LET'S TALK by qingyunliuliu



                                                                                                       LET’S TALK


                                                                                                       M            OST of us will have to make
                                                                                                                    tough decisions this year as we
                                                                                                                    struggle to cope with paycuts,
                                                                                                       redundancies and other financial challenges
                                                                                                       on a scale not seen in many of our lifetimes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                         DURING the boom years, few
                                                                                                                                                                                                         homeowners had the need to concern
                                                                                                                                                                                                         themselves with budgeting for their
                                                                                                                                                                                                         household finances. Incomes were rising
                                                                                                                                                                                                         and so were property prices so if financial
                                                                                                                                                                                                         problems did arise, borrowing was
                                                                                                       However, 2011 does not all have to be                                                             always an option.Today, this is no longer           Mr Conway is founder of
                                                                                                       about unnecessary stress and debt.                                                                the case. Budgeting is the new borrowing                www.moneycoach.ie
                                                                                                       Whatever your circumstances are, we hope                                                          and is vital as a means of financial
                                                                                                       that by encouraging you to look at your                                                           survival.

                                                                                                       finances honestly it will help you highlight
                                                                                                       where your money is going and start you on                                                        But what is budgeting? Is it a complete
                                                                                                       the first steps of budgeting and managing                                                         change of lifestyle? Or is it a change in the      creditors make budget decisions for you.

                                                                                                                                                              you can
                                                                                                       your money more effectively.                                                                      spending of money? I like to say that                Look over discretionary expenses and see
                                                                                                          The website MoneyCoach.ie has found                                                            budgeting is a change in the relationship we       what you realistically are willing to sacrifice
                                                                                                       27% of people have experienced some                                                               have with money.                                   to make your budget balance. Today,
                                                                                                       difficulty paying their bills in 2010 — this is                                                      As you begin personal budgeting, it’s not       personal budgeting can make a return as
                                                                                                       an increase over 2009 where 19%                                                                   uncommon to find your expenses total more          the keystone to personal financial wellbeing.
                                                                                                       experienced a problem paying their bills.                                                         than your income. Always take care of top
                                                                                                       46% of Irish people do not manage their                                                           priorities first. Then work on making              ■ A free on-line personal budget is available
                                                                                                       finances through any form of budgeting                                                            practical decisions for the rest of your           on Moneycoach.ie
                                                                                                       structure.                                                                                        expenses. If you don’t have enough money
                                                                                                       We need to change our view of and                                                                 to take care of the priorities, you will need to
                                                                                                       relationship with money. Budgeting is the
                                                                                                                                                                                                         find a way to generate more cash.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Top priorities on any expense list are food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              TOP BUDGET TIPS
                                                                                                                                                                                                         and shelter. Shelter includes your rent or
                                                                                                       THE CREDIT UNION TOP GOLDEN                                                                       mortgage payment as well as mortgage

                                                                                                                                                         mistake of paying off Christmas over a
                                                                                                       TIPS FOR MANAGING YOUR MONEY                      number of years. It is best to stay away from   protection, car insurance among others.                   Personal budgeting will allow you to
                                                                                                       IN 2011 ARE:                                      credit cards and not to use money lenders.      Next in line are essential utilities like heat,          see what money you need to make
                                                                                                                                                         The Irish League of Credit Unions has           electricity, and water service. Car loans are        ends meet and live comfortable and which
                                                                                                       ■ TRACK: Keep track of your spending.             launched a nationwide campaign offering         essential to your budget if your car is              expenses you can live without.
                                                                                                       Keep your receipts or take note of what you                                                       essential to your job. Home insurance and

                                                                                                                                                         tips and advice on managing your money. A
                                                                                                       spend your money on. It will help you             series of public meetings is currently          health insurance should also hold a place on             When calculating expenses focus on
                                                                                                       understand where your money is going and          underway to address the difficulties faced      your list of priorities. Along with                      the small things such as food
                                                                                                       it might just be an eye opener.                   by ordinary people when it comes to             discretionary expenses, low-priority                 snacking and smoking. The odd little
                                                                                                       ■ BUDGET: Estimate your income and                personal finance and money.                     expenses include unsecured loans and                 spends here and there can add up to
                                                                                                       expenditure for a set period and budget                                                           credit card payments. Make sure your                 thousands of euro per year.
                                                                                                       accordingly. Be realistic and don’t                                                               personal budget takes care of essential

                                                                                                                                                         ■ For more information, go to creditunion.ie
                                                                                                       underestimate.                                    or email townhall@creditunion.ie                expenses and then consider the rest.                      Don’t forget to plan for the
                                                                                                       ■ SAVE: Get into the habit of saving. Try to                                                         Divide annual, semi-annual, and quarterly              unexpected. This is big issue for
                                                                                                       save at least 5% of your regular income for                                                       expenses by 12, 6, and 3 to calculate a              some people where say an emergency car
                                                                                                       emergencies.                                                                                      monthly figure for your budget.                      repair expense can put a household
                                                                                                       ■ BE PRUDENT: Shop around and get the                                                                If you’re not saving regularly, do allow for      budget in the red.
                                                                                                       best deals and look at cost comparison                                                            some savings, it will give you a buffer for the
                                                                                                       ■ BORROWING: There are times in our
                                                                                                       lives when we run short of funds. If you have
                                                                                                                                                                                                         unexpected and serve as a bonus if nothing
                                                                                                                                                                                                         goes wrong. If an expense isn’t a priority, roll
                                                                                                                                                                                                         it into next month’s budget. However, if you
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4    Think outside the box. Could you
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   carpool or take alternate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              transportation for a couple of weeks to
                                                                                                       to take out a loan, be sure you only borrow                            Kieron Brennan             can’t pay a bill or meet a minimum payment,          save on vehicle expense? Could you work
                                                                                                       what you can comfortably afford to repay.                              is CEO of the              do contact your utility provider or creditor         out a payment plan with your phone or
                                                                                                       You should match the repayment term to the                             Irish League               and let them know. Tell your creditor when           broadband provider?
                                                                                                       purpose of the loan — ie don’t make the                                of Credit Unions           you will be able to pay the bill. Don’t let

                                                                                                       p2   |                                             |   THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011                                                                                                            |   p3

                                                                                                                                         Your Household                         Budget Plan
                                                                                                                                                                                FAMILY                       EDUCATION
                                                                                                                                                                                School trips                 University fees
                                                                                                                    Monthly earnings:                                                                        School fees
                                                                                                                                                                                Pocket money
                                                                                                                    Pay (after tax):                                                                         Miscellaneous
                                                                                                                                                                                Nappies/baby extras
                                                                                                                    Bonus:                                                                                   TOTAL:
                                                                                                                                                                                Laundry/dry cleaners
                                                                                                                    Rental income:
                                                                                                                    TOTAL:                                                                                   BIG ONE OFFS
                                                                                                                                                                                Travel insurance
                                                                                                                                                                                Miscellaneous                Funeral
                                                                                                                                                                                TOTAL:                       Wedding
                                                                                                                MONTHLY EXPENDITURE                 Petrol/diesel
                                                                                                                                                    Parking                     ENTERTAINMENT
                                                                                                                                                                                Satellite/digital TV         Holiday
                                                                                                                HOME                                Car tax
                                                                                                                                                                                Family days out              Miscellaneous
                                                                                                                TV Licence                          Car insurance
                                                                                                                                                                                Cinema/theatre               TOTAL:
                                                                                                                Internet                            Car maintenance
                                                                                                                Home phone                          Rail/bus/taxi               Books/films/music
                                                                                                                                                                                Hobbies                      OTHERS
                                                                                                                Garden maintenance                  Breakdown cover
                                                                                                                                                                                Computing/IT                 Newspapers and magazines
                                                                                                                Household maintenance               TOTAL:
                                                                                                                                                                                Drinking                     Charity donations
                                                                                                                Oil                                                                                          Meals at work
                                                                                                                Electricity                         DEBT                        Eating out
                                                                                                                                                                                Miscellaneous                Smoking
                                                                                                                Overdraft costs                     Credit card repayment
                                                                                                                                                                                TOTAL:                       Coffee/snacks
                                                                                                                Bank account fee                    Hire purchase repayments
                                                                                                                Home insurance                      Personal loan repayments
                                                                                                                                                                                CLOTHES, HEALTH AND BEAUTY   TOTAL:
                                                                                                                Mortgage/rent                       Car loan repayments
                                                                                                                Mortgage life insurance             Miscellaneous               Haircuts
                                                                                                                                                                                Beauty                        OVERALL TOTAL:
                                                                                                                Mortgage payment protection         TOTAL:
                                                                                                                Life insurance                                                  Health insurance
                                                                                                                                                                                Gym                           WHAT YOU
                                                                                                                Food / household shopping            SAVINGS AND INVESTMENT
                                                                                                                                                                                Clothes                       HAVE LEFT
                                                                                                                 Miscellaneous                       Pension payments
                                                                                                                 TOTAL:                              Shares/investments         Miscellaneous
                                                                                                                                                     Savings                    TOTAL:

                                                                                                       p4   |                                 |   THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011                                                           |   p5

                                                                                                       ■ CASE STUDY                                                                                     1     Don’t fall into the inertia trap. There’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                              nearly always a better deal to be had
                                                                                                                                                                                                        on the stuff we need, we’ve just got to get

                                                                                                       Gerard McCarthy is a photographer living
                                                                                                                                                                                                        out there and find it. If it takes a couple of
                                                                                                                                                                                                        hours to save 100 on car insurance, great,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                MONEY TIPS
                                                                                                       in Cork. Since the downturn his income is                                                        then we’ve earned 50 per hour for our
                                                                                                       down about 50%. He has used his
                                                                                                       savings to keep his business going.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        — (Simon Moynihan of www.bonkers.ie)                    FROM THE EXPERTS
                                                                                                       How I have                                                                                       2     Never — ever — automatically renew
                                                                                                                                                                                                              any insurance policy. We all now
                                                                                                                                                                                                        receive our car renewal notice and details of

                                                                                                       coped with                                                                                       no claims as much as one month ahead of
                                                                                                                                                                                                        renewal and so there is no excuse for not

                                                                                                       the downturn
                                                                                                                                                                                                        taking the time to make the calls and
                                                                                                                                                                                                        complete online quotations to get the best
                                                                                                                                                                                                        — (Dermott Jewell, chief executive of the
                                                                                                       Have you cut your gas and electricity                                                            Consumer Association of Ireland)
                                                                                                       I have cut down on usage.

