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Live webchat with Alvin Hall, financial guru, broadcaster and author, Thurs 29 March, 11am to 12noon

(65 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 28-Mar-12 08:22:51

Following on from the discussions about last week's budget, we're joined tomorrow morning at 11am by Alvin Hall who is returning to mumsnet to answer questions on saving and investments.

With bank accounts rarely staying ahead of inflation and pensions unable to sustain us in retirement, many people are looking at the stock market as a way of maximising returns. You may already have investment in the stock market in the form of a stocks-and-shares ISA, a Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) or an endowment mortgage, but do you understand how it works?

In his latest book, The Stock Market Explained: Your Guide to Successful Investing, Alvin gives a clear and practical explanation of how it works and types of investments available to you. He'll be taking your questions about the stock market, saving and investing tomorrow from 11am. If you can't make it you're welcome to post your question in advance to Alvin here. All those who join in the webchat will be entered into a draw to win one of five copies of Alvin's latest book.

bagelmonkey Wed 28-Mar-12 08:45:55

Hi Alvin.
I'm 33 and not currently working. (but will be looking to go back to work). I've worked abroad for a number of years, but now back in the UK. I have minimal national insurance contributions and no private pension. I need to start planning for my retirement. How do I go about finding a pension plan that suits me (risk averse, clueless)?
Thanks.

dietstartstmoz Wed 28-Mar-12 09:22:05

Hi Alvin,
Can I just say I think you are fab. OK question time-we have two children aged 7 & 4. Our youngest has special needs. I really worry about the future for both of them, especially the youngest one as he will have extra challenges to face. Thinking ahead-the eldest may want to go to Uni in just over 10 yrs (eek), without all the other financial milestones of adulthood they may both face (driving, moving out of home etc.), we do not currently save any money for them. Money has been tight and we have some debts we are currently paying off. I am conscious that we need to do something asap as time is moving on, where do we start? I know nothing about the stockmarket or investing and don't know where to begin. Can you please advise? Thanks

Alvin you are the best I used to love your programme and am now finding myself in a position of needing your advice. I was made redundant 3 years ago and have worked pt for tge last couple of years. I have a 4 year old and a 6 month old and am now looking for ft work to go back to following maternity leave at the end of may. I have some loans and cc and am now at the point of struggling to stay on top of everything. Dh works ft and his his we're cut by 20% last year which is what has really made tge difference. He cannot work any extra hours or on an addition job. What should I be addressing/doing to get myself sorted?

Thanks Alvin

Abitwobblynow Wed 28-Mar-12 10:43:45

Alvin, with all this government counterfeiting Quantitive Easing, what is the point of saving! Your money just gets devalued! If I have a pot of money saved, should I go into the stock market right now - where are the savvy putting their money at the moment? Thanks

liger Wed 28-Mar-12 12:17:00

Hello Alvin, we in the Liger household think you are wonderful. We particularly enjoyed your series where you helped families striving to be mortgage free, are there plans to do a follow up series ( or did I miss it?) and if not, how are the family who made the Stoves getting on? They were v inspiring.

Thank you! Hope to see more of you on our screens soon.

Piffpaffpoff Wed 28-Mar-12 12:30:07

Hello Alvin, my question is baically exactly the same as Abitwobblynow - I have a lump sum sitting getting hardly any interest. Where should I be putting it?

TheRhubarb Wed 28-Mar-12 12:38:32

Hi Alvin

I am 40 and my husband is 46. Both of us are line to receive a state pension but neither have a private pension. We've never had enough money to spare as he earns £14.5k pa and I earn just over £10k pa working for myself. I am becomingly increasingly worried about our lack of any kind of pension plan and I realise that we have probably left it too late.

I am currently putting £150pm into a savings account which is £100pm for tax purposes and £50pm for some sort of pension. This is from our joint account. I realise it's not enough, but do you have any recommendations as to where I can make a regular contribution that will give us a little something when we retire? If we both plan to retire at the age of 65, just how much should we be saving now?

Any advice or recommendations would be truly appreciated.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 28-Mar-12 16:40:50

My question is mostly about pensions as well.

I have a stakeholder, and my husband has several work schemes with varying amounts in them. We had wondered about rolling all his schemes up into one to minimise admin charges and complications - is that a good idea?

He was recently made redundant and we have set up our own business. For the moment he isn't making any pension contributions, but I am still paying £180 inc. tax relief into my stakeholder.

