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Cost Of Divorce On The Rise

Average Divorce Costs Over £70k

According to research conducted by the commercial law firm, Seddons, the average cost of divorce for couples is £70,243 and takes 11 months to complete. The exorbitant price tag is composed of approximately £4700 in lost wages, another £5000 in new living accommodations, legal fees just under £9000, and the outstanding £51,000 is attributed to debt and shared assets.

For Londoners, the stats are far worse as the average costs of divorce almost doubles to £134,525! Due to the overall higher costs of living and legal fees, Londoners stand to lose 92% more in a divorce than the average couple.

Thankfully, there are ways to circumvent the astronomical price of divorce. But as a forewarning, most of these options do require a healthy level of amicability between both parties.

 

  • DIY Online Divorce – A quick Google search for online divorce will bring up several quick divorce service providers. These will be the cheapest option as the dissolution can be less than £1000 and take less than six weeks. However, this option is really only advised for those that have only been married a short time or have been separated for over five years, and have already negotiated and agreed on asset division, debt repayment, and child custody/visitation. You can find more information regarding DIY divorce at org.uk.

 

  • Mediation Without Lawyers – A divorce mediator acts as the neutral third party that helps the couple negotiate on the terms of the divorce (assets, debt, children, etc.). They are less expensive than solicitors and will provide couples with a clear, objective view of a settlement that works for both parties.

 

  • Mediation With Lawyers – While a mediator will generally be well versed in family law, they are not solicitors and cannot give legal advice. Therefore, to ensure that there are no missteps in slightly more complicated matters, lawyers may be necessary. Mediation with solicitors can also speed up the divorce process. Rather than having two solicitors fight to the death for their clients, the mediator acts as referee, which can solve disputes faster and cut down on the billable hours.

 

  • Arbitration And Collaboration – Arbitration is used when a couple employs the help of a solicitor for one particular issue when negotiation appears to be at a stalemate. It is generally used to work out complicated financial matters. Collaboration is when the couple and their lawyers meet for a roundtable discussion/negotiation to settle dissolution terms and avoid going to court.

 

  • Direct Access With A Barrister – Rather than appointing a solicitor, you can go directly to a barrister for legal council. This option will usually halve the cost of a divorce using solicitors. You can search for barristers using the Direct Access Portal.

 

These options are meant to help couples avoid going to court. If you find yourself in a particularly nasty and complicated separation there are other ways you can keep costs down with your solicitor.

Lastly, if you are willing to do absolutely anything to avoid the £70,000 expense, there is always the option of marriage counselling.

sleep

Not Getting Enough Sleep? You’re Hurting the Economy

Sleep deprivation may be costing the UK £40 billion a year. At least, that is what a report by the BBC suggests. Off what is that estimate based? It’s a correlation between tired employees and lost productivity.

As reported, research firm Rand Europe analysed data from 62,000 people. And what did the study find? That lost productivity due to lack of sleep cost the country 1.86 percent of economic growth.

Sleep, Health, and Productivity

Those sleeping less than six hours a night experienced significant health differences from those who got seven to nine hours of shuteye. In fact, the lack of sleep was even connected to a 13 percent chance of dying early when compared to those getting more rest.

But the UK isn’t the worst off in this arena. The US and Japan experienced higher losses due to the repercussions of too little rest amongst its working populations. Their GDPs lost 2.28 and 2.92 percent respectively. However, Germany and Canada both fair better, with losses of only 1.56 and 1.35 percent respectively.

The report stated that employees who got between seven and nine hours of rest were in the healthy range.

Standard Sleep Advice

If you want to be more productive, then aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Along with that, try to wake up at the same time every day, even if you don’t have to go to work. Regular exercise can improve the quality of your sleep as well as avoiding sugar and caffeine near bedtime.

Shutting down your electronic devices a few hours before bed is also recommended. Most smartphones, computers, and televisions emit light that disrupts the natural sleep cycle. Avoid unnatural light before bed, and your body will function more naturally. You should also avoid having any unnecessary light in the room when you sleep.

