UX vs UI: What Do They Mean?

The tech world is constantly introducing new concepts when it comes to business and development. You may have heard the terms UX and UI in the same conversations and assume they mean the same thing, but they have different functions that come together to reach the same goal. There are no ‘official’ definitions of UX an UI, but this quick guide tells you everything you need to know about using these concepts to your advantage.

What is UX design?

The term UX stands for user experience, and refers to the experience that a user has when interacting with a product. UX is often associated with design, and is the process of creating a product, either physical or digital, that gives users a seamless experience that allows them to see the value of that product.

UX designers are tasked with focusing on the products consumption, but also have to take into account the accessibility of the product as well as how to troubleshoot it. There is no concrete definition of UX because it involves so many different aspects.

A good user experience is commonly defined as a product that meets its users needs in the context that they would use that product in. A bad user experience can be defined as a product that doesn’t let it’s users navigate easily or causes users to see no value in using the product for what it was designed for.

Good examples of UX design include:

Google

The simplicity of Google is why it became a popular product.

Google is a brilliant example of UX design because of it’s simplicity. Most people don’t need to learn how to use Google, they simply type in the search bar and hit enter. It’s fast and easy to use which are two things that people are always looking for in a product. Extensions of the search engine such as Gmail and Google Drive are seamlessly linked together making it easier for people to navigate, and most importantly, making people repeat users.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the go-to platform for employers and employees.

LinkedIn is another great example of a platform with good UX design. From allowing you to create an account to providing you with steps that make your account stand out to employers, LinkedIn has a UX design that fits its exact purpose of connecting people together in the job world. The platform is constantly making suggestions on how you can improve your profile and develop your skills which gives people direction. Another great feature is how they send out emails related to the jobs you’re searching for that provides you with the most recent listings every day. This keeps people going to the platform regularly and this is without access to the premium features that LinkedIn offer.

Twitter

Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms for millenials.

The UX design of Twitter is why it has become one of the most popular social media platform for millenials since it was founded in 2006. Similar to Facebook, it allows users to communicate by sharing information and content, but the difference is Twitter is specifically designed for micro content. Tweets have a character limit of 280. You can comment on other tweets related to your own and quote other tweets to be more direct. The features of Twitter determine how its users navigate the platform, and the approach to providing ‘fast-paced’ micro content keeps people engaged with what’s trending, celebrity news and what’s next all in one place.

What is UI design?

The term UI stands for user interface. Unlike UX, which can be associated with both physical and digital products, UI is solely a digital term. A user interface is the point of interaction between the user and a digital platform or product, for example the touchscreen on your tablet. UI design considers the interactivity of a product by focusing on the look and the feel in addition to the navigation of the product. UI designers look at elements such as:

  • Icons
  • Buttons
  • Typography
  • Colour schemes
  • Imagery

UI designers are similar to graphic designers. They have to consider the overall design of a product so the interface is attractive and and visually enticing for users. They have to ensure that all elements of the interface design fit the purpose and the theme of the product or application. Think about all the things you like about using your IPhone or Android, and how it makes you feel when you use it. That is a great UI at work.

Good examples of UI design:

McDonald’s Self-Service

McDonald’s was founded in 1955.

If you have ever used the self-service touchscreen to make your order in McDonald’s, this is a great example of UI at its best. From the imagery to the spacing, every element of the platform is designed to make ordering food easy and efficient. The size of the screen itself allows various options to be shown at once, and gives the consumer a sense of control over their purchase as they tap the products that they want to order themselves instead of ordering at the till. People can take more time to consider what they would like to purchase compared to ordering with a queue hanging behind them. The self-service process provides a seamless ordering experience from start to finish.

Air Bnb

Airbnb is a great platform for affordable accommodation.

The Airbnb website and app is another brilliant example of UI design in action. It’s a straightforward platform that allows people to search accommodation straight from the front page. The interface is designed to be conversational with questions such as ‘what can we help you find, Elaine?’, which creates a more personal experience for the user and inadvertently directs them to start planning their stay. The platform encourages communication with the process of connecting hosts of the properties listed with travelers, and providing reviews so people can make informed decisions without having to leave the platform once. The booking process is lighthearted, approachable and easy to use all round.

