.

Last year our research showed that shown that the 65+ age group had seen the fastest rate of change in bankruptcy over the last decade.  The second fastest rate of change was in the 55-64 age group; so serious and worrying implications for those in and those approaching retirement.

Financial websites that misled consumers (and confused a tax inspector)

Two pieces of research from Citizens Advice and Which? suggest that, far from becoming easier for consumers, financial services information remain confusing and sometimes downright misleading.

Real time credit checks – is this a turning point for short-term lenders?

From April this year, high-interest loan companies using the credit reference agency Callcredit will be able to share data about potential customers in real time.

Most people, of course, assume that this is already happening.  We see evidence of information about ourselves flying here, there and everywhere in cyberspace, so why wouldn’t financial institutions know everything about our finances at the tap of a key?

The multiple faces of payday lenders

As the regulatory net tightens on payday lenders, an interest snippet has emerged from the demise of Toothfairy, when went into administration at the end of last year.

The parent company, which had changed its name to Web Loans Processing,  had a total of 46 payday lending names under which it was trading. 

Is this the year to get Family plc’s finances firmly under control?

Amidst the slew of gloomy post-Christmas financial stories, a tiny spark of light from M&S Bank.  This year, according to the bank’s Family Finance Index, more than half of all families (56 per cent) will set a household budget for 2014, compared with 46 per cent last year.

The number of people planning to review their finances as one of their New Year Resolutions is up too, although from a very low base; 19 per cent, up from 13 per cent.