Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
Welcome to Ask Jasmine, the column where I round up some of the questions I have received from readers. In this edition, I answer questions about pensions, dealing with letting agencies, and Lifetime ISAs.
I hope these answers can help you with any questions you may have. Don’t forget to leave any questions you have in the comments below or email me on [email protected].
Good morning, Jasmine, I am so grateful to know that there is someone – you – to offer me help on pensions.
I really do not know how much pension money I am due, weekly or monthly. I cannot get through to any of the following people: AgeUK, Wimbledon Guild and more. Nearly every day I pick up the phone and dial one of these institutions. Immediately, their phone states that “due to a backlog we are unable to help: please try again.”. I sit for at least half an hour waiting for someone to pick up their phone, all to no avail.
All I want to know is: What is happening about my pension? I was given a pamphlet when I went to AgeUK in Mitcham nearly two months ago. Then, I was that told that due to staff working from home they could not help because of the long queue “so please phone later”.
I look at my bank statement every month and wonder why my pay is lower than advertised. I’m 80 years old and my weekly pension is sometimes only £100. Can you help me please? I would be very grateful.
I’m so sorry to hear that you have had such a difficult time in trying to speak to various organisations. Unfortunately, you are not alone in this.
It would definitely be worth contacting the Pension Service directly. They should be able to quickly confirm exactly what you are entitled to.
You can contact them on 0800 731 0469. They, too, may have call-waiting times, I’m afraid.
Here is a link to the government’s website on pensions where you may also find some useful information. Click here.
I do hope you get the answers you need and that this will be rectified soon.
Please do let me know how you get on.
I need advice regarding the matter of a letting agency who didn’t investigate or check on the tenants in a property belonging to my daughter and her partner. The property was trashed and the rent is sometimes not paid. Is there a time limit on such matters? It has left my daughter very stressed.
Unfortunately, I am not an expert in this field, however there are steps your daughter can take.
Has your daughter already made a written complaint via the letting agent’s complaints procedure – or directly to the manager/owner?
If not, she should write to them ensuring her letter includes:
If she has already taken this step and has not received a response or satisfactory answer, she can take this further and complain to an independent complaints body.
Both of these bodies allow you to make a complaint. Each site also has a search facility where you can enter the letting agent’s name to see which body they belong to. Again, do include any correspondence with the agents to date.
If your daughter would prefer to speak to them first, the contact numbers are:
I do hope this will be able to help and I wish your daughter every success in being able to resolve this in her favour.
If I open a Lifetime ISA in March 2023, putting £4,000 in the bank, will I get given £1,000 in April as the tax year ends then?
Do I get £1,000 as it is 25% of what I put in, but with only one month’s interest on top?
Also, I understand can only withdraw the bonus money after it [has been] in the Lifetime ISA for a year, but after a year, can I put another £4,000 in there, meaning a total of £9,000 plus 25% from the government on top? If so, by April 2024, will my initial £8,000 become £11,250 due to the 25% bonus from the government, plus interest?
That’s nearly right, but the £1,000 (25%) you get from the government isn’t actual interest, so it doesn’t quite work like that.
Certainly, at the end of March 2023, if you put £4,000 in you will get an extra £1,000.
Then at the end of March 2024, if you have put another £4,000 in you will get an extra £1,000 added in. So, you will definitely have £10,000.
However, the interest you get on the ISA overall will depend on what you have put the money into. If you put it in a Cash ISA that gives you 2% then you will get 2% on the money you have had in the ISA over those months (amount will vary as the actual cash you and the government will have put in will change over those months). If you put it into a Stocks and Shares ISA that gives you a 7% return then, again, you will make 7% on whatever money is in the ISA.
The 25% extra that the government puts in isn’t actually interest – it’s just a bonus really.
Hope that helps.