Short term we are looking to increase our cash savings to 6 months worth of outgoings, and then we will be looking at some kind of pension planning. We can make contributions through our Ltd company I believe, which limit our corporation tax but don't attract personal tax relief, or we could continue with my stakeholder and open one for him.
Or we could just use our ISA allowance - I currently use my cash ISA allowance but we haven't ventured into a Stocks and Shares, partly due to not having the money to, and partly due to ignorance about what they offer and what the risks are.

We would also like to think about starting to save for school fees in the next couple of years, and I wondered if you have any recommendations or advice about what kind of product we could use for that?

gazzalw Wed 28-Mar-12 18:00:08

Dear Alvin
Always found you very positive about finances which can only be a very good thing!
We have recently come out of a five year fixed term contract and currently are happy that on the variable rate we are approx. £100 per month better off...but worried that the rates might start to rise - what would be your advice - fix or hold off for a while and at what point would you change your mind on holding off if that should be your advice.
By the way we are currently a one income family and narrowly avoided losing CB in the recent review - just to give you an idea of family finances.

diffoname Wed 28-Mar-12 18:53:46

I think you are very good.
This is complicated and I would like to say I know I have been an idiot...just so we get that out of the way.
I have a Wonga loan that is around 350 to 400 a month and a Paydayuk loan which I pay abit of the balance of every month...Loan is 260 interest makes it around 320 so I pay around 90 a month.I also have a wageday advance loan and pay them back in one go it will be 324 this month as obviously it all starts increasing.I work 30 hours on minimum wage a week and get tax credits etc and child benefit for 2 children I will soon be working as a nurse in London on around 29500pa.But have to pay 450 to stay up there in keyworker accomodation and 200 travel and 600 rent and council tax for where my family are based(we cannot move).and other normal bills etc.Am doing this as believe in the medium to long term it will be best for us all.I will work 1 agency shift a week for our food and clothes money.
However how the heck do I get the payday loans sorted?
Would really appreciate your advice.
Thank you.

mrswoodentop Wed 28-Mar-12 19:16:18

Dear Alvin,I loved your BBC2 show and think it is really due for a return(also liked the art ones on R4)

My question is that I have a son going(hopefully) to university in the autumn,he will not qualify for any help as out income is above the limits but will have to self fund as much as possible so is likely to end up with a considerable"debt" at the end,he is sensible but also this is a whole new world of money management for him.

If you could only give one key piece of advice for a student starting out now under the new regime what would it be ?

LottieJenkins Thu 29-Mar-12 04:19:47

Hi Alvin, not a money question but just want to say that the "blooper" scene of you with the ostriches is one of the funniest that i have ever seen! I think it was twelve takes before they got what they wanted wasnt it??

Cathynclaire Thu 29-Mar-12 06:49:42

Hi Alvin,

For several years DH has had a bee in his bonnet about the potential profits to be made from investing in shares, particularly when share prices have fallen dramatically (e.g. BP shares during the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe), and then selling "high" when the share price recovers.

Up until now we've never had any spare money to invest, so I've never paid much attention to his witterings on the subject, but due to an unexpected windfall, we now have about £5k which we could invest in this way.

Do you have any general advice for share-buying novices? Also do you think my DH's strategy for shares to invest in is high-risk? ....I do!

I also loved your BBC2 show back in the days....I can remember you advising someone to destroy their credit card "Burn baby burn...(disco inferno) grin

nowit Thu 29-Mar-12 09:13:48

Hi Alvin,

We are due to move in a few weeks and have fixed for two years. We have a small amount of shared equity that is interest free for 5 years. We really want to plough our money into getting rid of this as quickly as possible but without the temptation of dipping into it.

Can you recommend a notice savings account that you don't have to have a lump sum to set up please? We will be paying in £200 per month and would like it closed for 4 years so that we can't touch it.

Obviously a good interest rate would be a bonus but we do know how rare they are at the moment.

Many thanks

sharonstoned Thu 29-Mar-12 09:52:26

If I have an account with lloyds and they are selling over 600 branches to
co-op, what is your advice on this..?

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 29-Mar-12 11:00:47

Alvin has arrived at MNHQ and is ready to start answering your questions. Welcome to Mumsnet, Alvin

AlvinHall Thu 29-Mar-12 11:01:17

Hello hello, I'm very glad to be here today. Send in your messages, and I will answer as many as I can!

AlvinHall Thu 29-Mar-12 11:02:16

Cathynclaire

Hi Alvin,

For several years DH has had a bee in his bonnet about the potential profits to be made from investing in shares, particularly when share prices have fallen dramatically (e.g. BP shares during the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe), and then selling "high" when the share price recovers.