UX design and UI design go hand in hand to create a great product. UX design is about the overall feel of the product and how this highlights value to the user. UI design is about how the product’s interfaces look visually and function in response to the user. A great product will use both approaches to ensure the design is fit for purpose and generates a response in its users.

What is UX writing?

UX writing refers to writing for the user experience. UX writers produce the words you read and hear when using a digital product, and can often be confused with copywriting. Copywriting has more flexibility when creating content, where UX writing needs to be clear and concise in order to guide the user through the experience. Copywriters write for marketing purposes, whereas UX writers solely focus on writing for the user experience, not to market the product that they’re writing for.

Although UX writing is a relatively new term, it is common for employers to ask for this experience when applying for writing-based and content creation jobs. It’s always important to note that copywriting and UX writing do not have the same functions. UX writing is about content strategy, and copywriting is about attracting attention. Job descriptions can often be confusing if they require both, so it would be helpful for both you and your employer to clarify what type of writing is needed for the writing role.

T K Williams-Nelson

Related articles:

Five Ways To Improve Your SEO Without Breaking The Bank

How To Improve Business By Making Your Clients Come To You

How To Become A Successful Freelancer

Six Ways To Save Money As A Student

Being a student is hard enough as it is without having to worry about finances. From studying to balancing a social life, money management is often one of the last things students think about. It isn’t hard to still enjoy student life and save money while doing it. Here are six simple ways to save money that won’t compromise your fun

  1. Save money on your transport

If you’re a student travelling regularly on the train, you can buy a 16-25 Railcard which will save you 1/3 of your travel costs. The card costs £30 for one year and £70 for three years, and can save you up to £199 per year. Mature students can also buy a 26-30 Railcard for £30 offering the same benefits.

2. Use student discount platforms

Student discount platforms are a great way to save money on anything from clothing to software while you’re at university. You simply sign up with your information and student ID to get started. The best student discount platforms include:

  • TOTUM
  • Student Beans
  • Unidays
Save money on books by using your library.

3. Don’t overspend on books

Despite what your reading lists may say, you don’t need to purchase all the books that are recommended. For the books that you would like to buy, aim to purchase them second hand. For those who are unable to buy any books for their course, the library is always a great resource for academic texts that you may be looking for. Great online platforms for academic texts include:

  • Scopus
  • Research Gate
  • SAGE Journals

These platforms allow you to sign in with your university details and access a wide range of academic texts for free.

4. Take advantage of student bank accounts

Student bank accounts come with various benefits that other accounts don’t have. For example, many student bank accounts offer an interest free overdraft to provide students with a financial buffer. It’s important to stick to the terms of your agreement and pay what you owe on time to avoid any penalties.

5. Have more than one bank account

By separating your finances, you can gain a clearer picture of of what you have incoming and outgoing. You are able to have more than one student account at a time provided you meet the conditions, and this can allow you to separate finances such as your maintenance loan from your work wages. Being more organised with your money also lets you see how much you can afford to save and what can be used in the case of an emergency.

Credit cards can be costly in the long run.

6. Limit your use of credit cards

It can be easy to overspend as a student, so it’s important to remember that you should always aim to spend what you physically have. Credit cards come with additional fees and if you don’t stick to the conditions of your agreement, the penalties can outweigh the credit. If you do decide to get a credit card, opt for a cashback credit card so you can earn as you spend.

These six tips can save you money without much effort at all, and give you the time you need to focus on your studies.

T K Williams-Nelson

Related articles:

The Process Of Cashback Credit Cards Explained

The Ultimate University Survival Guide That Tells You What They Don’t

10 Ways To Save Money On A Low Income

According to the Money Charity, 12.8 million households in the UK have less than £1,500 in savings. A common saving myth is that you need to save lump sums of money to achieve your saving goals. You don’t. You can save any amount that suits you and it can still come in handy on a rainy day.

Here are 10 ways to save money if you’re on a low income:

1. Switch your utilities

We all need gas and electric, and sometimes we can forget that savings can be made by switching to cheaper providers. Switching energy providers can be done quickly and easily online.

Comparison sites are a great way to compare different energy costs. We would recommend using:

Go Compare

MoneySuperMarket

Uswitch

2. Buy a saving pot for emergencies

We’re an advocate for physical saving. Where you can feel your money grow as well as see it. Buy a saving pot and start saving your spare change from weekly shops, recreational activities and anything else that leave spare change in your pocket. You would be amazed at how much you can save by following our everyday saver plan.

