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Money & Rights

The heart of Choice is the 14-page Money and Your Rights section in every issue. Edited by award-winning journalist Teri Harman and written by expert, independent writers, it will help you defend your assets and make them work hard for you as well as pass on tips that will save you £s. A panel of experts also answers your detailed questions.

Recent Articles

Time to buy a new car

MANY DRIVERS hanker after a personalised numberplate, but another option would be to buy a new car between September and next March and acquire a registration that includes the iconic number 66. The number is significant in British history, with the Norman Conquest (1066), Great Fire of London (1666), and – in living memory so perhaps even more momentous – England winning the football World Cup (1966).

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Your Questions Answered

Would my mother be entitled to half the marital home? My mother is 89 and my father 88, and they have been married for 61 years. He is now in a care home and suffers from Alzheimer’s. My mother was his full-time carer but became unable to cope after being hospitalised following a stroke. There is a Lasting Power of Attorney for my father held by Mum (her daughter is a second attorney), and she is now recovering relatively well.  

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10 essential websites for over 50's

With more and more older people logging on to the web, it's more important than ever to know who to trust for advice.  In the March issue of Choice, we featured a story in our Your Money and Your Rights section on the 14 essential websites for seniors (written by Annie Shaw) We have condensced this information into one easy to read infographic with clickable links. To view, just click on the image below.

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Attention: Ask the Experts Pages

Our Ask the Experts pages used to be very popular with dozens of letters every month, but recently readers have been writing or emailing us in ever decreasing numbers.

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Downsize your life

Too few houses are coming on to the market, fuelling record price rises, and there’s a particular dearth nationwide of family-sized homes, according to the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors).

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Beat the VAT Hike

Older people heating their homes with renewables are hoping to be among those who will continue to benefit in a VAT shake-up for green technologies due later this year. Other winners in the restructuring of the VAT rules around sustainable heating are expected to be those claiming certain benefits, explains Michael Wright, of Yorkshire Heat Pumps, a leading renewables installer based near Harrogate.

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When should you start saving for retirement?

Almost half of the respondents think people should start saving for their retirement in their 20's.The average age to start saving from the survey responses is the early 30's. This infographic shows the full results. When did you start saving for retirement?Do you agree with the reults of this poll?

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Trading with your Savings? 3 Things to Consider

Trading with savings is becoming more and more popular amongst people who are not satisfied with the meagre rates of interest being offered on the high street and want their capital to work a little harder for them.  Digital technology has paved the way for numerous opportunities for people to be more proactive in the process of investing and tracking their trades with their own knowledge, control and independence. Here are three things to consider if you are contemplated using some of your savings to start trading. 

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Managing Risk When Investing Savings

Investing capital is an excellent way to make your money work for you, but if you are to enjoy benefits it is crucial that you take a sensible and measured approach. There are risks that accompany any type of investment and understanding those risks is the first step along the way to success.  The Bigger Picture

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What are the similarities between Standard Pensions and SIPPs?

Controversy surrounding pensions has all but died down after Brexit, despite former Prime Minister David Cameron

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Coping with financial stress as a senior

As we approach our latter years and start to consider retirement, how in order our finances are starts to become a major worry for a lot of our seniors’ citizens.

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Investing in an uncertain world

2016 will go down in history as a year that defied expectations. Summer saw the electorate in the UK send stock markets tumbling with an unexpected vote to leave the EU. On the other side of the Atlantic meanwhile, political outlier Donald Trump ran a campaign which divided the US and, against all the odds, delivered a second major political upset, once again sending shockwaves through the financial markets. The consequences of these decisions remain to be seen, but will be felt for years to come.

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Thriftiness starts at home

1 Buy cheaper brands. Supermarket basic ranges are often just as good as well-known brands so there’s no need to compromise on taste. You can pick up a supermarket own-brand soup for 25p, compared with 95p or more for a well-known one like Heinz. 2 Make use of pound shops and other discount stores to stock up on basics like bin bags, wrapping paper and household cleaning products.

