Financial help, resources and advice for families and parents
Inflation, rising interest rates and Christmas debt has become a dangerous combination for the household finances of 1 in 11 Brits who, according to The Guardian, are at risk of "breaking point" this month. The figures come from research conducted by the housing and homelessness charity Shelter, who said they have experienced a "stream of cases of families who had been unable to cope with mounting rent or mortgage payments," adding that some of them "could face the very real prospect of losing their home this year". But these statistics aren't isolated to Shelter. A report from The Resolution Foundation revealed that "more than a million homeowners could be at risk of defaulting on their mortgages and losing their properties in the wake of even a small rise in interest rates." Furthermore, a survey carried out by consumer watchdog Which? found that "rather than paying off their debts, around 13 million people paid for Christmas by borrowing more money." Are we witnessing a serious crisis of household finances? And if so, what can be done about it?
When it comes to planning for retirement, women are not as financially prepared as their male partners. According to a report by the Scottish Widows, “only 50% of women in their 30s work full–time, compared with 81% of men of the same age” and only “20% of women in their thirties prioritise financially supporting their children above saving for retirement.” Furthermore, The Telegraph revealed, “21% of women in this age group expect to rely on their partner’s income for retirement.” So it seems that women, because of the role that motherhood plays in their lives, will miss out on the same level of comfort and support as men. Those relying on the retirement savings of their spouses shouldn’t be careless about their retirement plans. With around 42% of marriages ending in divorce according to the Office for National Statistics, “pensions are frequently undervalued in divorce settlements” and individuals are urged to make separate provisions for the future.
In an article for newspaper The Independent, Liz Barclay has argued that we would all be better off if we stopped giving big presents over the festive season. With Christmas spending around £1,000 per household on average, many in the UK are still going heavily into debt just to please their friends and family. As Barclay stressed, meanwhile, almost everyone she knew would feel a lot happier without having to race from one shop to the next in search of suitable presents. Barclay’s article was a refreshing counterpoint to the many shopping- and present-buying-guides appearing all over the place at the moment, according to Eccount Money’s Will Thomas: “We fully agree with Barclay in her quest for more sanity over Christmas. What makes December such a special month aren’t the presents or the oversized meals, after all. It’s getting together with your loved ones that really counts. If you’re determined to change things up this year, Liz Barclay’s article makes for some inspiring reading.”