An emergency fund is essential.

3. Clear off minor debts in full

It can be easy to let debts linger, but paying off minor debts in full can both boost your credit score and save you money. Not having to pay that extra expense monthly gives you the opportunity to save that extra money.

4. Take advantage of discounts

Discounts are everywhere if you didn’t know. You just need to find them. When you intend to make a purchase online, search for any discount codes that may be available.

Groupon, Lastminute.com and Wowcher are companies that offer brilliant savings purchases on travel to everyday goods. When searching for a product, type in ‘discount’ or ‘voucher’ to see if you can get a better deal. Many retailers have big discounts in-store as they aim to improve traffic in the run up to Christmas; take advantage of them.

Take advantage of sales and discounts.

5. Sell your unwanted items

It’s much easier to get rid of unwanted items with platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and Sphock. You can simply set up a listing and sell whatever you want. People are always looking for new things to buy, whether they’re old or new. The next time you do a deep clean, see what treasures can sell and add to your saving goals.

6. Slash your subscriptions

£2 billion each year is spent on subscription services in the UK, and the average person spends approximately £60 per year on these services.

We’ve all been guilty of having one too many subscriptions that we don’t use as much as we should. Cutting these subscriptions out of your expenses can save you more than you think.

Save on subscriptions you don’t use.

7. Claim benefits the you’re entitled to

You can easily check online to see the benefits you’re entitled to. Some of these may be payments for using extra energy during winter, or income support to top up your work earnings. If you have children, you may be entitled to child benefits to help support your family.

Use a benefits calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

8. Set up a standing order

Setting up a standing order can help you reach your saving goals faster. Having a small sum of money from your income automatically transferred into a separate account saves you from having to do this manually each month. It will leave your account just like your other expenses and you most likely won’t miss it.

Be sure to budget and save what you can afford to avoid having to access your savings in the case of an emergency.

9. Join a cashback platform

Cashback is simply the process of getting a percentage of your purchase given back to you. You shop through the cashback website and buy as normal.

You can earn cashback on various online and in-store purchases which can add up to a substantial amount without any extra effort. Top Cashback is a great starting point, with thousands of retailers to shop and earn rewards.

10. Be mindful of your spending

Saving starts with being mindful about what you’re spending. Creating a budget plan can help you track your income and outgoings so you know exactly what you have to spend and how much you can afford to save.

Limit your use of credit and purchases of non-essential items. Utilise discounts where possible and remind yourself of your ultimate saving goal to stay motivated.

Saving on a low income is easier said than done. These are just a few ways to guide you, but it takes discipline and consistency to see results.

Stay consistent and watch your savings grow.

T K Williams-Nelson

Related articles:

How To Save Money During A Pandemic

Your Quick Guide To ISA Accounts

When Millenials Should Be Thinking About Pensions & Later Life

Your Quick Guide To Inheritance Tax

Dealing with a bereavement is a difficult process. From funeral arrangements to finances, there is a lot to consider when someone has passed away. One thing that should not be overlooked is inheritance tax, and this quick guide tells you everything you need to know about it.

What is inheritance tax?

In a nutshell, inheritance tax is a tax charged on the estate of an individual that has died. An estate refers to any property, money and possessions that belonged to the deceased at the time of death.

How does it work?

The threshold for Inheritance Tax is £325,000.

  • If the value of the estate is below £325,000 you would usually be exempt from Inheritance Tax.
  • If you leave everything above £325,000 threshold to your spouse, civil partner, a charity or a community sports club, you would usually be exempt from Inheritance Tax.
  • Your threshold can increase from £325,000 to £500,000 if you leave your home to your children or grandchildren.

Inheritance Tax rates

The standard rate for Inheritance Tax is 40%, and this is only charged on the portion of your estate that is over the £325,000.

Example: If your estate is worth £600,000 and you tax-free threshold is £325,000, then you would only be charged 40% tax on £275,000. The total amount of tax due would be £110,000.

Property can make up a big part of an individual’s estate which may be why you need to pay inheritance tax.

How is it paid?

The person responsible for paying Inheritance Tax is the executor(s) of the estate if there is a will. The beneficiaries (those who inherit from the estate) are not responsible for paying any Inheritance Tax, however they may be responsible for other taxes based on what they inherit.