How Employers Can Help

Employers need to recognize the importance of sleep for their employees. Aside from limiting expectations to work from mobile devices when off the clock, organizations can invest in nap rooms to help tired employees get a reprieve when on breaks. Additionally, they should stress the importance of maintaining a proper sleep schedule and work with staff to find ways to make regular sleep a priority.

Small Changes Can Help

If you can’t immediately shift your schedule for more sleep, make small changes instead. If you can improve the quality of sleep that you are getting, then you can make fewer hours count for more. Additionally, try to time when you wake up based on your individual sleep cycle. By waking up during lighter points in your sleep cycle, you will feel more refreshed. There may be some trial and error involved in finding the right timing, but it can be worth the effort.

And don’t fall for the idea that you can catch up on all of the sleep you need on weekends either, as that approach is only marginally effective. Instead, shift your sleep by as little as 10 minutes at a time until you find an ideal point. When you start waking up feeling more energized, you’ll know that you are on the right track.

country house

Should You Rent or Buy in Today’s Economy?

The decision to remain a tenant or make a shift into the world of homeownership is a challenging one. Some of the latest statistics, based on information from the National Housing Federation, as reported by the BBC, shows that tenants in the UK often direct a higher percentage of their income towards rent than the average of all other European countries, at a rate of 39.1 and 28 percent respectively.

The high cost of renting is highlighted by an increase in competition amongst lenders looking for qualified mortgage candidates. The British Bankers’ Association found that, as of 2015, acceptance rates for loan applicants was rising. The increased competition in the mortgage market has also lead to more favourable rates for buyers. This is making it more tempting to make the transition from tenant to homeowner.

Making the decision to purchase a home should never be taken lightly. Regardless of the rates being offered by lenders, homeownership requires careful consideration. If you want to make sure you are well-equipped to become a homeowner, consider the following points.

Additional Costs of Homeownership

While the costs associated with a mortgage are well known, there is more to homeownership than simply repaying your lender. As a homeowner, you will be responsible for any repairs that may be required. This includes the replacement of any failing appliances. Regular maintenance activities will also fall on your shoulders, leading to costs that you did not initially anticipate.

If you do want to become a homeowner, make sure that you will have suitable funds remaining after the purchase to handle these expenses. While the exact amount needed will depend on the property, having a few thousand pounds in the bank is likely a necessity. Otherwise, you will face with costly choices.  For example, you be wind up taking out an emergency loan to handle a needed repair. You could also be stuck dealing with the broken item until you can raise the funds necessary for the repair.

Time Requirements

Just as you will need to direct additional funds to the maintenance of your home, you will also need to sacrifice some of your time to manage any upkeep. This can include meeting repair services at your property when professional assistance is required. You will also be taking your personal time to complete maintenance tasks on your own.

While postponing some services until they are convenient to complete is an option, others may not be so flexible. For example, a plumbing issue will likely need immediate resolution. This can mean taking time off work to find a repair service, obtain an estimate, and oversee the work.

In some cases, you may be able to work with companies you trust to enter your property unsupervised. However, this is generally not recommended with companies with which you are not incredibly familiar. If you are a new homeowner, it may take time to build the sort of relationship that would be required to feel confident leaving them in your home alone.

The Level of Commitment

People who remain tenants can often more easily make major changes in their lives. It may be easier to accept a job in a new city for tenants as moving does not require the management of a home in your previous city. Those who rent have the flexibility needed to move more easily, but it also comes with the some risk.  Since you are not the owner of the property in which you live, you may have to deal with unexpected challenges. Tenants may find themselves without a home should the owners decide to sell the property. Additionally, the owner may discontinue the tenant/landlord relationship, a risk that is not felt by homeowners.

