The government’s rent a room scheme allows you to earn £4250 tax-free gross income every year from renting furnished accommodation in your home.
www.mondaytofriday.com is a medium-long term lodging service for the working week which enables homeowners to rent out a spare bedroom in their home from Monday to Friday and have it back ready for weekend visitors. Whether you’re struggling to make mortgage repayments, empty nesters with too much space, or simply want some extra cash for a holiday or to top up your pension; taking in a weekday lodger can provide the solution.
According to Sam Hubbard, Managing Director of Encompass Financial Solutions, “Using that tax free cash as a monthly overpayment on your mortgage could reduce your £100,000 mortgage term by over 10 years and save you over £20,000 in interest. These figures also ignore the added bonus that you will be mortgage free after 15 years”.
Janet Avison, 55, found that her property held the key to making her home her own.
Janet plans to retire in the next 5 years but would like to pay her mortgage off first. Her daughter left home 2 years ago, and although her grown up son still lives in the family home, there was plenty of room to take in a lodger.
Janet’s spare room generates £345 a month and £4250 of this revenue each year is completely tax free. By using this extra cash to overpay on her mortgage, Janet will be mortgage free in time for her retirement.
According to site founder Judy Niner, “Mondaytofriday renting means that you only share your home for the working week, meaning much less intrusion. It’s a small price to pay for such a great impact on the cost and length of a mortgage.
For further information on the rent a room scheme, visit www.gov.uk/rent-room-in-your-home/becoming-a-resident-landlord
As many people are aware, the bonfire and fireworks celebrations commemorate the uncovering of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. What is perhaps less well publicised is that Guy Fawkes was essentially just the ‘fall guy’, he was neither the instigator nor the leader of the plot to murder King James I and most of the Protestant aristocracy along with him.
November 5th is now synonymous with Guy Fawkes and his capture, despite the fact that he was merely the individual chosen to go and light the fuse.
the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason why
Should ever be forgot!”
If you’re a fan of sparklers, rockets and Catherine wheels, there are some fantastic free Bonfire Night fireworks displays happening throughout the country. Here are a few of the best:
If you find yourself in Blighty on 5 November and need an excuse to eat burnt sausages while watching the sky light up, here are five great fireworks displays to commemorate one of history’s biggest failures. Bless him, that Guy Fawkes.
Glasgow Fireworks 2012
5th November 2012
A spectacular free event for all the family
Glasgow’s biggest and best free fireworks display returns on Monday 5th November. With a pre-firework music show the event is suitable for all ages and with free admission you can’t go wrong!
For more information, visit http://events.glasgowlife.org.uk/event/1/glasgow-fireworks-2012
Lord Mayor’s Firework show
Saturday 10th November 2012 – Fireworks commence from approx. 5pm
The annual Lord Mayor Show is an all day extravaganza featuring some of the most spectacular fireworks you’re ever likely to see and all for free! For more information, visit http://www.lordmayorsshow.org/
Ottery St Mary
Stand well back and enjoy one of the most bizarre bonfire night events in the country. A strong local tradition, flaming barrels are carried by chosen and worthy Ottery St Mary natives. It may be odd but it is nice to see a small town have an individual tradition that dates back 100’s of years.
The dates are yet to be confirmed, check http://www.otterytarbarrels.co.uk/ nearer the time for further information.
Lewes Bonfire Celebrations
Not for the faint hearted, Lewes offers one of the biggest and most passionate Bonfire Night celebrations in the UK. Local ‘Bonfire Societies’ converge in Lewes bringing with them a whole host of unique customs, processions, bonfires and firework spectacles that climax in various parts of the town. Whilst the centre of the action is not suitable for young children, find yourself a good spot and celebrate Bonfire night in some style! With six different bonfire sites, precessions and legendary displays, Bonfire Night in Lewes is nothing short of epic.
Rounhay Park, Leeds
Leeds hosts a night of a thousand sparklers at Roundhay Park with West Yorkshire’s biggest Bonfire Night celebrations. Tens of thousands of people flock to the annual bonfire and fireworks display in the historic park. Kick off at 7.30pm
Have you ever considered setting up your own business?
With the default retirement age having been phased out, most people can now work for as long as they want to and will not be made to retire at the age of 65. This means that those over 50 could have another 20 plus years of working life ahead of them if they felt so inclined.
The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME), referred to as The Prince’s Initiative, is the only national organisation dedicated to supporting business creation by over 50s entrepreneurs.
The Prince’s Initiative was established by HRH The Prince of Wales in response to the many letters he was receiving from people over 50 who were eager to work but could not find employment because of their age.
Since establishing in 1999, they have helped more than 25,000 over 50s to set up in business. It is also interesting to note that nearly half (48%) of over 50s who set up their own business are trading after 5 years of being launched, compared with only 29% of businesses started by people aged 18-49 years old.
