Could you cope if you got sick?

retirement healthWith millions taking out loans to pay for the festive excess, and three-quarters of workers suffering ill health over Christmas, leading not-for-profit insurer PG Mutual warns UK professionals of the risk of trying to cover the Christmas debts in the event of having to take long-term sick leave. 


The cost of Christmas to UK families has been a subject of much research and media attention since the start of the recession. Recent figures estimate the average family in the UK was due to spend around £1,134.00 on Christmas in 2013,* with additional research showing that up to 7 million people were planning to take out loans to cover the extra expense** – many of these just to cover basic costs such as heating and food.


Taking out extra credit has become an increasingly common way to cover the cost of Christmas, but with 4 million people still paying off the cost of Christmas 2012 in November 2013,*** it appears many people are being left with long-term debt – debt that they would struggle to cover should they lose their income unexpectedly due to an illness or injury that forced them onto state sickness pay, which currently stands at just £86.70 per week.^


Leading insurer, PG Mutual, has warned that many UK professionals could find themselves struggling to meet the cost of their debt repayments in the event of having to take sick leave. With recent research showing three-quarters of UK workers were likely to suffer from ill health over the Christmas period†, PG Mutual believe that it has never been more important for those who rely on a regular monthly income to take preventative measures to ensure that they can keep up their financial repayments – even in the event of ill health resulting in a loss of pay.


PG Mutual Chief Executive, Mike Perry, explains, “In the current economic climate, many people are not only dipping into their savings; they are resorting to credit cards and loans in order to cover extra expenses such as Christmas. While many people will manage their debt sensibly and make regular repayments, unfortunately an unexpected illness or an accident can throw even the most organised person’s finances into chaos.

“By insuring your income, you are making sure that even if you did have to take sick leave, and this significantly reduces your pay, you will still receive a regular monthly payment from your policy – which could be the difference between paying off your debt, and it spiralling out of control.


“We are always surprised at the number of people who don’t have income protection insurance in place – we would advise people who are juggling a lot of financial obligations after the festive period to look into taking out cover. Once you’ve fallen ill or suffered an accident, it’s too late to get insured, but you’ll still need to meet your repayments somehow – something most people would struggle with on state sickness pay.”


To find out how little income protection could cost you per month, or for more information, visit

Gold bars, glass eyes and Star Wars: Bizarre reasons for loans revealed

Finance customers show a loan just isn’t for a new car

A UK-based loans website has revealed ten of the strangest reasons it has received from customers requesting finance.

According to, a web portal which offers access to forty loan companies, not everybody who asks for a loan need money to pay for a new car or to cover other debts.

Explanations given include funding an investment in gold bullion, a new tattoo, and paying bail stress that for various reasons not all of these loans requests were approved.

“Some of the reasons for loans are funny, touching and sometimes shocking,” said Graeme Wingate Customer Service Director , “but as a responsible company our priority is making sure that customers are directed to an appropriate financial solution, and sometimes another loan is not what they need.”

Top ten strange reasons for requesting a loan:

  •             A gold bar
  •             Gender re-alignment surgery
  •             A collection of antique glass eyes
  •             To fund production of home-made rocket
  •             Pay a taxidermist to stuff a pet
  •             To open wallet and impress a new girlfriend
  •             Buy the latest Star Wars memorabilia as a future investment
  •             To pay bankruptcy court fees
  •             A new tattoo
  •             To loan to a friend at a higher interest rate

“Some of the explanations we get never cease to amaze us,” said Graeme , “Just when we thought we’ve heard it all, along comes Glass Eye Man or the Star Wars enthusiast.

“But however funny some reasons may be, you’ve got to worry about their priorities, as most of the loan requests we deal with are for more down-to-earth needs such as household bills and car loans.”

Most popular reasons for requesting a loan:

  •             Rent or Mortgage arrears
  •             Bills
  •             Credit card debt
  •             Car loan
  •             Significant household purchase

“Like any other loan request, we make sure all our customers either get the right deal at the right price or are pointed toward the appropriate advice to deal with their financial situation”, said Graeme.