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Extra Help at the airport

For some of us the airport experience signals the start of our holiday, but for others, these noisy crowded places can prove stressul, especially if you have mobility problems or hidden disabilities like dementia or autism.  However, free 'special assistance' is available, and this can mean you can borrow a wheelchair, get a ride on an electric bugy, or be accommpaniedto your departure gate.

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Is it worth working for longer?

BY 2020, it’s estimated over-50s will make up a third of the British workforce. Government statistics show the employment rate for people aged 50 to 64 has grown from 55.4 to 69.6 per cent over the past 30 years and the rate for people aged 65 and over has doubled from 4.9 to 10.2 per cent. This equates to some 9.67 million over-50s still working, more than at any time since records began.

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Dealing with debt

It's a natural ambition to want to retire without the burden of debt hanging over us. Ideally, when we swap a salary for what is almost always a lower income from a pension, we would like our mortgage paid off, credit cards under control and no large monthly repayments required on outstanding loans.

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Looking for a retirement home

Cathy Johnson, Senior Community Living Advisor at MHA Auchlochan Garden Village As more and more of us are choosing to downsize into more manageable properties when we retire, the question of how to choose the right one is becoming increasingly pertinent. After all- with many of us now enjoying retirement into our 80s, 90s and beyond, our 'forever home' has to continue to be perfect for us for several decades.

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Payouts for Delays

Anyone who travels by train will be all too familiar with services being delayed or cancelled. Overcrowding is another problem blighting certain routes. Some lines fare worse than others. Sounthern, in particular, has come in for harsh criticism for its overcrowding and lack of punctuality. When it somes to claiming compensation for late services rail companies don't always make it easy.

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'Olderpreneurs' profit from experience

Growing numbers of 'olderpreneurs' are striking out by setting up their own business. 

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The building society of Mum and Dad

You may not expect to see the 'Bank of Mum and Dad' on a list of mortgage lenders, but according to Legal & General, parents supported property purchases worth £77bn last year, which makes them one of the top ten lenders. And with rising nnumbers of 'adult' children sstill living at gime, parents may feel under pressure to dig dseep to help their offspring get a foot on the property lader, unless they want to be living with them for many years to come.

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Setting up a Business for the Over 50s

The now common phrase "there's no such thing as a job for life" may be part of the reason that the over 50s are now responsible for more than 25% of British start-ups. Yes, "olderpreneurs" launch thousands of companies every year, they are less likely to fail than their younger counterparts and they're just as likely to choose sectors associated with the young- tech for example.

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Wronged Pensioners call on PM for a change in the law

A group of pensioners who have been left severely out of pocket because of a legal loophoole are calling on the Prime Minister and Pensions Minister for a change in the law. It follows a rallying event at the House of Commons last week attended by representatives of the Hewlett Packard Pensions Group and MP's and their representatives from 12 different constituencies across the UK- including John Redwood MP, Bill Grant MP. Matt Rodda MP and Sir Hugo Swire MP.

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The best years of your life

A new study has found that a successful and enjoyable life after work requires a focus both on good financial habits and a healthy lifestyle. The research, by Aegon, emphasises that achieving retirement aspirations requires more than saving, investing and planning- it also depends on staying in good health.

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Five online services to save you money before Christmas

Each year, December seems to come around faster and faster and before you know it, it's already Christmas. Last minute presents, train tickets and flights can quickly leave you out of pocket. However, with so many platforms and apps available to help you cut down to cost we've highlighted five if the best apps to get you ahead of the Christmas mayhem and save you (and your bank account) from the unnecessary stress.

