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Growing student loan debts: what will be their long-term impact on universities? - 17th August 2017

This week and last students in the UK received their A-level (or equivalent) results and with these the outcome of their destination plans for higher education. As the latest cohorts of students enter university education they will start the process of accumulating debts as they draw on loans from their Student Loans Company. Non-Scottish students can expect to accumulate debts of between £30K and £60K during their period of study - with fees charged for tuition alone amounting to up to £9,250 for the 2017/18 academic year.

The British appetite for holidays grows despite changing economic times - 8th August 2017

The UK economy has certainly witnessed major cycles over the past twenty years. But despite this economic turbulence there has been a huge and sustained growth in holidaymaking. This has been confirmed by a report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which reveals a 68% increase, to 45 million, in the number of holidays taken by the British between 1996 and 2016.

Behind the headline figures lie a number of interesting trends and developments – many of which we can confirm from our own experiences.

Women bearing the brunt of the financial fallout from state pension reforms - 3rd August 2017

From the moment the True Potential PUFin Centre launched ‘Managing My Money ‘ - its first free online course - in 2014 it became abundantly clear that pensions are the greatest personal finance issue in this country. And the postings by learners revealed that women had particular grievances about the impact of the raising of the state pension age. Now a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has provided startling information that substantiates these grievances.

Lifestyling and age-profiling your investment portfolio - 27th July 2017

There is a relationship between the age of an investor and the rational composition (or allocation) of investments. This factor relates to the investment principle of ‘lifestyling’.

Let’s look more closely at these influences on investment behaviour.

Age and asset allocation

An important factor when making decisions about the asset allocation is someone’s age.

Two years on from the pensions revolution are people taking advantage or taking risks? - 19th July 2017

The pension reforms introduced in 2015 have given those aged 55 years or older greater flexibility to access and use the funds in their pension ‘pots’. After two years an interesting and mixed picture is emerging about how people are taking advantage of these new freedoms to drawdown their pension funds.

Applying the brakes to consumer credit – lenders take the prompt from the Bank of England - 14th July 2017

Over the past year the Bank of England has regularly expressed concern at the pace of growth of unsecured lending in the UK. This form of consumer credit, which includes credit card debt, car finance and unsecured bank loans, grew by over 10% in the year to April. The concern is that if economic conditions deteriorate and if interest rates rise many households will find that they cannot meet the repayments due on their unsecured debts.

Accessing legal advice without breaking the bank - 12th July 2017

The oft quoted quip attributed to Lord Justice Mathew, that ‘in England, justice is open to all – like the Ritz’  seems to have been borne out research published in 2016 which found fees for partners at top London law firms is now as high  as £1000 per hour, with average hourly rates for senior staff outside the capital exceeding £200. Eye watering fees likes these can make a week’s holiday at the Ritz seem a bargain in comparison.

The higher cost of a holiday in Greece – it’s not just the fault of Brexit - 9th July 2017

A holiday in Greece used to have more attractions than hot sunshine and glorious beaches. The cost of living made this holiday destination attractive too, with cheap food and wine. Over the past five years things have changed: whilst the weather remains attractive tourists will find that the cost of living and dining out is no longer as cheap as it was.

Company pension schemes still a real benefit to employees - 20th June 2017

With the closure of appealing benefit schemes (1) and with the tax-breaks being reduced (2) it would be understandable to assume that the attractions to employees of company pension schemes are fading.

Far from it. The evidence from research shows that good company pension schemes are valued more highly as a benefit than private medical insurance, extra holidays or child care vouchers.

The general election aftermath: What now for the economy and household finances? - 11th June 2017

The UK has been living through a period of chronic economic uncertainty since the Brexit vote in June last year. Now the uncertainties about the prospects for the economy have deepened as a result of the unexpected outcome of last week’s general election. What will the coming months bring and how will households be affected?

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