Money Stuff

Step one is to consider the now: what you have, what you need and what fiscal help is available from the Government or from the financial product companies you deal with. Step two is to consider the medium and longer term.

Get close to what you are spending

What do you need to spend money on right now? What savings are you making, for example, in travel costs and that daily coffee fix. It can be really tempting to stop pension funding and cancel protection policies, but we only recommend cancelling these as a last resort. Protection policies can be expensive to replace and you need security for your family now more than ever.

You may be considering your mortgage as a way of reduce costs. This is a specialist advice area. Melanie Bull of Chelmer Mortgages, is our external mortgage specialist. We have worked closely with Melanie for many years. If you would like to discuss your mortgage please contact Melanie on 07793 411736 and mention ‘HarperLees’.

Your Budget Planner

We Chartered Financial Planners love Budget Planners. We have drawn up a simple budget planner to enable to you consider all your income and outgoings and help you to see where changes can be made. Download your Budget Planner here.


If costs need to be cut, speak to your adviser or at the very least the financial product providers you deal with as there may be options and payment breaks available. We have been made aware of one protection policy provider who is offering a 3-month payment break for policy holders classed as ‘vulnerable’.

Many lenders including mortgage companies, loan providers and credit card companies are able to offer payment holidays.  In order to access these, you need to speak to the providers directly and follow the correct procedures, do not just cancel the direct debits. However, taking a payment holiday will mean that the period will be added to the end of the loan and it will take longer to pay back. This is only an option to take if it is really necessary rather than doing it just because you can. For more details on what many providers are offering, visit Martin Lewis at the Money Saving Expert by clicking here.

If you rent your home and are struggling with payments, you should first discuss this with you landlord as they may be able to give you more time to pay or to reduce the level of rent for a short time. The Government has ruled that your landlord is not able to evict you during this period, however you should try to pay as much as you can and keep records. Discussing options with Citizens Advice may help as housing benefits may be available.  More details can be found on the Citizens Advice website by clicking here.

If you have been furloughed

The basic concept behind this new scheme is to help avoid significant large-scale redundancies across the country.  If you are furloughed, your employer applies to receive a grant of up to 80% of your salary up to a total of £2,500 per month gross. The effect this will have on your net pay will be dependent on the amount of you normally receive, the contract you are on and whether your employer chooses to pay the difference up to 100%.  Martin Lewis offers quite a bit of detail that you can access on his Money Saving Expert website by clicking here.

Scam Avoidance

Sadly, we are hearing of elaborate scams which include

  • visitors purporting to be from the NHS with Coronavirus testing kits or offering to go shopping for individuals who are self-isolating.
  • cold calls requesting donations to charities linked to those affected by the pandemic.
  • callers/emails claiming to be arranging payment of HMRC tax rebates and needing bank details.

Please refer to this Which? video and their additional notes here

Our regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority also provides examples of how you can protect yourself here

Aviva has published a practical guide for staying safe online. Click Here

If in any doubt, stall the caller by asking for their contact information so you can get back to them. If genuine, they will have no issue. If a scam they will make excuses.

We will be happy to check them out for you.

Arranging or Reviewing Wills or Lasting Power of Attorney

Social distancing has undoubtedly brought a barrier to the ongoing requirement for legal documents to be witnessed ‘live’. We found two interesting perspectives from two local solicitor firms, with thanks to Backhouse Solicitors and Birketts.

Educational Presentation Videos

The Personal Finance Society has launched a series of educational presentation videos for 14-18 year olds on Staying safe from financial scams, Moving on from School, My Future Finances and Making Decisions and Risk.

We have now been advised of the Redstart offering, designed for 8-12 year olds.

Stamp Duty

An increase in the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) threshold in England and Northern Ireland – increasing the threshold under which no SDLT is paid on the purchase of a main home from £125,000 to £500,000, with immediate effect until 31‌‌‌ ‌March 2021.

Read more on our Wellbeing HUB