                                                                                                       Have you cut your TV costs?
                                                                                                                                                                                                        3   Switch from VHI, either to their
                                                                                                                                                                                                            corporate plan or to a competitor.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        — (Frank Conway, www.moneycoach.ie)
                                                                                                       I now just have the four channels.                    Ger McCarthy’s top tip: Take your

                                                                                                       Have you cut your phone
                                                                                                       and internet costs?
                                                                                                                                                             time when shopping — you really
                                                                                                                                                             see the difference in prices.              4    Review the replacement cost of your
                                                                                                                                                                                                             home insurance. You may be over
                                                                                                                                                                                                        insured and paying for boom-time property
                                                                                                       I have also cut down on usage of both.                                                           replacement costs. Materials and labour
                                                                                                                                                        Have you cut back on entertainment?             have fallen and so have the cost of replacing
                                                                                                       What about insurance?                            Yes, I am staying at home more, going for       the cost of rebuilding you home.                   year leave tax reliefs go
                                                                                                       I am currently investigating other options       walks and reading.                              — (Frank Conway)                                   unclaimed and they are
                                                                                                       when it comes to home, life and health                                                                                                              missing out, given that the

                                                                                                       Have your car costs dropped?
                                                                                                                                                        Have you taken on another job or are you
                                                                                                                                                        thinking about doing so?
                                                                                                                                                        Yes, definitely thinking of taking on another
                                                                                                                                                                                                        5    If you are planning on buying a
                                                                                                                                                                                                             house then do so while you can still
                                                                                                                                                                                                        get full tax relief at source, alternatively, if
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           average claimant receives
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           at least 550 in tax
                                                                                                       I used the car all the time but now I am         job.                                            you have a pension and can afford to                 — (Aundrea McDonnell,
                                                                                                       driving less to save money on petrol and                                                         maximise the contributions do that.                             Tax Manager,
                                                                                                       walking more.                                    Any other cuts — gym, charity donations,        — (Karl Deeter of the Irish Mortgage                        www.taxback.com)
                                                                                                                                                        quitting smoking, etc?                          Brokers)
                                                                                                       Did you renegotiate your mortgage?
                                                                                                       Luckily I don’t have one.
                                                                                                                                                        I have cancelled my gym membership,
                                                                                                                                                        which isn’t that bad considering I am
                                                                                                                                                        walking more.                                   6    For free or low priced calls look to
                                                                                                                                                                                                             installing Skype. Also, check out Fring
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           9    A top tip for those
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                considering whether
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           or not to buy would be to
                                                                                                       Have you cut back on food shopping or                                                            which is free software that allows you to          avail of the current low
                                                                                                       changed your shopping habits?                    Is there anything else you’ve done              chat and text over the web. It works with          prices. — (Gemma Ryan,
                                                                                                       Yes. I take more time when buying food           to save money?                                  Skype, MSN and Yahoo messenger and                       Associate, Savills Ireland)
                                                                                                       items and shop more at Dunnes Stores, Aldi       I hid the credit cards and just chopped any     Google talk. — (Dermott Jewell)
                                                                                                       and Lidl — which I think are the cheaper
                                                                                                                                                        overheads that weighed me down.

                                                                                                                                                        Any tips you can offer on saving money?         7    Keep on living, just make the most of
                                                                                                                                                                                                             the offers and value available.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           10       It has to be
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    budgeting. Without a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           doubt those who do not engage
                                                                                                       Are you saving money?                            Hide the credit cards, cut down on all the      — (Michael Dwyer, founder of                       in some form of budgeting
                                                                                                       Even though I have cut back on lots of           small items that add up during the day, that    pigsback.com)                                      exercise and therefore have no
                                                                                                       things, it’s just to keep afloat. I don’t have   you can do without, for example that extra                                                         real grasp on their household’s
                                                                                                       enough to save anything.

                                                                                                       Any changes with childcare?
                                                                                                                                                        coffee, having a sandwich instead of a meal
                                                                                                                                                        for lunch. Also take more time to shop
                                                                                                                                                        around so you can really see the difference
                                                                                                                                                                                                        8    Tax entitlements: As a top tip for
                                                                                                                                                                                                             saving money claiming tax back is
                                                                                                                                                                                                        definitely one of the easiest and most cost
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           income and expenditure are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           wasting money in some areas.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            — (Ken Fitzgerald, Member of the
                                                                                                       I don’t have kids..                              in prices.                                      effective. Thousands of households each                         Trusted Advisor Group)

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                                                                                                       FOOD                                 TEN TIPS TO SAVE ON YOUR BILL                            CREDIT CARDS
                                                                                                                                                                                                     WHAT CARDS ARE AVAILABLE?
                                                                                                       1   MONITOR THE SALES PROCESS:
                                                                                                           Most items go on sale every six to 12
                                                                                                       weeks. Once you know the rotation of
                                                                                                                                                    5    BUY IN SEASON: Certain fruit and
                                                                                                                                                         vegetables are available all year
                                                                                                                                                    round, such as bananas and carrots
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Bank of Ireland Clear APR: .............. 13.3%
                                                                                                                                                                                                     AIB Click............................................. 13.6%
                                                                                                       your favourite items, plan to stock up.      however strawberries and raspberries             National Irish Bank Platinum.......... 14.38%
                                                                                                                                                    can be very expensive when bought out            Permanent TSB ICE .......................... 17.3%

                                                                                                       2     EARN WITH LOYALTY CARDS: Many
                                                                                                             stores now offer loyalty cards which
                                                                                                       entitles you to money-off vouchers or in
                                                                                                                                                    of season. You could buy the fruit or
                                                                                                                                                    vegetables when they are cheaper and in
                                                                                                                                                    season and freeze them for use later on
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Tesco Personal Finance Clubcard ... 19.1%
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Ulster Bank Gold Mastercard .......... 19.2%
                                                                                                                                                                                                     MBNA Gold Card ............................... 19.3%
                                                                                                       some cases weekends away. SuperValu,         in the year.                                     EBS Member Card............................. 19.3%
                                                                                                       for example are currently offering a two                                                      One Direct credit card ...................... 19.3%
                                                                                                       night break, with breakfast at many
                                                                                                       hotels in Ireland for 55 per person with
                                                                                                       its loyalty card. Consumers should be
                                                                                                                                                    6    WATCH THE ADS: Keep an eye on
                                                                                                                                                         the ads in the newspapers and look
                                                                                                                                                    out for supermarket newsletters for the
                                                                                                                                                                                                     ■ (Figures according to www.bonkers.ie.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     The list includes the card with the lowest
                                                                                                       aware however that the down side is that     latest offers.                                   APR at each provider). Rates applicable at
                                                                                                       the store collects your personal data and                                                     the time of going to press.
                                                                                                       shopping details and uses it for
                                                                                                       marketing and research purposes.             7   GROW YOUR OWN: You could
                                                                                                                                                        always grow your own herbs, fruit or
                                                                                                                                                    vegetables if you have a garden.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     WHAT ARE THE BEST DEALS?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    TRAVEL INSURANCE
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Some companies offer holders travel

                                                                                                       3  COUPONS: Print out any coupons
                                                                                                          from sites like Pigsback.com or
                                                                                                       Couponmaster.ie to save money.               8   PLAN AND STICK TO YOUR LIST:
                                                                                                                                                        Plan your week before you go
                                                                                                                                                                                                     ONE of the best deals on the market at the
                                                                                                                                                                                                     moment are to so-called 0% balance
                                                                                                                                                                                                     transfer deals. EBS, One Direct, Tesco,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    insurance as part of their package.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    According to bonkers.ie these include AIB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Click, National Irish Bank platinum, National
                                                                                                                                                    shopping so that you don’t stray from            Permanent TSB and MBNA are all offering                        Irish Bank Mastercard Gold, Bank of Ireland

                                                                                                       4    MEAL DEALS: Most supermarkets
                                                                                                                  now offer meal deals where
                                                                                                                                                    your list and pick up unnecessary items.         such deals. Some offer the 0% deals for
                                                                                                                                                                                                     longer than others (10 months from EBS, six
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Platinum Advantage, AIB platinum.

                                                                                                                 customers can get a three
                                                                                                                   course meal for two and a
                                                                                                                    bottle of wine at a very
                                                                                                                                                    9     WATCH OUT FOR LOSS LEADERS:
                                                                                                                                                          When you find something that you
                                                                                                                                                    reckon is a real bargain, don’t buy loads
                                                                                                                                                                                                     months from Tesco). Watch the APR when
                                                                                                                                                                                                     the 0% deals run out. Also, watch varying
                                                                                                                                                                                                     APRs on actual purchases. For a card
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    RULES FOR PAYMENTS:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ■ Pay before the due date to avoid late fees
                                                                                                                     cheap price. One of the        of it as you may not use it all up before        holder that has never missed a payment and                     ■ Never be more than 30 days late on a
                                                                                                                      best on the market is         best before date.                                has a good credit history, but is finding                        payment as this will affect credit report
                                                                                                                      Marks & Spencer’s Dine                                                         finances tight, this may be a way to keep                      ■ Be smart, overpay the minimum payment
                                                                                                                       In for 12.50. This offer
                                                                                                                       only runs at certain
                                                                                                                      times so be sure to
                                                                                                                                                    10         DOWNSIZE: Try getting into the
                                                                                                                                                               habit of using a smaller trolley or
                                                                                                                                                    even a basket if you don’t have many
                                                                                                                                                                                                     costs, especially interest charges low. Also,
                                                                                                                                                                                                     they may be able to squeeze out a month
                                                                                                                                                                                                     where they do not have to make a payment
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ■ Pay off the entire balance where possible
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and avoid interest charges
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ■ If you have Payment Protection Insurance
                                                                                                                      check with the store          things to get. The bigger space you have         while the balance transfer is being organised                    on your card, question if it is a cost you
                                                                                                                     when it is running.            to fill, the more you will buy.                  and new repayment is being set.                                  need or can afford.

