The New Year is always a good time to take stock of what has gone before and what’s lying in wait ahead.
As a comparison site, we’ve witnessed first-hand how significant monetary decisions – particularly in the second half of last year – have caused great unbalance in the personal finance sector.
The quantity and quality of savings accounts has plummeted with the introduction of the Funding for Lending scheme. The compromise, if we can call it that, is an improvement to mortgage rates. But this has been slow to filter down to those stuck in the rental cycle – an issue which the Bank of England has promised will change in the early months of 2013.
Better news for prospective homebuyers, then, though not for savers, who now have little option other than to minimise their real-term losses while food, travel, and energy prices are all rising.
These are deadly serious developments for us. Quite often, we’ve been resigned to the fact that no news is particularly good news. And so, we’ve tried to develop our niche here by doing things slightly differently. If anything, we’ve become more of a magazine.
That doesn’t mean we’re straying from our responsibilities. We gave the ISA season an inordinate amount of coverage last year, and there’s plenty to be found here on important financial matters such as the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Current affairs still inform much of our material here. We’ve now got weekly audio bulletins and we’re never without regular money-saving tips. On the other side of the coin, there’s already innumerate sources of finance news available – including Which4U itself. We need more diverse and approachable ways into personal finance and the banking industry, and that’s what we’ve tried to build in 2012.
We’ve poked fun at advertising, at gimmicks and rhetoric; at the price-comparison market itself and our own competitors shooting themselves in the foot. While we’re not BitterWallet, we’ve almost always got our tongues stuck firmly in our cheek.
As 2013 arrives, the economy appears to be contracting again, and the Bank of England’s conviction for the Funding for Lending scheme could condemn savers to even worse conditions ahead.
Opposing that grand pit of misery: we’ve got a slick new look, we’ve still got our sense of humour intact, and we’re looking forward to bringing you the treasures that you’re less likely to find elsewhere.
We’ll leave you at this juncture by taking a look back at our favourite posts of 2012. Check back next week for the first audio bulletin of 2013, and we wish you all the very best for the year ahead!
Our Favourites of 2012
This was so much fun to write as I’m a big fan of horror movies – especially zombie movies – and I’ve always wondered just how much it would cost to actually prepare for one of these apocalypses. When you sit there watching ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and ‘The Walking Dead’ all the time, you kind of start to wonder things about how you would survive or what you’d need to survive.
Daniel Morris, SEO Analyst.
The Price of Being a Superhero (October)
Ok, I’m a big nerd. It’s as simple as that. If I’m not watching horror movies, then it’s definitely superheroes. I read lots of comics and love the movies that have been massive in 2012 like The Dark Knight Rises and Avengers Assemble. This was such a fun article to write because I’m really passionate about this stuff and it gives hope to us all that we could become one of these characters (albeit a very slim chance).
This is undoubtedly my favourite post of the year. When developing a repertoire as a copywriter, it’s surprising how much of an interest you develop in advertising and marketing. Banks, as I’ve learnt, are a remarkable exception to most rules. There’s not a great deal written about that side of banks, either, and as a nostalgia-driven child of the 80s, the opportunity to bring old memories (and great music) into the present is just fantastic.
Keith McDonald, Editor.
Turning the Joke Upon Yourself (August)
My doctoral thesis granted me 80,000 words to make my convoluted connections work. Here, I normally have to manage with just 800. It’s torture! This post was inspired by the infuriating adverts churned out by leading names in the price-comparison industry, and it sticks a sardonic tongue out – along with Family Guy’s Seth Macfarlane – at those who manage to rescue themselves from brand damage at just the right time. Buggers!
Top 3 Finance Apps for Apple (September)
As a full-time Apple addict, I had a great time researching the best finance apps on the app store. There are some truly great finance apps out there, and being able to check your bank balance and pay someone at any time is a convenience you can have thanks to your Apple device.
Kyle Needham, Site Administrator.