Sinead Ryan: 'How to be a grown-up... lesson one'
Students in the UK are to be questioned on how often they change their bedsheets and how to cook hot dinners.
Students in the UK are to be questioned on how often they change their bedsheets and how to cook hot dinners.
It is clear the recession is over, if holiday plans are anything to go by. Research on behalf of Laya Healthcare has shown that almost €8bn will be spent on summer holidays in 2019, with less than one eighth spent on staycations. A lucky one in five people plan on taking at least three additional...
"It looks like Brexit is getting serious, but I can't see how it will affect me personally."
Ambitious plans by the Government on climate change might prove too clever by half when it comes to electric cars.
Q My landlord moved me out of the house I rent from him as he was carrying out what he described as 'remedial works'. He let me live in another...
Q We are refurbishing our bathroom and making it bigger by knocking through into a small box room. I really want a standalone claw foot bathtub as I think they are gorgeous but wonder is this a sensible idea? They are certainly very expensive and I don't want to spend the money if it's silly. Its location will be in what was the bedroom, so there is plumbing extension required.
Q We own a holiday home which has given our family many happy years. We are now retired and have given the house to our three children who have families of their own and they arrange visits between them. We wanted them to own it entirely, rather than keep asking us if it was okay to go down. We drew up a contract via a solicitor a few years ago. However, now one of our children is going through a divorce and her husband is claiming a share of the property. We would be devastated if it had to be sold or otherwise encumbered with his name on it. What is he entitled...
They say the first rule of politics is being able to count. And the first rule of setting up a political party is to manage the split. The second is, know when you're beat.
Someone asked me recently what they should do about a high phone bill they had received.
Your home economics questions answered
When it comes to spending our money, plastic has never been more popular as our flexible friend.
Q I bought a second property many years ago which has been rented out and grown considerably in value. My concern now is minimising the tax bill...
Now that the Leaving Cert is almost here, we can look forward to a spell of sunshine and heat. But that's the only good thing about it.
In the past, loss or theft usually meant a burglary or break-in at home. Your TV, jewellery or money was most at risk. You'd make a house insurance claim and cross your fingers. These days, it's...
Q My husband and I wish to leave our family home to our youngest son who isn't married as our other children are settled with families of their own.
Technology fan and general expert on everything Stephen Fry was once asked whether he thought Kindle would signal the end of proper books.
Depressing news from the Central Bank regarding our apathy when it comes to the enormous fees we are being fleeced with by banks, many of whom have been bailed out by Joe Taxpayer. Our reward? Extra charges and massive costs just to mind our own money.
I'm ahead of the curve on social issues, but I'm claiming a little credit for the whole gender-neutral uniform thing which has got some people's gym knickers in a twist.
It never rains but it pours. The weather certainly hasn't been great so far this summer, especially after the heatwave that was 2018, so our energy bills are still as high as ever.
Q We owe a small mortgage on our Dublin home. We want to retire and release equity in our home and then downsize to the country. But we want to do it over a year, taking out a mortgage on our second home and then gradually move in. Are there any CGT implications if we sell our Dublin house a year later and make our country house our main residence when we retire?
I'm at the age where the State is beginning to worry about me. Or at least, it's worried about the cost of me.
Women are pretty bad at sums. Men are too. Actually, financial literacy in Ireland is terrible. Despite our highly educated workforce, and the emphasis on Stem subjects in school, research from the ESRI has found that we find the application of simple mathematical concepts very difficult to relate to everyday life.
Q My father left an inheritance to me and my two sons which enabled us to purchase a flat in joint names near their university with me mortgaging the balance. They lived there (rent free) for seven years and we agreed to rent it out for the past five years. However, my eldest son now wants to buy a place of his own and the younger one has agreed to buy out his third. Will it hamper his chances of getting a mortgage and is he still a first-time buyer since he didn't own an entire property?
Ever feel like it's months until pay day? Of course it's tempting to put things on credit, especially if there's plastic burning a hole in your wallet, but most of us know it's only delaying the inevitable.
I live not far from a lovely place called Rathbeggan Lakes. I used to bring my kids there when they were small and it's grown from a duck pond with a few swings and slides to a full adventure playground where you could easily spend an entire afternoon, or longer.
If the divorce referendum is passed next Friday, a spike in applications is expected as the waiting period drops from four to two years.
Calls have been made to raise the drinking age to 20 in Ireland.
