Ten ways to avoid getting stressed out over Santa in the Christmas countdown
Sorry, it's not even Halloween yet, but there are only 10 weeks to Christmas.
Sorry, it's not even Halloween yet, but there are only 10 weeks to Christmas.
The budget may not have given everyone what they hoped for, but if there are signs the recession is over, look no further than weddings. Perhaps inspired by this year's royal nuptials, you may...
Hat bought? Pimms on ice? Posh wave practised? Get ready for some serious style as the spectacle of the royal wedding takes over our screens...
FAMILIES will be reasonably happy with the changes in Budget 2019, with lower income earners getting the largest share of an admittedly small pie.
The smoking, betting, staycationer did poorly from this budget. But his pensioner and family neighbours saw a boost.
Ireland is the empty-nest capital of Europe. On one hand housing is in chronically short supply, but on the other, a massive 70.6pc of homes are under-occupied, especially among the over 65s with 91pc of houses too big for their occupants, according to research from the ESRI.
Question: I received a letter from Revenue telling me that income I earned from a room letting in 2015 is suddenly liable to tax. I rented out my spare room on Airbnb for five months while I was between tenants (I live in the property). I only earned around €2,000 over the entire period and it cost me money in terms of linen changes, painting the room etc. This was before I understood the income was subject to tax, which I believe was clarified last year. Am I exempt under Rent-A-Room, and how do I go about proving it?
The rental market remains as dysfunctional as ever. Ever-rising costs (despite rent control measures), fewer properties and landlords leaving in droves, paints an unhappy place for accommodation seekers to find themselves.
Question: We are buying our first home together, although my husband is not a first time buyer. He got stung badly in the financial crisis on his first house and is anxious that we get a 10-year fixed rate mortgage now. He says this is the safest one, with guaranteed repayments. I haven’t heard of anyone we know getting a fixed rate for this long – are they are good idea?
Cycling has become a victim of its own success. The immense popularity of free bike schemes, new greenways and even getting a tax break to move from four wheels to two has resulted in more bicycles being stolen than ever before.
It sounds like the ideal way to finance new wheels - a reasonable deposit or trade-in, low repayments for a few years and swap the car for a brand...
The banks regularly and rightly get hammered over ripping off customers, but sometimes it’s the customers who can make better choices to save...
I had to make a last-minute trip abroad last week, just over and back quickly. I knew it would be more expensive than if I had the luxury of...
If only we'd known summer 2018 was going to be so nice, we could have saved loads of money on booking foreign holidays.
I texted someone recently who was going for their first 'proper' job to wish them good luck.
It's all over for another year. But what are the key takeaways from the budget speech?
They say only two things are certain: death and taxes. When it comes to our national obsession with property inheritance, you can be sure of another truism: where there's a will, there's a relative.
LoCall numbers (with an 1890 prefix) are used by organisations to make it cheaper for their customers to call.
Question: My brother and I were left our mother’s home when she died last year. We have cleared it out and tidied it up, but are still deciding whether to sell it or let it. I have two children and my brother, who is separated, has three. Very sadly, we have recently learned that he now has a life-limiting illness and are both anxious that his family is looked after. What steps should we take to ensure that his ‘half’ of the house (or its proceeds) is kept intact for his children — and where does that leave me in terms of making decisions about it? I don’t want my brother’s ex-wife, for...
We already know Ireland has the fourth-highest electricity prices in Europe. If that wasn't bad enough, they're about to go up again, just in time for a chilly autumn.
Getting the CAO points for your dream course is only the beginning. The financial costs also start for nearly 50,000 students embarking on their college life. While you're looking forward to Fresher's Week, freedom and new friends, making practical money decisions is important too.
Advice from our property finance expert on tax rebate on a house extension and executor's fees.
As the new school year starts, many parents are already in debt. It's an expensive time of the year and we'll be struggling until mid-term to catch up.
I had a mortgage with Bank of Scotland Ireland which has been sold to Pepper Asset Servicing. My mortgage has never been in arrears or behind on payments but I'm very nervous of this change as I've heard negative coverage about Pepper. It said I can clear my mortgage by September if I wish but I'm not in a position to do that. I'm paying my mortgage alone. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm very stressed with this news.
Consumer rights are very strong across Europe when it comes to air travel disruption:
Getting on the road is harder than ever for young drivers. Whether it's the cost of insurance - which is set to rise with yet another levy - or trying to find a car you can afford, along with tax, NCT, servicing costs and rising fuel prices, it can be tempting to punt for an online 'bargain' or an import from the UK.