                                                                                                                                                                                                       WHAT EXACTLY IS APR?
                                                                                                                                                                                                       APR is simply the cost of credit. The                         other charges. While both would be
                                                                                                                                                                                                       letters themselves mean Annual                                correct in saying that they charge 10%,
                                                                                                                                                                                                       Percentage Rate and is the exact cost of                      borrowing from lender number four
                                                                                                                                                                                                       borrowing from a credit provider.                             would be more expensive as that lender
                                                                                                                                                                                                       According to Frank Conway of                                  will be tacking some extra charges for
                                                                                                                                                                                                       www.moneycoach.ie the reason for APR                          using the card.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                       is this: “Let’s say we have four lenders                      In other words, it lets consumers know
                                                                                                                                                                                                       and all are offering a special deal on a                      who really is the cheapest and most
                                                                                                                                                                                                       credit card for 10% but lender number                         expensive lender. It is the one piece of
                                                                                                                                                                                                       four has some extra, hidden charges                           information by which consumers can
                                                                                                                                                                                                       whereas lender number one has no                              measure the true cost of credit.

                                                                                                       p8   |                                        |   THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011                                                                                                                        |   p9

                                                                                                        YOUR MORTGAGE                                                                                                                                     Are banks willing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          to talk to
                                                                                                        AS many as 100,000 people are currently            the DIS (Deferred Interest Scheme)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          borrowers in
                                                                                                        behind on their mortgage payments. If
                                                                                                        you fall into this category the main thing
                                                                                                        is not to panic and don’t ignore the
                                                                                                                                                           which is set up to warehouse a
                                                                                                                                                           certain portion of your debt for up to
                                                                                                                                                           five years.
                                                                                                        situation.                                       ■ If you have equity in the property you
                                                                                                                                                           could always opt to sell it.
                                                                                                        WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW IF YOU
                                                                                                        ARE HAVING TROUBLE PAYING
                                                                                                                                                         ■ If not you could look for a ‘short sale’:
                                                                                                                                                           see if the bank will let you sell your                                                                   KARL
                                                                                                        YOUR MORTGAGE?
                                                                                                        ■ Call your lender, if you are worried about
                                                                                                                                                           property for less than what is owed
                                                                                                                                                           and carry oover the difference as an
                                                                                                                                                           unsecured loan.
                                                                                                          going into arrears ask to deal with the        ■ In the options for not keeping your                                                             Operation manager with the
                                                                                                          ‘pre-arrears’ team, otherwise if you are         home, you should also talk to your                                                                  Irish Mortgage Brokers
                                                                                                          already in arrears you will need to speak        lender about the ability to ‘voluntary
                                                                                                          to collections and enter into the MARP           surrender’ the property, this means
                                                                                                          (mortgage arrears resolution process).           you do not incur additional
                                                                                                        ■ Apply for the Mortgage Interest                  costs/interest which could pile up if           If meeting your mortgage repayment is          BANKS get a lot of well-deserved bad
                                                                                                          Supplement and also register with MABS           your intention is to get out from under         getting too much to bear and you find          press, having been at the epicentre of
                                                                                                          (Money Advice and Budgeting Service)             the debt anyway.                                yourself stressed — don’t panic and don’t      what went wrong in Ireland. Every
                                                                                                          www.mabs.ie                                             (Source: Irish Mortgage Brokers)         ignore the situation. Seek help                taxpayer has the right to be angry, but
                                                                                                        ■ From here you may or may not have your                                                                                                          one area where the banks are going
                                                                                                          loan renegotiated or you might qualify for
                                                                                                                                                                                                           immediately by calling your lender and         beyond the call of duty is that of dealing
                                                                                                                                                                                                           contact MABS — they are there to help.         with borrowers in difficulty.

                                                                                                        OPTIONS WORTH EXPLORING                                                                                                                           There is perhaps a motive behind this,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          repossessing homes en-masse would be a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          nightmare, we all understand the issues that

                                                                                                                                                       1     EXTEND THE ORIGINAL TERM
                                                                                                                                                             OF YOUR MORTGAGE:
                                                                                                                                                                                                           mortgage so will not impact much on your
                                                                                                                                                                                                           repayments when you return to full
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hit the banks from a credit perspective from
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2007 onwards, so imagine replicating that in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          terms of an operational shock to the system
                                                                                                                                                       This will reduce your monthly repayments.                                                          where banks become giant landlords

                                                                                                                                                       2     SWITCH YOUR REPAYMENTS TO
                                                                                                                                                             INTEREST ONLY:
                                                                                                                                                                                                           4    SWITCH TO A FIXED RATE:

                                                                                                                                                                                                           This option might not be suitable if you
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          responsible for thousands of homes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          overnight? So it isn’t a sudden shift towards
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          financial altruism.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           are currently struggling on a variable rate
                                                                                                                                                       This is where you still make a monthly              to make the repayments.                                  continued pages 12 and 13 >>
                                                                                                                                                       repayment but you are only paying the               By going on to a fixed rate you will be
                                                                                                                                                       interest portion of the loan. This will reduce      increasing your monthly repayments
                                                                                                                                                       your repayment significantly but by doing           initially as fixed rates are higher than the
                                                                                                                                                       this you will not be paying anything off the        current variable rates on offer.                 ■ It’s worth noting:
                                                                                                                                                       balance on your mortgage.                           This would only be worth considering if
                                                                                                                                                                                                           you are in a situation where you can meet        The fact there were only 311

                                                                                                                                                       3     TAKE A PAYMENT BREAK:

                                                                                                                                                       This is an option that not all lenders will offer
                                                                                                                                                                                                           your current repayments but feel that
                                                                                                                                                                                                           should your rate increase significantly over
                                                                                                                                                                                                           time that you would come under pressure
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            repossessions in 2010 while at the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            same time (using estimates from a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            recent Moody’s report) over 13,000
                                                                                                                                                       but it is where you do not make any                 to pay it.                                       households had not repaid a single
                                                                                                        If you fall into difficulty paying your        repayment for an agreed number of months,                                                            penny in over a year ought to tell
                                                                                                        mortgage there are a number of options         normally six. The repayments will then be           (Source: Kevin McNerney, member of the           you this much: the banks don’t
                                                                                                        worth discussing with your lender.             spread out over the remaining term of the           Trusted Advisor Group)                           want to repossess property.

                                                                                                        p10   |                                          |   THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011                                                                                                        |   p11

                                                                                                                                                                 IF YOU HAVE ANY ISSUES WITH
                                                                                                        << In late 2010 a new piece of Financial
                                                                                                        Regulation was released and it became law               YOUR MORTGAGE MAKE SURE TO
                                                                                                        from the January 1 last. It is the Code of
                                                                                                        Conduct on Mortgage Arrears 2010 (CCMA).
                                                                                                                                                                CALL YOUR LOAN PROVIDER AND
                                                                                                        It replaced all of the previous rules and                TALK TO THEM FROM DAY ONE,
                                                                                                           It incorporated ideas put forward by the
                                                                                                        Expert Group on Mortgage Arrears and
                                                                                                                                                                 EVEN IF YOU SUSPECT YOU ARE                          W E       LOOK                                  AT                 T HI NGS
                                                                                                        within the framework a years abstinence                       HEADED FOR TROUBLE
                                                                                                        from initiating repossession proceedings is                BECAUSE THERE IS NOW AN
                                                                                                        built in for all people who ‘engage’ with the
                                                                                                        bank.                                                   ACCEPTANCE OF ‘PRE-ARREARS’                                       DI F F E RE NT LY
                                                                                                        WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?                                     WHICH WILL ALLOW PEOPLE TO
                                                                                                           It means answering calls, returning letters,
                                                                                                                                                                  START SOLVING THE PROBLEM
                                                                                                        providing documentation where required                      BEFORE IT GOES TOO FAR.
                                                                                                        and also filling in a ‘Standard Financial
                                                                                                        Statement’ which the bank will use as a
                                                                                                        basis for any credit decisions they make.            If you consent to have your home
                                                                                                           At the same time it also spelled out what      repossessed you may agree terms with your
                                                                                                        an ‘unsustainable mortgage’ is. In effect it      lender for the sale of the house.
                                                                                                        means mortgages that go deeper than 18               If the issue has to go to court, you are
                                                                                                        months into full arrears.                         generally liable for the costs of the court
                                                                                                           If you need to speak to your lender they       action.
                                                                                                        should have a prominent link on their                In some cases, the lending institution may
                                                                                                        homepage for borrowers in difficulty, this is     have difficulty in finding someone who
                                                                                                        in keeping with the Provision of Information      would be willing to buy the house unless
                                                                                                        requirements under the CCMA (Chapter 3            there is what is known as a well-charging
                                                                                                        subsection 13). By following that you will get    order in place. This is a court order which,                  Credit unions have been looking at things differently in Ireland
                                                                                                        in touch with the bank’s collections team.        among other things, allows for the sale of                      since 1958 - providing affordable loans, secure savings and
                                                                                                           Every bank has to have a Mortgage              the property.
                                                                                                        Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) and that           The lending institution may start the                        shared surplus among all members. The Irish Credit Union
                                                                                                        is currently what tens of thousands of            proceedings for repossession in either the                     Movement is the most successful in the world, with almost 3
                                                                                                        borrowers are in — it is a financial              Circuit Court or the High Court.                              million members. That success is down to caring about people
                                                                                                        ‘emergency ward’ of sorts.                           Generally, it is the practice of the courts to
                                                                                                           Only time will tell whether or not the         allow you some time to make arrangements                               and taking care of their money. Be part of it.
                                                                                                        protracted approach we are taking is              to repay the money owed before making any                          Contact your local credit union or visit creditunion.ie
                                                                                                        working. Irrespective of that, if you have any    final orders.
                                                                                                        issues at all with your mortgage make sure
                                                                                                        to call your loan provider and talk to them       ■ Karl Deeter is Operation manager with the
                                                                                                        from day one, even if you suspect you are         Irish Mortgage Brokers
                                                                                                        headed for trouble. There is also now an
                                                                                                        acceptance of ‘pre-arrears’ which will allow       THINKING OF GETTING A
                                                                                                        people to start solving the problem before it      MORTGAGE? THIS IS AN
                                                                                                        goes too far.                                      EXAMPLE OF WHAT YOU ARE
                                                                                                        THE REPOSSESSION PROCESS:
                                                                                                                                                           Mortgage amount:................... 200,000
                                                                                                        If you have exhausted all the options open         Interest rate: ..................................... 4%
                                                                                                        to you, the lender can repossess your home         Term: ......................................... 30 years
                                                                                                        in order to recover the amount you owe. If                                                                                      Loans are subject to approval. Terms and Conditions apply.
                                                                                                                                                           Monthly repayment: ................. 646.60                      Credit Unions in the Republic of Ireland are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
                                                                                                        you do not agree to the repossession, the          COST OF CREDIT: ............. 140,777.25
                                                                                                        lender may take you to court.