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Choice guide to Arranging a Funeral

When we lose someone we love, we may be at our most vulnerable and least effective, yet we have to step up and make funeral arrangements and organise a fitting memorial. So, even though no one likes to contemplate the death of a loved one, it is sensible to be aware of the practical considerations so we make the right decisions. Our guide looks at what to do when someone dies and how to organise and pay for a fine send off. First Steps

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Go contactless- safely

If you've received a new card from your bank recently, you'll notice it had a contactless symbol on one edge. this applies to credit cards as well as debit cards, and means you can use your card at certain kiosks just by tapping your card against the terminal,, without the need to key in your pin number.

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The gentler route to retirement

Many people who were planning to retire are now considering working past their State pension age, according to research by Prudential. However, just nine percent say they would continue full-time in their current job, while 28 percent would prefer to cut their hours with their current employer, and a further 29 percent would look for a new employer altogether.

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Take the stress out of your airport experience

Choosing your airport You may not get a big choice of airports, as your destination and the airline that fly there will affect your options. When it comes to budget flights, however,  you often have more choice or, if you live in an area where you can fly from both Manchester and Liverpool, it's worth checking the services and facilities on offer.

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Money and Rights News: March

Government sets out ten year NHS plan Theresa May has launched a ten year plan for the NHS, setting out ambitions that she says will save almost 500,000 lives.  The plans include a proposal to extent to five million patients the option of 'personal budgets' to enable them to find their own choice of treatment, or prescriibed hobbies under a 'personalisation' agenda. 

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Put the brake on car premiums

If you renewed your motor insurance policy recently, you won't need reminding that premiums are accelerating at a breakneck pace. The average motor insurance policy costs almost £200 more than five years ago, putting further pressure on people's wallets by rising far faster than earnings.

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Tips to save money in Spring

Reduce the temperature of your heating More than half of the money we spend on energy in our home, is spent on heating and hot water according to the Energy Saving Trust. Spring is the perfect time to make a few small adjustments to the way you heat your home to save you money without even thinking about it.

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Nuptials on a budget

Marriage rates among those in their 20s and 30s have fallen significantly in recent years, but among older people marriage remains popular. According to figures from the Office fir National Statistics (ONS) the marriage rate among women over 50 increased by 56 percent between 2009 and 2014. But is it possible to marry on a tight budget and still have a fabulous day?

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Health care in later life

While there is much more about our lives we cannot control, when it comes to our health there's a lot we can do to help ourselves. A recent Australian study reinforced a growing body of evidence that a many cancers can be prevented. Studying cancer risk factors such as smoking, diet and physical activity, researchers estimated that nearly 40 percent of cancer deaths annually in Australia were preventable.

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Is it Possible to Be a Successful Ethical Investor?

Investors around the world are often known for their sharp analytical skills and ability to spot a potentially lucrative investment. They are not, however, known for their scruples, and plenty of investment money goes into fairly unethical ventures.

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Holiday hoaxes to dodge

Holiday scams are on the rise, with the number of reported cases up almost 20 per cent year on year, according to Action Fraud. The latest statistics show there were 5826 reported cases of holiday booking fraud in 2016, and this is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg. The most common cons related to the sale of airline tickets, non-existent accommodation, religious trips and timeshare touts.

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Choice guide to... Buying and selling a car

Thousands of UK motorists were asked about their experiences of buying a car in a survey by OnePoll for the website FairSquare in January. The results show a lack of understanding, trust and appeal for drivers when it comes to changing their cars – be they new or used – and especially when it comes to the popular finance products used for these purchases.

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Choice guide to... Buying and selling a car: Where to buy

Car dealers (especially sellers of second-hand vehicles) used to have an unenviable reputation for being ‘dodgy’, if not positively dishonest. One thing I have noticed over the years is the improvement, in main dealerships at least, in their attitude – you are much less likely these days to encounter patronising behaviour or hard sell tactics, and if you do, it’s a sign to take your business elsewhere.

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Choice guide to... Buying and selling a car: Selling

If buying a car is stressful, selling can be even more so. Selling privately through an advertisement in your local newsagent or newspaper is the old-fashioned way, and you may secure a better price than by going to a second-hand car dealer, or trading it in for a newer model, but you should seriously ask yourself if it is worth the hassle.

