It’s an interesting time in the UK economy. The cost of living has started to fall sharply, as many expected it would. With the rise in VAT from January 2011 now leaving the 12-month comparison, the RPI measure of inflation has dropped below 4%.
Now, for the first time in several months, fixed-rate bonds and fixed-rate ISAs are in a position to offer real rates of return. But even so, none of us can be absolutely sure whether this will hold in the medium term. The Bank of England has announced further quantitative easing measures, and opinion between forecasters varies considerably.
This fall in inflation has prompted consumers to think about saving. However, many remain unsure about their best options. Which4U’s new savings guides focus on these savings issues to present the best options. Let’s preview a few of these now:
This guide highlights the savings that everyone could be making through their tax-free allowance. It signifies what to look out for with new ISA products, and notes the options for transfering ISAs to a different provider.
This guide compares the two strongest traditional savings accounts: fixed-rate bonds and cash ISAs. It offers advice on how to determine which of these savings products offers the best returns after tax, and considers how the features and restrictions of these products cater for different savings requirements.
This guide compares variable-rate inflation-linked savings accounts with standard fixed-rate bonds and ISAs. It investigates whether inflation-linked savings always offer the best solutions in the long term during times when inflation is precariously tough to predict, and if there are any guarantees in place to cater for low inflation.
This guide investigates some of the savings options available to combat inflation. It also addresses the problems inherent in trying to predict inflation, which makes all future decisions more difficult for savers. Sometimes, informed decisions may be the best (and only) response.
Our editorial on the subject late last year gave some pause for thought. Apparently, only 3% of savers are aware of the regulations regarding compensation. If you save significant sums, it is worth making sure that you are clear about how best to invest this safely.
[Edit: You can now find a video guide and transcript here.]
Our Which4U Finance Blog now includes a ‘Guides’ section, where our video posts and transcripts are listed. Are there other savings guides that would be helpful to you? Please let us know, here or over at the main Which4U site, and we’ll do our best to cater for any requests.