                                                                                                        p12   |                                             |    THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011                                                                                                                         |   p13

                                                                                                        GAS and                                                                                              4      Consider a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nightsaver meter                            Where is the gas
                                                                                                        ELECTRICITY                                                                                                                                             and electricity
                                                                                                                                                                                                             If you think you can shift more than 20% of
                                                                                                                                                                                                             your electricity consumption from the
                                                                                                                                                                                                             daytime to the middle of the night, a
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Nightsaver tariff is a great way to save
                                                                                                                                                                                                             money. You’ll need to get a Nightsaver             market going
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                in 2011?
                                                                                                        THERE was a time when choosing your                                                                  meter, which the ESB will install for free,
                                                                                                        gas and electricity provider was very                                                                then you’ll get half price electricity at night.
                                                                                                        straightforward. There was no                                                                        You’ll pay a little more for your daytime unit
                                                                                                        competition in the market and all prices                                                             rates and your standing charge will be a           THE biggest change we’ll see this year
                                                                                                        were set by the regulator. Customers                                                                 little higher, but if you use more than 20% at     will be a new and deregulated ESB
                                                                                                        simply paid their bills and there was no                                                             night you’ll rack up the savings.                  entering the market, according to Simon
                                                                                                        way to get a cheaper deal.                                                                                                                              Moynihan of consumer website, Bonkers.

                                                                                                        Following the deregulation of the domestic
                                                                                                        gas and electricity markets, all of that
                                                                                                                                                                                                             5    Always use your
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Your dishwasher running on a full load is
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Rebranded as Electric Ireland, they will most
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                likely offer gas as well as electricity at very
                                                                                                        changed. There are now four different                                                                more efficient than you. A full dishwasher         competitive rates in a bid to win back their
                                                                                                        companies supplying gas and electricity in                                                           uses less than half the energy you do when         electricity customers and gain new gas
                                                                                                        Ireland and dozens of tariffs and rates on                                                           washing dishes by hand and uses gallons            customers, he said.
                                                                                                        offer.                                                                                               less water too. In fact, a dishwasher is so           It is predicted that gas prices should
                                                                                                                                                                                                             much more efficient than a comparable              remain stable this year. The regulator has
                                                                                                        THE BEST DEALS FOR AVERAGE                          TIPS FOR SAVING MONEY ON YOUR                    person doing the same job that you should          frozen Bord Gais’s domestic gas prices until
                                                                                                        HOUSEHOLDS:                                         BILLS AFTER YOU’VE SWITCHED:                     pop the pots and pans in as well.                  at least October and we can expect other
                                                                                                                                                                                                             (Source: www.bonkers.ie)                           suppliers to remain cheaper than Bord Gais
                                                                                                        ELECTRICITY: The average ESB customer                                                                                                                   in a bid to win more customers, said Mr
                                                                                                        spends about 990 on electricity per year.
                                                                                                        By switching to the best deal, which is Bord
                                                                                                        Gais Energy’s Paperless Direct Debit Year 1,
                                                                                                                                                            1      Get an
                                                                                                                                                                   electricity monitor
                                                                                                                                                            They cost about 40 and are available in
                                                                                                                                                                                                               ■ Beware ...                                     Moynihan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   “Also, with a new gas company entering
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the market soon, customers may be able to
                                                                                                        customers could save 110 per year or
                                                                                                        11% overall.
                                                                                                        GAS: The average Bord Gais customer
                                                                                                                                                            most electronics shops. You can see in real
                                                                                                                                                            time how much electricity your house is
                                                                                                                                                            using and which appliances and gadgets are
                                                                                                                                                                                                               1    WATCH OUT FOR ANNUAL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    CONTRACTS: Some deals
                                                                                                                                                                                                               require you to remain a customer for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                save even more by switching,” he said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Electricity price regulation will end in the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                next couple of months and the ESB will be
                                                                                                        spends about 727 on gas per year. By                the biggest energy hogs. Manufacturers             a year. If you switch away before your           able to set its own prices for all of its
                                                                                                        switching to the best deal, which is Flogas’s       claim that once you’re armed with this             year is up, you may have to pay a                customers. This will mean cheaper prices for
                                                                                                        Standard New Customer Option B plan,                knowledge, you’ll save another 10% off your        penalty.                                         new customers, but could mean price
                                                                                                        customers could save 93 per year or 13%             bills.                                                                                              changes for existing customers.
                                                                                                        GAS AND ELECTRICITY TOGETHER
                                                                                                        WITH ONE COMPANY:                                   3     Upgrade your
                                                                                                                                                                  heating controls
                                                                                                                                                                                                               2    DIRECT DEBIT AND THE
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    INTERNET: Some of the best
                                                                                                                                                                                                               deals require that you pay by direct
                                                                                                        The best dual fuel deal is currently Airtricity’s   Most Irish homes don’t have modern                 debit and view your bills over the
                                                                                                        Biggest Save Bundle which will save an              heating controls. Controls that work on            internet. If this is not for you, there
                                                                                                        average household about 147 per year.               timers and heat different parts of the house       are plenty of other deals out there
                                                                                                        This deal requires a one year contract and          at different times can help households save        that will save you money and still
                                                                                                        has a 100 break penalty.                            big on heating bills. Speak to a certified         provide traditional bills and payment
                                                                                                                                                            heating installer about options and costs.         methods.

                                                                                                        TOP TIP                                             3    Grants for improving the efficiency
                                                                                                                                                                 of your home
                                                                                                                                                            Making your home more efficient is a great
                                                                                                                                                                                                               3    STANDING CHARGES: Suppliers’
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    savings messages usually only
                                                                                                                                                                                                               apply to the unit rates for gas and
                                                                                                        It is currently cheaper to get gas and
                                                                                                                                                            way to save money on your energy bills. If         electricity, make sure to look at the
                                                                                                        electricity from separate companies. By
                                                                                                                                                            you’re thinking of improving the insulation in     overall cost including standing
                                                                                                        going with the best standalone gas and
                                                                                                                                                            your home, installing a high efficiency boiler     charges. Standing charges are not all
                                                                                                        electricity deals from Flogas and Bord                                                                                                                  Electricity price regulation is due to end
                                                                                                                                                            or upgrading your heating controls, you may        the same. In some cases they can be
                                                                                                        Gais, customers can save 203 per year                                                                                                                   soon: this may mean cheaper prices for
                                                                                                                                                            be entitled to a grant for some of the cost.       up to 20% higher than the regulated
                                                                                                        — an additional 56.                                                                                                                                     new customers, but could mean price
                                                                                                                                                            The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland        Bord Gais and ESB standing charges.
                                                                                                                         (Source: www.bonkers.ie)                                                                                                               changes for existing customers.
                                                                                                                                                            has more information.

                                                                                                        p14   |                                               |   THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011                                                                                                          |   p15

                                                                                                        SAVE, SAVE, SAVE MORE THAN                                                6,000 THIS YEAR

                                                                                                        MAKE YOUR OWN LUNCH:                                                         WALK TO WORK INSTEAD OF GETTING
                                                                                                                                                                                     THE BUS:
                                                                                                        Buying a sandwich every day at work could cost
                                                                                                        around 25 a week, which is 100 a month or                                    The bus to work every day costs around 1.60
                                                                                                          1,200 a year. A sliced pan, block of cheese and a                          one way. A return journey totals 768 for the
                                                                                                        packet of ham for the week would cost around 6                               year. Walking, on the other hand is free.
                                                                                                        in the supermarket. This would total 288 for the
                                                                                                        year resulting in savings of 912. Add a tub of                               SAVINGS:     768 a year
                                                                                                        coleslaw a week into the mix for 96 a year and
                                                                                                        the savings are still significant at 816.

                                                                                                        SAVINGS:    816 a year

                                                                                                        GIVE UP SMOKING:
                                                                                                                                                                                         CLAIM BACK YOUR TAX:
                                                                                                        A packet of 20 cigarettes costs around 8.50 so if
                                                                                                        you smoke 20 a day giving up would save you                                         Despite some cutbacks in the last budget
                                                                                                         238 a month or 2,856 a year. If you smoke 20                                        there are still areas where you can claim
                                                                                                        week then giving up would save you 408 a year.                                       back tax. On average people could claim
                                                                                                                                                                                             back around 400 a year for medical
                                                                                                        SAVINGS:    2,856 a year                                                            expenses, rent and bin changes. For full
                                                                                                                                                                                            details check out: www.revenue.ie.

                                                                                                        CUT DOWN ON DRINKING:                                                            SAVINGS:     400

                                                                                                        The average price of a pint is around 5 in the pub.
                                                                                                        If you drink six pints on a night out and cut down
                                                                                                        on going out from every week to once a month you
                                                                                                        would save 1,080 a year.

