Top money stories - 7th - 13th January 2008

Top Tip:

While it can seem almost irrelevant to tell half truths when filling in insurance forms, the reality is that it could forfeit your cover. A survey released last week by Norwich Union found that three out of every 20 of us tell lies on applications forms, if only by choosing to purposely neglect to disclose relevant information. The net result is that at least 1% are rejected for life insurance claims and there’s a 6% rejection rate in critical illness claims.

Don’t take the risk; be completely honest to protect yourself. If you want to reduce your premiums, often a commitment to a healthy lifestyle change can help.

The financial week that was....

Monday 7th January

Britons must save for retirement – The government said that we must save for our own retirement if we are to avert a pensions crisis. According to Peter Hain, Work and Pensions Secretary, only 40% of those of working age are saving into a private pension fund. To find out more about pensions and to start pensions planning have a look at the Pensions page on Moneybasics.

Tuesday 8th January

UK retailers had worst Christmas in three years – Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show that like-for-like sales growth for December was down at only 0.3%, its lowest level in three years. The figures are generally considered worse than expected and point to a particularly challenging year for retailers. While Monday’s news should encourage us to look into starting a private pension, the uncertainty over the economy’s future – as epitomised by the poor Christmas retail figures – mean that it is even more vital than usual to consider Long-Term Savings too.

Wednesday 9th January

Consumer Confidence falls – Figures for consumer confidence in December showed a marginal fall. While the Monetary Policy Committee cut interest rates in December, poor retail figures and rising levels of inflation are likely to have contributed to the fall in consumer confidence.

Consumer confidence is a valuable indicator of the general wellbeing of an economy. High levels of consumer confidence help to fuel consumer spending, which in turn drives revenue growth for firms and ultimately often leads to wider economic growth.

Thursday 10th January

Interest rates remain at 5.5% -The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to keep interest rates unchanged. The MPC had to factor in rising inflationary pressure from record oil and food prices, while also taking into account the poor retail results posted after Christmas by a substantial number of High Street firms, and the slowing housing market. While further interest rate cuts seem likely over the course of 2008, they may come as soon as February once the Bank has released its quarterly inflation report that includes growth and inflation forecasts.

Easier to send money abroad – The Department for International Development (DFID) said that a corporate charter signed by more than 30,000 UK businesses mean that many businesses have agreed to make it clear how they charge and what to do if things go wrong when sending money abroad.

While sometimes it is essential to send money abroad, try to avoid it as much as you can as the payments can often be extremely high.

Prepared for Moneybasics by Jason Taylor, Advocacy Officer.