I've had the same tenant for 10 years in a property I bought as my 'first home' in 2006, deciding to keep it after I got married and moved. It was supposed to be my pension and I've been on an interest only arrangement which is due to revert to a normal mortgage. I've been advised my repayments are to go up from €825 to €1,450 per month. The 4pc rent cap is proving the final straw and I don't think I can afford this. I have deliberately under-charged the tenant in order to keep him, but is there any way I can increase his rent to market rates which may help me keep the house?
School is finally out and we’re all enjoying the long, summer holidays. Or are we?
There was absolutely no chance Meghan Markle was going to be able to ease her way into royal life slowly and without fuss. Since her wedding to Prince Harry on May 19, there's been a whirlwind of engagements, a family wedding and a whole host of charities and causes to get to grips with before she decides what patronages to adopt.
We have a mortgage on our property which is 10pc of its value. As pensioners we cannot extend the term to reduce monthly repayments but we have a guaranteed monthly income, which allows us to meet our day-to-day expenses. However we would like to have a reserve for unusual expenditure. Can we do this using our property as leverage? We are not interested in life products which hit the market before the recession but understand that mortgages are freely available in the UK up to your 85th year.
Usually sale season comes limping along a damp few weeks after what we laughingly call 'summer', but this year we still have weeks ahead to make use of all those lovely discounted items. I've had a look around to see what's on offer, while the panel shows you your consumer rights which, contrary to what many believe, are exactly the same during sales, irrespective of the price you have paid - so get shopping!
Ryanair has cancelled dozens of flights due to striking French air traffic controllers and diverted others due to drunks on board, while Irish Ferries has cancelled all sailings to France – and July has only just begun.
Can a mother who is a widow, gift a house (which is not her principal residence) to a daughter, who in turn is divorced with children and also has a disability, and be exempted from Inheritance Tax or Capital Gains Tax? I understood there was such a relief but am wondering if her marital status has any implications?
I’m an empty nester this summer, and the house sure is quiet.
Myself and my husband have been living and working in Dubai for the past four years and we are considering investing in property in Ireland, which we may use as our primary residence when we return in a couple of years. We think it's preferable to do this now rather than have to start the mortgage application process while renting on our return, and begin to move our money back home. What options do we have?
While the kids are looking forward to eight long weeks of summer, their parents may be dreading the 10 long weeks of summer. It's supposed to be about sun, fun and freedom, but all too often it's stress, expense and worry. This week I'm looking at ways to keep costs down if you're going away on holiday and also lots of completely free - and fun - family activities right here at home.
Summer is such fun, for adults and kids alike. We all relive our childhood when the warm weather comes and after the recent lovely spell we've had, those who still have their holiday break to look forward to get to enjoy it all over again.
My daughter is finishing up a Masters in Amsterdam and will be handing back the keys to her student flat - before it's turned around again for the September intake. The studio is self-contained with a kitchenette, living/study space and bed, with ensuite. It's in a new building of 300 or so units, freshly kitted out by Ikea and costs around €350 to €550 per month including utilities and wifi, depending on size. There are four such blocks, and that's just for one university. The Dutch government even offers a subsidy towards it - the huurtoeslag - if you find €3,150 for the...
I am a widow who was left my husband's estate in its entirety when he passed away in 2010. It is our family home which is worth around €720,000, and about €115,000 in the post office and some shares which I think are worth around €25,000. I survive on my pension which was from his company and the old age pension, which is sufficient. My concern is, at 82, that we only had one child, our daughter who has four children. I don't want her to be left a big tax bill when I die. Would it be very large and is it possible to leave everything instead to my grandchildren via trust which I...
A parish priest in Co Meath instructed the St Vincent de Paul to remove its clothing bank from the Church-owned car park in response to the organisation's refusal to take a No stand in the abortion referendum.
It only takes a few days of sunshine in a row to have us firing up the barbecue, finding our inner Mediterranean and turning a fetching shade of lobster.
My father and mother separated many years ago and she came to live with me. My dad and his partner live in what was my parents’ home. Mum now needs a nursing home. I can’t afford this, and it would need to be under Fair Deal. However, the problem is that the house technically still belongs to Mum and Dad, as they never legally separated and the HSE is saying it has to be included in the costings. But Dad and his partner are avidly refusing this and I’m caught in the middle. What advice can you give?
