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

The Process Of Cashback Credit Cards Explained

What is cashback?

When you make a purchase, cashback is the process of receiving a percentage of that purchase back as a form of incentive. You can earn cashback on purchases including fuel, supermarkets and certain retail stores. This is mainly a feature of credit cards, but some current accounts have adopted the same feature. For this article we will focus on credit cards.

You can get cashback for fuel, in stores and supermarkets.

How does cashback work?

Each time you use your credit card you earn a percentage of your purchase back in the form of cashback. For example, if your credit card offers 3% cashback and you spend £300, you will earn £9 cashback. For those who use credit cards frequently, cashback could be a great way to get more for your money. For anyone considering getting a credit card that offers cashback, these are the things you need to know.

  1. Cashback can be paid monthly or annually. If you want to keep your card for a short period of time, then a card that offers a monthly release of your cashback would be most ideal for you. If you plan to keep your credit card long-term, then a credit card that offer an annual release of your cashback could be a substantial sum.
  2. Many cashback credit cards will apply your cashback to your credit card statement, however some cards give you the option to receive your cashback directly so you can spend it.
  3. A cashback credit card will be beneficial for you if you pay off your credit card bill in full each month. In a nutshell, you’re being rewarded for money you intended to spend anyway.
  4. You can still each cashback on purchases if you don’t pay your credit card bill in full each month, however the cashback earned is usually less than the interest charged on your overall debt.
  5. It’s important to be cautious of credit card providers that may up sell cashback credit cards with the promise of earning a significant amount when purchasing fuel or doing shopping. If you didn’t intend to apply for a cashback credit card and you’re comfortable with your spending routine there’s no need to change that with the hope of making extra money.
  6. Some cashback card providers charge a fee for the card itself. This fee could be up to £30 depending on the features of your card. If you are considering applying for cashback credit card, it is essential that you read the fine print of your agreement to be sure that you are happy and to avoid unexpected surprises.
Pay off your balance in full each month to benefit from cashback.

Debt management should be a priority to maintain financial stability and to improve your credit score. Lenders often refer to your credit score when applying for mortgages, credit cards or loans as a guide to how you manage your money.

New starter guides will be coming soon covering topics from mortgages to pensions. If you want to know more about a specific topic you can submit your questions below:

Simple Ways To Save Money During A Pandemic

As we slowly emerge from our lockdowns across the world, the idea of trying to save money during a pandemic seems impossible. That’s far from the case. Many people have lost their jobs and businesses are having to adapt swiftly. It’s good to remember that saving money doesn’t necessarily mean transferring lump sums into a savings account.

Here are four ways to save more during a pandemic:

Start a small change emergency fund

I’ve always been an advocate for people saving their small change because it really does add up as time goes on. Creating a small emergency fund can help you with unexpected expenses that can come up when isolating. Think of those times you’ve had to run to the corner shop for essentials. Saving your small change after you’ve done your weekly shop or when you have spent a money note can come in handy when you really need it.

Slash your subscriptions

We’re all guilty for having one too many subscriptions that we don’t need. More than £2 billion is spent on subscriptions every year in the UK and over 60% of people have subscribed to Amazon Prime alone (Finder, 2020). Cancelling subscriptions that you don’t use frequently can save you some extra money during these uncertain times, and you may find that you didn’t need that subscription after all. We also know that there’s just some things we can’t let go.

£2 billion a year is spent on subscriptions in the UK

Cut back on electricity use

During the pandemic, we have all been home more than usual. The average electricity bill for a UK resident in 2019 was £58 a month (Davis, 2019). This was before we were isolated for over three months causing us to burn much more. With the slow easing of the lockdown and people returning to work, there is more opportunity to save money on utilities such as electric. By turning off appliances that aren’t in use often, you can consistently cut your electric bill during a pandemic and after.

The average monthly electricity bill was £58 in 2019

Try cooking your favourite foods more

If this pandemic has shown us anything, it is that there are many of us are chefs in the kitchen. According to the Independent, more than a fifth of the UK were cooking every meal from scratch during quarantine compared to one in eight before the lockdown (Hughes, 2020). A study of almost 2,000 adults highlighted that cooking became a new found favourite for the nation. Now that pubs and restaurants are re-opening, and more takeaways are becoming available for delivery, it can be tempting to go on a spending spree. Try creating a more balanced eating habit where you substitute your favourite takeaways for some of your new home recipes.

