Advanced search

WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

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.

NewHouse Fri 30-Mar-12 22:44:11

What a great web chat.

BoffinMum Thu 29-Mar-12 18:07:41

That is brilliant. Alvin is the consummate professional! grin

LottieJenkins Thu 29-Mar-12 17:21:17

Alvin and the Ostriches!!

Doobydoo Thu 29-Mar-12 15:31:45

Thank you so much for answering my question Alvin.I shall take your advice and rest assured I will never do it again!

BoffinMum Thu 29-Mar-12 13:02:21

It's the way he says it! grin

I feel Alvin is there with me spiritually every time I shop. It doesn't get better than that.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 29-Mar-12 12:57:37

Alvin thank you for answering my questions smile

We will definitely go and get some proper advice, and keep using our ISA allowance in the meantime!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 29-Mar-12 12:35:23

Congratulations to: Abitwobblynow, gazzalw, piffpaffpoff, TrumpHair and TheMulberryTree, you've all won a copy of Alvin's book, The Stockmarket Explained. We'll be PMing you to get details of where the books should be sent out.

mrswoodentop Thu 29-Mar-12 12:30:21

Alvin thank you for answering my question ,especially as your answer was so thoughtful and simple.I feel ridiculously excited that it was answered ....and all for free too!

I wonder should"you just can't afford it' be available as a ring tone ,I would like it to play every time I open my pursegrin

BoffinMum Thu 29-Mar-12 12:10:36

PS "You just can't afford it!" in an Alvin voice is actually our family motto, would you believe it. grin

BoffinMum Thu 29-Mar-12 12:09:33

I wish you were Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alvin, because we would all feel a lot safer with someone in charge who had a real sense of how family finance works. Thank you for coming on.

Cathynclaire Thu 29-Mar-12 12:06:22

Thank you for your answering my question Alvin. smile

AlvinHall Thu 29-Mar-12 12:06:17

I've enjoyed this, and all your questions have been interesting and stimulating! I wish I could have answered all of them. In fact, I wish I could meet all of you and sit down with you and talk through your issues in person. I'm sure that that conversation would open doors to other information and personal goals that would help you develop the plan you really need to achieve the financial security you desire.

Thanks so much for an informative hour on the internet. In some of my future columns and books, I'm sure the questions you have asked will influence what I write!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 29-Mar-12 12:05:25

That brings us to the end of the hour. Thanks so much to Alvin for joining us and helping out with such great advice. We've really enjoyed having you here today and do hope you'll visit mumsnet again soon. Thanks to everyone who joined the webchat today, we'll be announcing shortly the five winners of Alvin's latest book The Stock Market Explained

AlvinHall Thu 29-Mar-12 12:03:57


Just remembered about this and hope you have time to help...Back in 1996 when we bought our first house we took an endowment mortgage and pay £200 a month to I think it's now Aviva. Don't know how much it's worth but am guessing not that much. Would we be better just to keep on paying in and hoping one day we get something from it, or would we be better cashing it in (know you don't get much if you do that) and investing that sort of money elsewhere. We can afford to "save" it - just want to know we're "saving" it in right place.

You need to contact Aviva to find out where you stand and what is the value of the endowment. You can make no decision until you know that fact. As a general rule, a repayment mortgage, for most people, will be better than an endowment! Because you're paying off the principle every month. This is a more prudent approach, I think. And it involves less speculation about the future. Before you decide your next step, get the information you need from Aviva so you can make an informed decision.

BoffinMum Thu 29-Mar-12 12:02:14

PS I love your work and I make my children read your books.

BoffinMum Thu 29-Mar-12 12:01:35

Hello Alvin,

I am a typical squeezed middle person who has high housing costs, high childcare costs, long working hours and a monster commute. What on earth do you do to mitigate things if your childcare costs and commuting costs equal your net income, and you can't find a job locally???????

AlvinHall Thu 29-Mar-12 12:00:25


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

You and your husband need to sit down immediately and work out a realistic budget for yourselves that considers all contingencies. In doing this budget, try to determine what is the minimum amount you need to continue your lifestyle.

In working out this budget, you may discover, for example, that you need to reduce your loan payments to survive. Contact the lenders, and try to negotiate a lower payment for yourself without an increase in interest charges. It's better to be pro-active in this situation rather than waiting to see what's going to happen.

