unemployment

Becoming self-employed rather than un-employed

I read an interesting article this morning on the BBC News website about the phenomenon of people who are unemployed deciding to become self-employed rather than keep looking for “traditional” employment. Apparently, a significant number of people have found that it is difficult to find a job, but that they have been able to start and run promising businesses themselves – something they have found much more fulfilling than taking Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Our sister site Employed and Self Employed has a tax calculator you can use to see how much tax and National Insurance would be deducted from self employment profits, if you are thinking of starting your own business. There is also a more complex calculator if you already have a job but are thinking of becoming self-employed in your spare time – you can work out how much of your profits you would be able to keep hold of.

If you are unemployed and thinking of starting your own business, you may be eligible for some funds from the government to help you get started. More information is available here about the New Enterprise Allowance.

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None of the content on this website, including blog posts, comments, or responses to user comments, is offered as financial advice. Figures used are for illustrative purposes only.

Trying to live cheaply

I was interested to read an article on the BBC news website today about the new benefits cap, which was trying to estimate how much money someone needs to be able to live (albeit cheaply). As well as some examples of how people can save a bit of money with cheaper options, it was interesting to me to see things that I wouldn’t necessarily have considered when trying to work out my weekly spend.

For example, they say that the average family spends £9.50 a week on furniture. Now, obviously, most people don’t buy a new piece of furniture each week, and I can’t remember the last time I did – but it is expensive and you will need to budget for some such purchases over the year. You might think that if you were living on a budget you just wouldn’t buy furniture, but it does wear out and does need to be replaced, even if it is replaced with a cheaper, second-hand equivalent.

Also clothing – not something I spend money on regularly, but if you have a job interview you will need a suit – and you’ll have to save for many weeks at a couple of pounds a week to afford it. Things like socks will wear out, shirts will get damaged – if every penny counts, it will be difficult to get replacements, even if you shop in budget shops.

Anyway, check out the link above to read the article in more detail. You might spot somewhere that you could economise!

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Friday, April 26th, 2013 Consumer Goods, Economy, Jobs No Comments

Why under employment bumps up insurance costs

[Guest Post]

Unemployment in the UK has edged closer to the three million mark, and is at its highest level since 1996. As well as not having a regular source of income, unemployed drivers are more likely to be hit by higher payments for car insurance. Motorists who are out work are being advised to shop around for better deals on websites such as moneysupermarket.

An investigation carried out by the BBC revealed that car owners without a job are, on average, paying around 30% more for their insurance than motorists with full-time jobs, while their premiums are potentially 63% higher. There are a few reasons why unemployed drivers are seen as risky by some insurers.

Peter Harrison, an expert on motor insurance from MoneySupermarket explained why: “This is partly because unemployed people are more likely to use their cars during the day and to drive up and down unfamiliar routes to a job interview. Also, some insurers perceive a drop in financial security as a result of losing a job means someone in that situation is more likely to make a claim, hence the rise in the price of premiums”.

When out of work, your car is vital in helping you find a new job, but the impact of losing income means you might struggle to keep up with payments on credit cards and mortgages, which could hit your credit rating. A poor credit rating could also impact upon the price of car insurance. This is why it pays to look for the best deal possible.

With the help of a price comparison site like MoneySupermarket, you can find a car insurance deal which can save you much-needed cash, but there are other ways to help you keep the cost down at a time when you need to tighten your belt. Getting a new quote could save money, as it could go down every year (£2.4bn is wasted by motorists by accepting renewal quotes). Adding someone with more driving experience to your policy could also drive the cost down.

Reducing your mileage could prove helpful. As well as saving on fuel costs, your insurer could take notice and slash the cost of your policy. Keeping in touch with the insurer about your current circumstances is also a good way to save money. Telling them about losing your job as soon as possible is important, as failing to do so could invalidate your insurance.

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Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 Economy, Insurance, Jobs No Comments

Rocky road to financial recovery

Although the UK entered recession as long ago as the second half of 2008 and officially exited recession at the end of 2009, a full recovery still seems a long way off. This week was one of mixed messages – some good and some bad.

First came the bad news that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) had increased from 4% to 4.5% in April. The CPI is used to measure inflation in the UK and to compare it with the government’s target of 2%. A low level of inflation (like 2%) is a sign of a healthy economy, but higher rates usually mean that the costs of goods and services are increasing faster than workers’ wages, leading to a lower standard of living. For those of us already finding it hard to make ends meet, this is obviously bad news.

On the flip side, however, there was news that unemployment fell in the first quarter of this year. The decrease was only slight, to 7.7% from 7.8% the previous quarter, but it is a promising sign – as is the fact that the number of people in employment has increased to 29.24 million, just short of the pre-recession peak of 29.57 million.

What does all of this mean? Well unfortunately, these numbers are just a small part of the complex system that makes up the British economy and predicting what will happen next is astonishingly difficult – as no doubt you’ve noticed in the past few years. However, it seems that the economy is continuing on its long, slow recovery from the greatest recession in living memory. The recovery appears to be fragile – which is one of the reasons that the Bank of England has left its base rate at 0.5% for the 26th month in a row. You know what they say – slow and steady wins the race!

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Saturday, May 21st, 2011 Economy No Comments

Election come down

So after all the hype and canvassing and the debates, the results are in – and it’s a hung Parliament, the first since 1974. What does that mean for your money? Well, first of all, the pound has fallen against other currencies – 4 cents against the dollar and 3 cents against the Euro – bad news if you were about to go on holiday!

Why is this? In short because the value of a currency is related to how confident investors are in a country’s economy. Historically, hung parliaments in Britain are unable to act as swiftly as majority governments, because consensus must be found by the members of coalition parties – who often disagree on certain principles. These delays in acting may hinder our recovery from the recession – so investors would rather not be holding on to the pound. Of course, if it does lead to a slow recovery (or even the “double dip” recession some analysts have been predicting), then this could continue to hit us in the wallet for months to come – with the effects of the recession continuing rather than abating.

Another area that was to be decided by this election was income tax and National Insurance. As I wrote previously, all the parties had set out in their manifestos their intended changes to the PAYE system. I put these all in the Election Comparison Calculator – which shows you want impact these differences would have on you. With no party yet in charge, it’s not clear what will happen about this – whose policies will be enacted? The Conservatives, who have the largest number of seats, said they would hold an emergency budget to implement some of their changes before next year. We’ll have to wait and see to find out what really happens.

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