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Interest-only mortgages: are you sitting on a timebomb?

If you bought a home in the Eighties or Nineties, you may have signed up to an interest-only mortgage. These types of home-loan- in which you paid just the interest on the sum you borrowed- were common at the time. the idea was that at the same time as taking out the mortgage, you put money away into an investment. Hopefully this would grow strongly enough to pay off lal the capital you had borrowed at the end of the mortgage term.

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Life on the open road

Britons spent £2.6bn on touring holidays last year, while sales of touring caravans increased by 7 percent and motorhome sales were up by 14 percent.  In factm spending on caravan and motorhome holidays is set to surge by a thrid by 2030, according to research commissioned by the Caravan and Motorhome Club.

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Inherited Family Properties

New research has revealed that the average inherited property is sold by family members within three months of the death, regardless of the deceased homeowner’s wishes. Although two in three Britons believed that their deceased relative would have liked their property to remain in the family, just 15% actually kept it.

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Supporting students

So you've got a grandchild going off to university. whether you come from a long line of PhD, or your grandson or granddaughter is the first person in your family to enjoy higher education, it is a proud moment. It is also a rite of passage, as the young person may be about to live away from home for the first time and will certainly have control of large sums of money in the form of student loans. So what can you, as a grandparent, do to help?

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Is park life right for you?

Retirement brings he opportunity for new experiences, including changing your home to accommodate your needs. Park homes are a popular choice for many. Park homes are placed on a patch of land that's owned by either the local authority or a private park owner, which is leased to you via a pitch fee. With UK ark sites covering many regions, there's plenty of freedom for being able to pick a location that's convenient for you.

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How to find a lost pension

Over a working life that might span 50 years, it's no wonder retirement savings can get lost. Yet it can be difficult to know where to start if you need to track down a lost pension.  If you know one of your retirement pots is missing, you are not alone. Over half the population has more than one pension, and more than one fifth of those have lost track of where their retirement savings are being held. 

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The value of volunteers

Volunteering has the potential to improve your health and wellbeing, according to many studies. A report by the charity Volunteering Matters found that volunteering also has a role in combating social isolation and loneliness among people of all ages – and for people of working age it can provide a route to paid employment through the acquisition of skills, self-confidence and contacts.

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Grandparents access rights

The relationship between a grandparent and their grandchild is unique. With family dynamics changing and more fluid domestic situations becoming the norm, maintaining the relationship between the older and younger generations becomes even more crucial.

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We are all a bit of an animal when it comes to money

● Working with Professor Erica Fudge of the University of Strathclyde, Zopa has discovered links between financial decision-making and the behaviours found in the animal kingdom ● Zopa commissioned research to ask Brits about their relationship with money. According to the study, the UK is a nation of saver squirrels (30%) and agitated antelopes (30%) – two of the most savvy financial behaviours

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Giving up plastic

We all know the damage plastic can do, thanks in part to David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2, which showed the impact it is having on our oceans and sea life. Hardly a day passes without a story on the news involving plastics or other pollutants poisoning our fish or being ingested by mammals

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Risks & opportunities of no deal Brexit for property investors

By Paul Smith When the Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, warned last September that a disorderly Brexit could send house prices crashing by a third, many people dismissed his comments as the latest instalment of Project Fear. Forecasts of economic doom caused by Britain exiting the European Union are viewed very differently depending on which side of the argument you fall.

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Buying a home in later life

BUYING A home in later life has always been difficult. From the banks’ perspective, there’s a higher risk, as borrowers may not be able to support mortgage payments once they retire, or may encounter health problems which restrict them financially.

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Current Issue

March 2019

Profile: Ruth Wilson

Special: Arizona

Your Money and Your Rights

What to do about back pain

Remembering the magic of Motown

Enjoy great Welsh Food

Will you find a lost pension?

Finding your roots

Save on luxury Cotswold breaks

The importance of making a will