Returning to work after a baby is a bittersweet time, and difficult for a mum juggling the guilt of leaving their newborn with (maybe) the relief of being among adults again. So imagine the added challenge when you've been out of the workforce for years on a career break, concerned your skills are so out of date you'll be useless.
Financial literacy among adults is very poor, and we should take no solace from the fact that Ireland is no better or worse than other countries.
There's an old Best Man's line that jokes about marriage being an institution… but who would ever want to live in an institution?
Q: I purchased a house in 1974 which has been rented continuously. During that period I have carried out numerous renovations on the house from wiring to heating, putting in new windows and replacing the bathroom and kitchen. I am now selling it but do not have receipts for the work, which was carried out years ago. Does Revenue allow concessions for work like this carried out over 40 years against my Capital Gains Tax bill as I couldn't offset it against rental income?
Wedding fever is in the air with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tying the knot on Saturday. While all eyes will be on the dress and the royals, the happy couple probably won't be giving too much thought to the tax break they'll enjoy from getting hitched.
Buying health insurance can be a difficult and bewildering experience due to the range and complexity of products on offer. So it's strange that there's almost a complete absence of any insurance at all for dental care.
I have an old house in relatively poor condition which has been let for the last six years. I now want to knock it and build on the site, for which planning permission was given some years back but I wasn't in a position to proceed financially. My question is this: when I sell I will be liable to Capital Gains Tax but is there any offset of this against the new build, or any way to reduce the amount payable? The house is worth around €425,000 as it's in a great location but I only paid around €180,000 for it originally.
My former partner and I bought an apartment together in 2005 on a 35-year tracker with EBS. We have since split up and I am now married and living in the same apartment with my wife. I want to buy my ex out, and put the apartment jointly in mine and my wife's names. My ex is fine with this, but can I hold on to the tracker?
Many marriages founder on infidelity. Finding your partner has been cheating on you can often sound the death knell on a relationship.
Ulster Bank customers like me are well used to not having the snazziest banking app, putting up with glitches and slow updates.
First Holy Communion is an important time for many families. And while the religious ceremony is, the church and schools will stress, the most important aspect, that won't stop parents spending hundreds of euro on their child's day.
The time has finally come to spend the inheritance. The kids are gone, you're ready to don the backpack and see the world with your other half as your grown-up children find their own way in the world.
While mortgage holders are fretting over a possible rise in interest rates signalled by the European Central Bank, savers are hoping it will materialise, as they’ve been sitting on non-performing money for years now, afraid to move or spend it in the austerity years but knowing it’s earning nothing while they wait.
Q. My mother has left me her house in its entirety, a fact I only discovered after she died and which has upset both me and my sister, who expected it to be shared equally. The date of the will coincides with a particularly tough time in my life, and I expect she thought she was doing me a favour. But I want the inheritance rightfully shared with my sister - what are the tax implications, if any, of splitting it with her? The house is worth around €500,000 and we propose to sell it.
This time of year is popular for booking summer holidays abroad - especially with the weather we've been having.
In 2015, in a cliché ridden metaphor involving stable doors and bolting horses, the Central Bank introduced new rules for mortgage lending, capping the amount borrowers could tap banks for (and, more importantly, capping the amounts banks could tap borrowers for), by setting firm loan-to-income (LTI) limits.
I am building a small workshop beside my house from which to run a business. My architect has recommended a flat roof structure for cost reasons, but a colleague told me that they couldn't get insurance for theirs, and now I wonder if I will.
After last month's snow, thoughts have turned to planning a holiday in the sun.
They're calling it the 'Dermot Bannon effect', but it's far more likely to be the 'Revenue effect' which has seen Irish home owners spend €1.737bn through the Home Renovation Initiative since its 2013 launch.
I'm thinking of getting solar panels after visiting a house where the owners had them installed.
The mortgage market is finally rumbling and rolling in the direction of consumers.
My husband and I are in our mid-fifties and have a mortgage of €185,000 with eight years left and we have savings of €100,000. Would you recommend that we pay the €100,000 off the mortgage or buy an investment holiday property in Spain and with the rental income pay more off the monthly mortgage, as it is our dream to commute from Ireland to Spain or could you recommend where we could invest the money for our retirement?
You've given birth to them, changed their nappies, educated them and given them the means to become independent. Yet, here they are, complete with their belongings, moving back home just when life as an empty nester beckoned.
