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  1. If getting more from your money is a financial goal for 2012, where do you start?

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    Article by Sarah Pennells of SavvyWoman.co.uk For many of us, the New Year might mean focusing on our health, our career or our money and it seems that financial resolutions have been particularly popular this year. According to investment website rplan.co.uk, more women than men (59% compared to 50%) planned to cut back on spending and 77% of women will set new financial goals. If you’ve made some money resolutions or if you’re looking for inspiration, read on: Popular financial resolutions at this time of year often focus on paying off debt or cutting back spending (going on a ‘money diet’) and that’s what this survey found: 1. Cutting back on spending. If you want to succeed at this, it’s no good to just have a vague goal of spending less. It’s...
  2. If you’re shopping in the sales you’re still protected by consumer law if there’s a problem

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    Article by Savvywoman Sarah Pennells The Christmas sales have meant bumper takings for the high street and for online stores, with millions of us on the hunt for a bargain. But what happens if you buy something that turns out to be faulty? According to Consumer Direct, problems with clothes are consistently amongst the top ten complaints they receive, with over 20,000 complaints in 2011 (and 40% of those were made in January – the busiest month of the year). Your rights; the basics The Office of Fair Trading has a ‘Know Your Rights’ campaign, which is designed to make sure we’re all aware of our rights. When you buy clothes (or any other goods), even when they are in a sale, they must be of satisfactory quality, fit for...
  3. Pensions and Divorce. What’s Your Entitlement to Ex’s Pension?

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    Article by Sarah Pennells of SavvyWoman.co.uk Many women who get divorced don’t realise how important the pension can be. Don’t ignore it. For most couples who go through a divorce, deciding what happens to the family home is the biggest financial decision they have to make. It’s easy to see why. Your home is a tangible object and you can work out – reasonably easily – what it’s likely to be worth. It may also have huge emotional importance. The same cannot be said for a pension. It’s not only divorcing couples who find pensions a bit of a mystery, many divorce lawyers do as well. However, it can mean you lose out and – if you do – making up the shortfall can be difficult, if...
  4. The raising of the State Pension Age-What does it mean to you?

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    Article by Sarah Pennells Ceri  Wheeldon of Fabafterfifty.com asked Sarah Pennells of Savvywoman.co.uk  about  the proposed raising of the State Pension Age, and in particular the impact this will have on women and their pensions. What has already happened in respect to legislation so far? The government published the Pensions Bill in January which confirmed its plans to bring forward the raising of the state pension age to 66 by 2020. Since then it’s had its second reading in the House of Lords.  Last month an amendment to delay the timetable was narrowly defeated and it’s due to go back to the Lords on Tuesday 27th April. What is the situation today? Currently men receive their state pension at 65 and women get their pension at around 61 years...
  5. How State Pension Age Rises affect You

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    Article by Sarah Pennells  If you’re aged 57 you may not get your state pension until you’re 66 if the government’s plans go through. Around half a million women will have to wait longer for their state pension if government proposals become law.  The coalition government wants to speed up the raising of the state pension age for women and men to 66, but women will be the worst affected. These plans come despite the fact that it was in the coalition agreement that the government wouldn’t do this. Around 33,000 women born between March and April 1954 will be the worst affected as they’ll have to wait for a further two years to get their state pension. What will the changes mean? Women are already having to wait longer...
  6. Tips for Empty Nesters and their Finances

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     Article by by Sarah Pennells of SavvyWoman So, the children have finally left home and the house feels a bit empty. It will probably take some getting used to, but it can be a great time to invest in yourself. You may be still supporting your children financially – especially if they’re at university – but that doesn’t mean you can’t prioritise your own finances.  Maybe you’re able to free up some cash to invest in your retirement or perhaps you want to pay off your mortgage as quickly as you can.  Do your own financial MOT once the children leave home Before you can work out what your options are, find out how much money you have to spare and the effect – on your finances – of your children moving...
  7. Divorce and Self-Help- Determining Assets

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    Article by Sarah Pennells A ruling by the Court of Appeal says that divorcing couples can’t help themselves to each other’s financial documents without their knowledge. What does it mean if you’re going through a breakup? If you’ve never been through a divorce or your divorce was completely amicable then the idea of one partner snooping round the computer or filing cabinet of another might seem rather odd, but ‘self help’, as it’s called, happens in many cases in England and Wales (although it’s not something that has been allowed in the same way in Scottish divorces). It’s been something of a grey area legally, but up until this court case, the general view has been that couples could take copies of documents from desk drawers or filing cabinets (except when they’ve been locked) or from...
  8. Marriage Second Time Around and your Finances

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    by Sarah Pennells It may be a second marriage for one or both of you, but it’s still the start of a new life together. This time round you’re a little older and a lot wiser; you know yourself better and understand where you’re prepared to compromise and where you won’t. You’re also likely to be wealthier in your own right and that means you have to think about how getting married may affect your finances. Sorting Out Your Will if you Remarry Many people put off sorting out a will but it’s vital that you draw up a new one if you remarry. Many people – wrongly – believe that divorce invalidates a will. It doesn’t, but getting married does. If you already have a will: if your will...
  9. State Pension- What’s Your Entitlement?

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     Article by Sarah Pennells Unless you’re the kind of woman who likes to study pensions small print as a hobby, you might assume that you’ll be entitled to a state pension of around £95 when you retire. Well, the bad news is that almost half of all women don’t qualify for a full basic state pension because they don’t pay National Insurance for long enough, and divorced women are often among those who rely on the state pension the most. But what you might not realise is that you can claim a basic state pension based on your ex husband’s National Insurance contributions – and he doesn’t even have to be told. Married women can also use their husband’s National Insurance contribution record to boost their own pension, up to a maximum of 60% of the...
  10. Managing Your Finances when you Divorce

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     Article by Sarah Pennells If you’re thinking about getting divorced, you’ll probably have braced yourself for a lot of uncertainty. But for many women, one of the biggest fears is about the financial consequences of breaking up.  When I was writing my book, ‘Divorce; how to help yourself and your finances’  , I spoke to many women who were either already divorced or in the process of splitting up. Most worried about how they would cope financially after the breakup and all wanted straight answers about how their home and other assets would be divided.  Unfortunately, there are few cast iron rules about who gets what (certainly if you get divorced in England or Wales, although it’s different in Scotland). But there are some guidelines that might help. How are assets divided? Big money divorces create all the...
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