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60 second news round-up: the top money stories of the week

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
26/02/2016
Our one minute summary of the key trends, facts and figures over the past week.

Pensions

Speculation’s mounting on what pension changes investors can expect to see in next month’s Budget, but there are warnings by providers that any further reforms could amount to ‘daylight robbery’. But since the introduction of auto-enrolment, more people are saving for retirement and HMRC figures show more than £20bn ploughed into personal pensions last year. However, there are murmurings the UK’s heading towards a two-tier approach to retirement planning with those earning £50,001+ more likely to seek financial advice. Any cuts to the Lifetime Allowance won’t just impact the wealthiest of society, but those with modest savings too.

Savings and credit

Savers have had to make do with paltry interest rates but peer to peer lenders are attracting investors’ attention with their market-leading rates. If you’re new to P2P, see our where do I start? guide. For those who want to stick to the mainstream, it appears building societies are beating banks for suffering savers and the message now is that it’s best to save little and often when it comes to your ISA. In other savings news, here are the top tips to get the best balance transfer deal, 10 ways to boost your credit score and see why American Express has been named Credit Card Provider of the Year.

Markets

It’s clear UK dividends are under pressure, so what’s the answer for income investors? For some, a fearful market can create opportunities for investors and with all the headlines surrounding the volatility, we explain the dangers of confusing economies with stockmarkets. For The Share Centre, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has been picked as the stock of the week.

Mortgages and property

New data this week suggests buy to let is still hugely popular with retirees despite the looming surcharge plans and so far in 2016, borrowing has increased with mortgage lending up 21% year on year. For many, it’s no surprise to learn that one in four homes ‘earn’ more than their owner and with the Bank governor outlining potential for an interest rate cut, homeownership should be more affordable. One fly in the ointment appears to be around ‘Brexit’ with figures showing it could cause house prices to drop by £11,000.

Death and tax planning

The government has announced proposals to change probate fees so we outline everything you need to know if/when this happens. Last week we covered tips on cutting inheritance tax bills but this week we look at whether ‘upsizing’ could be one way to benefit from the increased tax allowance from next year. It’s also worth considering how you’d cope financially if you were diagnosed with a medical problem and according to new statistics, only 14% of Brits have critical illness cover so we show you how to buy the right policy for your needs.

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