Example: If a beneficiary inherits a property and decides to rent the property to tenants, they would need to register as self-employed and pay income tax.

People who have been gifted a portion of the estate may have to pay Inheritance Tax. but only if:

  • You give away more than £325,000
  • You die within seven years

If you do gift away a portion of your estate before you die, you may be eligible for ‘taper relief’. This is where Inheritance Tax may be charged at less than 40% on the gift depending on when it was given.

Can I avoid Inheritance Tax?

The simple answer is no.

Inheritance Tax is payable within six months after the death of the estate owner. If there is tax due, those representing the estate will have to find the funds to pay the tax. Failure to pay the tax due will result in further charges and penalties.

If the funds are not readily available to pay the tax other options include:

  • Applying for a loan
  • Setting up an installment plan with HMRC
  • Help from beneficiaries

At a time when finances are the last thing you want to think about, being prepared in the case of Inheritance Tax can make the bereavement process a little easier once it’s out of the way.

T K Williams-Nelson

Related articles:

Top Tips For First Time Buyers

Protect Your Property With Home Insurance

The Green Home Grant: What You Need To Know

The Green Home Grant: What You Need To Know

The Green Home grant is a government scheme that allows homeowners in England to get vouchers up to £5000 to make their homes more energy efficient. The grant can assist you with improvements such as insulation and double glazing, but this guide outlines the fine print of the scheme.

The scheme aims to make your home more energy efficient.

You will still need to financially contribute to the improvements that you make.

In most cases, the vouchers will be worth two-thirds of the cost of your improvements, therefore you would need to contribute the remaining costs. A maximum of £5000 is available per household.

For example, if you install double-glazing for £3000, you would pay £1000 and the government with cover the remaining £2000.

If you have a low income, you could be entitled to vouchers worth up to £10,000 depending on your circumstances.

You have only six months to get your improvements completed.

The government has highlighted that work under the scheme needs to be complete by 31st March 2021. This gives applicants six months to apply for the grant, organise the work to be done and have it completed.

You have until 31st March 2021 to complete your improvements.

The grant is available to all homeowners excluding new build properties.

You can apply for the grant if you own your home, including those who are on long leaseholds and shared ownership.

What about landlords?

Landlords who own private rented housing can also apply for the scheme. If you’re a tenant, you won’t be able to apply for the grant, but it may be worth discussing it with your landlord to see if they will make improvements to your home.

There are restrictions on what home improvements you can make.

It would be great if you could use the vouchers on the home improvements you want most, but the government has outlined restrictions as to what improvements can be made.

To qualify for financial support you must install a minimum of one primary improvement:

Insulation

Low carbon heating

Once you’ve installed at least one primary improvement, you can then get up to the same amount in vouchers for your secondary improvements:

Draught-proofing

Double or triple glazing

Energy efficient doors

Heating controls and insulation

It’s important to note that the funding for your secondary improvements will be up to the amount of funding you received for your primary improvements.

For example, if you get £2000 for your primary improvements, you can only get up to a maximum of £2000 funding for your secondary improvements.

Investing in solar panels are another great way to make your home more energy efficient.

Thinking about applying? Here’s what you need to do:

1. Use the Simple Energy Advice eligibility calculator to check what funding is available to you.

2. Find local registered tradespeople and get quotes for each piece of work.

The government suggests you get three quotes for each improvement. It is essential that all work is carried out by registered tradespeople.

3. Apply for your vouchers on the government website. You will need proof of identity and confirmation of your registered tradespeople for your application.

4. If you’re application is successful, you will be able to carry out your improvements. Once the work is complete, you will need a dated invoice to redeem your voucher.

Any work carried out before your voucher has been issued won’t be covered by the voucher, so it’s important that you don’t start any improvements until you know your application has been approved.

Go green!

Going green can save you money on your energy bills and help to save the planet. Homeowners should take advantage of the scheme while they can, however only do so if you know you are able to make the financial commitment.

T K Williams-Nelson

Related articles:

Protect Your Property With Home Insurance

Top Tips For First Time Buyers

Why Millenials Should Be Thinking About Pensions And Later Life

Protect Your Property With Home Insurance

When you become a homeowner, your first instinct is to make sure that your new investment is safe and protected. Home insurance is one of the essentials that should be considered to not only provide this protection, but to give you peace of mind.