                                                                                                        SAVINGS:    1,080 a year
                                                                                                                                                                                     Total savings:                       6,340
                                                                                                                     CUT OUT BUYING A COFFEE
                                                                                                                      EVERY DAY IN THE CAFÉ:
                                                                                                                           Buying a coffee every workday
                                                                                                                            could cost around 40 a                                If you’re feeling the pinch, there are many ways to
                                                                                                                            month or 480 a year. Instead,                              cut back: buying a sandwich every day at work
                                                                                                                            you could buy a jar of coffee                        could cost 1,200 a year. Why not bring your own?
                                                                                                                           for around 5 which would last                            If you follow these few tips, not only will you be a
                                                                                                                          around a month.                                       little healthier — you could save more than 6,000!
                                                                                                                     SAVINGS:      420 a year

                                                                                                        p16   |                                          |    THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011                                                  |   p17

                                                                                                        NEVER has it been more important to get
                                                                                                        a good deal on your insurance. With
                                                                                                        wages falling and insurance premiums
                                                                                                                                                         1     When you receive your renewal letter
                                                                                                                                                               (THREE WEEKS TO RENEWAL):
                                                                                                                                                         If you’re like most people, the renewal letter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                30 — 60 on the spot. Ask them if this is
                                                                                                                                                                                                              their best and final rate — you might
                                                                                                                                                                                                              squeeze them for another 10. You now
                                                                                                        rising, savings in this area is crucial.         comes in the post, is opened and glanced             have your best renewal rate.
                                                                                                                                                         at. You possibly tut-tut at the price and
                                                                                                        Last year house insurance costs soared by
                                                                                                        almost 15% while health was up 10% and
                                                                                                        motor by 6%. Many experts are predicting
                                                                                                                                                         promise that you’ll have to try and find a
                                                                                                                                                         better insurance rate. Rather than doing
                                                                                                                                                         what most people do (ignore until the day
                                                                                                                                                                                                              3     FIVE DAYS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BEFORE RENEWAL:
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Revisit the three quotes you have, call them
                                                                                                        the cost of insurance will continue to rise      before renewal) why not immediately win the          all back and tell them your best renewal
                                                                                                        this year. However there are ways to save        upper hand by getting three other quotes?            rate. Some companies (eg the AA) have a
                                                                                                        and the old cliché of shopping around is         There are some brokers with websites that            “match best renewal” offer where they will
                                                                                                        very much applicable to this sector. The
                                                                                                        market is saturated with on-line brokers and
                                                                                                                                                         you can start with, if you don’t want to talk
                                                                                                                                                         to someone, so why not try there first. It
                                                                                                                                                                                                              beat the premium by 20 on like-for-like
                                                                                                                                                                                                              policies. If your best renewal policy has the   How to save on
                                                                                                        don’t be afraid to bargain to get a good
                                                                                                                                                         shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to get
                                                                                                                                                         three quotes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              same benefits as theirs, they’ll beat it by
                                                                                                                                                                                                                20 to win your business. See who else will
                                                                                                                                                                                                              do that to win your business, and remember
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              home insurance
                                                                                                        STEPS TO GETTING THE BEST DEAL
                                                                                                        ON YOUR MOTOR INSURANCE:                         2      SEVEN DAYS
                                                                                                                                                                BEFORE RENEWAL:
                                                                                                                                                         Contact your existing insurer. Tell them
                                                                                                                                                                                                              you’re in the driving seat — if you don’t
                                                                                                                                                                                                              drive you won’t get anywhere.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              FROM this recession a new wave of tougher,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              price conscious and value-savvy wave of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              consumers has emerged. They have
                                                                                                        When renewing your motor insurance, it is
                                                                                                        important that you shop around so that you
                                                                                                        don’t fall into the inertia trap. This is what
                                                                                                                                                         you’re surprised that the premium is as high
                                                                                                                                                         as it is (even if you’re not). This will tell them
                                                                                                                                                         that you are serious about paying them as
                                                                                                                                                                                                              4      TWO DAYS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     BEFORE RENEWAL
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Make your selection, pick your insurer and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mastered keen negotiation skills and are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              prepared to go through the contract with a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              fine tooth comb to achieve cost savings. We
                                                                                                        your insurer wants to happen — they send         little as possible, and you haven’t fallen into      tell them the good news — you’ve just given     have noticed a threefold increase in calls in
                                                                                                        you a renewal letter and they hope you will      the inertia trap. Tell them you have three           someone commission so they will be happy.       the last 18 months from consumers looking
                                                                                                        simply renew without shopping around.            other quotes and theirs will need to improve.        Get your cover started with a new insurer or    to renegotiate a better deal or restructure
                                                                                                                                                         They will probably reduce your premium by            renewed with your existing one, but at a        their insurance policies for a lower premium.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              reduced price than their first offer.              Thankfully, although people are much
                                                                                                                                                                                                              By using this approach, you’ll likely save a    more price conscious and better informed
                                                                                                                                                                                                              small packet by making a few phone calls,       these days they are being clever when it
                                                                                                                                                                                                              you won’t have to make them again for           comes to insurance — in the past, they
                                                                                                                                                                                                              another year, and it wasn’t that much trouble   would only consider switching providers if
                                                                                                                                                                                                              really, was it?                                 the saving was greater than 25 to 50 —
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   — Simon Moynihan of www.bonkers.ie         that threshold appears to have fallen to 10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              — 20. In addition, consumers are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sufficiently knowledgeable not to take on
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Home Insurance: PAYING TOO MUCH?              large claims excesses for a relatively small
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              reduction in their premiums.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                ■ Consider the rebuild value and                 It’s important to ensure the level of cover
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  not the overall value of your               you have is appropriate to your individual
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  house. There are rebuild                    needs. Whilst the reduction in house
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  calculators on the websites of              building costs is good news for consumers,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  most insurance firms.                       home insurance rates have gone up over the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                ■ Avail of all your discounts: A              past two years by at least 20%.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  burglar alarm brings a 5% to                   Therefore, you as a homeowner, to get
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  10% reduction. A smoke alarm                any advantage from the reduction in building
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  may earn you a further 5% to                costs, must insure that you review the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  10%. Over-50’s and over-60’s                sum-insured on the relevant building itself
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  earn between 5% and 15% more.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                ■ Ask the company can they do
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  any better on the price.                               continued pages 20 and 21 >>

                                                                                                        p18   |                                            |   THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011                                                                                                          |   p19

                                                                                                        INSURANCE                                                                                                              Should I keep                          FRANK
                                                                                                        << How to save on Home Insurance                store that file somewhere safe so that you                             my health                             CONWAY
                                                                                                                                                        can produce documentary evidence in the
                                                                                                                                                        event of a claim. Also, if your home is going
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Conway is founder of
                                                                                                        and amend where necessary.                      to be unoccupied for more than two weeks                                                                    www.moneycoach.ie
                                                                                                           Insurance companies will not reduce sums     in-a-row, remember to turn off the water and
                                                                                                        insured unless instructed by the homeowner.     heating and, if possible, arrange for a
                                                                                                        If you’re not sure how much to insure your
                                                                                                        buildings for, check out www.scs.ie for a
                                                                                                        guide on rebuilding costs.
                                                                                                                                                        neighbour or relative to check on the
                                                                                                                                                        property regularly. Also remember to make
                                                                                                                                                        sure you lock all doors and windows fully
                                                                                                                                                                                                        MANY PEOPLE are asking if they need
                                                                                                                                                                                                        health insurance at all and the argument
                                                                                                                                                                                                        against getting it is convincing, especially
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               1    Could these hospitals ever make a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    difference to you?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Beacon Clinic, the Galway Clinic, the Mater
                                                                                                           To properly value your contents, get a pen   and set your alarm. Simple things such as       now that take-home pay has been hit by                 Private, St Vincent’s Private and the
                                                                                                        and some paper and go from room to room         checking your smoke detectors regularly to      changes in the recent Budget.                          Blackrock Clinic are all but completely out of
                                                                                                        and estimate the replacement value of each      make sure that they are in proper working          If you have a heart attack, a stroke, are           bounds for people without private health
                                                                                                        item or group of items in the room. Total the   order can make a big difference to both your    involved in a car accident or are rushed into          insurance. Each have a particular level of
                                                                                                        figure and add at least 10% to allow for        insurance and your safety. If you use your      A&E, health insurance is of little or no use to        expertise that you may require at some
                                                                                                        error. Don’t forget to include carpets and      fireplace for real fires make sure you have     you — you are taken to the nearest public              stage, so keep that in mind as you consider
                                                                                                        curtains.                                       your chimney cleaned regularly and have         hospital and treated in the public system at           your options. Private health insurance does
                                                                                                           Claims are the single biggest factor for     your gutters checked annually for build-up      no cost.                                               give you access to more hospitals and more
                                                                                                        increases in home insurance premiums,           of moss and debris to avoid potential water        However for many people, having health              treatments which can significantly reduce
                                                                                                        therefore taking precautions to ensure you      damage from overflow. If any part of your       insurance has become a way of life. Only               waiting times for certain procedures.
                                                                                                        have limited the potential for a claim will     property has a felt roof, you should have the   problem is our way of life is changing faster
                                                                                                        save you money in the long run. There are a
                                                                                                        number of steps you can follow to ensure
                                                                                                        you have taken all the necessary
                                                                                                                                                        roof inspected regularly for damage or
                                                                                                                                                        cracks etc.
                                                                                                                                                           Remember, doing the simple things to
                                                                                                                                                                                                        than any of us care for. Personal incomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                        are falling fast and many costs continue to
                                                                                                                                                                                                        rise. VHI increases of 45% seem from a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               2    Consultants
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    — can I still see them?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Yes. However, there is very strong evidence
                                                                                                        precautions to fully protect you and your       avoid claims will keep your premiums as low     different era. The increase actually equals            that having private health insurance can
                                                                                                        home.                                           as possible.                                    about a half-percent increase on a 250,000             speed up your access to consultants, if and
                                                                                                           It is prudent to keep a file containing             — Louise Ledwidge, home insurance        mortgage. So, the temptation to drop health            when there is an emergency.
                                                                                                        receipts and valuations and where possible                   specialist with www.getcover.ie    insurance is becoming more and more
                                                                                                        photographs of your valuable items, and to                                                      appealing for a lot of people. However,
                                                                                                                                                                                                        before you go ahead and do this, here is a
                                                                                                                                                                                                        final checklist to consider before you hit the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               3     How much could seeing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     a consultant cost?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Even some of the more expensive health
                                                                                                                                                                                                        cancel option.                                         insurance options, you may still have to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               cough up a significant amount of money to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               see a consultant privately for the first time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ■ www.nononsense.ie   And many policies also have excesses
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           1890-252737         which you might be hit with every time you

