by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Expat Investor : April 2008
Only 34% of Brits have savings to see them through the next three months. Only half of the population regularly reviews their mortgage. Twenty one per cent of people last renewed their home insurance without shopping around and four per cent don’t have home insurance at all. These shocking statistics are drawn from a national study of financial fitness, released from Abbey, revealing that a massive 99% of Brits could do with a financial workout. Just one in 100 Brits manage all aspects of their finances well. The research from Abbey looked at the personal finance behaviour of Brits and gave them a score according to the financial products they hold, the competitiveness of these products and how often they shop around for better deals. The products assessed in the study were bank accounts, mortgages, savings, insurance and credit cards. A lower score indicates better management while a higher score means room for improvement. The average score for the UK population was 43, with women returning an average score of 46 whilst men scored a leaner 41. Women were weighed down by a number of factors: ? 31% have not got their mortgage at a competitive rate. ? 25% have not shopped around for insurance products. ? 70% have either no savings or only enough to maintain their standard of living for less than three months. Comparative figures for men revealed 26% don’t have a competitive mortgage rate, 17% don’t shop around for insurance and 61% don’t have three months worth of savings. Steve Shore, Director of Banking, says, “Less than a third of people score less than 30 which suggests that the majority of the population could do with a financial workout. But with so many deals out there, it really needn’t be strenuous! Why not start with your bank account – nearly three-quarters of the population are settling for an interest rates of less than three per cent, yet there are deals out there like Abbey’s that pay eight per cent on in-credit balances.” STATISTICS AND ANALYSES 99% of Brits would benefit from financial workout Pensioners have £33,000 in savings pot A medley of statistics and analyses revealing much about our responses to saving, investing and spending our money. Non-disclosure 5 times higher for paper applications Identity theft fears soared in 2007 Consumers are five times more likely not to disclose important medical and lifestyle information on paper applications than with tele- underwritten applications. AXA analysed data from more than 9,500 applications for protection products over the past year and found non-disclosure that could potentially lead to a claim being declined with 5.78% of paper applications. This compares with 3.48% for electronic applications and 1.23% for tele-underwriting applications. The results show clear advantages for electronic applications generally, which is likely to be because further questions can be automatically generated to get more detail in areas where consumers declare relevant medical history. Tele-underwriting takes this a stage further again because trained tele- underwriters can drill down to get specific details of medical conditions, further reducing the risk of non- disclosure. Mike Taylor, Chief Underwriter, says, “What this research shows us is that tele-underwriters’ knowledge, combined with our expert underwriting system, allows the relevant questions to be asked and hugely reduces the risk of non- disclosure. “All these cases of non-disclosure were found at underwriting stage, so we were able to correct the applications and underwrite accordingly to make sure the consumer was properly covered. What’s worrying is that in cases where non-disclosure isn’t picked up by providers, consumers may find they’re not covered when they come to claim. “Feedback we’ve had from advisers April 2008 ? EXPAT INVESTOR 5 British couples suffer breakdown in financial communication At a time when money issues are commonly acknowledged as one of the most common causes of relationship breakdown, new research from Engage Mutual reveals the financial secrets which could be fuelling Britain’s divorce rates. More than one in five (22%) Britons living with, or married to, their partner has a financial secret which they are not prepared to share with their loved one, with credit card spending topping the poll as the number one ‘red’ lie between couples (36%). The research also shows that despite the importance of financial stability when bringing up children, parents are in fact the most likely to keep secrets from each other about their finances (24% compared to 20% of couples who are yet to have kids). Mothers are the most likely to keep schtum about their finances (27% compared to 21% of fathers), with one in 10 hiding their debt and credit card bills (10%) or having a secret stash of spending money (9%). With government figures reporting an all time high in the number of people seeking debt counselling, Engage Mutual surveyed over 1,300 British adults in order to understand how escalating money worries are impacting family relationships. The latest research reveals a concerning breakdown in communications between couples, which could lead to a nasty shock for the partner kept in the dark. New research reveals that people over the age of 55 have an average savings ‘pot’ of just over that amount - £33,091 and the over 70s are best off. Findings from Birmingham Midshires reveal that, far from older pensioners seeing their savings