UK Notes

Money Matters

Money troubles. Financial woes. Budgeting dramas. There are few individuals or families in the UK who won't have been affected in some way by the economic downturn. Premier has launched this resource page to help you make the most of your money.

What does your bank statement say about your relationship with God?

As part of Premier's Money Month (March 2014), we asked: 'Is it OK for Christians to be wealthy?'. Giving us their perspectives on this were Jamie Treadwell, a member of Servants of the Word, who gave away all his riches and now shares his money, and Andy Flannagan from Christians on the Left, who thinks we should all challenge each other more about the state of our finances and where our money goes.

LISTEN: Money & God

Making the Most of your Career

What was your New Year’s resolution? For many it’s about bettering themselves and taking on a new career challenge or changing jobs. But most adults get no careers advice after they leave school to help them make these life changing decisions. Charles Humphreys - a qualified careers coach and author of The Christian Guide to Jobs and Careers joined the Inspirational Breakfast team to offer his invaluable expertise on how to determine the best path for you.

LISTEN: Career Advice

Changes to Child Benefits

If you’ve been following the news lately, it’s almost certain you will have heard about the government’s new legislation on child benefits. Under the new legislation, high earners who take home a salary ranging between 50-60k now face a tax increase if they also receive child benefits. The real cruncher however is the fact that the extra tax you pay effectively cancels out most, if not your entire, child benefits. Individuals who earn 60k or higher will lose their child benefit altogether. 

Prof. Philip Booth, (Editorial Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs) has called this “the most incompetent change to the policy since the Second World War.” Prime Minister David Cameron defended the decision in a recent BBC interview claiming: "I think people see it as fundamentally fair that if there is someone in the household earning over £60,000 you don't get child benefit." Earlier in the interview he stated, "I'm not saying those people are rich but I think it is right that they make a contribution."  

If you’re a mother, no doubt you’ll be wondering what these changes mean to you and your family. So how does this affect you? A recent news story published by the Daily Mail may provide some insight.

This decision couldn’t be more unwelcome for Dominic Ceraldi and his family, who depend solely on his income of £52,000 a year. That is because his wife, Paula, is stay at home mum. The couple used to receive £90 a month to support their seven year old son, Calum. But since this new policy took effect, that money, for all practical purposes, has gone down the drain. Part of the problem is that the policy targets the individual rather than family income, which means that traditional families, like the Ceraldis, are penalised. On the other hand, the Fahie family from Kent, who take in a combined income of £75,000 aren’t even affected. They each take home individual incomes below the cap of £50,000 meaning that they escape the changes.

Whether you’re a stay at home mother like Paula, or you fall into the 15% bracket of high earners, these new prospects can seem daunting. In our secular age, where things like financial security and self-sufficiency are often emphasised, it can be difficult to know where to turn in times of need. Here at Premier Christian Media, we believe the Bible gives us meaningful and truthful answers in trying times like these. In Philippians 4:19 we read, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus.” The Bible assures us that God will take care of our needs in every circumstance of life. So whatever your situation, and however this legislation affects you and your household, you can rest assured that God is in control.

So - in the spirit of helping each other within the love of God - we would like to refer you to some very helpful tips and advice on how to manage in light of these recent developments. The following information has been gathered from a number of different resources, where you will find answers to suit to your every need.

How to Handle Debt

So what help is out there for you? We have spoken to two key organisations to help you consolidate and manage your dent.

Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales have helped with 2.1 million debt problems in the last year, nearly 8,000 every working day. 

Christians Against Poverty is a national debt counselling charity with a network of 218 centres based in local churches.

Top Tips from the Citizens Advice Bureaux
  • Take action as soon as you think there may be a problem. There’s a lot you can do to help yourself so don’t bury your head in the sand - make sure you look at your options as early as possible.
  • Don’t borrow more to pay off your existing debts. It may seem tempting in the short term, but all you’ll do is leave yourself with even more to pay off.
  • Look at which debts are most important, not who is putting the most pressure on you to pay. Priorities debts like mortgage or rent, council tax and gas and electricity. If you don’t pay these, you may be in danger of losing your home, having your power cut off or even ending up in court.
  • Work out a household budget. You can use this to see where your money goes, where you could make savings and find out how much you can realistically afford to pay back each month.
  • Contact your creditors. If they know you are having difficulty with repayments, you may be able to work out a manageable repayment plan.
  • Shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your energy bills, mortgage payments and other essentials.
  • Get free, confidential, independent advice from your CAB. They will help you work out repayments and negotiate with your creditors, and also help you keep out of debt in the future. For more information go to the Citizens Advice website.
Top Tips from Christians Against Poverty
  • The key to getting in control - and staying in control - long-term of your finances comes from building a balanced budget. Once you know what is coming in and what is going out the easier it is to adapt to changes and avoid unnecessary stress. The CAP Money Course is a free money management course designed to teach you how to do just this.
  • Look at your expenses and see if there is anything you can get cheaper, for example check comparison websites such as www.uswitch.com to see if you can reduce your utility bills. You can also access a wide variety of information on how you can get essential items for less on websites such as www.moneysavingexpert.com.
  • Some of the biggest savings you can make in your budget are when you find something to cut out completely such a gym membership or subscription that is not being used regularly.
  • Live on cash. Although it is counter-cultural, it has many advantages. Using it on a weekly basis you will find it brings back the value of money and you will now exactly where you're at with your money at all times.
  • Avoid credit, start saving. By making saving part of your budget you are less likely to need credit to pay for things. It is wise to set aside money for short and long-term expenditures.
  • If you already have debts you can incorporate payments as part of your budget to be paying them off. Make sure you look after your priority debts first such as your rent, gas, electric and council tax as these have the greatest consequences if left unpaid.
  • If you are worried or struggling with unmanageable debt, the most important thing is you do not ignore the problem. Get help as soon as possible. Christians Against Poverty can offer free advice and help, all you need to do is ring us on 0800 328 0006 or visit www.capdebthelp.org.uk 
Guides from Consumer Affairs

Coping with Stress

  • 1 in 6 will suffer from a mental health problem at some point in their life. Mental health problems cost the country an estimated £77billion a year in healthcare, benefits and lost productivity. (Source: NHS website)
  • Stress and anxiety can have a big impact on your health so you should take action early. Learn to look out for warning signs such as tension headaches, back pain or bad skin. These may indicate that you are stressed, so make sure you take steps to get in control of your debts. You shouldn't try to deal with things alone. Speak to a friend or seek professional help (Source: CAP)
  • To understand stress further visit the dedicated NHS webpage.

Housing Problems

  • There were 14,168 mortgage possession claims issued between July and September 2012. Over the same period, there were 38,947 landlord possession claims issued. (Source: Ministry of Justice)
  • For further information on housing issues visit the dedicated CAB webpage.

Coping with Redundancy & Job Loss

  • 16,618 businesses in England and Wales have gone into liquidation in the past year. (Source: ONS)
  • For further information on housing issues visit the dedicated CAB webpage.

Managing your Money

  • UK households spent an average of £484 a week in 2011 (ONS)
  • For further information on how to best manage your money visit Money Saving Expert.
comments powered by Disqus