Cooking from scratch can save you more than you think

2020 has been a challenging year for us all, and it is significant to note that it will take time for people to get back on track. That is okay. Tailor your saving methods to your lifestyle, and don’t forget to treat yourself from time to time.

T K Williams-Nelson

Where Will You Eat Out To Help Out In August?

The government has announced a scheme to boost the economy after pubs and restaurants were forced to close for months due to Covid-19. From the 3rd August-31st August participating establishments will be offering 50% off food and non-alcoholic drinks, but here’s the fine print:

  • Each customer will receive a £10 maximum discount
  • The discount will be active on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday only
  • No voucher is needed
  • The discount can be used in conjunction with other special offers
  • You can use the discount as many times as you like
  • There is no minimum spend
  • The discount cannot be used against alcoholic beverages or service charges
  • All customers in a group of any size can use the discount

Many people have found love in cooking during quarantine, and the government has highlighted that they will be doing more to tackle the high rates of obesity, so where is this move coming from?

It is clear that businesses across the world have been impacted by the pandemic, and the scheme will provide a significant jump start to the UK hospitality industry. Limiting the scheme to three days a week for one month only allows us to enjoy the benefits of saving money whilst we get to indulge. Gyms re-opening gives people more opportunity to exercise and create a more balanced lifestyle.

Participating establishments include:

  • Burger King
  • Byron
  • Costa Coffee
  • Deep Blue Fish and Chips
  • EAT
  • Frankie & Benny’s
  • Fullers
  • Gourmet Burger Kitchen
  • Hard Rock Cafe
  • Harvester
  • Itsu
  • LEON
  • McDonald’s
  • Nando’s
  • Patisserie Valerie
  • Pizza Express
  • Pizza Hut
  • Pret A Manger
  • Starbucks
  • TGI Friday’s
  • The Real Greek
  • Turtle Bay
  • Wagamama
  • Wasabi
  • YO Sushi
  • Zizzi

And many more of your favourites!

It’s been a tough time for everyone, and this scheme aims to boost the economy but also to reduce the anxiety that may come with re-integrating back into the society we used to know. We may need to maintain social distancing and wear masks in public places, but for those who have suffered with mental health problems due to isolation, this could be a great way to lift spirits and save money doing it.

T K Williams-Nelson

Five Ways To Improve Your SEO Without Breaking The Bank

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing traffic to a website through the use of relevant keywords. The better your SEO, the higher your ranking on search engines such as Google.

Companies spends tons of money trying to improve or maintain a good ranking on search engines by posting SEO articles and ensuring their website is SEO-friendly.

Not all businesses and freelancers have this type of money to spend, so here are five ways to improve your SEO without breaking the bank.

1. Avoid keyword stuffing when writing SEO articles. Many people assume that this will be helpful, but Google penalises articles, and content that are filled with too many keywords.

Avoid keyword stuffing

2. Use primary keywords at the beginning of SEO articles, and secondary keywords in the middle and towards the end of your article.

3. You can identify the best keywords to use in SEO articles or on your website by using a keyword tracker. There are free keyword tracker tools available online.

4. You can post your articles to article directories or blogs that relate to your business or project. This can help boost traffic to your website, however this may be available at a cost.

Post your articles to directories and blogs

5. When using keywords on your website, be sure to include them in headlines, page descriptions and product descriptions. Avoiding keyword stuffing also applies.

SEO articles provide great business for freelance writers and digital marketers. Learn how to start making money on your terms with:

How to Become A Freelancer & Start Making Money on Your Own Terms

T K Williams-Nelson

Related articles:

How To Become A Successful Copywriter

How to Become a Successful Copywriter

Copywriting is a high income skill that is always in demand. Companies need copy for a range of purposes from marketing to digital content.

If you’re seeking to start a career as a copywriter, here are five things you need to know to make your copy a cut above the rest.

Companies need you for social media marketing

1. Write for your audience

Always keep in mind who your target audience is as you’re writing your copy. Think about how they would react to your copy and what actions they are most likely to take after reading it.

Do your research. There’s nothing wrong with looking at past examples of the copy your trying to write as a guide. Make sure you know everything you need to know to get through to your audience.

2. Spelling and grammar is everything

Your writing is a representation of you. It’s important to remember that spell check software is never 100% reliable. Proofreading your copy for errors is essential.

