How to fight banks that keep your savings prisoner because you want to take ‘too much’ out…

Last week I tried to close down and withdraw my money from an ONLINE, EASY ACCESS savings account – as the introductory interest rate bonus was ending that day meaning the rate would plummet. I, of course, as the account name describes, assumed I would be able to take my money out via the web, and do...

Santander 123 rate’s dropping to 1.5% – should you ditch it?

This Tuesday 1 November, Santander 123 – the bank account that’s topped savings tables for over four years – will take a hammer to the interest it pays. It’s cutting its main interest rate from 3% to 1.5%, the one that applies to savings up to £20,000. So the key question for the four million people who...

How much the Govt expects you to give your children for university

Update Note 25 May 2017: The ready reckoners below have been updated with the new 2017/2018 living loan amounts. Also since first writing this blog, and seeing the strength of feeling it attracted, I have written an open letter to the Uni Minister asking him to start telling people about this. Yet sadly received his no we won’t...

Santander 123 to slash interest to 1.5% – should you ditch it?

Update, 1 November: Santander has now slashed the headline rate paid from 3% to 1.5%. Read my Santander 123 slashed – should you ditch it? analysis for what to do if you’re one of its customers. Depressing news for savers. Santander 123, the bank account that’s topped savings tables for over four years, will take a hammer...

First-time buyers’ trick: Max LISA and Help to Buy ISA gains by timing it right

The new Lifetime ISA (LISA) launches next April. It allows eligible savers to put away up to £4,000 a year. Then if it’s used for a first-time home purchase or retirement, the state adds a 25% bonus on top – a possible £1,000 a year bonus for up to 30 years. While the already up-and-running Help to Buy...

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...

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...