Richard and Karen Kemp from Stafford are a prime example, seeing Richard’s redundancy aged 53 as an opportunity to change their lives and set up their own catering company after attending a course held by The Prince’s Initiative.
Putting in the hard work, combined with a determination to succeed, the couple are proving that age is no barrier to achieving their business goals, having booked 43 weddings and growing the business by 600% in the last couple of years.
If the idea of working for yourself is appealing and you have a passion for something that can be made into a business, it’s never too late to become your own boss.
For further information on the Prince’s Initiative, visit www.prime.org.uk
With all the stories of doom and gloom surrounding the economy and how this affects savings and pensions, we wanted to highlight some of the perks of being in your more mature years.
Here are our top 5 benefits:
1. Free/Discounted Travel
If you are old enough to claim your state pension and live in England you are also able to claim an older person’s bus pass. This entitles you to free bus travel at off-peak times – that’s between 9:30am and 11pm Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and on public holidays.
Once you turn 60 you are eligible for a Senior Railcard. It will cost you £26 a year but given that the card gives you a third off all UK rail tickets you’ll quickly make your money back. You can apply at www.railcard.co.uk or at your local train station.
2. Winter Fuel Payment
If you were born before 5 July 1951 you are entitled to a tax-free lump sum to help you with your fuel bills during winter. How much you’ll get depends on your living arrangements. You don’t need to act, the money will be automatically paid to you!
3. Free TV Licence
If you are 75 or over then you’re entitled to a free TV licence, saving you £145.50 a year!
4. Free Prescriptions
Whilst the rest of us grumble about paying £7.65 for prescriptions, those of you who are over 60 (or living in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland) can frequent the pharmacy as often as you like for free prescriptions.
If you embrace your age and shout about it when you enter a museum, art gallery or theme park, you’ll probably find yourself in line for a discount on the admission price. For example, annual membership to English Heritage properties for the over-60s is £12 cheaper than for younger adults.
With Olympic fever gripping the country and the countdown on to the opening ceremony this Friday, here at OscarUK, we have been looking at ways for the over 50s to get active and the benefits this can provide.
Taking part in regular physical activity is important for all age groups but especially for those aged 50+ as it can not only improve your health and quality of life, it can also help you to live longer.
Try to exercise daily for 15 to 30 minutes - research in The Lancet suggests short bursts of physical activity can lengthen lifespan by three years.
It’s never too late to start doing some exercise…maybe you’ve been inspired by our Olympic athletes and would like to try something different such as archery, fencing or badminton.
The benefits of physical activity include:
• More energy
• Sleep better
• Increased self confidence
• Meeting people
• Learning something new
Taking part in physical activity can also help to tackle health problems through the management and control of Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, joint problems and high cholesterol.
So, whether you want to build stamina through dancing or cycling, increase strength through walking uphill or improve your flexibility by taking part in yoga or pilates, now has never been a better time to get started and dust off your trainers!
With National Picnic Week taking place this week, a new poll has revealed the top locations in the UK for an al fresco lunch.
According to the survey, conducted by OscarUK.co.uk, the leading concessions website for the over 50s, half of those surveyed will be packing up the wicker basket and tartan rug to head for Kew Gardens, followed closely by the shores of Loch Lomond in Scotland and Malham Cove in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.
TOP PICNIC SPOTS IN THE UK
1. Kew Gardens, London (50%)
2. Loch Lomond, Scotland (48%)
3. Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales (47.5%)
4. Fell Foot, Lake District (46%)
5. Brownsea Island, Dorset (38%)
6. Lands End, Cornwall (37%)
7. Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire (33%)
8. Tennyson Downs, Isle of Wight (27%)
9. Averbury Stone Circle, Wiltshire (26%)
10. Padley Gorge, Derbyshire (24%)
Peter Simpson, managing director at OscarUK, commented: “There’s something exciting about packing a hamper with goodies and heading off to find the perfect picnic spot, whether it’s by a lake, on the beach, in the countryside or even your own back garden. The over 50s are going back to the secret seven adventures of their childhood, filling a hamper with food and lashings of ginger beer to head out with friends and family for a traditional day out!”
The survey also found that OscarUK members are choosing day trips and mini breaks in the UK over holidays abroad as concerns about the effects of rising inflation and their pension pots continue. Almost a third of over 50s (29%), traditionally the most affluent consumer group, are planning on cutting costs by taking day trips with picnics in the UK rather than a longer break overseas.
Continued Peter Simpson: “Demand for discounts and offers are at an all-time high among our 10,000 members. Through the bespoke offers on eating out, discounted travel, money off attractions and events and cut-price theatre tickets on our website, we estimate that every OscarUK member can save an additional £1,400 a year. A fantastic saving for those watching the pennies but still wanting to enjoy life to the full.”
Congratulations to Don Ramsay, Brenda Howard and Valerie Seal who have all won a copy of The Best of British board game!
