Your Questions

Is there any point in putting savings in bank?

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Is there any point in putting savings in the bank? The interest rates are so low I am not even sure I make my money back with inflation taken into account. Where is the best place to put savings. I am saving for a deposit for a house which I hope to buy next year or the year after.

Michael, Carlow

What rent should I charge my student son?

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My son is going into third year in college and has a sixth month internship for which he will be paid. I haven’t asked him to contribute to bills up to now, but feel I should start doing so now to ease him on his way and also to ease my bills!

I wonder what other people’s experience is? I see this week students can expect to pay at least €500 a month in rent in Dublin. However I feel this is too much. We don’t know how much he will be paid but I doubt it will be more than the minimum wage.

Fiona, Dublin 6

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Should I fix my mortgage?

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I am on a variable rate of 4.7% on a repayment mortgage and wonder if I can get a better deal by getting a fixed rate. I feel that the rate is quite high compared to those on trackers and am not sure what the best thing to do are. The fixed rates are also high but if interest rates start creeping up in the next five years then it might be good. I’m just looking to sound people out who know the market better than I do.

Deirdre P, Dublin

Dear Deirdre,

Fixed rates are generally coming in at between 3.5% and 5.1% in the market.  And with two more interest rate cuts expected within the next six months, it may not seem an attractive time to switch from variable to fixed, especially as the banks are under pressure to pass the rate cuts on to their customers.

A number of factors apply to the rate you will be offered – the ratio of the loan to  the value of your home – LTV and whether you are an existing or a new customer of the bank. New customers generally get preferential rates because the bank is trying to buy your new and long term custom.

Bank of Ireland, for example, is offering new customers fixed term rates of 4.4% and 4.8% on three and five year fixed terms. Existing customers are being offered rates of 4.5% and 5.11% for the same period – all loan to value rates apply.

Its variable rates look a lot more attractive – all under 3.9% depending on the LTV.

Frank Conway, personal debt adviser at www.moneycoach.ie, believes it is a good time to fix. “The market is so volatile at the moment, we don’t know what is going to happen. For security and in terms of managing your finances, it may be a good time to fix.”

Lisa

RTE Money

What’s the best place for savings?

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I have just retired and have 30,000 euro to invest. I am looking for the best interest savings rate up to a period of between 1 to 5 years. I would be grateful if you could advise on best return on my lump sum.. I look forward to hearing from you.

Bernadette

Dear Bernadette,

I suppose the first question you have to answer is – where do you envisage investing? Do you want to put your money on deposit in a bank or do you want to make some kind of investment in a pension, shares, or some other financial vehicle.

For this, you should seek some professional advice.

But before that you should have a look at the type of rates you get on deposit.

The National Consumer Agency runs an excellent comparison site and here’s the link to the section on lump sum investments. You will see you can get more than three per cent interest rate if you agree to lock away your cash for a year or two.

Opting for an ordinary savings account generally won’t be very profitable, but there are some great deals out there as you can see from this section on the National Consumer Agency comparison site on regular savings.

I hope that’s of help.

Lisa, RTE Money

Credit cards and interest on cash

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Q. How long can a credit card company charge me for a cash advance? I normally never use my credit card for cash because I know they charge daily but I was caught short recently and the only card that would work was my credit card. I withdrew €500 which I have since paid back. My problem is I have an outstanding balance of around €2,000 on my card and want to make sure I’m not paying for the cash advance.

Linda, Dublin 14

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