Foresters is named one of the top 5 long-term with profits payouts

Once again, Foresters has come out well in The Association of Financial Mutuals’ With Profits Performance Review

We’re pleased to say that the Association of Financial Mutuals’ (AFM) With Profits Performance Review 2015 placed us in the top five payouts for long-term with profits investments.

The AFM’s analysis, based on data published by Money Management, showed an increase this year in the gap between investment payouts from mutual societies such as Foresters Friendly Society when compared with payouts from non-mutuals, or PLCs.

In fact, the average payout for a 25-year policy, investing £50 per month, was more than £7,000 higher from a mutual society than a non-mutual provider.

If you don’t understand how these types of investments work, we have a short, informative video about With Profits that explains it in a way that everyone can understand.

In a nutshell, Foresters’ with profits savings plans differ to many other investments in that they don’t offer a fixed interest rate, but instead offer the potential for growth by way of bonuses being added annually and at the end of the savings term. Neither are they linked solely to the stock market – they sit in the middle, offering a lower risk savings option for those who want to save for the medium or longer term.

We wouldn’t claim that with profits policies are for everyone – investors chasing high returns and willing to take a bit more risk with their savings wouldn’t find what they’re looking for here – but to us they represent a sensible way to save for the longer term.

Please note:

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

The value of an investment may fall as well as rise and depending on the product held, you may get back less than you have paid in.

The addition of bonuses is not guaranteed and depends on the performance of the fund and how we decide to distribute profits.

Past performance is not a guide to future performance

Source: Mutuals With-Profits Performance Review 2015, Association of Financial Mutuals’

The AFM’s analysis is based on data published by Money Management (April 2015) following their survey of the providers of 55 with-profits endowment policies.

8 Simple Tips to Help You Pay off Credit Card Debt and Save

We’re always talking about the importance of saving, but we do appreciate that sometimes you need to pay off debts before you can put money aside for the future. Here are some tips to help you tackle credit card debt (and start saving)

It can make more sense to pay off your debts before you start saving – particularly if the debt is on credit cards. Each case is different, but if you have credit card bills that you can’t pay off every month then it could be time to take action.

Clear debts or save?

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, has some clear thoughts on this point. He says that if the cost of the debt is higher than the benefit gained by saving (ie if the interest you are paying on your debt is higher than the interest or bonuses you would earn through saving) then your finances will be in better shape if you pay off your debts first.

Sum it up

Don’t bury your head in the sand if you know that your debts are mounting up faster than you can comfortably pay them off. The sooner you tackle it, the better. First, gather together all your statements from credit and store cards, and then assess the best course of action. If you can clear the debt without racking up too much interest: great. If not, you could consider transferring it to a cheaper or interest-free card, or maybe even consolidating it into a personal loan with a lower interest rate.

Ask for Advice

There are plenty of resources that can help you identify how to deal with it in the most efficient and affordable way possible. The Money Advice Service has a useful list of free debt services available across the UK. Seek debt advice from a professional.

Reduce the interest

If you are carrying some credit card debt forward, make sure you’re paying as little as you can for it. The average interest rate is around 18% but thankfully, there are plenty of cards that charge a lot less, with lots of providers offering a 0% interest balance transfer deal, giving you a fighting chance to clear your debt without racking up any more interest.

There’s usually a fee – typically up to 3% of the amount you’re transferring – but this can be a lot smaller than the amount of interest you save.

Penalty pitfalls

Penalties for forgetting a credit card payment can add to your debt and make it harder to borrow money in the future. Additionally, if you’ve switched to a 0% balance deal, a late payment may cause the card company to cancel the offer and push you back on a sky-high rate.

It’s easy to make sure you don’t forget a payment by setting up a direct debit to cover the minimum payment every month – or to clear the balance in full.

Shrink your bills

All those bills for household expenses such as insurance, energy and internet are never going to go away, but you can usually cut them down by switching providers. You can also make savings elsewhere by cutting out things that are ‘wants’ rather than ‘needs’.

Cut up your credit card

The best way to stop spending on your credit card is to simply cut it up! Once things are back under control you can consider another card.

Budget: it will be worth it

If you’ve got your credit cards under control and reduced your household finances, setting up a budget will give you the discipline to keep your spending on track.

Want to know more?

Martin Lewis has some useful thoughts and information about when to clear debt before you start saving and about using balance transfer credit cards to reduce your payments. The Money Advice Service also has useful tips about paying off your credit card.

And once you are in a stronger position to save money, our guide to successful saving and information on putting a basic budget in place, can help you on your way.

Got you thinking about saving?

Our regular savings plans offer an affordable way to start saving for your future from as little as £25 a month.

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

You should also be aware that in some investment conditions and depending on the savings product you have chosen, you may get back less than you have paid in.

How to Teach the X-Box Generation Essential Money Skills

My Money Week: It’s game on when it comes to teaching the X-Box generation essential money skills

At one time, the only thing computer games and finance had in common was Mario collecting coins from his defeated enemies. Now, smartphones, tablets and gaming devices are an everyday part of family life even when it comes to managing your finances.

You probably wish you could get your junior gamer to put some of the time they spend clicking and swiping to get to the next level on Candy Crush Saga or Angry Birds to better use.

Here’s where the clever, colourful, interactive world of educational apps and websites comes in. If you’d like your offspring to become financial whizz kids in the real world, start them off in these virtual ones, where they can learn important money skills without even realising you’re trying to teach them something…

1. BEST FOR: Learning how to set and reach financial goals

APP: GOLDSTAR SAVINGS BANK (Ideal for 8-16 year-olds)

The Goldstar Savings Bank teaches that financial planning can help children get what they really, really want. Kids decide on something they’d like to save up for and agree a monetary value with their parents for specific Home, School or Leisure tasks or activities – from keeping their room tidy to getting good marks. The app charts tasks on a week-to-week basis so children can see their progress to spur them on to reach their target. A great idea that has received a thumbs up from online communities Mums Business Directory and Mums in the Know, as well as The Guardian.

Try it out here.

2. BEST FOR: Showing how saving money can make you more money

WEBSITE: ROOSTERBANK (Ideal for 8-16 year-olds)

This is an online ‘piggy bank’ that gives children their own personalised account, from which they can keep track of their pocket money. A dashboard shows how much they have and lets them set saving targets – for example, for a new pair of trainers. As an incentive for them not to splurge, the more they save, the more ‘Roostie’ interest they earn, which can be exchanged for prizes.

Open a virtual account here.

3. BEST FOR: Introducing children to the concept of debit cards

WEBSITE/APP: GOHENRY (Ideal for 8-18 year olds)

Created by parents who wanted to teach their children how money works in the real world, GoHenry is a website and app which gives children real money on their first debit card, under the control of ‘The Bank of Mum and Dad’. Essentially, parents choose how much is available to spend on the card, how much can be spent per day, and where it can be spent. A great app to help your child figure out for themselves how best to manage their pocket money.

Find out more here.

4. BEST FOR: Going right back to financial basics…

APP: TEACHING MONEY (Ideal for 5-11 year olds)

A great tool to introduce children to the everyday basics of using money, this app aims to support what your little ones have learned in the classroom, including how to understand that different coins and notes have different values – a tricky concept to master for young children. Activities include counting up coins, giving change, and matching coins to correct values.

Start counting here.

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.