The Chancellor’s pension changes are both wonderful and horrid

In this week’s Budget, the Chancellor announced the most sweeping changes to pensions for years. From 2015, everyone will have the option to access their cash without having to buy an annuity – the product you buy to convert a pension pot into a regular income for the rest of your life. I am completely torn over...

Thanks London, but I don’t want to be Chancellor, nor am I qualified to be (though who is?)

A piece in the Evening Standard this week highlighted that Londoners had picked me as their no.1 choice to be Chancellor. I tracked down the origins of this to an Opinium survey of 1,000 Londoners press-released by Nutmeg, which includes… When asked from a pre-defined list who respondents would replace George Osborne as Chancellor with if they...

Dig your heels in if you’re owed an insurance claim

Insurance is the one product you buy in the hope you’ll never need to use it. The big problem is that it’s virtually impossible to know how it’ll respond to a claim, until you’re claiming. And paying more doesn’t guarantee that you’re more likely to get a payout. Therefore if you’re in the right, the most important...

My 2014 Run Challenge: How’s yours going so far?

In early January, I invited you to join my run challenge. The idea is for everyone who’s up for it to declare their 2014 running goal, and for us all to collectively monitor and encourage each other via these regular progress blogs. This is the first of my progress reports, and I’d love you to join in...

Ignore mortgage APR rates, they’re a meaningless load of b…aloney!

Look on any mortgage advert, and loudly and prominently you will see the APR. The regulations state it must be equally as prominent as the biggest other rate. The only problem with this is it’s a meaningless number that bears little resemblance to the amount most people end up paying. The supposed consumer protection regulation that enforces this...

Your Consumer Rights are changing – telling MPs what I think about it

On 11 February, I was called to the House of Commons to give evidence about the new Bill that brings together all existing consumer rights legislation. On the whole, it’s a good thing. Rights should be more consistent, there will be new digital rights covering downloads, and a new rule that if you take faulty goods back...

The UK’s mortgage ticking time bomb… Mr Osborne will you help?

Last week on ITV’s The Agenda (watch it back), I challenged the Chancellor about what he’s going to do to defuse the UK’s mortgage ticking time bomb. Sadly, as is the wont of politicians from all tribes, he avoided the question… something I then continued to point out throughout the programme. Yet this wasn’t a party political...

Dear travel agents, I have nothing against you, but I won’t stay schtum to protect your profits

Sadly, travel agents are up in arms at me again for suggesting people haggle down the price of package holidays. I have no axe to grind against travel agents, but I can’t and won’t apologise for the fact that my job is to show consumers how to get the cheapest deals.   This flared up again after...

My five rules for a happy relationship

They say you should never mix love and money, but for most, they’re both building blocks in our lives. The two can clash; financial problems are one of the major causes of relationship break-up. So taking a little time to think about how you manage them can pay off. As it’s Valentine’s week, I was asked to...

Are you due money back from Lloyds, TSB, Halifax and Bank of Scotland for debit card outage?

Are you entitled to recompense from Lloyds, TSB, Halifax and Bank of Scotland outages today? I thought I’d bash out a quick note to explain. This afternoon, substantial numbers of customers of Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and TSB (which, works on the same system) have found their debit cards not working when they try and pay...