                                                                                                                                                                                                         INSURANCE COMPARISON WEBSITES
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               visit a consultant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ■ www.bestquote.ie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           0818-223223              What if I develop a serious illness
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    without private health insurance?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ■ www.insure.ie       The simple answer is you would still be
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           01-2932300          treated through the public system.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ■ www.getcover.ie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           1850-851297         5     What if I am diagnosed with a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     serious but non life-threatening
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     condition and I do not have private
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ■ www.quoteline.ie          health insurance?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           0818-224433         If you are diagnosed with a relatively minor
                                                                                                                               When assessing your contents cover it’s important to take a close                                                               condition — anything from a blocked artery
                                                                                                                               look at each room: get a pen and some paper and go from room to                                                                 to a non-functioning hip — and go on a
                                                                                                                               room and estimate the replacement value of each item. Total the                                           ■ www.123.ie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           1890-221123         public hospital waiting list, it could be a long
                                                                                                                               figure and add at least 10% to allow for error. Don’t forget to                                                                 time before you get treatment or see a
                                                                                                                               include carpets and curtains.                                                                                                   consultant.

                                                                                                        p20   |                                           |   THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011                                                                                                              |   p21

                                                                                                        SAVINGS                         TIPS ON WHERE TO PUT YOUR MONEY                                                                                          Saving with a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 credit union
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Most accounts taken out in credit unions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 are share accounts which give a dividend at
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 the end of the financial year.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A weekly or monthly direct debit, standing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 order or physical payment for whatever
                                                                                                                                                                     The savings bug has well and                                                                amount the member would like to nominate
                                                                                                                                                                     truly gripped the nation. In a                                                              can be made into share accounts and
                                                                                                                                                                     survey from the National                                                                    members can withdraw their savings at any
                                                                                                                                                                     Consumer Agency (NCA) 22%                                                                   time, provided they are not pledged as
                                                                                                                                                                     of people intend to save more                                                               security on a loan.
                                                                                                                                                                     this year while 17% plan to                                                                    The amount of dividend paid to members
                                                                                                                                                                     reduce their debts.                                                                         holding share accounts varies from one
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 credit union to another.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The average dividend in 2009 (the latest
                                                                                                        THERE are plenty of accounts to choose           your deposits and those where you are                                                                   figures available) was 1.23% but there is no
                                                                                                        from in the market and when selecting a          obliged to leave your money for a certain                                                               guarantee that a dividend will be paid.
                                                                                                        savings account be aware that even if you        length of time. The instant access or
                                                                                                        are banking with a certain institution you can   demand accounts are usually suited to
                                                                                                        open a savings account with another bank if      people who want to put a bit away each
                                                                                                        you feel you can get a better rate.              month.
                                                                                                                                                            Sometimes with instant access accounts,
                                                                                                                                                                                                         I want to save a lump sum of                                        10,000
                                                                                                        ACCOUNTS AVAILABLE:                              unlike with demand accounts there can be
                                                                                                                                                         restrictions on the number of times money       RaboDirect 10-Year Term Deposit                          Nationwide UK (Ireland) 12- Month Fixed
                                                                                                        There are two basic types of savings             can be withdrawn in a year or a limit to the    Account .................................... 4.1% AER    Rate Savings Account ............... 3.4% AER
                                                                                                        accounts — those that offer easy access to       amount that can be withdrawn at any one         Access: Restricted access                                Restricted access
                                                                                                                                                            Most banks too will offer regular saver      National Solidarity Bond3.960% AER                       Irish Nationwide Building Society Instant
                                                                                                                                                         accounts which are designed for customers       7 days notice                                            Access Deposit Account ....... 3.250% AER
                                                                                                                                                         who want to make regular monthly deposits.                                                               Instant access
                                                                                                          Saving 200 per month with                      Some regular saver accounts also allow the      Permanent TSB Take 5 ....... 3.710% AER
                                                                                                          instant access to my savings?                  addition of lump sums.                          Restricted access                                        An Post Savings Bonds ......... 3.230% AER
                                                                                                                                                            These accounts are useful when saving        EBS 15-month fixed return savings                        Restricted access
                                                                                                         Ulster Bank regular saver special in-           for big purchases or events such as home        account .................................... 3.5% AER
                                                                                                         terest deposit account ............4% AER       deposits.                                       Restricted access                                        National Irish Bank eSaver ............ 3% AER
                                                                                                                                                            When it comes to putting money away for                                                               Instant access
                                                                                                         AIB Regular Saver ................3.5% AER      a certain length of time fixed rate accounts    Anglo Irish Bank 1 Year Fixed Term
                                                                                                                                                         pay interest that is guaranteed.                Reward Account ...................... 3.5% AER           AIB online Notice Deposit 7 ......... 3% AER
                                                                                                         Bank of Ireland EasySaver 3.25% AER                A term account is also considered to be      Restricted access                                        7 Days notice
                                                                                                                                                         an investment account and the term is the
                                                                                                         Anglo Easy Access Reward 3.2% AER               length of time the investment is made. Most     Bank of Ireland 6 Month Introductory                     Credit Union deposit account . 1.25% AER
                                                                                                                                                         term accounts do not permit withdrawals or      Fixed Term Reward Account .......3.430%                  Immediate
                                                                                                         RaboDirect On Demand .........2% AER            further deposits for the duration of the term   AER
                                                                                                                                                         but they typically offer a higher rate of       30 days notice                                                             (Source: www.bonkers.ie)
                                                                                                         An Post Deposit account .......1% AER           interest.
                                                                                                                                                            Many banks offer child saver or parent       ■ AER stands for 'Annual Equivalent Rate' and it shows the rate of interest a saver
                                                                                                         EBS Instant Access ............0.03% AER        saver accounts which are set up by a parent     will receive over a year assuming the cash is left in the account for the full year.
                                                                                                                     (Source: www.bonkers.ie)            or guardian for the benefit of a child.         (Rates correct at the time of going to press. Interest rates may go up or down.)
                                                                                                                                                            Joint accounts are another option.

                                                                                                        p22   |                                            |   THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011                                                                                                             |   p23

                                                                                                        WHERE TO INVEST

                                                                                                        INVESTING a lump-sum into risk assets,                                                          record of generating decent returns over
                                                                                                        whether that is 10,000 or 100,000, can                                                          the medium term and a fund that is
                                                                                                        be a daunting undertaking. The crash in                                                         currently positioned to benefit from some
                                                                                                        risk asset values of all types during the
                                                                                                        2008 global credit crisis was severe and
                                                                                                                                                                                                        of the strongest current investment
                                                                                                                                                                                                        themes like natural resources and the                                    TO MAKE
                                                                                                        Irish investors, with a traditional
                                                                                                                                                             Mr Gillen is founder of
                                                                                                                                                                                                        emerging markets of Asia and Eastern                                     MORE
                                                                                                        dependence on property backed by debt
                                                                                                        and banking shares, suffered way more                 the Investrcentre.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                           In my view, investment companies                                      MONEY
                                                                                                        than most.                                                                                      which are quoted on the stock exchange
                                                                                                                                                                                                        and can, therefore, be bought and sold in     ■ Sell stuff you own and don’t need:

                                                                                                        Nonetheless, we can’t always be fighting the                                                    a stockbroking account, just like any other     Get working on ebay, the on-line auction
                                                                                                        last war and the fact remains that good             Investment companies quoted on              share, are far superior investment vehicles     site. Here you can sell anything from
                                                                                                        quality and prudently valued risk assets are    the stock exchange, are far superior            than unquoted funds such as the                 your old barbies to your laptop.
                                                                                                        the best place to save for the medium to         investment vehicles than unquoted              insurance company unit-linked funds in        ■ Become a mystery shopper: There are
                                                                                                        long term.                                     funds such as the insurance company              Ireland with their high entry costs, poor       a few companies in Ireland offering
                                                                                                          In the past 100 years, shares (equities)                                                      visibility and onerous investing                these jobs to measure quality of retail
                                                                                                        have delivered a 9%-10% per annum return,
                                                                                                                                                       unit-linked funds in Ireland with their          procedures.                                     service or gather specific information
                                                                                                        some 6% — 7% over and above inflation. In       high entry costs, poor visibility and                                                           about products and services.
                                                                                                        comparison, cash deposits have delivered
                                                                                                        1% over and above inflation over the same
                                                                                                                                                           onerous investing procedures
                                                                                                                                                                                              ’           GOLD: WHY SHOULD I INVEST?                  ■ Rent out your driveway: If you live near
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the city or a college you could rent your
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        driveway to people looking for parking.
                                                                                                          For the lump-sum investor, who does not      long term investment what characteristics          1 Gold protects you against                 ■ Babysitting or petsitting: Two ways of
                                                                                                        get to take advantage of subsequent price      might it have? Perhaps a diversified fund,           inflation: Unlike currencies, gold’s        making a bit of extra cash if you have a
                                                                                                        weakness, the initial value bought and the     with no debt, that you could buy cheaply             purchasing power has remained               free weekend. These days babysitters
                                                                                                        time you are prepared to hold the asset are    and easily with no paperwork via a low-cost          constant over the long term.                can earn around 10 an hour for their
                                                                                                        the single two most important determinants     broker with no entry costs, no exit penalties,     2 Portfolio Diversification: While            work.
                                                                                                        of the success of otherwise of your            daily dealing and a low annual management            gold has shown strong returns over        ■ Rent a room: If you have rooms lying
                                                                                                        investment.                                    charge.                                              recent years, its most important            that are lying vacant you could always
                                                                                                          If you were asked to describe an ideal         Perhaps a fund with a demonstrated track           contribution to a portfolio lies in the     consider renting it out. If you are unsure
                                                                                                                                                                                                            fact that it is not correlated with         you could always contact a local college
                                                                                                                                                                                                            most traditional assets.                    or language school to offer your room
                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Central banks are buying gold:              for short periods.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Central banks are now seeking to          ■ Avon: According to the website of
                                                                                                                                                                                                            protect themselves from the risks           cosmetic firm, Avon it is always looking
                                                                                                                                                                                                            posed to the US dollar and the              for sellers. To find out more call 01 —
                                                                                                                                                                                                            euro by diversifying into gold.             8706540.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Rising geopolitical tensions: The         ■ Ask for a wage rise: Times are certainly
                                                                                                                                                                                                            deteriorating conditions in the             tough in the workforce at the moment
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Middle East as graphically seen in          but try your luck and ask for a raise. You
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Egypt today.The threat of global            just never know, unless you try.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            terrorism, the risk of wars with Iran     ■ Put your interests to use: There are
                                                                                                                                                                                                            and North Korea and the growing             plenty of night courses taking place
                                                                                                                                                                                                            conflict between the US and China           around Ireland and you could contact
                                                                                                                                                                                                            are real geopolitical risks, which          the colleges to suggest new courses or
                                                                                                                                                                                                            could deteriorate at anytime.               offer your services.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Keeping all your eggs in the euro         ■ Get baking: If you like making cakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                            basket is not prudent and you may           you could bake for your workmates and
                                                                                                                                                                                                            likely regret this in the coming            hold a cake sale at the office.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            years.                                    ■ Save your pennies: Keep a jar of all
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        your loose change. This will add up over
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  — Mark O’Byrne of Goldcore            time and the final tally may surprise you.

