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Budget Flights

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If, like us, you occasionally book flights on budget airlines, you will have got increasingly fed up with the way that they employ means to charge extra. In fact the price you pay often bears no resemblance to the headline price that caught your attention in the first place. We have found Martin Lewis' guide on this topic very helpful and in particular, his " flight Checker" Why not have a look for yourself by following this link

http://flightchecker.moneysavingexpert.com/

What tips and advice do you have. Write a note to let us know.

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Child Trust Funds


10A while ago I wrote the article below and as we all might have anticipated nothing has changed in the interim. Today Sy Morris of the Daily Mail wrote a piece on the topic which I feel merits the re-run of the issue read. Sy http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/saving/article-2104458/Child-Trust-Fund-v-Junior-Isa--34k-curse-6m-kids-barred-best-savings-deals.htmlstates that over the course of the 18 years life of a Child Trust Fund (CTF) a youngster is likely to lose £34,000, being the difference between the likely return on a  CTF compared with a Junior ISSA.  He says that a number of the big banks are supporting the unlocking of the CTFs. It is widely accepted that with the money locked into these acounts there is no incentive for the managers to really bother about the onterest rates and as said in the article they will merely degrade. Increasingly parents and grandparents are unwittingly treating their children and grandchildren differently as some have CTFs and now the rest have Junior ISSAs. It is a scandal and I have decided on behalf of silverlinkers to write directly to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to protest.

Like many grandparents when the Labour Government launched the £250 child vouchers and accompanied it with the setting up of Child Trust Funds we thought this would be a tax free way of putting savings aside for the future of our grandchildren. The Government at the time thought this would be a good way to ensure reasonable nest eggs for youngsters by the time of their 18th birthday.

The rules limited annual contributions to such funds to £1200 but as a tax free account it seemed to have merit. It was untouchable by anyone other than the named child and only on reaching their 18th birthday.

Historically low interest rates and a volatile market have seen these Trust Funds under-perform since they began and many of us are regretting having opened one.

Replacing them are the new Junior ISSAs a tax free account with a maximum annual contribution of £3600. These new accounts do not have the same constraints as the old CTFs and will become the account of choice for parents and grandparents wishing to help their children, provided the interest rate settles into a competitive rate. However, as you are not allowed to upgrade your established CTF to a JISSA many people are going to be saddled with an underperforming obsolete account.

There is little or no incentive for the financial institutes that have provided CTFs to maintain interest rates and if the financial sectors record of reducing rates on accounts at every opportunity is anything to go by then money in these accounts will languish miserably until inflation has totally eroded any benefit by the child’s 18th birthday.

There is a gradually increasing lobby to force the current Government to allow the conversion of CTFs into the new JISSAs.

If you have views on this topic why not let us know ?

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Problems with your Bank

stockvault-euro-3d-text1129The newspapers seem full of complaints regarding the poor service customers get from their banks. I have been, for example, struck recently by the number of times Santander appears in the press concerning complaints but without, seemingly, making significant change. I am sure they are not the only ones and it occurs to me that we put up with far too much. The difficulty is that it is easy for them to ignore us. We are, after all, only one customer, probably with modest dealings with them and no matter how many complaints appear in the papers it is a long time before they mount up to the sort of lobby for change that they will notice.

I would like silverksnetwork to begin discussing these issues. It may be that if enough of us share a view or an agenda for change we could make a difference. Is that overly ambitious? What do we consider to be the most important matters for our banks to get right? Log in and register your views under coments on what you would like to change. Based on the number of hits this piece is receiving it is obviously something people want to discuss.

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