The 2019 ISA season is now in full swing, and it's as good a time as any to focus on financial planning - and, within that, looking ahead to your retirement years to ensure financial security.
Quick guide to financing a wedding
There is undeniably something truly unique and glorious about a wedding. So rare is it to have occasion to gather all of your nearest and dearest in the same place at once – all of whom are there to celebrate something as special as your and your partner’s nuptials. Scant wonder then why weddings capture the imagination to such a great extent, and why we feel the need to make the day as memorable as possible.
Of course, doing so often comes at a hefty price, and with photographers, DJs, wedding planners, and other contractors and service providers not exactly offering bargain prices, it comes as little surprise that the average cost of a wedding in the UK in 2014 was nearly £21,000. And that’s before paying a penny towards honeymoon!
Trimming the costs
The good news is that there are many ways to bring down the bill, and without impacting on the quality of the occasion either. The first thing to do is decide on an overall budget, and one that you feel you can realistically stick to. Bear in mind that as the day nears, unexpected costs do inevitably crop up, and even with the most astute planning, there will be bumps in the road which do sometimes require paying a premium in order to resolve them.
Once you have your budget in mind, here are some really handy and creative ways of ensuring you stick to it:
- Benchmark standard prices for goods and services needed for a wedding, so that you have a clear idea of the fairness of the quotes you receive
- Streamline the guest list as much as possible
- Plan your wedding date to be outside the months of June to September, and avoid getting married on a Saturday if possible
- If you’re funding the bar tab for guests, request that they pay for spirits themselves
- Decorate the cake yourself, or to avoid excessive costs (and waste) simply purchase one with two synthetic tiers (with the top one as actual cake)
- Save on the cost of a wedding planner by asking friends to help you set everything up
- Haggle, haggle, and haggle again on prices!
Financing the wedding
Unfortunately the reality is that even with these helpful cost cutters, not everyone has thousands of pounds lying around to fund a wedding, and borrowing of some kind is a necessity. In fact, this is the case for roughly one in five newlywed couples in the UK according to recent research. So how best to do this?
Credit cards are understandably popular. Aside from being convenient, many have grace periods in which you pay low or even zero per cent interest. But the problem comes in when this window closes prior to clearing your balance. After that, APRs in excess of 20 per cent are not uncommon, and this can extend your cycle of debt. Added to that, if you fail to make minimum repayments each month, you’ll be in line for penalties.
In some cases, personal loans present a far more preferable alternative. With wedding loans, you’ll be able to select both a set amount to borrow and a set repayment term. By extension, you will thus also have a degree of control over the rate you pay, which, like the monthly repayment amount, will remain fixed for the duration of the loan term.
Perhaps most appealingly of all though, is the fact that the APR on a wedding loan will likely be significantly lower than that on a credit card, particularly if you have a decent credit rating. At Lending Works for example, our representative APR for a £5,000 wedding loan over three years is just 7.6 per cent.
Focusing on the joys of the big day
By saving this considerable amount in interest, such a debt essentially becomes an efficient and cost-effective way of ensuring that you don’t need to skimp on the necessities, thus ensuring that your dream day goes ahead exactly as you imagined it. The last thing you want upon your return from honeymoon is the burden of debt repayments which are going to place a strain on your budget each month.
So be sure to do your research, and find the best solution for you. Once you do, you’ll be well placed to put all your energies into planning the perfect day, safe in the knowledge that you are doing so within your means.
The Lifetime ISA (LISA), announced in 2016, would prove to be one of George Osborne’s last flagship gestures to UK savers and investors as Chancellor, eventually launching against a backdrop of anti-climax a year later in April 2017.
There is barely a week to go until the conclusion of the 2017/18 financial year, which means that, as ISA season begins to hot up, time is running out to take advantage of your ISA allowance.
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.
Loan underwriting is the process that we undertake to analyse all of the information provided by each loan applicant and their credit file to assess whether or not that applicant meets our minimum loan criteria. As part of that process all data is verified, analysed and summarised to paint a picture of each applicant.
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.
As 2018 draws to a close, with our bellies full of Christmas turkey, it's only natural to look back on the past 12 months and reflect. No doubt, it's been a turbulent one economically and politically, and not everyone has had it all their own way.