What is home insurance?

There are two types of home insurance; building insurance and contents insurance.

Being a homeowner is a long-term investment.

Building Insurance

Building insurance covers the cost of repairing your home if it gets damaged. It is there to protect the structure of the house and any permanent structures inside the property.

Contents Insurance

Contents insurance covers your belongings that are inside your home. A common rule used is that your contents is the things you would take with you if you were to move home. Your contents can be anything from electrical items to furniture, and the cost of these items if damaged or stolen could be costly if you are not covered.

Is home insurance compulsory?

If you intend to purchase your home with a mortgage, for some lenders it will be compulsory to have building insurance for your property. On the other hand, contents insurance isn’t compulsory, and it’s completely up to you to if you want to insure the belongings in your home.

What does building insurance cover?

Building insurance only covers the structure of your home. This includes:

  • Roof
  • Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Floors
  • Doors and windows
  • Fitted kitchenware
  • Fitted cupboards and bathroom suites

Most building insurance policies should protect you from:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Storm damage
  • Earthquake
  • Falling trees
  • Vandalism
  • Explosion e.g. gas leak
  • Vehicle collision with the building
  • Burst and frozen plumbing

What does contents insurance cover?

Contents insurance only covers the things you own that are in your home. This includes things like:

  • Electrical’s e.g.TVs, laptops and games consoles
  • Furniture e.g. Beds, sofas and tables
  • Entertainment e.g. Video games, DVDs and books
  • Ornaments and antiques
  • Clothes and jewellery
Home insurance = Home safety

How much cover do I need?

The amount of cover you need for building insurance depends on how much it will take to completely rebuild your home if it is damaged. The cost of rebuilding your home is not the same as the amount you paid for your home, or its current value if you were to put it on the market. The cost to rebuild you home is usually less than the purchase price, so it’s important that you don’t over insure or under insure yourself.

The amount of cover you need for contents insurance depends on the value of the things you own. You want to get enough cover to replace everything you own in the event that something happens to your home. The average four-person household has a contents value of approximately £55,000 (Money Supermarket). You can use a content calculator to work out the approximate value of your belongings or you can make a note of the things you own that are worth more than £500.This will make it easier to find a policy that is suitable for you.

Why should I get home insurance?

If you don’t need a mortgage to purchase your home you don’t need to get building insurance, but it’s in your best interest to do so. If something structurally happens to your property and you don’t have building insurance, you could potentially lose your home or have to cover a large repair bill. It’s the same with contents insurance. It may not be compulsory, however in the event of a theft or a fire you could lose your valuable items and have no way to replace them.

Home insurance is another expense that should be considered when it comes to becoming a homeowner. It is an investment that protects your property and your peace of mind.

T K Williams-Nelson

Related articles:

Your Quick Guide To ISA Accounts

How To Save Money During A Pandemic

Your Quick Guide To ISA Accounts

Many people either don’t know what an ISA account is or they believe that it’s a complex process when it comes to saving. Here is your quick guide to ISA accounts and how they can benefit you.

ISA accounts can help your savings grow.

What is an ISA account?

In a nutshell, an ISA account is a savings or investment account that is tax-free. You can save up to £20,000 per year (2020/21) in one type of ISA or a combination of ISA accounts. You earn interest on your savings, or in the case of a stocks and shares ISA, you earn profits.

Lifetime ISA Account

A Lifetime ISA allows you to save up to £4,000 a year as a lump sum or pay as you go.

The great perk about Lifetime ISA’s is that the state contributes 25% on top of your savings, and this is before interest and growth. This bonus will be contributed to your account until your 50, and will be paid monthly. The maximum bonus that can be earned overall is £33,000.

For example, if you save £2000, the state will add a £500 bonus. If you save the maximum of £4000 the state will add a £1000 bonus, the maximum contribution that can be earned.

Cash ISA Account

Cash ISA accounts are basically saving accounts where you pay no tax on the interest you earn. There are a variety of types from instant access to regular savers, and the interest you earn doesn’t count towards your personal savings allowance.

Stocks and Shares ISA Account

A Stocks and Shares ISA account allows you to invest funds into company stocks and shares. They are often managed by online brokers or platforms, fund management groups or fund supermarket.

The price of stocks and shares fluctuate.

The benefits of this ISA are:

* You pay no capital gains tax on profits made from share price increases.

