The Covid crisis has opened up a wealth divide between richer and poorer families. Wealthier Brits saved money during lockdowns as they cancelled foreign holidays and saved on commuting costs. In contrast, many poorer families face financial hardship and have mounting rent arrears caused by job losses and reduced income. Across the UK, rent arrears add up to a staggering £360 million according to charity StepChange.

What is behind the rent arrears crisis? Is it likely to continue? And what you can do if you are facing financial difficulty and can’t pay your rent? Here’s what you need to know.

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Why is there a rent arrears crisis?

It’s simple: if you have no money, you can’t pay the bills. And that’s what’s happened for thousands of lower-income families during the Covid crisis. As their money ran out, many poorer families faced escalating rent arrears. Factors leading to the … Read more

After falling on Monday, the FTSE 100 index has rebounded. On Thursday, it closed at 7,078.35 points, up over 240 points (+3.6%) from Monday’s low. But the index is up only 5.6% over six months, so its rebound since last October has slowed. Yet the Footsie has come a long way since 23 March 2020, when it crashed below 5,000. Today, I believe the Footsie is cheap, both in historical terms and versus other major markets. Indeed, I see deep value, particularly within Footsie mega-caps (the largest London-listed companies). Here are five cheap shares I don’t own but would buy today for their chunky dividend yields.

Five fat FTSE 100 dividends

Dividends — regular cash distributions paid to shareholders — play a vital role in the FTSE 100’s total return. Indeed, it’s estimated that roughly half of the index’s long-term returns have come from reinvesting these payouts. At present, the … Read more

You may have seen lots of recent mentions of a Chinese company called Evergrande. It’s likely this business wasn’t even on your radar last week. But what happens with this stock could have far-reaching implications.

I’m going to give you the complete lowdown on what’s going on and how this unfolding crisis could impact your investment portfolio.

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What do we know about Evergrande?

The Evergrande Group (3333) is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and it’s the second-largest real estate property developer in China. 

Real estate is a booming industry in China and has been for years. So to hold the number two spot in such a big sector is a massive deal. This is no cowboy builder outfit. Along with property development, it is also involved in plenty of other ventures such as:

  • Wealth management
  • Owning resorts and amusement parks
  • A mineral water brand
  • Part-ownership of football
Read more

With energy prices set to rise and the news that two firms, Utility Point and People’s Energy, have collapsed, many of us face a winter of worry. So if the worst happens and your energy supplier goes bust, what actually happens? Let’s take a look.

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Will you be cut off if your energy supplier goes bust?

No. If your energy supplier goes bust, you won’t be cut off. In fact, there shouldn’t be any disruption and you might not even be aware of anything changing. Instead, industry regulator Ofgem will transfer you to a new energy supplier. 

What should you do if your energy supplier collapses?

If your energy provider stops trading, you don’t technically have to do anything. You’ll be allocated a new supplier in time. 

However, it’s a good idea to take a meter reading (a photo of your meter with the reading in view is even … Read more

On 7 September, the government announced a hike in share dividend tax, which will take effect from the 2022/23 tax year.

This means that if you receive income from share dividends, you could end up having to pay more tax unless you take action. Here’s what you need to know.

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What is a share dividend?

A share dividend is a payment to investors who hold stocks in a particular company. Dividends are often seen as a way for a business to share its profits with shareholders. 

If you own a business, you can pay share dividends to yourself. This is a popular option among many business owners, as it can be a nifty way of reducing the tax payable via income tax.

For more, see our article on what share dividends are and how they work.

How much is share dividend tax?

Share dividend tax applies to shares … Read more