For the full list of strange loan request resasons please visit

‘Wall Street Whiz Kid’ Says Best Financial Guide is the Oldest One

Financial how-to books come and go – they’re published by the hundreds every year. But Peter Grandich, dubbed “The Wall Street Whiz Kid” by Good Morning America’s Steve Crowley, says the one he relies on has been around for nearly 2,000 years.

“I get my financial guidance from the Bible,” says Grandich, author of Confessions of a Wall Street Whiz Kid ( “Money and possessions are the second most referenced topic in the Bible – money is mentioned more than 800 times – and the message is clear: Nowhere in Scripture is debt viewed in a positive way.”

Grandich, who says his years as a highly successful Wall Street stockbroker left him spiritually depleted and clinically depressed, says the Bible is an excellent financial adviser, whether or not you’re religious.

“The writers of the Bible anticipated the problems we would have with money and possessions; there are more than 2,000 references,” he says. “Our whole culture now is built on the premise that we have to have more money and more stuff to feel happy and secure. Public storage is the poster child for what’s wrong with America. We have too much stuff because we’ve bought into the myth fabricated by Wall Street and Madison Avenue that more stuff equals more happiness.”  He adds, “That’s the total opposite of the truth, and the opposite of what it says in The Bible.”

What’s Grandich’s No. 1 most important biblical rule of finance? “God owns everything. You may have bought that house, but He gave you the money to buy it, so it’s His.”

Some other lessons from the ultimate financial guide?

• Do put money aside for investing: “One of the most revealing parables is Jesus’ story about a wealthy master who left three servants in charge of his financial affairs when he went away on a long journey,” Grandich says. “When he returned, two of the servants had multiplied the coins for which they were responsible. The third buried his to keep it safe.” That last servant ended up out on his ear. The story is a lesson: We must invest our money – and invest wisely.

• Debt’s not prohibited, but it should be avoided: The Bible clearly warns that the borrower will be a servant to the lender, but it also instructs us to lend money. That suggests that there are times when it’s OK to borrow, but it should not become a way of life. The Bible also instructs us to repay what we’ve borrowed.

• The more you make, the more you should give. This is a hard one for people caught up in buying bigger and better things, but there are numerous references to charitable giving. The Bible says that it’s quite all right to buy the bigger house – but the more you make and spend on yourself, the more you need to give to others. That doesn’t include tithing, another very clear demand: God expects you to give 10 percent of your wealth to your place of worship.

• Don’t focus on acquiring possessions. There are many, many warnings that accumulating stuff is dangerous. Material things are fleeting and they’ll do you no good in the long run. What you put your effort into, that’s where your heart will be, Grandich says.

About Peter Grandich

Peter Grandich became renowned in the financial industry when he predicted market crashes and rebounds in The Grandich Letter, a newsletter he created in 1984. It’s currently a blog featuring his commentary on the world’s economies and financial markets as well as social and political topics. Grandich is co-founder, with former New York Giants player Lee Rouson, of Trinity Financial Sports & Entertainment Management Co., a firm that specializes in offering guidance from a Christian perspective to professional athletes and celebrities.

Personal Financial Stress Affecting Retirement Savings and Employee Performance

A survey of employer-sponsored financial education initiatives shows that U.S. workers’ money worries are impacting their work performance and retirement savings plans. (Survey BITLY:

The survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) asked HR professionals key questions, including, “In the past 12 months, have employees been more likely to dip into their employer-sponsored retirement savings plans compared with previous years?” More than half—55 percent—of HR professionals agreed while 17 percent strongly agreed. A little less than a quarter, or 24 percent, disagreed, and three percent strongly disagreed.

When asked the impact of employees’ personal financial challenges upon work performance, roughly one in five—22 percent—of HR professionals cited a “large impact.” Sixty-one percent noted “some impact” while 16 percent responded, “slight impact.” Only two percent of HR professionals observed “no impact” upon workers.

“The source of money woes is unsurprising but the toll it’s taking on both workers and their employers, in addition to the persistence of the weak economy, are all troubling issues,” said Mark J. Schmit, Ph.D., SPHR, vice president of research at SHRM.

A closer look at the impact on work performance shows that:

— 47 percent of HR professionals noticed employees’ struggle with their “ability to focus on work”;
— 46 percent noticed issues with “overall employee stress”;
— 26 percent observed a negative impact on “overall employee productivity”;
— 24 percent said money woes are leading to “employee absenteeism and tardiness”;
— 20 percent are concerned about “overall employee morale”;
— 12 percent noticed a negative impact on “overall employee health” ; and
— Seven percent said “working relationships with other employees” are the least impacted.