He'll be 'plain' old Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Last year 11,774 dogs were "surrendered, seized or abandoned" in Ireland says Dogs Trust's Ciara Byrne. While many are re-homed, some are inevitably destroyed which is sad and unnecessary. While there's a spike just after Christmas, it remains a year-round problem. This week, I'm looking at what's involved in pet ownership, the costs, along with insurance (see panel).
Cuckoo: a bird of the Cuculidae family. There are 54 species in total but only two of them are native to Europe. A female cuckoo famously doesn't build her own nest but uses the nests of other birds to lay her eggs - up to 22 in any one season. More than 120 species can be tricked into raising young cuckoo chicks as their own, saving momma bird the expense of rearing them.
Q I moved out of my home in Dublin in 2006 to let it out and built a new house down the country when building costs were at their highest. I would like to sell the house in Dublin in one-two years' time as I am retiring. Will Revenue accept the valuation of the property at the time of letting i.e., can that valuation be deducted from the selling price in order to calculate any capital gains tax liability?
The drugs crisis has reached alarming new levels. Even those of us who don't smoke, inhale, inject or snort can be affected by others' bad decisions. But I'm not sure many would have considered the danger posed by a portion of scampi.
With the Leaving Cert only a few weeks away (here comes the sun!), students have enough on their plate without worrying about college costs, but parents may be concerned about how much they'll be spending over the next four years, especially if their child is going to be living away from home.
The unintended consequences of legislation are something every politician tries to avoid. Having to alter or, worse, row back on laws after they're badly made doesn't make good press.
Q I'm heading for the big five-oh birthday, have recently separated and will be purchasing my own home in the next few months. My dream is to live by the sea but I have children in secondary school for the next three years in the midlands. My question is, if I purchase a house in, say Dublin, and rent it out for living in at a future date, and then rent another house near my children's school, will I be penalised tax wise for not living in my home?
I was helping out last week at my amateur dramatic society's production of 'Grease'.
If Easter's lovely weather didn't help you find your green fingers, nothing will. Everyone seemed to be out in the garden as the first promise of summer appeared. This week I'm looking at how to make your outside space a place of joy, relaxation and yes, a financial asset.
Not just his wife and daughters, who I'm sure he loved dearly. But all women. He understood their needs and problems, particularly mothers. He "got" mothers.
Q My daughter wants to get on the property ladder. She can only afford a small place and is aiming to get a one-bed apartment, which she intends to rent out for a few years. She will live with me and maybe work abroad for some time. I am concerned this will be seen as an investment by Revenue and not as her home. She needs to be sure that she will not have to pay unnecessary taxes. Can you advise on this?
You know how it is with the Easter holidays.
As the economy continues to improve, one of the drawbacks has been the rise in commuting times mainly in cities.
Q We are a couple considering returning to Ireland as we had always intended retiring there. Even though we are only in our early 60s, we are completely fed up with Brexit and seriously concerned about staying in the UK much longer.
One hundred and twenty isn't a very big number, but if you're in your mid-50s, that's how many pay-days you have left. It's said that retirement is the longest holiday of your life and these days, it's getting even longer. Most people can expect to live until nearly 90, meaning many of us will be funding a retired life that's almost as long as our working life.
There's been a bit of grief following the revelation that just 38pc of new fathers are taking their paternity leave entitlement.
New research from Switcher.ie has revealed that 65pc of Irish consumers cannot afford essential household bills with their regular income; almost four in 10 (38pc) dip into their savings to cover household running costs.
It might be an extreme example, but news has emerged of a case where a Limerick couple had almost €3m of debt written off for just a €2,000 payment in a personal insolvency arrangement (PIA).
If you're going to set up in business, you'll get off to a better start in an industry with an endless supply of customers. Just ask any funeral director or tax official.
Finding extra space for a growing family can be challenging and expensive. As tiny toddlers turn into teens and everyone wants to escape into their own space, or someone decides to work from home, moving house may not be an option.
Q Can you advise whether it is worth me getting a power of attorney in regard to my ailing mother? Although mentally well, she is frail and can be forgetful and I am worried she could make poor decisions about her money. I would like something that would mean I have to at least co-sign her decisions, to protect her from being scammed or silly, especially when it comes to her house, which she has set aside for myself and my sister. It is complicated by the fact that we have another sibling, and one of his children has already had her write him a cheque, which I am very cross...
