/ Money, Shopping

Brexit: what are your financial concerns?

Brexit EU referendum flag

Last week the UK voted to leave the EU. Whatever your views on Brexit, it’s clear that we’re set for a period of uncertainty when it comes to our personal finances.

We’ve set out the main ways that the vote to leave the EU might affect your wallet, but it’s clear that definitive answers about what will happen may be hard to come by, at least in the short term.

Brexit and interest rates

Savers face uncertain times when it comes to their interest rates. The Bank of England (BoE) base rate has been stuck at a record low 0.5% since 2008, in order to encourage banks to lend and boost the economy. Now, with fears about a possible recession, the Bank may cut the rate to 0.25% or even 0%.

The Governor of the BoE, Mark Carney, stated in his speech on the morning after the referendum that the Bank would consider ‘any additional policy responses’. It’s thought that the first rate cut may happen in August, but this is purely speculation.

The logic of lower interest rates is to make it cheaper to borrow money, which in turn will make people more likely to spend, boosting the economy. This would mean more bad news for savers, but better news for homeowners and those in the market for a mortgage.

Beyond the immediate term, it’s possible that interest rates could start to rise, especially if inflation becomes a concern. It’s thought that inflation may become a problem as the result of a weaker British pound, which could lead to increased prices from the supermarket to the petrol pump.

Uncertain times for investors

Investors, including anyone with a pension invested in the stock market, face a period of uncertainty. And since stock markets hate uncertainty, investors should expect big swings in prices over the coming months.

The FTSE 100 index, which is made up of large, often multi-national companies with earnings around the world, fell substantially in the immediate aftermath of the referendum vote, although it has since bounced back to an extent. The FTSE 250, which is made up of mostly medium-sized and domestically-focused companies, fell more dramatically. At the time of writing the FTSE 250 has also recovered some ground, but is still down by more than 10% since the start of 2016.

However, long term investors with balanced portfolios should be well placed to ride out the storm. And if interest rates are cut you would usually expect shares to go up, all else being equal, as frustrated cash investors seek better returns from riskier assets. The Chancellor George Osborne, following Mark Carney’s lead, has sought to reassure the markets about the strength of the UK economy.

Homeowners post EU referendum

And homeowners may face a less rosy outlook than they’ve become accustomed to, with speculation about the impact the wider economic climate might have on the property market. It’s possible that the market will slow down, as buyers decide to wait and see what happens to asking prices. On the other hand, lower mortgage rates could stimulate demand.

Your Brexit concerns

Which? is committed to helping you with the difficult questions you might face following the UK’s vote to leave the EU. And as negotiations to leave the EU develop, we will work with the government to ensure that the consumer voice is heard and important rights are protected.

Our Which? Money Helpline experts have fielded some Brexit questions since the result of last week’s EU referendum. Some callers have been concerned about their pensions; others wanted to find out whether their savings were safe. We’ve also heard from concerned homebuyers.

We’ll be covering all these issues in Which? Money magazine and on Which.co.uk in the coming weeks and months. We also want to hear what you’re most concerned about here on Which? Conversation.

Will you be making any changes to your personal finances following the EU referendum results? Are there any consumer issues related to Brexit that are worrying you, whether personal finance or not?

Comments
Member

“The value of the pound is the biggest post-Brexit concern among Which? members, according to a new survey.

The value of their pension came next highest, with 71% expressing concern about it, while 68% were concerned about the value of their savings. The price of groceries, and losing the use of the European Health Insurance Card (both 63%) were also key concerns.

Read more: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2016/07/brexit-value-of-the-pound-tops-post-vote-fears-448605/ – Which?

Well, the majority voted for Brexit and there were plenty of “warnings” about the possible consequences of leaving. So I don’t think all these people can be that fearful, otherwise they would have voted to “remain”. Or maybe the survey sample of just Which? members was not representative?

Member

Which? (website 24/7) quotes a poll that says more people will stay put in their homes and improve them rather than move.

They go on to advise to think about the cost of home improvements – like a new bathroom or kitchen – that may not be reflected in any increased value of your home. This seems to perpetuate the notion of your home being primarily an investment, rather than a place to make as comfortable as you would like to live in. I’d suggest, unless you are moving, you spend the money necessary to turn your house into a home you will enjoy.

For my part I’d rather find a home that I can develop to suit my family rather than move unless a relocation was necessary. Saves a lot of money and stress.

Read more: which.co.uk/news/2016/07/brexit-10-of-people-now-more-likely-to-make-home-improvements-449070/ – Which?

Member

According to the German finance minister (I think it was) TTIP between the EU and the USA might well be dead in the water. Interviews in both camps seem to think that was likely, partly because the US is preoccupied with electioneering – and partly because of concerns about a decline in standards.

I think many here might breathe a sigh of relief, but also hope the UK doesn’t simply take it on board. A sensible trade deal that abolishes protective tariffs, upholds the higher standards of those involved, without interference in a country’s rights to organise its public services in their own national interest, would be the outcome I would like to see.

Member

Agreed malcolm , but they are going to sign (the EU ) the Canadian Trade Agreement -CETA and while America are not happy about the Canadian deal being without some measures , if you check up the US owns a lot of Canadian BB so the US are getting in by the backdoor. I also agree about TM not accepting TTIP , but knowing the behind the scenes US pressure she probably will , or is she as “iron ” as Maggie ?

Member

The High Court in London has ruled that the British Parliament does have the right to vote on whether or not to trigger the mechanism for Britain to leave the EU -3-11-2016–against the opinion of the government . Big news ! Big enough for another Convo on it ? and possible RE-emergence of “our Nigel ??

Member

Having the majority of those who voted possibly overruled by parliament does not seem like democracy in action. It seems to me the Government asked for our view, and should respect the outcome, as they were intending. I hope this does not go on for as long as the new runway saga.

Member

Malcolm you dont know half of the high pressure the UK government is under. I get emails from government type organisations telling me of the latest fight to stay in the EU and its isnt coming from radicals this is British powerful people both financially and politically . Add to that even more powerful bodies in the US who are angry at Brexit , we are talking “rulers ” if you know what I mean that “inform” HMG what they think , then you have the banks , I am talking WB/IMF level. I wasnt kidding about Nigel having to come out again.

Member

The EU is proposing a plan to let Brits “opt-in ” to keep their EU citizenship after Britain leaves the EU -IE- “associate citizenship ” -Amendment 882 . Now if this doesnt cause some reaction in the UK then our Nigel is sleeping , it will ,of coarse go down very well in Scotland / NI .