                                                                                                        p24   |                                          |     THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011                                                                                                 |   p25

                                                                                                        BARGAIN YOUR WAY TO A GOOD DEAL                                                                                                                               MONEY-SAVING
                                                                                                        Value is the name                                    MICHAEL
                                                                                                                                                                                                       restaurant, hotel or spa been so
                                                                                                                                                                                                       appreciated. Nothing is too difficult —

                                                                                                        of the game                                           DWYER
                                                                                                                                                                                                       early birds are all night, smiles prevail and
                                                                                                                                                                                                       there’s a genuine gratitude to the
                                                                                                                                                                                                       customer.                                       www.pigsback.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Without customers, there is no business.     This site aims to bring consumers and
                                                                                                        THERE was no fun for most of us in the               Mr Dwyer is founder                       We are the oxygen of commerce.                  brands together in one spot. It is packed
                                                                                                        rip-off culture that prevailed throughout             of www.pigsback.ie                          Of course, value too has returned,           with competitions and money saving
                                                                                                        the Celtic Tiger years. It was often                                                           particularly in these highly competitive and    vouchers for members who can also
                                                                                                        accompanied by an appalling attitude to                                                        unsheltered service businesses. They’ve         collect piggypoints which can be
                                                                                                        service, which compounded the insult.                                                          had to remodel and adapt at pace.               redeemed against products or services.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          It’s been hard on small business owners
                                                                                                        We all remember the grumpy face of the         money at you that you don’t deserve high        and in reality, as customers, we haven’t        www.mylunch.ie
                                                                                                        waiter or waitress or shop assistant or        standards of service anyway. That’ll be         had to push for change — the market did         Dreamt up by two friends who were tired
                                                                                                        restaurant owner that said: “I’m doing you a     3.50 for the latte and I expect a fiver and   the work.                                       of eating in the same place every day, this
                                                                                                        favour by turning up when this job is just a   to keep the change — and I won’t be                What a shame we can’t say the same           sites gives options and discount deals for
                                                                                                        means to an end and gets in the way of my      thanking you.”                                  for our sheltered utilities, health service,    your lunch hour. The information is
                                                                                                        private life.                                    Well all’s changed, changed utterly.          professions and banks whose pricing and         updated every morning. Users enter
                                                                                                          “What’s more you look like your bank or        Never in my memory has the ordinary           service owe more to the competitive             where they are and what type of food
                                                                                                        credit card company has thrown so much         punter’s business in the local cafe,            shelters they enjoy than to any market          they want to eat and let the site do its
                                                                                                                                                                                                       forces.                                         work.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Offers are the new norm — the two-for-
                                                                                                        SIX OF THE BEST: Tips on how to get the best price                                             ones, the early birds, The Big Switch
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       This website provides consumer related
                                                                                                                                                                                                          At Pigsback.com, we’ve seen a huge           news, opinion, research, resources, tips,
                                                                                                                                                                                                       surge in traffic and demand from                links and warnings that will assist and
                                                                                                                                                                                                       consumers looking for offers, deals,            benefit Irish consumers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                       coupons, vouchers and PiggyPoints,
                                                                                                                                                                                                       which they get back for online business.        www.thrift.ie

                                                                                                                                  1    Ask if the store offers quantity discounts if you buy
                                                                                                                                       in bulk.
                                                                                                                                                                                                       Companies and brands who don’t play the
                                                                                                                                                                                                       new game lose old customers, new
                                                                                                                                                                                                       customers and busyness, the latter being
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       This site said it brings together consumer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       content that will be of interest to Irish

                                                                                                                                  2    If the seller won’t budge on price ask them if they’ll
                                                                                                                                       consider throwing something else in for free. If you
                                                                                                                                  are buying a laptop for example, the shop might not cut
                                                                                                                                                                                                       a telling and sought-after feature of places
                                                                                                                                                                                                       we want to give our business to.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          For example with the new Mega Deal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       This is a new shopping site that offers
                                                                                                                                  the price but they may throw in a free laptop bag.                   from Pigsback.com, customers get on             cashback on purchases.
                                                                                                                                                                                                       average a deal-a-day offering at least 50%

                                                                                                                                  3    Ask if there’s a sale coming up. You don’t want to
                                                                                                                                       be caught paying full price only to discover that
                                                                                                                                  there is a sale starting in the morning.
                                                                                                                                                                                                       reduction and up to 80% in some cases
                                                                                                                                                                                                       from restaurants, hotels, gyms, spas, teeth
                                                                                                                                                                                                       whitening, days out. You name it — it’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       You’ll find everything from discounts to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       advice here.
                                                                                                                                                                                                       happening and it’s very real.

                                                                                                                                  4    Check out ads in newspapers and online. The store
                                                                                                                                       may be offering discounts in these ways.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Some initial resistance by companies is
                                                                                                                                                                                                       replaced by a dawning of reality that the
                                                                                                                                                                                                       benefits of such upfront value is crucial to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       This firm groups your requirements with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       those of other people and households

                                                                                                                                  5    Make use of your smartphone where you can pick
                                                                                                                                       up discounts on apps such as O2 treats.
                                                                                                                                                                                                       attracting new customers. The good ones
                                                                                                                                                                                                       will keep those new customers and get
                                                                                                                                                                                                       them spending more.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       and negotiates a group discount with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       suppliers for home insurance, refuse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       collection and home heating oil.

                                                                                                                                  6    Remember — nothing ventured, nothing gained.                       As customers, the market is working for
                                                                                                                                                                                                       us all, all we have to do is open our eyes,
                                                                                                                                                                                                       look around, walk around or get tapping
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Bargains, deals and tips galore on this
                                                                                                                                                                                                       on the keyboard.                                site.

                                                                                                        p26   |                                          |   THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011                                                                                                   |     p27

                                                                                                        LOANS WHERE TO GET THE BEST VALUE                                                                                      IF YOU HAVE
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    SUFFERED A WAGE CUT,
                                                                                                                                                         WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T KEEP UP
                                                                                                        SHOPPING around for a loan can result in
                                                                                                        hundreds of euro in savings over the term        REPAYMENTS ON MY LOAN?                                     TALK TO EACH OF YOUR
                                                                                                        of the agreement. Just because you have
                                                                                                        been with a certain bank for years               IF a consumer does not pay off their loan on
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       CREDITORS, EXPLAIN
                                                                                                        doesn’t mean you’re stuck there.                 time, in full or as agreed, it becomes a black
                                                                                                                                                         mark against them the next time they go to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        THE SITUATION AND
                                                                                                        Switching has been made easier in recent
                                                                                                        years and involves calling into the bank you
                                                                                                                                                         apply for credit.
                                                                                                                                                           In addition collection attempts will also be
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       REQUEST A REDUCED
                                                                                                        want to change to with two forms of              used. This will begin with a series of calls                  PAYMENT FOR A SET
                                                                                                        identification.                                  and notices. Depending on the lender, this
                                                                                                          The bank will do all of the hard work for      could mean several calls per day seeking                       PERIOD OF TIME OR
                                                                                                        you. With AIB for example they say they’ll
                                                                                                        open your new current account, set you up
                                                                                                                                                         payment to multiple notices.
                                                                                                                                                           It can also result in house visits by                      FOR AS LONG AS YOU
                                                                                                        on AIB phone and internet banking and            employees or representatives of the lending
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     WOULD EXPECT TO GET

                                                                                                        send you your current account details. They      institution to recover payment.
                                                                                                        will also set up standing orders and direct
                                                                                                                                                           Court action is also likely. Equally, lenders
                                                                                                                                                         can assign the collection process to external
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BACK ON YOUR FEET
                                                                                                          The type of loans can vary depending on        collection companies.
                                                                                                        what they are needed for. With the Credit          When all else fails, lenders and banks can
                                                                                                        Union, for example you can get a standard        sell bad debt to third parties for collection.
                                                                                                        loan for 10,000 over five years on a rate of     Ultimately, the collection process is a              to talk to each of their creditors, explain                What they do not want is to be taken
                                                                                                        10.1% or a car loan for the same amount on       harrowing one for those who endure it.               their situation and request a reduced                    advantage of. If borrowers are open and
                                                                                                        a rate of 6.96%. The difference in the overall     It is often possible to avoid the                  payment for a set period of time or for as               honest, creditors will recognise that they
                                                                                                        cost of the credit would be 835.20 over          nerve-wracking process by simply engaging            long as they would expect to get back on                 have little choice but to co-operate.
                                                                                                        the 10 years.                                    with creditors as soon as a financial                their feet.
                                                                                                          As with most things, shopping around for       difficulty arises.                                     Often, creditors are prepared to work with                            — Frank Conway, founder of
                                                                                                        the best loan can save you money in the            For example, if borrowers have suffered a          their customers who have hit hard financial                                    www.moneycoach.ie
                                                                                                        long-run.                                        cut in wages, their best course of action is         times.

