Top Q&A questions of 2012
A lot of people contribute to our Q&A section and here are some of the best posts of the year.
As always, we’ve had some interesting, entertaining and informative posts in our Q&A section during 2012.
If you've never visited it before, Q&A gives you the chance to ask questions and voice your opinions on anything financial.
Most questions are posted by someone trying to solve a financial problem but others are deisgned to spark debate.
The questions are answered by other readers, which highlights how informed and community-spirited our readers are.
In this blog, I’ve picked out 10 of the best questions and answers from this year.
Emilyharriet7 found some shares from a deceased family member earlier in the year and wanted to know if they were still valid.
MikeGG1 rose to the challenge and tracked down each company involved along with details of where they are now based.
And we heartily agree with Rarnatt, who posted: “This willingness to help each other out is heart-warming. Nice one, Mike.”
After rumours of a Spanish financial collapse, many readers shared concerns with us, such as Sparklewoman, about the security of Santander. As she has a bank account with the Spanish bank and a mortgage, she asked if she should take any action.
This question had an impressive response with MikeGG1, JoeEasedale and Arblaster reassuring her that as Santander UK is a UK-regulated subsidiary, up to £85,000 is protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
Rowmon asked in August how much partners were entitled to after a divorce.
MikeGG1 responded explaining that in this situation everything is up to negotiation and this kind of thing needs to be arranged through a solicitor when you get divorced.
Mally also pointed out that it’s worth checking with a lender to see if someone can be removed from a mortgage.
House deposits and questions about mortgages are common from readers. Abisides asked in August what kind of mortgage would be available with savings of around £21,000 and a poor credit history.
MikeGG1 said this would be a suitable 10% deposit and warned “depending on credit history, it might be better to wait another few months for a 15% deposit.”
Yocoxy and Stargazer also suggested getting a free credit check (and cancelling the credit check service Abisides's partner was paying for), and also stressed how important it is to clear black marks on a credit history before applying for a mortgage.
“My pension pot is almost non-existent” said Hoblands in November. With savings of £30,000 in stocks and shares ISAs, he/she wanted to know what’s the best savings vehicle for retirement?
MikeGG1said it’s worth considering the cost of both, as pensions for example can be expensive if you’re not benefitting from the tax advantages.
Hoblands responded saying: “I'm not much of a gambler and although I know all investments have the potential to go up and down I'd probably opt for a more modest return in the pursuit of being able to sleep at night.”
“I never give out my mobile number or any personal details, so I don’t know where these companies have got my number from,” asked Cpsk8, who was receiving lots of spam text messages.
Cpsk8 replied: “Thanks everyone for your replies. My old phone is not a smart phone, with O2 as the provider. Thought I was registered with TPS. I'll register again.”
Sadly, redundancy has become all too common following the credit crunch. In October Kam_ said: “I've worked constantly since I was 16, so I have some savings and received a payoff. I'm not actively looking for work, but I am trying to set up a small business, which is taking ages. In April I will run out of money.”
Arblaster said it all depends on what savings a person has and suggested going to a local council office and the Job Center. Maintaining National Insurance Contributions is also important, as Mike GG1 said, while Megatyte explained that it’s only possible to get unemployment benefits if you’re actively seeking work.
Kam_ replied: “Thank you all for the input....so along with posing the question on here, I also made a visit to the council, who sent me to the Job Centre (depressing place), which then tried to send me back to the council.” Depressing stuff...
The lovemoney team often ask our readers for input and in June our editor John asked how important local businesses were.
Earthmother said “I would love to live somewhere that actually had local businesses…the greengrocer, butcher, fishmonger all closed down over the years.”
In the summer Katie_Louiise asked for help with a savings account. As she’s only 15 she was looking for an account which would also give her instant access to her money.
JoeEasedale suggested an instant access savings account from the West Brom paying 3.22%. MikeGG1 pointed out that the savings account required £10,000 to open so suggested a high-street bank account. Katie went for a Halifax account, after arranging a meeting with one of its advisers
In February a hot topic for our readers was Fred Goodwin’s lost knighthood and MikeGG1 asked who else should be on the chopping block.
Lots of people responded with various suggestions – mainly members of the current Government. Talent, for example, said: “The Government idiot that authorised Fred’s massive pension” whereas others, such as Iasnoq, said it would be better if he just returned his wages.
On the question of honours, Ben Hall said he draws the line at people such as Mick Jagger, while Ripped_off said Goodwin should “have his assets taken as a warning to other get rich quick shysters that this will no longer be tolerated”.
Our top five Q&A heroes
As the year comes to an end, we’ve also picked out the readers who have contributed the most to Q&A. So here is our 2012 Hall of Fame:
However, we should add a big thank you to anyone who took the time to post a question or answer.