dwindle long before their energy does, pensioners have sufficient savings to enable them to enjoy life to the full well into their 70s. One in two (51%) over-55s questioned said they were able to afford the lifestyle they wanted, with 40% claiming they can now enjoy the money they have saved over the long term. A further one in three (33%) now go on more holidays than they used to. The survey found that people begin to build up their savings pot significantly from around the age of 55. During the first few years of retirement, savings generally dip but then bounce back to higher levels than before when people reach the age of 71 and above. Public fears over identity theft doubled during 2007 – and it has overtaken yob culture to become the top safety concern for British women – according to new research from American Express Insurance Services. This new research reveals the extent to which identity theft has become a key safety issue for the British public – overtaking more traditional crime fears, such as car theft and vandalism. The poll, conducted by YouGov, asked a representative sample of 2,000 Britons what their top safety concerns were in the run-up to Christmas. Findings were compared to YouGov research from the start of 2007 to give an impression of sentiment change over the course of the year. Key findings ? Personal safety became a more all- embracing issue during 2007. The percentage of people with safety fears has risen from 63% to 76% between January and December 2007. ? The combination of greater internet usage and high profile security breaches has put ID theft firmly on the public’s agenda as a top safety issue. Fear over identify theft and fraud have soared from 22% to 41% during 2007. ID theft now stands second only to yob culture (44%) in topping the list of British security concerns. ? For tech-savvy young Britons (25- 34 years old), ID theft was the top safety fear (38%). It has also become a greater concern for women than men (43% versus 40%). ? ID theft was one of a number of safety issues that have become a much greater public concern during 2007. Fears of burglary have risen to 34% from 14% at the start of the year and concern over car vandalism is up to 28%. ? The regions where concern over ID theft was strongest comprised: the North East (52%), the South West (48%) and the Midlands (44%). Londoners were more concerned about the threat of yob culture (45%) and personal safety on the late train home. who’ve used tele-underwriting shows that one of the main advantages for them is passing the risk of not capturing the right lifestyle and health data on to AXA, as well as saving them time by not having to fill in the form themselves. “Tele-underwriting also reduces the need for additional evidence because the tele-underwriters collect in-depth medical information from the consumer, enabling 75% of policies to be issued within five days. “Non-disclosure is a huge issue for the protection industry and anything we can do to reduce it can only be a benefit to both consumers and advisers, who can then have faith that protection products will pay out. We believe that tele-underwriting can increase confidence within the industry, and this is reinforced by our own claims record, with no major benefits declined on tele- underwritten cover.” Brits think money talk is ‘rude’, say Brits Despite trying to shake off our stiff upper lip image, the nation is still typically tight lipped when it comes to money. A study released by personal finance website Fool.co.uk reveals that when it comes to good manners, talking about money is still a big ‘no no’, with almost one-third (30%) who think that talking about money is downright rude. The ‘Let’s Talk About Money’ study, which quizzed over 1,500 UK adults about their financial modesty, aims to get the nation talking about the taboo topic and manage their money sensibly. The study revealed Brits’ are a prudent bunch when talking about pounds: ? Money manners: two-thirds (66%) think money is a personal subject that should be kept private. ? Wealth health: one in seven (13%) are concerned about what people might think of their levels of wealth, whilst 16% of people are embarrassed about their debt. ? Falling on deaf ears: half of Brits (49%) feel that no-one is interested in hearing about their money issues. ? Keeping schtum about salaries: one-third (33%) of the nation are uncomfortable about revealing the size of their pay cheque. ? The gender divide: although hardly anybody is confident talking about cash, men are more forthcoming, with one in ten (11%) happy to talk about the topic compared to just one in 25 women (4%). ? Tight lipped Londoners: Londoners are the least likely to talk about money (46%), whilst the rest of the South East and Yorkshire and Humber are the most open David Kuo, Head of Personal Finance, says: “It’s a shame that when it comes to money, Brits are still stuck in the dark ages, too proud to talk about their financial situation, which conforms to the typical British stereotype. “Talking openly about money, especially with close friends and family has many benefits. Money matters can often spiral out of control if you don’t seek advice from others.” T OP F IVE M ONEY S ECRETS K EPT F ROM C O - HABITING P ARTNERS Rank Financial Secret Percentage of those who keep secrets 1 The size of debts / credit card bills 36% 2 Bank statements 32% 3 How much luxury purchases actually cost 27% 4 A secret pot of spending money 23% 5 A secret savings account 18%
May June 2008