The Base Rate

The Base Rate

After much media speculation, we can now expect the world to end as today the Bank of England has announced an increase to base rates (voting 7-2 to do so). The rate is now 0.50% instead of 0.25%. This is the first rate rise since July 2007. Seriously – over 10 years ago! One would hope that this would benefit everyone with some cash in a savings account at the bank, but we all know better than that don’t we? What is far more likely to happen is that lending rates for mortgages will gradually begin to increase. The nations largest Building Society currently has a standard variable rate of 3.99% and their base rate tracker rate is 2.50%, both considerably above the actual base rate at the time. Banks are generally a bit worse. So lenders may be inclined to sit on their hands and do nothing (for fear of being berated by minnows like me) though I suspect they are more likely to gradually increase their standard variable rate. But we now live in a world of image preservation, so perhaps they won’t all rush to increase rates.

People with Cash Savings

Frankly, I wouldn’t hold out too much hope of an immediate improvement to your savings rate. Inflation is currently 3% and nobody is offering anything near that on an instant access basis. You could shop around, but its a bit of a pain for the equivalent of a round of drinks for the year – and don’t forget the “safety” of the FSCS limits. Alternatively if you have £100,000 or more we can put you in touch with a service that will do this for you (and likely improve your FSCS cover).

Borrowers

There has been much talk about the impact of rate increases on borrowers, who are generally people that are working and repaying debt (hopefully). It is certainly the case that the low interest rate environment may well have lulled some into believing it was always this way, anyone older than about 25 frankly should know otherwise.

There is a tendency to chastise people for “borrowing too much” when this subject is reported in the media. However consider for a moment a couple of facts. Wages have not increased very much over recent years, house prices have largely continued to rise, unchallenged, except perhaps to apply some nervous brakes due to Brexit. However as Kirsty and Phil would suggest, prices are reflective of location, location, location. People have had to borrow significantly to buy homes. Those without mortgages looking to move or simply sell are stuck in the same “market” one that is dominated by sentiment. Anyone that has bought property in the last few years will be aware of the pain created by a huge tax bill – Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). This was used to attempt to control property prices from spiralling ever upwards, has it worked where you live?

The increase, if passed on, will create additional outgoings, just when inflation numbers appear to reflect what we all know – prices are rising. The stockmarket tends to do well whilst there is ample inflation, not always, but often. Inflation helps reduce the “real” value of debt, so Government may say they don’t like it, but it kind of does their job for them without even trying. Some will find life a bit harder, as of today or indeed most of the last 10 years, few people expect rates to increase dramatically and nobody is predicting interest rates that are high.

As I have said previously, clearing debt, however good the maths works for having some, has an emotional value that cannot be overstated. Ask anyone without a mortgage.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

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The Base Rate2017-11-02T13:08:34+00:00

Cash ISA rates

It has been a while since I updated information about various deposit rates. I’m providing a list here of some of the top rates available. This is not advice, just a list. Importantly with cash accounts the FSCS only cover up to £85,000 per person per bank and be warned that this really means per banking license. Many banks (and building societies) share the same banking license due to mergers. The table below shows instant access deposit accounts, then fixed and variable rate Cash ISAs.

INSTANT ACCESS  Best online  West Bromwich BS 2.30%
 Best High Street Bank  Virgin Money 2.00%
 Best Building Society  West Bromwich BS 2.26%
FIXED RATE CASH ISA  Best online  NatWest 2.30% 3 year fixed
 Best High Street Bank  Santander 2.50% 2 year fixed
 Best Building Society  Derbyshire BS 2.25% 2 year fixed
VARIABLE RATE CASH ISA  Best online  Monmouthshire BS 2.50% 30 day notice
 Best High Street Bank  Virgin Money 2.00%
 Best Building Society  Earl Shilton BS 2.70% 90 day notice

So it is important that this is checked carefully. Please also note that I am generally fairly suspicious of any bank or building society offering particularly high rates, this suggests that they need your money rather more than other banks do and this is generally not a good prospect.

Quite obviously interest rates are pretty dreadful. As RPI is currently 3.1% and CPI is now 2.7% (according to ONS figures) the above all represent below inflation rates. This means that your money devalues in real terms. In plain English – the money in your pocket is worth less due to inflation. Here is a good short video from the Bank of England about inflation with some useful historical reminders. Note that as this is a Bank of England video, whether or not the MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) has been successful or not is probably best judged by others. At the moment the Bank of England base rate is 0.50%.

Cash ISA rates2017-01-06T14:39:49+00:00
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