For long copy, proofread one section at a time to ensure you don’t miss anything. Only use a spell check software as a tool.

Follow advertising guidelines on all projects

3. Follow industry guidelines

There can be significant consequences for companies that breach advertising guidelines in the form of inaccurate or inappropriate marketing. Make sure you’re familiar with both broadcast and non-broadcast codes to ensure your work complies with the rules.

4. Keep it interesting

Some clients may want you to work on longer copy. A good copywriter can adapt their writing to the project and still keep it engaging. It’s okay to deviate from the rules sometimes. Vary your sentence structures, use relatable adjectives and add images where possible.

You can find free images to use for your blog posts online via Unsplash and Pexels.

How can you make your copy stand out?

5. Avoid unnecessary jargon

Most copy requires you to engage readers from the beginning and keep them engaged throughout. Always make the key points of your copy clear, and avoid any unnecessary jargon. You’ll often have a word limit, and each word in every copy is valuable.

Learn how to start making money on your own terms as a freelance copywriter here.

T K Williams-Nelson

Five Ways To Boost Your Mental Health During Isolation

As you all know, mental health is a big topic for me. The coronavirus pandemic has the world on edge during isolation, so I want to share five tips that will help you stay productive and look after your mental health at the same time.

During this time it can be easy for those with mental health issues to relapse. Keeping the mind stimulated is essential to try and maintain some balance at a point in life where everything is uncertain.

1. Burn lavender incense

This is a ritual for me every night. Lavender calms the mind and allows the body to relax in an organic way. For those who are working from and find it difficult to focus with everything that is going on, this could help you get the mind space you need.

Holland & Barrat and local pound shops stock lavender incense sticks for affordable prices.

2. Work on old projects

The feeling of accomplishment is great for those suffering with mental health problems. Aiming to complete something you’ve been putting off for a while can make you feel a sense of achievement even though you’re unable to share it how you want to.

Go back to that book you’ve been meaning to write or start researching those recipes you were interested in last year. Turn your isolation period into a productive period. Create the feeling of making progress.

3. Keep in touch with loved ones

As we fight this health battle, it’s essential that you keep in touch with your loved ones. It’s a lonely time for us all. Many people are living alone and some people just need to hear a voice on the other end of the line.

Mental health problems are often invisible. We generally don’t know what people are going through. Looking after your mental health means caring about the health of others too. Knowing that your loved ones are doing well can boost your mood and theirs.

4. Don’t panic!

Easier said than done, I know. There’s people panic buying, leaving others without. Tensions are high as people are laid off work and the elderly are locked inside for safety. This is the perfect recipe for an anxiety attack, but you’re stronger than that. Use your isolation time to tell yourself that you are surviving through one of the worst times in history. You haven’t given up and you don’t plan to.

Look in the mirror and tell yourself some positive affirmations. Utilise breathing exercises if you plan to go outside, and only go outside if it’s absolutely necessary.

If you know if would be too difficult to go outside for the essentials you need, please turn to a neighbour. We’re all in this together.

5. Utilise social media

This is a contradiction in some way, because social media can have a negative impact on mental health. In this extreme case, creative organisations, retailers and more across the world are spreading positive energy.

We are praising our brave healthcare workers for their hard work. We are supporting those that have contracted the virus through their distress. We are finally coming together as the community we were intended to be and the unity is refreshing.

Read positive stories and engage with people. Make new friends and become part of this positive energy during a dark time.

T K Williams-Nelson

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Six Simple Tips To Help You Finish Your Book in 2020

It’s a whole new decade and it’s time to dust your writing ideas off and share them with the world. I published four books before by the age of 24 (I’m turning 25 this year), and here are six tips that helped me do it.

1. Writing on the go

Writing a book is no small feat! It takes so much thought and more importantly, so much time. Writing on-the-go helped me develop ideas and concepts for when I really had the time to flesh them out. Utilising my time on the train or the bus really shortened my writing time for all my books.

2. Planning

It sounds simple but it isn’t. Planning an idea for a book is the hardest part of it all for me. My advice is to break down your story into parts. Plan your story in a way that is most readable and relatable to you, and only once the planning for each part is complete; you write.

3. Proofreading is essential

If your book is being published by a traditional publisher then the proofreading and editing side if things will be covered. If you’re a self-published author like myself, then it’s important to make sure your self-publishing company does a good job proofreading your manuscript. If you’re publishing your book independently, then be sure to hire a professional proofreader to work on your manuscript before submitting the final proof to your printer.