To understand what employer-sponsored financial education programs need to cover, the survey examined the sources of personal financial stress.

Nearly half—49 percent—of HR professionals said employees are stressed by an “overall lack of monetary funds to cover their personal expenses.”

Some money woes were more specific like “medical expenses” and “saving for retirement” said 35 percent and 26 percent of HR professionals, respectively.

Twenty-two percent of HR professionals attribute worker money woes to “credit card debt” and the same number also cited “home mortgage payments.”

Roughly 12 percent of HR professionals said “education expenses” were causing workers’ financial stress that was noticeable in the workplace. Education expenses include the employee’s own tuition costs, that for dependent children, or other family members.

More than half, 52 percent, of organizations represented in the survey currently provide financial education to their employees. A closer look shows that 79 percent offer access to an employee assistance program that includes financial counseling and resources. Sixty-eight percent provide financial education specific to employer-provided benefits such are retirement, medical insurance, and flexible spending accounts. Nearly half, or 47 percent, offer financial education limited to retirement-related planning.

Among the 52 percent of organizations that teach employees about financial planning, 39 percent cover budgeting, paying for education, debt reduction, credit card use, homeownership, and taxes.

SHRM surveyed 458 randomly selected HR professionals from its membership.
For details, visit the survey section of SHRM Online at

Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.
For more news, follow @SHRMPress.


About the Society for Human Resource Management
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at and follow us on Twitter—-——————————————————————-

Do you lack confidence in your ability to get a loan?

Heading into 2012, more than a third of U.S. consumers don’t like their chances of getting approved for a loan, according to a recent online survey from new social network lending site Weemba and Harris Interactive.  The survey asked more than 2,000 U.S. adults age 18+, “If you needed to apply for a loan (e.g., home, personal), how confident, if at all, are you that you would be approved for that loan?”  Forty-four percent of respondents said they were “extremely/very confident,” 21 percent said “fairly confident,” and 35 percent said only “somewhat” or “not at all confident.”

“The survey results bear up the fact that a very large portion of the population is still very gun-shy when it comes to applying for a loan; the perception persists that today’s lending environment doesn’t favor them and that’s a roadblock to our economic recovery we need to overcome,” said Annette Gallagher, CEO of Weemba, the social networking site that aims to facilitate connections between borrowers and professional lenders of all kinds. “One of the reasons Weemba was created was to give borrowers an alternative path to securing a loan that saves them time, money, and the fear of rejection – they never hear ‘no’ from a lender.”


Other key findings from the survey include:

  • ·         Confidence appears strongest in the Midwest and weakest in the Southern region.
  Northeast Midwest South West
Extremely/Very Confident





Fairly Confident





Somewhat/Not at all Confident







  • ·         Confidence grows with age.
  18-34 35-44 45-55 55+
Extremely/Very Confident





Fairly Confident





Somewhat/Not at all Confident






  • ·         Employment status appears less of a factor in confidence than one might expect – retirees appear most confident, while “unemployed” appear more confident than “part-time employed”:
  Employed Full-Time Employed Part-Time Unemployed Student Retiree
Extremely/Very Confident






Fairly Confident






Somewhat/Not at all Confident







About the Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Weemba from December 12-14, 2011 among 2,036 adults age 18+. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Sue Parente at



About Weemba

Weemba ( revolutionizes the way borrowers and professional lenders connect via an online financial platform. Weemba provides, by means of unique proprietary methods and state-of-the-art safeguards, a virtual way for borrowers to post their needs and for lenders to find those borrowers.  Protected by a nickname, borrowers post project profiles for lenders to review; interested lenders ask borrowers to access their private information, and if granted access, can contact borrowers directly. Weemba facilitates the borrower-lender interaction without interfering in the negotiation process.


UK Debt

There’s a lot of talk about UK debt at the moment.

As the UK economy continues to decline, research into the shocking extent of the debt problem in the UK has been compiled into a video that’s worth a watch.

Source: Payplan – IVA and Free Debt Management Plan provider.

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