Tag Archives: Sarah O’Grady

“Your house is a ticking timebomb of maintenance costs!” says insurance company

WARNING over YOUR home: Almost one in five are maintenance ‘timebombs’ this winter

ALMOST one in five homes are maintenance ‘timebombs’ as the winter months approach according to a new survey.

Leaking roofs, broken boilers, blocked guttering, blown electrics and rising damp are only a taster of the problems hitting owners in the pocket as they strive to keep their home in good condition.

In fact, for 18 per cent, owners of 3.2m properties, their dream home has turned into a maintenance nightmare which they lose sleep over, according to a new survey.

Source: Express, 8th November 2016

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With winter upon us, the Express took the time to highlight that our ailing and ageing homes are just one step away from a costly catastrophe as maintenance fees threaten to bite. The Express highlighted this on behalf of an insurance company:

Nearly half (48 per cent) of the 1,800 owners questioned by insurers LV= admit they do not have the knowledge or skills to do their own maintenance work around the house.

In fact, the Express highlighted this specifically on behalf of an insurance company who has launched a new ‘property MOT’ service, to help you identify what maintenance fees might be around the corner:

Selwyn Fernandes, of LV=, which has just launched a free online property MOT service, said: “Keeping up with home maintenance can be a tough and time-consuming job, so it’s understandable that many homeowners might ignore problems or put off important work.

“However, it’s important to keep on top of maintenance and ignoring problems in the home can lead to more serious issues developing and could jeopardise the validity of your home insurance.”

“Houses are really quite expensive, you’ll need some savings!” says mortgage lender

Desperate parents are paying an extra £32k for homes near to top schools

DESPERATE parents are paying an average of £32,127 extra to live in the catchment areas of top-performing schools.

A survey concludes 1.8m households have paid over the odds for their property just to secure a good place.

And 31 per cent of the 4,570 people questioned have gone so far as to change jobs to give their children a helping hand.

Source: Express, 1st September, 2015

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Number of parents moving to their desired school catchment area is increasing, according to Santander research

The extent to which parents are resorting to to live within their desired school catchment area has been revealed in new research from Santander Mortgages as competition for places at the UK’s best schools continues to increase.

The bank surveyed just over 4,500 people to find families are prepared to spend over £32,000 to be near their most sought after school – significantly more than the average full-time UK salary of £27,195.

Source: Independent, 2nd September 2015

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School places desperation revealed: Millions of parents relocate their families at a cost of £32,000 and even change jobs to secure their child a better education

Millions of parents have moved house and even changed jobs to be within their desired school catchment area, research shows.

One in four parents has relocated their family so their children qualify for a place at a good school.

But a survey found almost half of all families who move to be within a catchment area will leave as soon as they have secured places for all of their children.

Less than a quarter said they planned to live in the area they had moved to for their children long-term.

Source: Daily Mail, 2nd September 2015

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Having kids is hugely expensive (I’m told), and buying a house is hugely expensive (I know) – so it stands to reason that buying a house as a parent comes with particularly expensive demands. Still, an extra £32,000 on average? That’s no small amount. What civic-minded institution can we thank for paying for this ‘research’ to appear in the media?

The study by lender Santander says a quarter were forced to downsize to a less attractive home while 31 per cent moved to an area they did not like.

The angle is clear: convince parents that they ought to be aiming high to keep up with the Jones’, and then be the ones to hold their hand when they over-stretch on the mortgage. Fortunately, that’s the kind of dependable and risk-free system sound economic models are based on, with no history of ever having gone wrong in the past…

Santander’s Miguel Sard said: “Being within a certain school catchment area can often come at a cost.

It’s important that parents don’t stretch themselves beyond their means.”

Wise words, Mr Sard, but we’d be more inclined to take them at face value in something other than a glorified advert for your services.

“People are living longer than ever!” says life insurance comparison site

We’re not oldies until we are 80: Poll shows that Britons expect to stay youthful

OLD age does not now start until the age of 80, according to a poll.
The research among people over 40 found that the vast majority of them will not consider themselves to be old until they reach the landmark birthday.

In contrast, previous generations thought of themselves as old at least 20 years earlier.

Healthier and more active lifestyles, staying in work longer and seeing more older people in the spotlight are among reasons for the change in attitude.

Source: Daily Express, 21 May 2014

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You aren’t old until you’re 80! Healthy and active lifestyles mean older people are now staying younger for longer

Old age begins at 80 – almost 20 years later than previous generations believed.