We've been embracing the 'new Irish' for years now. Our neighbours, friends and colleagues have enriched our lives and workspaces and the melting pot of language, tradition and culture makes a better society.
With some mortgage lenders already reporting 'exemption' limits reached on loans over and above normal credit limits, and it's still only March, demand certainly isn't an issue.
Q Around 10 years ago my mother gave me €35,000 at a low point in my life. It was help toward re-starting my life after divorce and I was very grateful. My two siblings knew about the gift. Our mother has now died and has left her house to be sold and the proceeds equally distributed between the three of us, but my sisters believe the €35,000 should be deducted from my share since the...
I was directly caught up in the grounding of Boeing flights last week.
Love is in the air ... or maybe it's just the spring, but recovery from the recession seems to have made us all more romantic!
Q We own a rented property in South Dublin. We are thinking of building an extension out the back, (under 40 sqm) or erecting a modular home. To satisfy planning, does it have to be attached to the existing house, or can it stand alone? It would be rented separately from the house.
We're one of the few countries that doesn't have Uber as a transport option. And as difficult as it can be to get a taxi on a Saturday night in the city centre, I think this is a good thing.
We're all going on a summer holiday ... or, perhaps the blast of snow last week put you in mind for skiing. Wherever your travels take you in 2019 it's vital that you put enough insurance in place - and the right kind - before you leave. This week we're looking at travel insurance and doing a little myth busting about what you need, and why.
Our property finance expert answers your questions
When I was a little girl I wanted to be a prima ballerina or an astronaut. Indeed, around age seven, these didn't even seem to be mutually exclusive goals, much less unattainable ones.
The growth in online shopping may be bad news for home-grown retailers, but it's a boon for parcel delivery companies.
What is it with male politicians continuing to exert control over female reproductive systems? In a disgracefully cavalier approach reinforcing the ongoing discrimination between the sexes, the normally mild-mannered Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has imperiously banned the use of contraceptive pills, patches and injections, starting immediately.
Mortgages are expensive enough without added costs borrowers can't afford. One of the benefits of recent consumer protection laws is that it forbids banks from forcing customers into buying add-on products like life insurance - a mandatory component of any home loan - from their preferred insurers.
Borrowers availing of the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan (RIHL) are paying over the odds for mortgage protection insurance, making the loans far more expensive than originally thought.
Bank charges are on the rise again with both Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank hiking transaction fees it charges to customers, so this week I'm having a look to see which lender offers the best value banking and how to keep fees to a minimum if you need to operate a current account.
Q We were recently approved for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan (RBHL). We were delighted to get approval as this meant we could now get an affordable mortgage, or so we thought. On closer inspection, we realised we were tied into a mortgage protection provider called Generali Pan Europe which will charge 0.55pc of our loan amount working out as an extra €132 per month. This is up to 10 times more expensive than most other providers.
The house is officially up for sale and the estate agent has encouraged 'open viewings'. I'm terrified. I had been all over Marie Kondo, before throwing in the (not tidily rolled) towel and deciding that, actually, as it's a family home, any family who wants to live here should really see how much floorspace there is to chuck stuff on.
They're called disrupters - online banks using technology to unseat the traditional players. It's changing the face of banking as we know it, especially among younger people who want to 'tap and go', and are mystified by the thought of actually visiting a bank branch, or waiting for money to leave or arrive in days rather than seconds. They don't exist in bricks and mortar, but are hoovering up customers and becoming serious players in the money market. Are they worth it? Are they safe?
Q We recently bought a new kitchen costing €8,500 and on which we have paid a deposit of €2,400. We have now discovered that the company has suddenly shut its doors and disconnected its phone line and website. I have no way of getting in touch with them and we are furious to be left out of pocket. Work was supposed to start last week and we're left knowing nothing. Is there anything we can do at this stage?
Today is my birthday. Yes, thank you, you're very kind, but as it's not a big roundy one, my inclination is to ignore it.
All eyes are on Meghan Markle as she prepares to give birth to her first baby. Ignoring the #fakenews about her #fakebump emanating in some of the weirder online portals, it's probably fair to say that the Duchess of Sussex has exactly the same worries as any new parent about their baby's health and well-being, but will happily avoid concerns about how she's going to afford it all.
Q I bought a Section 23 property in 2005 on which I claimed the relevant tax relief at the time. This property now has losses in excess of €100,000. I have a second property which has a gain of a similar amount. I would like to sell these properties to my son but will I be able to offset the loss against the capital gain or does the Section 23 tax break affect this?