4. Formatting is even more essential

When I published my first book at 15 years old, my self-publishing company at the time didn’t format my manuscript correctly before print. As a result, I pulled the book from production and I re-published the book in ebook format with another company.

Formatting involves the layout of your book. The paragraphs, line editing, headers and footers. Without a good format, your book lacks readability, and without readability you have no audience.

5. Writers Block

Every writer has encountered writers block. It’s normal to go through periods where you can’t come up with ideas or work out that storyline you’ve been trying to nail down for weeks.

My trick has been to brainstorm words that relate to what I’m trying to work out. For example, if I’m having trouble developing a relationship in a story, then I’ll write down different words that come to mind when I think of relationships I’ve had in my own life. I’ll then look at those words and try to create links that relate to the writing I’m trying to complete. This technique has helped me so many times when I get stuck on a writing project, and I hope it helps you too.

6. Consistency

This is probably the most significant tip of them all. In order to get that book finished this year, you have to be consistent. That doesn’t mean writing everyday, but it means that you have to think about your book everyday. Schedule time for your writing and set goals so you can see how your book is developing. It’s easy to procrastinate when writing a book. There’s so much competition out there and some people think that it’s not worth it. Write your book for you. See it as a personal achievement whether you sell 10 or 10,000. Writing a book is no small feat, so be proud!

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What You Need To Know About Regular Saving Accounts

A regular saving account is a savings account that offers you a high interest rate in return for keeping your savings with them under a set of terms and conditions.

Even though the high interest that used to be associated with saving accounts is long gone, there are still some gems out there.

Here’s what you need to know about regular saving accounts before you start your saving journey.

1. Most regular saving accounts require you to put money in every month, and they offer higher interest rates compared to traditional fixed savings account.

Find more money management tips in Time is Money here

2. The reason why these accounts can pay these higher interest rates are because:

– These accounts usually only last a year.

– They limit the amount you can save.

– Some accounts require you to deposit your savings in one lump sum.

– Accounts paying the highest interest often require you to leave your savings untouched.

– Banks often use high interest savings accounts as a marketing tool to attract new customers. You would need to have the bank’s current account for these.

3. All interest from regular saving accounts is paid tax free due to personal saving allowance.

– Basic-rate taxpayers can earn £1000 tax free

– Higher-rate taxpayers can earn £500 tax free

– Additional-rate taxpayers get no allowance

4. There are different types of regular saving accounts available. Choose the one that is most suitable for you.

– Linked accounts: these require you to have a current account with the bank.

– Open-to-all accounts: these are available to all savers, but often have a lower interest rate.

– Easy access accounts: these allow you to withdraw money from your savings, however the number of withdrawals are usually limited.

Find more money management tips in Time is Money here

Recommended Linked Accounts

1. M&S Bank Monthly Saver

The M&S Bank Monthly Saver offers a 2.75% interest rate for 12 months with a minimum deposit of £25 a month and a maximum deposit of £250.

2. HSBC Regular Saver

The HSBC Regular Saver offers a 2.75 interest rate for 12 months with a minimum deposit of £25 a month and a maximum deposit of £250.

3. Santander Regular eSaver

The Santander Regular eSaver offers a 2.5% interest rate for 12 months with a minimum deposit of £1 a month and a maximum deposit of £200.

Open-To-All Accounts

1. Virgin Money Regular Saver

The Virgin Money Regular Saver account offers a 2% interest rate until 20 December 2020. You can pay in between £1-£250 each month.

The best features of this regular savings account is that there is no penalty if you miss a monthly payment, and you’re able to make unlimited withdrawals penalty free.

2. Principality Building Society

The Principality Building Society offers a 2.7% interest rate, and you can only deposit up to £125 each month. You can’t withdraw any funds unless you close the account.

Find more money management tips in Time is Money here

Top Tips

– Keep moving your money to get the most value out of it. When one offer ends, move your money to an account with another good offer.

– Always compare accounts to see what works best for you. There are so many offers on the market. Do your research!

– Be realistic! If you think you would need to access your funds over time, then go for an easy-access account. If you know you can’t afford to pay the minimum on one account, then go for an account that allows you to pay in what you can afford.

I’m all about people making the most of their money, because it’s ours. We’ve earned it and we should get the most value possible out of it.

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T K Williams-Nelson