Personal Finance

After the Flood, Insuring the Insured

The Environment Agency still had 25 “red” flood warnings and 140 “yellow” flood alerts in force across the UK on Monday. This comes as the Association of British Insurers estimated that flood damage this winter would have cost the industry about £1.3 billion. It has been a devastating time for many, and government spending on flood defences has come in for intense scrutiny. Close attention is also needed of the industry’s plan to insure the most at-risk homes.

Defining Middle Class

Many people are born into the middle class, but for those born in poverty the lifetime challenge is reaching middle class status.

The definition of middle class status is a challenge in itself. People in poverty are often described as those surviving on less than US$1.25 (some R17.50) per day. However, that does not imply that middle class simply starts just above this threshold.

The Death of Cash...Not So Fast

Ever since the introduction of computers into the retail banking system in the late 1950s, there has been a vision of a future world where cash is obsolete. The near death of personal cheques, increase in debit and credit card use, and innovations such as PayPal, Square, Apple Pay and Bitcoin, have led us to believe the cashless society is well within our reach.

Beware of Crowds Bearing Funding

Crowdfunding has rapidly emerged as an alternative source of financing for start-ups and new ventures. From artistic endeavours such as Marina Abramovic’s Institute project to new tech like the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and the Pebble smartwatch, crowdfunding has become increasingly mainstream.

New Pieces Added to Europe's Banking Union Puzzle

The knock-on effects of the meltdown in Chinese shares and the tension among major Middle East rivals are dominating the re-opening of the global capital markets after the New Year holiday.  The US dollar has recouped its earlier losses against the euro, sterling and the Swiss franc, and remains broadly higher against the Antipodean currencies. 

A Corporate Tax (Avoidance) Lesson from Down Under

With much anticipation and very little fanfare the Australian Taxation Office quietly released information about corporate tax entities with a total income of $100 million or more for the 2013–14 income year and how much tax they paid.

All For One, and Savings For All

As predicted, the US Federal Reserve has raised interest rates after nearly a decade, which means a slightly better rate of return for savers. Meanwhile in the UK, the Bank of England has kept the benchmark rate at a rock bottom 0.5% for the 81st month in a row. All the while, there are calls from policymakers and politicians for a grand vision for saving. People should take responsibility, the argument goes, for their own welfare.

The Benefits of a Banking GST for Australia

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has argued for broadening the GST base to include all financial services, something also floated by the Financial System Inquiry. The idea has merit, although the complexity of the issue makes assessing the consequences and merits difficult.

A Subprime Mortgage By Any Other Name

The subprime mortgage market brought the world to its knees, so what, on earth are we doing inviting it back to the party?  It was the packaging and reselling of this low-rated debt from US homeowners that sparked the global financial crisis. Now there is increasing evidence that such products are becoming popular again both, in the UK and the US. How scared we should be?

Five Everyday Habits That Make You Poor

In today's world, it's easy to be left with an empty bank account, confused and wondering where your money went. If you're like most people, your daily spending habits aren't helping you. Here are five everyday habits that end up leaving you poor:

1. Spending More Than You Have