With the retail sector enduring its fair share of challenges, companies are looking at new ways to attract customers, and drive conversion. In an overcrowded, dog-eat-dog marketplace, with behemoths such as Amazon flexing their muscle, it’s easier said than done.
IWD: A time for pension reflection
This Sunday marks one of great significance, as the world comes together to observe International Women’s Day (IWD). It’s been over 100 years since the inaugural IWD was honoured by more than a million people, and although gender equality has come a long way in the last century, certain issues have a habit of arising to demonstrate that the gap, in some respects, has not yet been wholly bridged.
A recent study revealed in This is Money on Thursday suggested that over 6 million people currently aged 40-65 in the UK are set to miss out on getting their full state pensions. The current minimum requirement in order to receive it is 30 years in full-time work, but with this number rising to 35 next year, the figure of 6 million could swell even further.
The minimum requirement will be tapered for those with established working records, and there are ways to make up for missed National Insurance contributions later in life, but the change will sting a lot of people nevertheless, and the statistics suggest that women will be hit hardest of all.
The study confirmed that 39% of women in this age bracket will fall short of the current 30-year minimum, as opposed to just 14% in the case of men. Research by Partnership shows that taking time out of careers to raise children is one of the chief contributors to the shortfall, and the discrepancy between the two genders is therefore no surprise given that 58% of women stop work in favour of taking on childcare as opposed to 5% of men.
Furthermore, the study showed that 10% of people in this category have taken time out from their jobs to look after family members; 11% of women compared with just 6% of men.
In terms of private pension schemes, the figures are even more damning, with estimates showing that women’s average personal pensions are just 62% of men’s, and that women make up the overwhelming majority of those of a pensionable age living below the breadline.
Historical factors need to be considered, given that women could legally be barred from joining pension schemes until 1970. But even today, the Government’s automatic-enrolment scheme – which makes it compulsory for employers to enrol employees earning more than £10,000 a year into a pension fund – inherently favours men given that the bulk of those in part-time or low-paid jobs are female. In fact, one in four women are excluded from the scheme as a result.
At Lending Works, we’re proud to have such an abundance of long-term female lenders – many of whom are of a pensionable age - and are firm supporters of the general shift towards an equilibrium on all fronts.
Yet while the discriminations of the past continue to be eroded, days like Sunday allow us all to take stock, and the issue of pensions provides a glaring example of the inequalities that still exist today. As a society, we should celebrate the progress that’s been made, but, at the same time, avoid complacency at all costs. Addressing the gender disparities with pensions would surely represent a good start.
Our website offers information about saving, investing, tax and other financial matters, but not personal advice. If you're not sure whether peer-to-peer lending is right for you, please seek independent financial advice, and if you decide to invest with Lending Works, please read our Key Lender Information PDF first.
On 4 June 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released its new regulatory framework for peer-to-peer lending (P2P); a Policy Statement known as PS19/14. As you might imagine, it's a document which, following a three-month consultation, is a hefty read of no fewer than 102 pages.
For all the resilience the UK economy has shown, there is no doubt that this year's ISA season is set against a backdrop of uncertainty. Whatever the pros and cons, Brexit, and a lack of clarity on what our future economic relationship with the EU will look like, has left us at a crossroads.
In a difficult climate, customer acquisition and lead generation present stern challenges for UK retailers, and a great deal of marketing spend invariably gets directed towards getting feet through the door.
Over the last decade, there can be little dispute that the reputation of mainstream banks – and particularly the so-called ‘Big Four’ (HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and RBS) – is at its lowest ebb.
The peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry is now regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The regulatory framework has been designed to protect customers and promote effective competition.
When you earn interest from a regular bank savings account, for example, the bank automatically deducts basic rate tax (currently 20%) before paying your interest. With interest earned from peer-to-peer lending, tax is not deducted automatically so lenders will need to declare their income to HMRC.
The financial crisis is a bitter memory of what can go wrong when regulators lose control of markets. It seems hard to fathom now, but a little over a decade ago, buyers could acquire mortgages to the tune of 125 per cent of the home’s value (the Northern Rock Together mortgage being one of the most infamous), with only the most lax affordability checks standing in their way.
Numerous theories have emerged as to why the UK has endured such a severe productivity problem over the last decade. Growth in productivity of just 2 per cent during that period would typically have been accomplished within a single year prior to the financial crisis, and thus the 'productivity puzzle' continues to confound economists
In the aftermath of the financial crisis back in 2008/09, the Bank of England (BoE) had considerable headroom in terms of monetary policy, and - rightly - it made full use of it.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the global financial system as a whole is predicated on the ability to buy something now, and pay for it later. Barely anyone would be able to make a substantial purchase such as a house without an instrument like a mortgage.
With political parties jostling for position amid a series of Elections, and the ongoing spectre of a snap General Election looming large, the Labour Party put forward a policy last week which has proved to be a talking point: increasing the minimum wage to £10 per hour, and extending this to workers under the age of 18.