Just before Christmas, Vhi Healthcare kicked off a price war by announcing reductions in premium rates on health insurance, prompting competitors Laya and Irish Life to respond similarly.
I am a mother, yet I do not know what colour my baby's eyes are or the colour of her hair. My child has a name and she existed on this earth as much as you or I do, but she will never grow old.
I recently received a letter from Rabo Bank telling me that they are closing my account. They have given me options to move my savings, but I am worried — are they in trouble? I have €600,000 from the sale of my house spread across four banks on the advice of my son, who said this was safer while I am waiting on a house to be built. Some €240,000 of it is in Rabo in a fixed-term account until the end of this year. Where can I get the best return now and how can I keep it secure?
We are buying a property which has been vacant and boarded up for some years and we understand the bank is selling it as a repossessed property. Are there any additional considerations around the purchase we should be aware of? We don't want disputes down the road regarding title and there is a small 'granny' flat adjacent which is not for sale but which is also vacant and shares a pathway.
I live in a 1930s terraced house on a busy road with retail units interspersed with houses. I’ve harboured a dream to open a café in the downstairs of my property (which is residential now), and living upstairs — there are two large rooms which would convert and I live alone. I am due a sizable redundancy payment and this is what I’d like to put it towards. What would be involved in terms of planning and permission for this?
With Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's wedding less than 90 days away, a few jitters are normal for any bride-to-be. But it's been reported Meghan is unsettled, unsure of her duties and more than a little anxious about what she's taken on. So much so, that both Kate and Camilla have been taking her under their wing for reassurance.
Q. I'm confused about the new affordable mortgages being proposed. Do I still need a deposit and do I have to buy a local authority home?
My employer has agreed to a relocation allowance of €500 pm when I move to a new job in Dublin (from Mayo) to help cover moving costs and higher rent. How is the amount treated for tax? Can I just put it toward rent and not pay tax on it - I'm told it will be shown in my pay slip? I won't personally benefit, as I'm moving from one flat to another.
It's that time of year when love's young dream needs to ditch the dreaming for a day and dig into the pocket instead to show their other half how much they really mean to them.
We got a letter from KBC offering a reduced interest rate on our mortgage if an assessor values the 'loan-to-value' ratio of the house under 50pc.
Sports season is upon us (is it ever not?), and fans have plenty to look forward to, with something for everyone from football to slalom skiing.
We've just bought a house which we're moving into in a few weeks. We have a query regarding the Local Property Tax (LPT). Do we have to pay the rate based on the price we paid for the house, or the price the previous owner paid? Obviously there's a big difference and this would put us out of kilter with our neighbours who have been paying at the rate established on 2013 prices.
The year 2017 will be remembered as the one in which the banks finally loosened the purse strings on mortgage credit proper.
Over Christmas we were clearing out the attic and found a will, which looks valid, belonging to my late uncle who lived in the house before us (we bought it off my cousin when he died). To our astonishment, it looks as if he left a piece of land to myself and my sister when he died in 2003.
If Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte ever visits Ireland, it's a given that action man Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will go for a spin on a bicycle with him, although we're still in the ha'penny place compared to the Netherlands where cycling is the primary form of transport. But we are catching up.
Whether it's watching Marty in action on Dancing with the Stars or settling in to see Louis on Ireland's Got Talent, a cosy night in front of the television is what January means to most of us.
If you're like me, you're determined to get over the excesses of the festive period by making a start into a fitness regime... again.
Well, that's that for another year, and as we enter 2018, we're already thinking of regrouping, renewing and maybe doing things slightly differently.
It's that time of year when you're looking at your haul of Christmas gifts or bargains you got in the sales and wondering: What was I thinking?
The main problem with New Year resolutions is that we try to make too many with overly-ambitious goals. If you really want to change your life (and bank account) for the better, then small, consistent steps are the way to go.
There you are, with a big smile, surrounded by piles of lovely new things you got for Christmas... or scratching your head, wondering if Santa has gone a bit deaf.
Some people may be shopped out already, but this week is still the busiest of the year for stores as others descend with hardened zeal for the sales. Both online and on-street, they've already begun, with the biggest discounts being saved for after Christmas.
We're in the final run-in to Christmas, and this week is probably filled with receiving visitors or visiting as we plunder even more drinks, snacks and treats.
Someone I know gave his wife a gym subscription for Christmas last year. Safe to say he won't be making the same mistake twice!
Whether it's stylishly ornate, coolly minimalist, or has had every tacky trinket thrown at it, a Christmas tree is the centrepiece of every home at this time of year.