What is Right for You

Whether you choose to buy or rent, the decision is always yours. Consider your personal financial situation, as well as other life changes that may be on the horizon. If you feel the time is right, and you can afford it, then now may be a great time to buy.

EU Vote

EU Referendum Remain or Leave

How To Make Your Decision

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past several months, you’ve been bombarded with news, polls, and fierce debates about the upcoming EU Referendum vote. Whether you are swayed toward leave or stay, one thing is for sure, both sides of the argument are intent on scary the living daylights out of the public as a means to get votes. The remain camp warns of financial and trade cataclysms if we leave, the leave camp warns of mass immigration of less than desirable people if we stay, and even the high street banks will have staff working overnight on the 23rd to deal with client enquiries following the results. The Lenders List is not campaigning for either side, but we are campaigning for logical, objective sentiments, free of fear mongering.

With regards to the consequences of the referendum result, Martin Lewis of the site moneysavingexpert.com said it best, “Anyone who tells you they KNOW what’ll happen if we leave the EU is a liar.”  He is absolutely right; we are in unchartered territory. It is this level of uncertainty which has given rise to panicked politicians and media outlets. So to remain objective, let’s look at what is known, the facts, versus what we don’t know, the risks.

Facts

Remaining in the EU will allow Brits to continue to move freely and work in other EU countries.

  • Remaining in the EU essentially relinquishes immigration decisions to the EU. Meaning the EU, not the British government or public, will decide the number of immigrants admitted into the UK.
  • Remaining in the EU, gives the EU power to dictate and impose trade rules and regulations over Britain.
  • Total fees paid to the EU in 2015 were £5 billion. The original fee was £18 billion, less a rebate of £5 billion, minus EU spending within the UK of £4.5 billion.
  • The European Union Economy has not experienced growth over 2% since 2012, making it the worst performer compared to all other continental economies.
  • The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world but has not achieved over 1% of growth any year since the recession.
  • The NHS is under financial duress, limiting services available to the public. NHS trusts have predicted a £2 billion deficit for 2016.

Risks (Positive & Negative)

  • Brexit could unleash economic problems, including volatility in the pound and euro values.
  • Brexit could lead to a rise or fall in interest rates.
  • Economic experts have differing predictions that Brexit will reduce trade from the Britain to other European countries or will increase trade by freeing Brits from bureaucratic regulations sanctioned by the EU.
  • Brexit may disrupt peaceful relations between the Britain and other EU members.
  • Remaining may lead to an influx of several thousand migrants into Britain, potentially putting further strain on public services.

The potential risks posed by Brexit are all over the place. Mainstream news outlets will feed you both the positive outlook and the doomsday approach for either campaign so your vote really comes down to your confidence in your country. If you believe Britain is strong enough to stand on its own and has the economic might to be successful independent of the EU, then you will likely favour to leave. However, if you genuinely believe that entry into the EU is a vital economic crutch that determines the realisation of economic growth, than you will likely want to remain.

Whatever the decision, the vote will probably give the market a small shake up at least. During times of economic uncertainty, you should do what you can to protect yourself financially. Continue to reduce debt, borrow money responsibly, create a budget every month, and overall practice frugality. You can check the Lenders List every week for tips on how to save money.

 

Google Payday Loans Ad Ban

Google To Ban Ads From Payday Lenders

Search Engine Giving Certain Lenders and Brokers The Boot

Google announced last week that as of July 13, the search engine would stop allowing ads for loans due within 60 days or with an interest rate of 36% or higher. Google’s director of product policy, David Graff stated, “This change is designed to protect our users from deceptive or harmful financial products and will not affect companies offering loans such as mortgages, car loans, student loans, commercial loans, or revolving lines of credit.” Borrowers will still be able to search for potential lenders using a standard Google search. The lenders that fall into Google’s short-term, high-interest category will simply not be able to purchase advertising.