Thanks to healthier and more active lifestyles, working later in life and more public awareness of the elderly and their needs, older people are staying younger longer.

More than one in five Britons even believe you can reach 90 before you are considered old, a study of 2,000 over-40s says.

Source: Daily Mail, 21 May 2014

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Good news for all my septuagenarian readers – you’re not over the hill just yet! It’s official, because an insurance comparison site says so:

A spokesman for PayingTooMuch.com, which commissioned the research, said: “Perceptions of old age have changed a lot over the last few years.

“There was a time when you were considered old or past it as soon as you retired.

“But we are now leading healthier and more active lives well into our 70s. ­

Now, what should you do with that newfound lease of life? Maybe you should make sure you aren’t paying too much for your life insurance, whaddyasay?

“People are also working later in life than ever before. And even if they don’t feel particularly young or fit, it adds to the illusion that they are still young.

‘But while you might not be ‘old’ until much later in life now, it’s important not to put off decisions regarding retirement or later years such as life insurance, wills or pensions.

‘Old age might seem far off for most, but it’s better to be prepared now than regret not doing something later on.’

“Old age is stalking you like a hungry wolf!” says life insurance provider

Old age is slowly but surely, not to mention inescapably, coming for us all – trust me, I know, with my 30th birthday only a few months away. Don’t worry, I’m not panicking, by the time I’m 30 we’ll have cured the ageing process and we’ll all be happily flying round in our jetpacks and double-ties. So I’m fine. But what about the rest of you – just how old are you all feeling?

New ‘research’ published literally everywhere – such as the Express, the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Sun, the Metro and even BBC 4’s The Now Show – reveals just how old and decrepit we all are:

Don’t spill sherry, it’s one of 40 signs you’re getting old

DO you groan when bending down, use the phrase “in my day” or have switched from Radio 1 to Radio 2? Then you’ve got to face it, you’re getting old.

Falling asleep in front of the TV is a sure sign of getting old

Although most people agree there is no set figure that defines old age, certain habits and opinions identify a person as getting on in years.

In a survey of 2,000 people, the 40 most common pointers included taking your slippers to visit a friend’s house and using phrases such as: “It wasn’t like that when I was young.”

Other tell-tale signs were developing a love of sherry, taking a flask of tea on days out and falling asleep in front of the television.

Source: The Express, 18th June 2013

It seems, then, that an awful lot of things we would stereotypically attribute to ‘old people’ – such as drinking sherry, watching the Archers and driving slowly – really genuinely are signs that the shadowy hand of the reaper grows ever nearer. This would be quite a sobering thought, if it weren’t equally plausible that the research instead picked up on what we assume ‘old’ people do, based on the very stereotypes that are reinforced by articles such as these.

Other entries in the list were particularly obvious examples of this effect:

15. Discovering you have no idea what young people are talking about.

This is a textbook example of ‘begging the question’: of course someone who has no idea what ‘young’ people are talking about must be ‘old’ – if they weren’t old, they wouldn’t be able to label the former group as young.

Equally, it’s worth bearing in mind that this list was almost certainly given to participants in the survey who then had to rank which ones they felt were real signs of old age – rather than being a representative sample of responses freely offered by participants. It’s essentially a case of stacking the deck – by asking people to choose from a discrete list you yourself have chosen, with no real opportunity to offer their own suggestions in any meaningful way, you can easily produce exactly the kind of stereotype-friendly and media-pleasing list you need to support your client… who, in this case, is life insurance firm Engage Mutual:

Kathryn McLaughlin, of life insurance specialists Engage Mutual, which conducted the survey, said: “What is interesting is the general expectation across age groups that someone in the ‘older’ bracket will look and behave in a particular way. But with an ageing population, and working beyond retirement age becoming the norm, the reality is that many older people are challenging the ‘pipe and slippers’ stereotype.”

Eight out of 10 people in the survey believed you are only as old as you feel while 76 per cent intend to enjoy their youth for as long as possible. However, more than half were worried about getting old, losing memory, becoming ill and deteriorating physically.

Which, if you ask me, sounds like the kind of thing you should take out life insurance to protect yourself from… wait a minute! Sneaky, Kathryn McLaughlin of Engage Mutual life insurance, sneaky!

Odder still is the fact that Engage Mutual published the exact same story back in 2011 (as featured in the Daily Mail and the Mirror, amongst others), with almost identical entries in their top 50 list, many of which expressed in identical terms – further confirming that these reflect not the open responses of the survey takers, but the desired answers of the survey makers.

Perhaps they didn’t realise that constantly repeating yourself is a sign of old age…