20 Things you should
know about your money
DON’T BE BLIND WHEN IT COMES TO MANAGING YOUR
MONEY, IGNORANCE CAN BE DOWNRIGHT EXPENSIVE. HERE ARE
THE EXPENSES EVERYBODY SHOULD KEEP AN EYE ON.
1The average credit card rate is 18.9%, but
they vary from 0% to more than 50%. If
you are paying off your debt, it’s not a
problem. If not, you need to know your rate so
you can see whether you can get a better deal.
2How long your savings would last if you
could not work. Ideally, you would have a
six-month cushion, but for the average Briton
it’s just 19 days, according to Legal General.
That’s not necessarily a problem as long as
you have something else in place to kick in
when you run out of cash. To arrange that, you
need to know how much you have.
3What your home contents insurance covers.
A standard contents policy will cover, say, an
iPhone stolen during a break-in, but not if you
lose it on the train. If you want that cover, you
need to make sure you opted in for personal
4What type of locks you have on your
windows and doors. If you put the wrong sort
on your insurance application, your household
insurer may refuse to pay any claim for
burglary. Check what you have and that you
are complying with your policy.
5What factors affect your credit rating. Six
out of 10 of us don’t know this, according to
Aqua credit cards. Yet a poor credit score
makes it difficult or even impossible to get a
competitive mortgage, loan or credit card.
“If your debit card swallowed by an ATM
machine or you find you’ve lost your
wallet, you will most probably want to
cancel quickly. Make sure you know the
6When you can claim your state pension.
Most people expect to qualify at age 65, but
that is steadily rising and younger people
might have to wait until they are 68 or even
older. Find out for sure here.
7How much it costs to use your credit or
debit card overseas. This could be more
expensive than your realise. Most cards charge
foreign transaction fees of 2.5% or more, says
Matthijs Boon at Moneycorp, adding:
“Withdrawing cash on your credit card from
an ATM is even more expensive.”
8Where all your pensions are. It’s easy to lose
track of old company pensions, especially if
you have worked for several employers, says
Jason Hollands at IFA firm Bestinvest.
9How much your jewellery is worth. Soaring
gold and diamond prices could mean your
bling is worth a lot more than you paid for
it, Hollands says. “Your contents insurance
may no longer be adequate to replace the items
if stolen, so get a fresh value.”
10Your annual mileage. Your motor insurer
wants to know how many miles you drive each
year when you buy cover, as the more miles
you do, the more likely you are to have an
accident. If you have seriously underestimate
your mileage it could invalidate your policy if
you make a claim.
Is the typical charge for foreign
11You can get cheaper car insurance by
adding your partner to your motor policy.
“Our statistics show that motorists who have
another named driver on their policy make
fewer claims,” says Erik Nelson at insurer
12Price comparison sites aren’t always the
cheapest way to buy financial products. “They
don’t always have the best deal with each
provider, and take a cut of the sale, adding to
the cost,” says David Scrivens at discount
broker Clubfinance. Always compare prices
with a direct quote.
13Consider buying income protection, which
replaces your earnings if you fall ill and can’t
14Shops are not obliged to give you a refund.
Your rights are limited if you have simply
changed your mind, says Jonathan Maskew at
find-a-barrister service myBarrister. “Stores
only have to give you a refund if the item is
damaged, of poor quality or unfit for purpose.”
15The phone number for your bank. If your
debit card is swallowed by an ATM and you’re
not sure if it’s coming back out, or you
suddenly find you’ve lost your wallet, you will
probably want to cancel it quickly. Make sure
you know the number or have it plugged into
your mobile phone.
of people have no idea
what affect their credit rating. But a poor
rating may make it impossible to get a
16Where your receipts are. If you need to make
an insurance claim, you have a much better
chance of having it settled quickly, and with
the amount of cash you want, if you have
proof of purchase for things. Keep receipts and
know where to find them.
17Which day direct debits and standing
orders leave your account. This is the best
way to avoid being hit with a hefty
unauthorised overdraft fee as you can take
action if you know you are going to end up
with a shortfall one month. You might be able
to move money from a savings account, or
arrange an overdraft.
18What time your local supermarket starts
reducing things. Save money on your
shopping by working out when the
supermarket marks down food. This is usually
towards the end of the day, but it varies
according to the supermarket.
19What the excess is on your insurance. This is
the amount the insurer will expect you to pay
towards the cost of any claim you make. You
can cut your premium by voluntarily taking on
an extra excess, but remember that you must
also pay your insurer’s standard excess.
20How much your home would cost to rebuild. If
you own a property you need to provide this to
buy buildings insurance. It’s not the same as
the market value it’s usually less, so it’s better
to know rather than paying for more insurance
than you need.
-Guardian News & Media Ltd
Our statistic show that motorists who have
another named driver on their policy
make fewer claims.
- Erik Nelson, of insurer Aviva