Up until now we've never had any spare money to invest, so I've never paid much attention to his witterings on the subject, but due to an unexpected windfall, we now have about £5k which we could invest in this way.

Do you have any general advice for share-buying novices? Also do you think my DH's strategy for shares to invest in is high-risk? ....I do!

I also loved your BBC2 show back in the days....I can remember you advising someone to destroy their credit card "Burn baby burn...(disco inferno) grin

Thanks for your compliment. Your assessment of your DH's strategy is accurate. Any short-term investing involves significant risk regardless of the type of shares he would be buying and selling. Buying low and selling high is always harder than people imagine. Remember that just because a share is low doesn't mean it won't go lower. A significant upturn is not guaranteed or certain. Give your DH copy of my new book "The Stock Market Explained." It will clarify the risks and rewards of various approaches. Make sure he focuses on the risks, not just the potential rewards!

AlvinHall Thu 29-Mar-12 11:03:37

mrswoodentop

Dear Alvin,I loved your BBC2 show and think it is really due for a return(also liked the art ones on R4)

My question is that I have a son going(hopefully) to university in the autumn,he will not qualify for any help as out income is above the limits but will have to self fund as much as possible so is likely to end up with a considerable"debt" at the end,he is sensible but also this is a whole new world of money management for him.

If you could only give one key piece of advice for a student starting out now under the new regime what would it be ?

That the student should view his education as an investment in the future, that they should make a realistic budget and stick to it. And, they should not waste a lot of time on fretting about the loan - it's the new reality, accept and move forward in a positive way.

I'm not telling you this based on theory because I too graduated from school with educational debt, and I focused on the potential ahead of me to make my life better.

cm22v07 Thu 29-Mar-12 11:04:15

Hello Alvin,
I used to love your show 'Your Money or Your Life'- it was brilliant.
Have you got any other TV series in the pipeline?
Thanks!

AlvinHall Thu 29-Mar-12 11:06:38

Alibabaandthe40nappies

My question is mostly about pensions as well.

I have a stakeholder, and my husband has several work schemes with varying amounts in them. We had wondered about rolling all his schemes up into one to minimise admin charges and complications - is that a good idea?

He was recently made redundant and we have set up our own business. For the moment he isn't making any pension contributions, but I am still paying £180 inc. tax relief into my stakeholder.

Short term we are looking to increase our cash savings to 6 months worth of outgoings, and then we will be looking at some kind of pension planning. We can make contributions through our Ltd company I believe, which limit our corporation tax but don't attract personal tax relief, or we could continue with my stakeholder and open one for him.
Or we could just use our ISA allowance - I currently use my cash ISA allowance but we haven't ventured into a Stocks and Shares, partly due to not having the money to, and partly due to ignorance about what they offer and what the risks are.

We would also like to think about starting to save for school fees in the next couple of years, and I wondered if you have any recommendations or advice about what kind of product we could use for that?

First, of course you should take advantage of your ISA allowance! It's one of the best things the government has ever given to savers and investors. Overall, in reading your inquiry, you're working on many different fronts - retirement, starting a business, building a cash reserve, saving for school fees - you really need to sit down with a professional and work out a comprehensive plan.

One of the key parts to your plan will be to work out how much money you will need in each of those areas. Then you can start to allocate you income properly. But an investment professional will help you see the big picture, and establish the right priorities. I wish I had time to do this for you, but I can't do more for you here, as it would would require a lot of consultation to get it right for your specific needs. Good luck with everything.

lockitt Thu 29-Mar-12 11:08:08

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

AlvinHall Thu 29-Mar-12 11:09:50

Abitwobblynow

Alvin, with all this government counterfeiting Quantitive Easing, what is the point of saving! Your money just gets devalued! If I have a pot of money saved, should I go into the stock market right now - where are the savvy putting their money at the moment? Thanks

Saving is always important because it's money that you control. If something goes wrong having this money in the bank will give you options. Understand that financial situations change over one's lifetime. So one cannot be trapped in feeling cynical, or bitter, that we're now in a period of low interest rates. Focus instead on what's important for you, and your financial security. Instead of spending your time worrying about low interest rates, spend a little time to consider other options that fit your risk profile.

lockitt Thu 29-Mar-12 11:09:50

Hi Alvin,

I'm in negative equity and have a mortgage with the Halifax. I am on the standard base rate which they are increasing but I dont know where to turn to remortgage on a fixed rate and get a good deal when I am in negative equity. Do you think its ok to stay on the base rate and hope the BoE will keep the interest rates low?

Thank you!

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