Lending Association Disappointment At The Decision

Lisa McGreevy, president of The Online Lenders Association, and Russell Hamblin-Boone, chief executive of The Consumer Finance Association, both agreed that the move was ‘disappointing.’ “Short term loans are a legal source of credit used by millions of people across the UK, and the industry is highly regulated, with a cap on the total cost of credit,” said Russell Hamblin-Boone. Mr Hamblin-Boone went on to argue that government regulations have already removed the rogue lenders from the market. A recent report published by the Archbishop of Canterbury concluded that payday lending has fallen 68% since 2013.

Google Bowing To Pressure

As a private corporation, Google has every right to accept business from whomever they choose. Refusing to display advertising from certain lenders would be no different than Sainsbury’s suddenly stopping the sale cigarettes. Each has the right to do so legally. However, Google is exponentially more powerful than a national grocery chain. Google has 90% of the market share of online search engines. The company has the ability to direct people where or where not to go for commerce. Many agree that Google’s new policy is far more influential than any government regulation.

Whether you agree with payday lenders or not, Google’s ability to censor businesses is intimidating. Many think that Google is acting as a nanny rather than a free market enterprise. Ultimately, responsible borrowing is down to the borrower himself. Google has in fact refused advertising service to other industries, which include counterfeit goods, weight loss scams, and illegal goods like guns and drugs. The online search giant deactivated over 780 million ads just last year alone. However, this situation is different as payday lenders are completely legal.

Industry Will Still Exist So Stay Responsible

TheLendersList.co.uk advocates for responsible lending. Borrowers should weigh their options carefully when deciding to take out a loan. If you have no intention of paying back a loan or cannot afford to, do not borrow. Borrowers are encouraged to shop around for the best rates for a loan and such loans should be used for genuine emergency situations. We encourage customers to only borrow the amount needed and read through terms and conditions thoroughly so you are aware of all charges, fees, and the implications of missed payments.

 

1 in 5 Cannot Afford January’s Rent

Coping With The Shortage In Salary

A recent survey shows that 20% of people in the UK cannot afford to pay their rent this month from their salary alone. Instead, they will turn to finance solutions such as credit cards, payday loan lenders and overdraft facilities.

According to the survey, conducted by Spareroom.co.uk, not all of the 20% will look to take out money with nearly 3% of them dipping into their savings or other sources to meet the cost.

Respondents were each asked how they were going to manage the shortfall for their January rent, in total over 1000 of the websites users completed the survey. Alarmingly, 6.5% of people said they had no way to make their monthly rent payment. On the other hand, over 6% said they would use their overdraft or credit card service with a further 2.5% turning to friends or family to lend a helping hand. Payday loans were also the answer for many, with 1.7% planning to take out a short-term payday loan. 

The director of Spareroom, Matt Hutchinson, explained that January is often a tough month financially following the Christmas period.  This year could be even tougher he said ‘with 45% of landlords considering rent increases in 2016, the prospect looks bleak for renters.’

He recommends that anyone who fears that there rent increases could leave them unable to pay talk to their landlord as soon as possible.

He went on to add that ‘most landlords realise that the cost of finding a new tenant often outweighs the extra they’ll get by putting the rent up and may be willing to negotiate, especially if you’ve been a reliable tenant.

Increasing Rents In 2016

The increase in rent costs has been put down to the lack of affordable homes in the UK; a recent study by Shelter revealed that two and a half million parents were making cuts at home to meet their rent and mortgage payments. This included cutting down on household essentials such as food shopping as well as gas and electricity. Their study also showed that an alarming 1 in 10 parents would not be able to meet their housing costs this month.

Looking at the figures, it is not a surprise that more and more people are struggling under ‘the weight of monthly payments’ according to Nadeem Khan, an adviser at Shelter.

Far too many people call us after struggling in silence with spiralling housing debt and feeling they have nowhere to turn’ he said, advising anyone in this situation to contact the helpline for advice.

So, if you are struggling and do not have a solution in place, act now and stop the problem growing. There are many ways to resolve your problems, so get help to find the right one for you.