It might not be top of your Christmas wish list, but you don't need Santa to bring savings in the form of a new current account for 2018.
Meghan Markle's engagement to Prince Harry has made her the hottest commodity on the front pages.
When we bought our new property, we were allotted two on-street car parking spaces, as per the map in the original deeds signed by both ourselves and the builders. However, on Dublin City Council's (DCC) final inspection they objected to the maintenance of on-street parking spaces as they are private property.
This Christmas comes with an added bonus for consumers, if not exporters - Brexit.
An American divorcee marrying into the stuffy British royal family. What could possibly go wrong?
I usually hate seeing graffiti in our lovely city, so I was surprised when it seemed to be put up by one of my favourite organisations.
There is no doubt that the KPMG Irish Independent Property Industry Excellence Awards, only in its third year, has already become a firm fixture in the end of year awards calendar.
My friend and I are hoping to sell articles (inherited bric-a-brac and personal things we wish to dispose of). We've been offered a premises in the same building in which my daughter-in-law is based. She runs a travel agency there and she owns the property.
Home insurance is one of those bills it's almost certain you're over-paying.
Black Friday has a whiff of FOMO (fear of missing out) about it. You're bombarded with so-called special offers and if you're not quick enough to grab one, you'll never forgive yourself. But you're being asked to part with your cash online in a rush before you've had time to shop around.
I took out a tracker mortgage with KBC some years ago. I switched to an interest- only arrangement for a year but when it was up, the loan reverted to a variable rate with extortionate interest rate charges costing an extra €500pm.
On the surface of it, the Mortgage-to-Rent (MTR) scheme seemed an ideal solution to the home-owners in arrears crisis; repossession only puts a family out on the street, adding to the homeless problem. Better to stay put, have the bank take the property and rent it back to you as a tenant. The neighbours are none the wiser and the kids get to stay in the same school.
My neighbour's tree crashed into my garden during Hurricane Ophelia, damaging a wall and part of my garage. I approached him about getting his insurance details for a claim but he told me he doesn't have any, it was an 'Act of God' and he's not responsible. I thought house insurance was mandatory. I've had to contact my own insurer now and my premium will probably go up. Can I do anything?
The tracker scandal has made mortgages a hot topic. Aligned, and partly because of it, borrowers pay double the interest rates of our European neighbours and are locked into a never-ending cycle of feeling ripped off. This week I'm looking at what happened and how it has affected borrowers' ability to get a mortgage now. What does the market look like these days and how can you make sure you're getting the best deal?
Care staff who were instructed by their employer not to come to work on Monday due to Hurricane Ophelia found their pay may be docked or a day's annual leave deducted when they returned to work on Tuesday.
As you pore over the miserable fiver a week (or was it a tenner?) that Minister Donohoe bestowed on you in this month's Budget, don't fret.
Q. We have been in arrears on our mortgage for nearly two years. We tried to pay some of it back but my husband lost his job and we had no option but to tell them. They have initiated proceedings to repossess the house and we are trying to find a solution, but they say this may be the only one.
Is it finally time to say motor insurance premiums are falling? After being on a one-way trajectory for the last three years (up 60pc), it seemed as if even the careful, safe driver couldn't get a break. Recent events should mean prices start falling, but is it actually happening?
The single biggest thing Paschal Donohoe had going for him before he announced the Budget wasn’t the “fiscal space” – it was the win against Wales on Monday night.
Personal finance expert Sinead Ryan on the five consumer takeways from Budget 2018.
We have saved €40,000 toward our first home thanks in part to my parents giving us a generous gift. Now that we're finally in position to go it's all got real. Is it better to find a house first and pay a holding deposit before looking for a mortgage or the other way round? Which bank is best? We're tempted by the cash-back offers which would make a huge difference when we're furnishing, but can we pay them off the loan instead? Also, we'd very much like to fix the loan so we can be certain of our outgoings.
I'm always advising people to switch providers when they spot a better deal on their household bills. Whether it's electricity or gas (with lots of different options to choose from) or health insurance with only three competitors, it's invariably true that just sticking with the same company year in, year out means you lose out.
The ongoing debacle at Ryanair where up to 60 flights a day are being cancelled for the next four weeks has seriously inconvenienced thousands of passengers.
As if we needed any further proof that shoppers are moving from the main street to online, Retail Excellence Ireland has confirmed that internet sales are up 27pc this year compared with last.