What you need to know about money each week and what the news means for you, from the UK's best financial website.
With new plans to tackle bogus ratings online: How much can you trust reviews?
The Government is planning a major crackdown on fake reviews. Under proposals, it will become illegal to pay someone to write, or host, bogus online ratings.
How much weight should we put behind buying decisions when it comes to reviews and ratings, and what exactly are the plans to prevent this kind of consumer manipulation?
This week, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost discuss this, along with the others measures the Government is planning, including on subscription traps and Christmas savings clubs, and how it'll be enforced.
How much are you saving? You might think a lack of a rainy day pot is solely an issue for those on low incomes, but you'd be wrong.
A quarter of Britain's wealthiest households do not have one - why is this the case?
That comes as fixed-rate deals nudge higher, but Lee warns listeners not to get too excited.
Are you paying for too much mobile phone data? And would you take part in a home swap in order to save on your summer holiday?
What's the link between rocketing car hire prices and inflation?
Just when you thought that you could book to go back in the water.
As if sorting a holiday, ensuring the country you want to go to is okay for long enough to get there, or dodging quarantine roulette wasn't enough, now car hire inflation is biting.
In a sign of the inflationary times, the cost of renting a car has rocketed to about three times the price of last year and it's being blamed on the semiconductor shortage.
How can a lack of computer chips drive up costs so substantially at the car hire desk?
And what on earth has this got to do with the price of a bag of crisps?
On this week's podcast, Georgie Frost, Grace Gausden and Simon Lambert look at holidays and inflation and the points where supply and demand are intersecting to create very odd scenarios, plus Simon expands on his crisp-based inflation explanation.
Also on this week's podcast, Grace investigates unpaid Dartford Crossing charges that spiralled into a £3,000 bill and Simon looks at what happens if you want to give your house to your child and whether that's an inheritance tax risk.
Should the triple lock give an 8% state pension rise?
The triple lock has always been a hot potato but things have stepped up another gear as it could deliver a bumper 8 per cent state pension increase due to a statistical quirk.
The state pension pledge means that payouts rise by the greatest of inflation, wage growth or 2.5 per cent.
Yet, wage growth numbers are being skewed this year because the Covid crash a year ago saw millions put on furlough on a maximum of 80 per cent of earnings, workers suffer temporary pay cuts, and many lose their jobs.
Job cuts disproportionately hit the low paid and continue to do so, taking them out of the figures and bumping up the average wage, workers coming back from furlough are seeing pay go back up to their full amount, and short-term pay cuts have been reversed.
All this makes average wage growth look artificially high, despite many public and private sector workers suffering pay freezes or negligible rises.
The Office for Budget Responsibility forecast that distortion could lead to an 8 per cent wage growth figure in the month the triple lock reading is taken from, delivering a £14 weekly increase to the state pension and £3billion bill.
Is it fair for pensioners to get a bumper increase based on a distortion caused by the pay pain suffered by workers in lockdown? Some say ‘no’, others say ‘stick to the deal’.
On this week’s podcast, Tanya Jefferies, Georgie Frost and Simon Lambert look at what is causing the triple lock anomaly and what the Government might do. Will they pay up or fudge it?
Also this week, the painful cases of those who cannot afford funerals for loved ones, the return of gazumping to the property market, and finally, the crazy NatWest banking rule that has forced a reader to have their employer’s bank accounts mixed with theirs in online banking.
Underpaid state pension scandal update alongside the future of pensions and green bonds
Yet more people caught up in the underpaid state pension scandal have been unearthed by This is Money – and tragically, in the two cases we highlight this week, they weren't alive to see justice.
Two bereaved daughters received sums of £42,000 and £71,000 because their mothers were underpaid state pension for more than a decade before dying in their 90s.
The payouts are all thanks to the intrepid work of investment and pensions editor Tanya Jefferies and our pensions agony uncle Sir Steve Webb.
They join deputy editor Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost to talk about these latest cases, and what it means in terms of inheritance tax and care fees – could you, a family member or friend have been caught up in the scandal?
We also talk about pensions in more details – do you know what yours is invested in and what it's worth?
It will matter even more than usual if the Chancellor gets his way and taps into our retirement pots and parcel it out to fast-growing businesses, transport projects, real estate and carbon-friendly investments.
We also discuss the new green savings bonds from NS&I: how long is the term, what's the rate and just how green are they?
There's a chink of light for easy-access accounts and if you leave Georgie and Lee to organise the podcast, they will inevitably add a section in about sport - we talk about this booming trend during Euro 2020.
How much do you need for a comfortable retirement? (TiM podcast excerpt)
How big a pension pot do you need to save for a comfortable retirement?
Pension and investing editor, Tanya Jefferies, discusses research that puts a figure on what people need to retire on, in this excerpt from the This is Money podcast.
Alongside host Georgie Frost, she talks about Which? research into pension savings and how people can build the pot they need.
Also, This is Money's assistant personal finance editor Helen Crane looks at whether you should prioritise getting on the property ladder ahead of a pension or pay equal attention to both.
And the team look at how younger workers can build the retirement savings they will need.
The stamp duty race to avoid a double false economy
Home buyers are engaged in a last minute race to beat the stamp duty deadline – with some facing a potential double false economy.
House prices have bounced over the past year meaning that the £15,000 maximum saving of a year ago would now come on a property that potentially costs £50,000 more.
That has led to claims of a false economy, but it would be doubly so for any buyer who then missed the deadline too and ended up with an extra £12,500 tax bill as they only get the tapered bit of the stamp duty holiday not the whole thing.
On this week’s podcast, Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert look at the last minute stamp duty rush and what might happen next to the property market, with Simon outlining that it’s not just a tax cut driving the pandemic boom.
At the other end of the property ladder, the team look at how to make sure you don’t end up paying off a mortgage in retirement and what you can do if you are approaching your pension years or in them with a home loan still to clear.
It’s likely that those borrowers could face higher rates than the rock bottom mortgage ones now too, but will rising inflation send interest rates up sooner than people think?
Meanwhile, what can a new £50 note and what happened to the value of the last one introduced in 1981 tell us about inflation? And why is continental Europe so much happier about taking big notes.
And finally, if you wanted to beat inflation you wouldn’t usually buy a nearly new car, but there are some now six-year-old motors out there that have held their value better than others and amazingly some that are worth more now than they were in 2018. We reveal which.
Really enjoy the podcast but....
Please don't eat food on the mic like in the Dec 23rd episode. Painful. Cheers
Probability and reversion to the mean
I enjoy this podcast but one of the presenters really needs someone to explain “reversion to the mean” to him, as he’s got it completely wrong twice now and in this episode suggests that people who have an abnormally lucky year on the premium bonds one year are more likely to have an abnormally unlucky year the next and so should sell up. This is simply wrong and it’s concerning that it made it past the edit.
Careful on use of statistics
Today I heard that the best time to sell premium bonds is after big wins, because of “reversion to the mean” evening out returns over time. What utter tosh! If this was a market or a stock where sentiment can move pricing away from fundamentals that would be appropriate, because overall it is the underlying fundamentals that determine long term price performance.
BUT, for a premium bond or a lottery, there is no connection whatsoever between the odds of winning tomorrow and how much or little you win yesterday. Suggesting reversion to the mean is nothing more than bar room superstition, like relying on lucky socks to win a darts match. Shame on you!
So, this is a good and interesting show, but look out for uncorroborated opinions in the presenters, they can be wrong too.