TheMulberryTree Thu 29-Mar-12 11:57:00

Thank you for answering my question, one of the main reasons for buying a house is because our monthly repayments is likely to be less than rent. But in consideration of the increasing cost of childcare, train fares, food, petrol etc.. how much do you think an average family should have as disposable income?

The average family spends something like 50% of their salary on childcare. What do you think is the 'right' percentage to allocate to childcare/mortgage/bills? And how much of your income should you be 'allowed' to enjoy?

AlvinHall Thu 29-Mar-12 11:56:28


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.

First, let's view this as a completely new start. Forgive yourself for what you have done, and strive to create a better future for yourself. Head as soon as you can to Citizens Advice, CCCS (Consumer Credit Counselling Services), or one of the other charities that helps people with debt. Be honest with them about your situation, work with them to create a plan that you can stick to - this is very important - and then, be diligent. I can't wave a magic wand to get you out of this situation, or ask you to click your heels three times so that you miraculously end up in a different place. You just have to come up with a long-term plan, and stick to it.

And remember to promise yourself that you will never, ever, ever do this again! Start today, on a new road, and get the help you need.

TheMulberryTree Thu 29-Mar-12 11:54:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Calypso Thu 29-Mar-12 11:54:24

Just remembered about this and hope you have time to help...Back in 1996 when we bought our first house we took an endowment mortgage and pay £200 a month to I think it's now Aviva. Don't know how much it's worth but am guessing not that much. Would we be better just to keep on paying in and hoping one day we get something from it, or would we be better cashing it in (know you don't get much if you do that) and investing that sort of money elsewhere. We can afford to "save" it - just want to know we're "saving" it in right place.

AlvinHall Thu 29-Mar-12 11:50:49



What kind of vehicle should we invest in with our childrens saving? We put away roughly £1500 a year for them and would love it to grow healthily but still be very secure.

Thank you

I have to give you general advice because I don't know the ages of your children. Since you're looking for healthy growth, you probably want to look at a growth-oriented unit trust, run by a fund company with a long history of good management and low fees. This follows classic thinking about long-term growth for young people.

What concerns is me is when you said you want the money "very secure". This would suggest that you're also risk-averse. If you choose to invest the money, look at tracker funds, or large cap growth funds. While they will be volatile, they will be less volatile than funds that focus on smaller, younger companies.

AlvinHall Thu 29-Mar-12 11:46:07


Hi Alvin! We're looking to buy a house and so far we've been sensible in looking at the lower end of our budget. However, there are houses that are more appealing but the monthly mortgage repayment would be the top end of our budget.
Baring in mind we're both in our early twenties with a duel income, our earning potential is much higher. How risky do you think it would be to opt for the nicer, more expensive, house with the higher monthly repayment? Do you think the interest rates will rocket in the foreseeable future?

There's two points of view about that. The traditional one is that you should buy the most house you can, the idea being that this house will go up in value, or at least retain its value. The second point of view is that you should buy a house that you know you can reasonably afford, without putting yourself under undue mortgage pressure.

In my own life, I chose the second option because of the job uncertainty that I anticipated in my life, and I wanted a mortgage that I could afford through good times and bad times. In your post, you have two incomes, and your potential is much higher, so you may want to stretch a bit. But don't stretch to the point where if one thing goes wrong - such as one of you losing your job - you could lose the house, or the financial pressures would bring stress to your marriage.

Be realistic about this. As far as interest rates in the future, it looks like the government will keep them flat for a while, but to know more about the future, I'll have to consult my crystal ball! (Or my bowl of goat entrails/or cup of tea leaves!)

TrumpHair Thu 29-Mar-12 11:42:58

Many thanks for your answer.

AlvinHall Thu 29-Mar-12 11:40:59


Welcome Alvin!

Please could you advise on the best way of investing a small amount of money for a child.

Thank you.

My first question is how much risk do you want to take with this money? If you are totally risk-adverse, then your only option is a bank or building society. If you're willing to take on more risk, then you might want to look at the stock market, specifically, unit trust. Many allow people to invest small amounts of money at regular intervals. Look for a trust with low on-going expenses, therefore more of the profit it makes will end up benefiting your child.

Tracker funds tend to have the lowest expenses, so they may be something you want to look at first, but keep in mind that the money you invest in any stock market-related vehicle will be at risk. Expect the value to fluctuate up and down. Focus on your long-term goals for your child, rather than the day-to-day volatility. Set certain benchmarks along the way that you want to achieve, and if the investment isn't achieving them, consider making changes.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now