Q My younger son announced his engagement at Christmas and is getting married next year. He farms the family farm with my husband, myself and our other son, who is unmarried. My younger son’s fiancée is not used to farm life and works as a nurse in the town. We like her well enough but worry that if anything goes wrong in the future she would have some claim over the farm which we...
Q We have a ‘granny flat’ as a separate building beside our house which is a selfcontained unit. We had let it to a family friend for many years at a peppercorn rent just to cover utilities and he in turn provided a security presence, and also did painting/repairs etc, for us over the years. He is now moving on and we wish to rent out the place on a more formal footing. My concern is over the...
Tiny Japanese powerhouse Marie Kondo has got everyone spring cleaning.
I'm moving house in the next few months, so I'm busy packing up and clearing out. Naturally I'm glued to Marie Kondo's new show on Netflix (at least it gives me an excuse to avoid actually packing up and clearing out).
While most of the 4,000 or so couples who decide to separate this year won't be splitting assets worth billions of euro, unlike Amazon's Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie, it is still a fraught time - and very expensive.
Q I am looking for a smallish mortgage on my house, which currently has none, to build an extension. I need around €60,000 and the house is worth 10 times that, so I don't anticipate a problem getting the loan. My question is: I jointly own a property with my former partner where he lives and we let the other room and will, at some point probably sell, but for the moment the rental income is more valuable as it's covered by the rent-a-room scheme. It is mortgaged for about €200,000. If I take out a mortgage on my own house now, will this count against me?
I was speaking to someone recently who took possession of an Alexa over Christmas. It's taken a little longer than usual for her to acquire an ear for his Kerry accent, but she's now busily turning on and off lights, music and, for all I know, putting the kettle on and telling him to put the bins out on Tuesdays.
Economic theory says when you have a booming economy and low interest rates people do two things: spend and borrow. But people are not economic theories.
Apple issued a profit warning recently, causing its share prices to plummet. To put it in context, the loss amounts to a mere $55bn.
There's no doubt mortgages are going to be the financial talking point of 2019.
Even though 66pc of the €7.6bn in new mortgages drawn down in 2018 were bought on fixed-rate terms - a huge increase - it still leaves Irish borrowers far behind their EU counterparts.
It's the second week of January so, naturally, the supermarkets are already full of Easter eggs. I'm not (so sue me), a big chocolate fan. I even have some Roses left in a tin where the Christmas tree once stood, which is possibly a jailing offence.
If you're frantically shaking your bathroom scales wondering why it has suddenly added 10 lbs to your weight, chances are you'll be resigned to getting in shape the hard way for 2019. However, before you splash the cash on expensive gym subscriptions, there are lots of ways of losing pounds instead of Euros.
The best New Years resolutions are those with small, incremental changes to lifestyle rather than great sweeping plans which aren't sustainable. When it comes to your finances, it's exactly the same. Here are some things to help make yourself financially fitter this year:
There's nothing like starting the new year with a bang. Out with the festive cheer, in with the moaning bank balance and sore head.
Now is the time for New Year resolutions, and what better one to make than to do things a little bit differently so that 2019 isn't as financially fraught as 2018? There are some really small changes that will make a big difference.
Still spending in the sales? Went a little mad over Christmas? Chances are your 'flexible friend' took a battering and will be about as flexible and friendly as a brick come January.
Getting your finances in order is a bit like a spring-clean. You don't want to do it, but you know you'll feel so much more in control once you have.
I don't know how you spent yesterday, but for most families Christmas Day tends to be a repeat of every other Christmas Day which, for some, is a great comfort, and for others, is approached with dread.
You might only own it less than a day, but if those woolly Santa pyjamas just aren't you, or the lovely stripy scarf you received as a gift yesterday has unravelled, then you'll be considering bringing it back for a refund or credit note.
If you're one of those households with Christmas lights on inside and out, not to mention the flashing reindeer, glow-in-the-dark Santa, and the shower on 24/7 with all the house-guests, you're probably dreading the arrival of your electricity bill in January.
It's Christmas, so I've got food on the brain. And in the fridge. And, mostly, in my mouth too.
It's the laziest of gifts, but for the last-minute shopper, or that difficult person to buy for, you can't beat a voucher. But consider other gifts which don't involve a trudge around the shops on a wet Saturday and which prove that a little bit of thought, at least, went into it. This week I'm looking at subscriptions - gifts that fit into an envelope.
