MONEY MATTERS: What would Beattie say?

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BT price rise

I returned from my holiday thinking I had done so well switching my energy provider only to find that BT is hitting millions with another price rise from December.

Maybe the increases are to help pay for the TV campaign featuring characters Adam and Jane which cost a reported £11 million last year.

After a 10 per cent rise in charges a year ago, and a nine per cent increase in April, BT is to raise call charges by up to 5 per cent on December 3 – the second increase this year.

The cost of making a daytime call – currently 7.6p – will go up to 8p and evening calls are up from 1p to 1.05p, and the new connection charge adds 13.1p to every paid call.

You can usually switch from BT without any penalties; inform them within 10 days of receiving the price rise notification.

Switching to their Line Rental Saver deal does costs £120 up-front but you should not be affected by the price rise and this includes weekend calls.

Have a look at Primus. They offer the cheapest stand-alone line rental in the UK today, from £6.79 per month, through www.homephonechoices.co.uk

I have been with my bank for 15 years. I want to change but am worried they may make it difficult.

There are strict guidelines banks and building societies must follow to ensure that anyone switching banks can do so with the minimum amount of fuss.

Ask your new bank to switch all your direct debits and standing orders to your new account, speeding up the process considerably.

Make sure that your new bank offers an ‘interest-free’ switcher overdraft facility as this will cover any direct debits or standing orders that are due to go out before your money is paid into your account.

Always read the small print when switching to a new bank.

My father left me some money in his will and instructions I must invest in fine wine. Is it a good idea?

For a long time many people in ‘the-know’ have invested in fine wines.

This type of investment offers a unique asset which allows the investor to buy, sell and store wine and the gains they make are free of capital gains taxes.

This is due to the fact that fine wine is currently classed as a wasting asset.

Even in bad times fine wine investments hold their price. People who have invested in fine wines have seen that it has out-performed many other forms of investment such as equity and fixed-income indices including the FTSE 100. However, you should seek the help of an expert before you begin your investment.