This week my answers to your questions on Avios points, pensions, bank accounts, savings and credit cards.
I love hearing from you, whether it’s on the blog, social media, YouTube or on email. Often you’re asking me questions about your finances, and I’m always glad to help if I have the time.
But I realised that my answers could also be useful to other followers. So I’ll be putting my responses to the best questions into regular articles here on the blog.
Keep reading for some of the questions I’ve been asked, plus the video live from last week with even more!
Watch last week’s Q&A
Am I paying enough into my pension?
I find your information so valuable. I pay the maximum allowance into my LISA and save 21% each month into my work pension. Would you say that is sufficient
Andrew, via Instagram
It sounds like you’re putting in a lot, but whether it’s enough depends on so many things including your age, your salary, how much is already in your pension, how much you want to retire on and when you want to retire..
One way to check how things will add up when you do retire is to use an online calculator. The one from PensionBee is pretty good.
Is it difficult to get an Amex card?
Is it more difficult to get an American Express card than other creditcards?
Coleen, via the live chat on YouTube
It’s not going to necessarily be any harder to get an Amex than any other card . There are obviously a few variables.
Your credit report is a big part of it, but so is the card you apply for. Some premium American Express cards might have a high criteria, but so do other premium credit cards.
The best way to see your chances is to use the eligibility checker for each card – either on the Amex website or on a comparison site. This way you’l l get an indication of how successful your application will be. More on these soft checks here.
Can you recommend a mortgage lender?
I have been following your videos on YouTube. I really like your session as I find them very insightful. I am a 36 years old man, single and self employed. My income has been something between 25k and 35 since 2018 (25K, 30K and 35k). I want to get a mortgage and I was wondering which bank would you suggest for self employed? I am with Nationwide and my credit score is Good (ex) and Excellent (karma).
I would really appreciate for any advice you are able yo give me on this as I have been very unsuccessful on this front because of the fact that I am self employed.
Matthew, via email
Hi Matthew. You’ll need to talk to someone who knows all the market really well and I’d recommend you look at a mortgage broker to help.
You can find some via sites like Unbiased or Vouched For, or use app-based ones like Habito and Trussell. Or ideally a recommendation from a friend!
Andy’s Top Mortgage Tip
Loan-to-Value, or LTV, is how much you borrow against how much the property costs. So if you need to borrow £180,000 against a £200,000 house, you have an LTV of 90%.
The lower the LTV, the better mortgage deals you’ll have access to.
But LTV isn’t fixed at the ratio when you first buy. You’ll be paying off the debt and the property could increase in value, reducing the LTV when it comes to remortgage. Here’s more about how LTV works.
Can I swap all my Avios points to Nectar?
I took advantage of Avios and nectar promo. I had a note to convert in increments up to the value of 1500 but not sure if that is correct as couldn’t see it mentioned your website ? I converted 1600 to Avios last month.
Amit, via Instagram
Hi Amit. Yeah, you can convert them all back – but in multiples of 250. You should see in your Avios account that you’ve got 1500 : 4 x 250 Avios (the equivalent of 4 x 400 Nectar) + 500 bonus Avios. This divides by 250 so you can swap them all.
You will have to phone Avios up to do this, but it only takes a couple of minutes.
Should I ditch Santander?
Andy should I leave santander after cut after cut?
Stephen, via the live chat
If you have the Santander 123 account then definitely. You’re paying £5 a month for very little interest. Even though the fee is changing to £4 in April, the interest rate is dropping too!
But rather than go to a different bank I’d change your account down to a Santander 123 Lite – as long as you are paying your bills from this account. You’ll still get the cashback on those bills but you only pay £2 a month. Then put your interest in a free account with higher interest.
You can read more about the two Santander 123 accounts here.
How to ask me questions
The best ways to get in touch is in the Andy Clever Cash Facebook community
Just post your question any time, or ask me live in my weekly Q&A each Thursday (which is also on Instagram and YouTube).
You can also comment on individual blogposts and videos or ask me questions via these channels:
I can’t promise I’ll be able to answer all questions but I’ll do my best.