We're in the middle of rugby season. For all I know, we might also be in ice-hockey/ping pong/synchronised swimming season too, but I'm long resigned as a rugby widow. I have, however, picked up some tips along the way about men who play with odd-shaped balls so, if you also need to join in and impress, here's how:
The good news is that 2018 didn't see the same spike in abandoned pups as previous years, but that's down to the 'Paws for Thought' campaign which Dogs Trust ran after Christmas last year, says the organisation's Ciara Byrne.
Booked a trip? Nervous about flying?
We know that among the so-called superfoods, the avocado reigns supreme.
There's one thing every family has more of in the run up to Christmas- and it's not mince pies.
Question: I recently bought a 1940s house opposite the sea shore where it gets hit by sea spray, especially in the winter. The windows and wood surrounds are badly affected and were replaced in the 1980s with UPVC but I don't want the same again as it looks so fake. What would you recommend?
There are few remaining untouched parts of the planet, but one, a tiny island called North Sentinel in the Indian Ocean, is one.
Oh dear. Went a little mad on Black Friday and suffering from buyer's remorse? Not to worry. You might still have a remedy to your shopping hangover. Today I'm looking at sending stuff back, and hopefully, getting your money back too.
Question:My wife passed away and we have no children. My home is worth perhaps €400,000, and I have around €25,000 in the post office. I live more or less on my pension, which is €16,200 including the old age pension. My wife's death has brought my own mortality into focus. I am 79 and while I have five nieces and nephews I would certainly leave something to, I would prefer my house to be left to a charity where it could be used to house people in need. How would one go about this?
Like everyone else, I've been watching the nostalgic John Lewis Christmas ad featuring Elton John. It's even rumoured the star's massive fee went to charity, which is all very nice.
Jammies on, coffee poured, and laptop open? It's Black Friday - where else would you be? Certainly not trudging around shops in the rain when you could be clicking online instead. But is it all it's cracked up to be, or is the hype over-played?
Unregulated and unauthorised lenders are openly operating in Ireland, providing credit to consumers via retailers like Harvey Norman, Mothercare and Argos.
Recent reports of a blockage on proposed legislation protecting farms and business assets from the Fair Deal scheme emerged after civil servants identified a range of 'what if' scenarios which would place it in jeopardy.
Question: I read with interest your paper's article about older folk freeing up their houses and downsizing. We are such a couple and find banks are unwilling to help us. We have a five-bed house ready for the market which is mortgage free and valued at €650,000. Our plan is to build a smaller house in our side garden. Ideally we wish to remain in our family home while the new house is being built as we have a disabled daughter who needs a downstairs bedroom. We have asked various banks to borrow the build cost while offering our own home as a guarantee. Each one has declined...
I do wish the pace of technology would slow down. I'm all for things that make life more convenient, but am I the only one whose head spins when all the latest gadgets seem to be replacing old ones before I've got my brain around what the first lot do? This is science week, so I'm trying to be positive about things I really don't understand but have to trust are good for me.
Personal Contract Plans, (PCPs) are "complex financial products" and poorly understood, according to new research from the ESRI. The think-tank asked consumers if they knew how the car finance plans operated, and discovered, shockingly, that 23/100 respondents' answers, were "no better than chance".
Question: My father is in his late 80s and gets around independently with a walker. He does not need a nursing home and would refuse one in any event. What he does need is someone around most of the time as he is in danger of falling and he can't even do light housework so things are piling up, but we have found the private care agencies very expensive. At €25 an hour he simply cannot afford them and he was refused a Home Care Package. We considered a student under the rent-a-room scheme but I was worried they would be coming and going. I live 50km away and can't be there...
In 2012, you might recall, 150,000 letters were issued by Revenue Commissioners in a trawl to inform pensioners that they may owe tax which they under, or not at all, declared. The tone of the brusque missive, which created a Joe Duffy moment, put the fear of God into older people, resulting in a belated apology from then tax boss Josephine Feehily after more than 55,000 complained of...
When did bathrooms become so complicated? As I get older I prefer things simplified, straight-forward and easy to use. I favour not having to pass an engineering test before spending a penny, for instance. Yet it seems every new restaurant or trendy bar now needs to feature a design studio in the loo.
Aviva Insurance revealed recently that up to 400 of its motor insurance policies had been sold by "ghosts".