* You pay no tax on interest earned on bonds.

* You pay no tax on dividend income.

There are usually fees associated with opening and holding a Stocks and Shares ISA, and some companies may charge for making changes to investments, or withdrawing funds.

It’s also important to remember that with any form of investing, capital is at risk. If you’re new to the investing world, be sure to do your research before opening a Stocks and Shares ISA account.

Junior ISA Account

A Junior ISA Account is a tax free account that encourages families to save towards their child’s future. You are able to save up to £9000 per year (2020/21) and the money will be available on your child’s 18th birthday when the money becomes there’s in a standard ISA account.

Savings can be split between two types of Junior ISA accounts:

Cash Junior ISA account – you simply deposit cash into a savings account that will always be tax-free. Your money is secure and you gain interest on any savings you have.

Stocks and Shares Junior ISA account – your returns depend on the performance of the stocks and shares you have invested in.

Junior ISA accounts can help you save towards your child’s future.

Having an ISA account is a good way to capitalise on your savings for the long-term. You can save towards your retirement or give family members a head start in life. Whatever your reason may be, take advantage of the tax-free benefits to get more value for your hard earned money.

T K Williams-Nelson

Top Tips For First-Time Buyers

Looking for your first home can be an intense experience. With so many things to think about, people often don’t know where to start and even when they do, it’s difficult to remember everything they need to know. Here are six quick tips that can help you on your way to securing your first property with the least amount of stress possible.

  1. The More You Save The Better

So many people assume that you need a 20% deposit to even be considered for a mortgage. This is a myth. You will need between 5%-20% deposit to be accepted for a mortgage. Saving more than 5% will give you access to more affordable mortgages on the market.

2. Budget For Other Costs

There are various other costs that need be considered when purchasing a property:

  • Survey costs
  • Removal costs
  • Stamp duty
  • Building insurance
  • Solicitors fees
  • Interior design/decorating
  • Mortgage payments
  • Valuation fees

3. Consider Home-Buying Schemes

Home-buyer schemes can be a great way to get your foot on the property ladder. The most popular schemes are:

  • Shared Ownership Scheme
  • Help to Buy Scheme
  • Right to Buy Scheme
You need between 5%-20% for a deposit to secure a mortgage.

4. Use Mortgage Comparison Tools

Mortgage comparison tools are there to find you the best deals for your circumstances, and to save you time doing it. Popular mortgage comparison tools include:

  • Money Supermarket
  • Compare the Market
  • Money Saving Expert

5. Leasehold vs Freehold

Purchasing a freehold property means that you own the property and the land that the property is built on, whereas purchasing a leasehold property means that you own the property but not the land that the property is built on. Essentially, with a leasehold property you are renting from the freeholder for a period of time that could be years, decades or centuries.

It is important that you know exactly what you are getting into when purchasing a leasehold property. If the lease is nearing its expiry date, then you have the option to either sell your property or renew the lease which will come at a substantial cost.

6. Do You Own Research

Never just rely on what you are told by an estate agent. It’s essential that you do your own research from comparing mortgage rates to learning more about the location of your potential property. The more you know about the buying process the more prepared you will be when you finally get the keys to your first home.

Make your first home your own.

Buying your first home is a great experience when you know what you need to do. By following these quick tips, you can avoid unexpected expenses and think about how you will make your new home your own.

T K Williams-Nelson

Why Millenials Should Be Thinking About Pensions And Later Life

When you think about pensions, you think about retiring somewhere nice to settle down. For millennial’s on the other hand, retirement age can sometimes seem like a lifetime away. Young adults are settling into new careers and making plans for the near future. The reality is that once we start working, we should start thinking about how we can start securing our futures as early as possible. Here is an overview about what pensions are available and why millenials should consider contributing to one.

Start thinking about retirement early.

What is a pension?

In a nutshell, a pension is the process of saving money towards your retirement. The type of pension that you can get depends on your circumstances, and is considered a long-term investment until you retire.

Why should millenials think about their pensions?