The family themed game, produced by Drumond Park, the UK’s leading independent games company, includes questions on real-life, finger-on-the-pulse 21st century British lifestyle situations – guaranteed to entertain, amuse and enlighten. Perfect for the year in which we celebrate being Brits with events such as the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.
Brenda, Don and Valerie were all delighted to have been chosen as winners and can now look forward to testing family and friends on all things British!
Don said: “I’d like to say how happy I am to have won it. My family and I all enjoy board games immensely and we can’t wait to get started with this one.”
If you missed out on entering this competition, keep checking back on the website as there will be more opportunities to win through other competitions over the coming months.
If you’re at a loose end and can’t decide what to do this Jubilee weekend, we’ve done the hard work for you!
Here are some of the events happening around the country:
• The Diamond Jubilee website – where you can send a message to the Queen and search for Royal Events near you.
• Windsor – home to two of the UK’s Top 20 visitor attractions – Windsor Castle and LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort – but there are many more to visit and enjoy throughout the borough.
• Bodysgallen Hall – standing in over 200 acres of its own parkland to the south of Llandudno with spectacular views of Snowdonia and Conwy Castle. Believed to have 13th century origins, Bodysgallen Hall provides all that is best in country house hospitality.
• Dorset – what better place to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee than in the traditional English countryside?
Take a look at our special accommodation deals for this momentous Bank Holiday.
• Visit London – There are special Diamond Jubilee events taking place across London, including The Diamonds Exhibition at Buckingham Palace and a Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the river Thames. Dig out your flags and bunting and help celebrate The Queen’s 60 years on the throne!
• The London Pass – a sightseeing city card which delighted over one million visitors, helping them to make the most of their trip. Free entry to over 55 top London attractions and tours. Save 10% with VisitLondon.
Peter Simpson, Managing Director at OscarUK, comments how the recent budget announcement will affect the UK’s over 50s.
“Well, George Osborne sprung a couple of surprises in his budget speech, when we all thought it had all been leaked in advance.
“Firstly, in his attempt to give everyone the same Personal Allowance, he imposed a Granny Tax. This does take away the extra benefit older OscarUK members get at a time when they are being squeezed by higher bills and less interest on their savings.
“Younger members gain from the useful increase in the Personal Allowance to £9215.
“But then everyone who likes a hot pie to take away is now facing a 20% increase in the cost because George, who appears not to be a pie lover, has imposed VAT on them.
“The press has had a field day, however some would say simplifying the Personal Allowance system is not so bad an idea but why, in this age of austerity, are we penalizing hot pasties, pies and sausage rolls - we need a bit of warmth in our lives!
“The other tax changes are not terribly relevant to most of us. Unless you are earning over £150,000 a year or own a mansion worth over £2million, it is not a budget to get excited about. Although a few more people will be paying higher rate tax.
“But on to the bigger picture. The Budget is broadly neutral; the extra taxes for some are about the same as the lower taxes for others. Unfortunately, things will stay very tight and we cannot expect much improvement in 2012.
“It does mean continuing lower returns on savings for those OscarUK members who are net savers and that is a real burden. The alternatives also remain a concern as the stock market is likely to be sluggish if Europe does not grow.
“The good news is that inflation is coming down, but those hikes in utility and fuel bills are already fixed in place.
“We say, come on George, show a bit of warmth for the over 50s and give us our hot pies back at a reasonable price.
“This does not look likely so all the more reason to look for good deals on your spending and take advantage of all the discounts and offers you are entitled to. Now’s the time to click on to www.oscaruk.co.uk and see what OscarUK can do for you that the Chancellor hasn’t!”
OscarUK.co.uk can provide yearly savings of up to £1,249 per person in the UK. Discounts range from membership of associations, to football league season tickets and National Express half price fares.
Remaining active can help to maintain both mental and physical health, so whatever activities you enjoy doing, whether its gardening, walking or dance classes, try to keep these up to preserve your strength.
As we get older, some people find that they can no longer eat as much food at a single setting so 5 small meals a day could be the answer - eat little and often to keep your metabolism going throughout the day.
Healthy eating is important at any age so try to eat as many different colours and types of vegetable and fruits, choose whole grains for bread, pasta and rice and limit foods high in sugars.
Although it’s advisable to cut out saturated fat as much as you can, ‘good’ fats, such as olive oil, avocado and nuts, can be very beneficial to include in your diet. These are monounsaturated fats, which helps to keep your arteries clear so it’s good for your heart and can keep your cholesterol levels healthy. Here are some easy ways to include olive oil in your diet:
· Substitute butter or margarine for olive oil where possible
· Use it to make a dressing for your salad
· Make pesto and serve it with pasta
A good diet will keep your hair, skin and teeth in good condition and maintain a healthy immune system.
A balanced, healthy diet combined with regular exercise will keep you physically fit and feeling good!