What I told the Chancellor he should do to improve the marriage tax allowance take-up

Introduced in April 2015, the marriage tax allowance (MTA) is free cash worth £432 for many married couples and those in civil partnerships. Yet surprisingly only 16% of the 4.2 million eligible have claimed it. I’ve been talking about it a lot (well, free cash is free cash), and a good chunk of the low uptake is...

The viral letter about mis-sold student loans due to retrospective interest hikes is well meaning, but wrong

The papers are full of an angry letter from recent graduate Simon Crowther to his MP, which has been shared over 20,000 times, complaining about retrospective hikes to student loan interest.  The letter is well meaning and does a good job in raising awareness. It’s been in all the newspapers, and indeed in articles in Huffington Post and...

Quote, misquotes and the truth about my appearance in the ‘Stronger In Europe’ leaflet

Arriving home a few days ago, I picked up the Stronger In Europe leaflet that had dropped through my letterbox, and almost dropped my wallet (and you can imagine how tightly I cling to that) to see my picture at the top of it. After all I’d not been asked, nor had I given my permission, nor...

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute – what’ll it really do?

A month ago I announced I was founding the new Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. It has just gained charitable status, and as this is Mental Health Awareness Week, I wanted to explain more about it. The article below is primarily one that was first published in The Telegraph on the launch of the institute. Debt and...

Two sides to every story – apparently I was ‘prickly’ to a journalist when he followed me in the street!

I was slightly shocked today to read a journalist having a go at me for being ‘prickly’. That certainly isn’t my way. Here’s what Jim Armitage wrote in The Independent… Too grand to talk to journalists? I interviewed MoneySupermarket boss Peter Plumb for a big profile article at his swanky corner office near Soho on Wednesday evening. On my...

Can you rent out a home bought with a Help to Buy ISA/Lifetime ISA?

The Help to Buy ISA is a huge boon for first-time buyers. It means when you save in it for a mortgage deposit, you’ll get up to £3,000 added on top. The new Lifetime ISA is going to dwarf even that when it launches in 2017 – adding up to £1,000 a year, for up to 32 years,...

Santander 123 is now 3% TAX-FREE for most – is the £5/mth fee worth it?

Update June 2016: This was written in April 2016. We’ve updated the products mentioned here, but Martin’s analysis still stands – the MSE team. Santander 123 is the UK’s most switched to bank account – due to the high interest paid on savings, and cashback given on bills. And from tomorrow, it’ll become even more attractive as...

What I told MPs they need to know about financial education and why we must SPEND some money…

I’ve been campaigning for financial education in schools for nearly five years now. Two years ago we had a huge victory in getting it on the national curriculum. The big question now is, has it been done well enough? To answer that, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People, a group I was...

The Help to Buy ISA vs Lifetime ISA – which should first-time buyers get?

Update Note August 2016: While reviewing this blog I’ve noticed that in bashing it out, I used the term house deposit as shorthand – but that is ambiguous. So to clarify I am talking about the deposit you need to get a mortgage for a house, not the deposit you must give a seller at exchange. This...

7 shin splint beating tips: I’ve just run my 400th km of 2016

Last year in June, I wrote a bye bye shin splints, just run my 500th km of 2015 blog. Well, it’s not even April 2016 and I’ve already run 400km – nearly doubling my kilometres per month. Last year, that was a massive personal best – running short 6km and long 10km routes. Now my short runs are...