  • The future is more unpredictable than ever – The current pandemic has made it clear that the future is unpredictable as new legislation has been introduced to control the spread of Covid-19. None of us know what the future has in store for us, so putting money away for your retirement whilst you can is great way to ensure that you’re prepared for what could happen in later life.
  • The average living cost for a pensioner is more than you think – Research shows that the average living costs for a pensioner in the UK is £11, 200 per year. The average pensioner would need approximately £215 a week to cover basic costs such as food, clothes, travel and heating. As a millenial, you have more opportunities and resources than the generations before you. There is a greater chance of you maximising your retirement fund with the various forms of pensions available to you in addition to other savings.
  • A pension combined with a Lifetime ISA can help you achieve a comfortable retirement – A Lifetime ISA allows you to save for your first home or later life if you’re over 18 but under 40. You can deposit up to £4000 each year until you are 50 years old, and the government will add a 25% bonus to your savings (up to £1000 per year). A Lifetime ISA coupled with a pension that you start paying into before you’re 30 years old can increase your retirement fund and your quality of life when you finally settle down.

The main types of pensions available are:

  1. Workplace Pension
  2. Individual Pension
  3. State Pension

Workplace Pension

A workplace pension is a scheme that is set up by your employer. A percentage of your wages is paid into the pension scheme, and your employer makes contributions to the scheme too. Your employer must enrol you into a pension scheme if:

  • You’re between the age of 22 and State Pension age
  • You work in the UK
  • You’re earning over £10,000 a year

There are two types of workplace pensions:

  • Defined contribution – this type of pension is based on how much money has been paid in.
  • Defined benefit – this type of pension is based on your salary when you retire, and how long you have worked for that employer.

Individual Pension

There are various types of individual pensions including personal pensions, stakeholder pensions and self-invested personal pensions. These types of pensions allow you to pay in when you want to, and what you get back largely depends on how well your investments are doing.

State Pension

A State Pension is provided by the government and is calculated based on your National Insurance record. The more qualifying years you have on your National Insurance record, the more State Pension you will receive. You need at least 10 qualifying years to be eligible for State Pension.

The State Pension age in the UK is currently 65, however this is eligible to change. The Gov.uk website provides a free pension age calculator which lets you know the exact age that you will qualify or your pension based on your birth date.

Having a pension is entirely your choice. Many millenials aren’t thinking that far ahead, but for those who are, take advantage of what is available. The schemes in place can help you settle down the way you want to when that time comes.

T K Williams-Nelson

What You Should Know About The UK Recession

As the government announced that the UK was in a recession after a GDP fall of 20.4% during the pandemic, the public expressed confusion and uncertainty as everyone began to wonder how the recession will impact their daily lives. This article breaks down what a recession is and how you will be affected in a simple way.

One thing to remember is that a recession was inevitable. As shops were forced to close for over three months, there was little to no consumer spending which resulted in a sharp decline in economic activity.

What is a recession?

In a nutshell, a recession refers to a general decline in economic activity. In this case, the decline in economic activity is directly associated with the government restrictions that were implemented at the beginning of our lockdown. The fall of 20.4% represents the second quarter of the year (April-June), and this is compared to the first quarter of the year (January-March). Shops were still open and consumers were still spending during the first two months of the year. Once the lockdown was implemented, it was guaranteed that economic activity would drastically decline because people were physically unable to spend their money as they usually would.

How is the 2008 recession different from the 2020 recession?

Many people fear that the 2020 recession will be a repeat of the great recession in 2008. No one can accurately predict how the Covid-19 outbreak will impact the economy years from now as we still stand in such an unpredictable position, however what is evident is there is a big difference between these two recessions.

The 2008 recession was a period of consecutive negative growth which resulted in a steep rise in unemployment and financially impacted businesses in the form of increased costs and less revenue.

When the government eased restrictions in June, the economy saw a monthly GDP rise of 8.7% which is a positive sign that once government restrictions are eased further, consumer spending will increase even more. Although we are technically in a recession, it is very much different from the recession of 2008.

How will the recession impact daily lives?

Unemployment has increased during the pandemic as many small businesses have closed down and larger businesses have had to make job cuts to compensate for their losses. This may make it difficult to find work but not impossible. Many companies are still looking for people to fill new roles that have been developed due to the outbreak.

People may be more cautious when it comes to spending, however if the government continue to ease restrictions it is likely that this will become better over time. With winter on the horizon, it’s difficult to predict if there will be an increase in Covid-19 cases resulting in a second lockdown, or if we will be leaving the worst of the pandemic in 2020.

T K Williams-Nelson

Source: Daily Mail