                                                                                                        Increase your chances                              I NEED TO BORROW ...                                National Irish Bank fixed loan
                                                                                                                                                                                                               Monthly repayments: ........................ 47.35
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         National Irish Bank fixed loan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Monthly repayments: ...................... 213.72
                                                                                                                                                               1,000 OVER TWO YEARS:                           Total repayments: ......................... 1,136.46      Total repayments: ....................... 12,823.37
                                                                                                        of getting a loan                                                                                      APR: 13.37%                                               APR: 10.75%
                                                                                                                                                          Credit Union Standard Loan
                                                                                                                                                          Monthly repayments: ..................... 45.98      AIB personal loan                                         AIB personal loan
                                                                                                                                                          Total repayments: ...................... 1,103.52    Monthly repayments: ........................ 47.75        Monthly repayments: ...................... 216.42
                                                                                                        ■ Keep an excellent credit record                 APR: 10.1%                                           Total repayments: ......................... 1,145.97      Total repayments: ....................... 12,985.43
                                                                                                        ■ Keep other borrowings to an                                                                          APR: 14.3%                                                APR: 11.35%
                                                                                                          absolute minimum                                National Irish Bank variable loan
                                                                                                        ■ Keep good bank account details                  Monthly repayments: ..................... 46.57        10,000 OVER FIVE YEARS:                                 Permanent TSB personal loan
                                                                                                        ■ Avoid overdrafts if possible                    Total repayments: ...................... 1,117.56                                                              Monthly repayments: ...................... 219.36
                                                                                                        ■ If looking for a mortgage, be able to           APR: 11.47%                                          Credit Union Standard Loan                                Total repayments: ....................... 13,161.42
                                                                                                          prove you saved much of the                                                                          Monthly repayments: ...................... 210.75         APR: 12%
                                                                                                          deposit on your own                             Bank of Ireland personal loan                        Total repayments: ............................ 12,645
                                                                                                        ■ Permanent employment is generally               Monthly repayments: ..................... 47.21      APR: 10.1%                                                Bank of Ireland personal loan
                                                                                                          a must, especially when it comes to             Total repayments: ....................... 1132.95                                                              Monthly repayments: ...................... 221.17
                                                                                                          a mortgage                                      APR: 13%                                             Ulster Bank personal loan                                 Total repayments: ....................... 13,269.93
                                                                                                        ■ Borrow what you can afford                                                                           Monthly repayments: ...................... 212.60         APR: 12.4%
                                                                                                                                                          ■ Rates quoted are applicable on date of
                                                                                                                                                                                                               Total repayments: ....................... 12,755.96                         — (Calculations www.bonkers.ie)
                                                                                                                                                          publication. Readers should note interest
                                                                                                                                                                                                               APR: 10.5%
                                                                                                                                                          rates may go up or down.

                                                                                                        p28   |                                            |    THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011                                                                                                                      |   p29

                                                                                                        YOUR CONSUMER RIGHTS
                                                                                                        AS consumers we have a lot of legal
                                                                                                        protection of our rights. I am highlighting
                                                                                                        only some of the most important ones                                 DERMOTT                      This is a government funded money and
                                                                                                                                                                                                          budget advisory agency that has offices         ADVICE GROUPS
                                                                                                        here. Every time you buy a product or use
                                                                                                        a service you should know that you enter                             JEWELL                       throughout the country.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Telephone: 1890 283438                          AND CONTACT
                                                                                                        into a contract but also that you are
                                                                                                        protected by law as a consumer.                                      Chief executive of the
                                                                                                                                                                             Consumer Association
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Website: www.mabs.ie

                                                                                                                                                                                                          NATIONAL CONSUMER AGENCY
                                                                                                           The Sale of Goods and Supply of Services                                                       (NCA)
                                                                                                        Act, 1980 is there to ensure that those                                                                                                         information on everything from making a
                                                                                                        goods must be of very good quality, be                                                            This agency was established by the            complain to planning a pension.
                                                                                                        possible to use immediately, be in good                                                           Government in 2007 and according to its       Telephone: 1890 432432
                                                                                                        working order for a reasonable time, last                                                         website it aims to defend consumer            Website: www.itsyourmoney.ie
                                                                                                        and be and do ‘what it said on the tin’.         issue refunds for items during the sale’ or      interests.
                                                                                                        When they are not you are, generally,            ‘No refunds, only credit notes’. They are        Telephone: 01 — 4025500
                                                                                                        entitled to your choice of a refund,             illegal because any such sign must carry the     Website: www.nca.ie                           THE IRISH CREDIT BUREAU
                                                                                                        replacement or repair.                           further advice that ‘This does not affect your
                                                                                                           Similarly, when it comes to services          statutory rights’ — which means that you         CONSUMERS’ ASSOCIATION                        You can get a copy of your credit report
                                                                                                        provided, for example, by builders,              can rely on the Sale of Goods Act that I refer   OF IRELAND (CAI)                              here for 6.
                                                                                                        plumbers, electrician, beauticians,              to above.                                                                                      Telephone: 01 — 2600388
                                                                                                        hairdressers, gardeners and the many more            The code was put into effect in 2007 and     The Consumers’ Association of Ireland         Website: www.icb.ie
                                                                                                        trade people and providers to whom you           also established the National Consumer           publishes Consumer Choice magazine and
                                                                                                        give your hard earned money, you are             Agency (NCA) as the State agency with the        produces reports on products and services
                                                                                                        entitled to expect the products they use to      power, and the budget, to regulate and           available on the Irish market.                FINANCIAL SERVICES OMBUDSMAN
                                                                                                        be all of the aforementioned, plus they must     enforce all of these laws.                       Telephone: 01 — 4978600
                                                                                                        have the professional expertise to provide           The Financial Regulator of the Central       Website: www.consumerassociation.ie           The Financial Services Ombudsman is a
                                                                                                        their advertised service in the first place.     Bank of Ireland, through the Consumer                                                          statutory officer who deals independently
                                                                                                           There is also a wonderful security            Protection Code and other codes, ensures                                                       with unresolved complaints from consumers
                                                                                                        mechanism in place under that consumer           our protection for all dealings with financial   MONEYCOACH                                    about their individual dealings with all
                                                                                                        law when you buy using a credit card. The        lending and credit institutions in Ireland.                                                    financial service providers. It is a free service
                                                                                                        Sale of Goods & Supply of Services Act,          However, it is the Financial Services            MoneyCoach.ie was founded to provide          to the complainant.
                                                                                                        1980 — in Section 14 — makes the finance         Ombudsman Bureau, which ensures that             money advice, which is fully independent of   Telephone: 1890 882090
                                                                                                        house that pays money to a retailer on           unresolved complaints from customers of          banks and lenders.                            Website: www.financialombusman.ie
                                                                                                        behalf of the consumer, equally liable with      financial service providers are mediated,        Email: info@moneycoach.ie
                                                                                                        that retailer to resolve any problem related     investigated and adjudicated on in an            Website: www.moneycoach.ie
                                                                                                        to the purchase. In other words, if you buy a    impartial and independent manner. If you
                                                                                                        suite of furniture using your credit card,       have concerns here then go online to:
                                                                                                        there are problems with it and the company       www.financialombudsman.ie and download           BONKERS
                                                                                                        is refusing you a right to a refund, then the
                                                                                                        credit card company, upon your instruction,
                                                                                                                                                         an application form.
                                                                                                                                                             More than ever we are seeking to enforce     A website that lets users compare prices on     YOUR
                                                                                                        is required to act and credit your account
                                                                                                        with that refund.
                                                                                                           If all else fails the consumer can avail of
                                                                                                                                                         our consumer right to refund, replacement
                                                                                                                                                         or repair for goods or services that we have
                                                                                                                                                         paid for but which are of poor quality, not as
                                                                                                                                                                                                          loans, savings and current accounts, gas,
                                                                                                                                                                                                          electricity, credit cards, broadband and
                                                                                                        the Small Claims procedure for affordable        described and therefore not fit for their        Telephone: 01 — 2560500
                                                                                                        resolution of their rights. The only cost is     intended purpose.                                Website: www.bonkers.ie
                                                                                                          15 and applications are downloaded from            These rights and entitlements have been                                                      If you have a consumer story to
                                                                                                        www.courts.ie.                                   fought for over many years and both                                                              tell contact Niamh Hennessy on
                                                                                                           Know too that the Consumer Protection         determinedly and specifically by the             IT’S YOUR MONEY
                                                                                                        Code is there also to protect you, for           Consumers’ Association of Ireland (CAI). Call                                                    niamh.hennessy@examiner.ie
                                                                                                        example, against illegal signs advising you      the CAI, support the CAI or visit the CAI at     This site comes under the remit of the
                                                                                                        that ‘We do not issue refunds’ or ‘We do not     01-497 8600 and www.thecai.ie.                   National Consumer Agency and gives

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                                                                                                                       Credit Union.
                                                                                                                     Where your savings
                                                                                                                      give you a say.
                                                                                                               A regular savings habit is important, whether you’re saving to pay for
                                                                                                                 something specific or for a rainy day. The difference between your
                                                                                                               credit union and other saving accounts is your savings make you part
                                                                                                                          of your credit union. We look at things differently.
                                                                                                                    Talk to your credit union about saving or visit creditunion.ie

                                                                                                                     Credit Unions in the Republic of Ireland are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

                                                                                                             L | AN IRISH EXAMINER PUBLICATION I F F E R E N T 17,
                                                                                                        W Ep32 O O K A T T H I N G S |D THURSDAY, FEBRUARY L Y2011

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