Have a 401(k) or IRA? Not keeping an eye on this number could cost you dearly
Everyone with a retirement account should keep an eye on 70½. That's the quirky age when investors typically must start pulling money out of Individual Retirement Accounts and workplace 401(k)-style plans – or face the consequences.
There are exceptions, such as if you're still working and participate in a 401(k) program, but the general rule is to start making withdrawals after hitting 70½. Failure to pay heed can mean a 50 percent tax penalty on the amount that was supposed to be withdrawn but wasn't.
President Donald Trump recently ordered a review of RMD rules, specifically asking the Treasury Department to consider adjusting the amounts that people must withdraw each year after hitting 70½. It's one of several actual or potential tax changes or revisions Americans should be watching.
The "required minimum distribution" rule that kicks in after 70½ applies to tax-deferred accounts including traditional IRAs and 401(k) plans on which people paid no taxes when they contributed money and haven't yet paid taxes on accrued earnings.
The rules are designed to "make sure that these plans are used to fund the owners' retirement rather than the heirs' inheritance," Richard Kaplan, a law professor at the University of Illinois, said in a recent commentary.
The RMD rule doesn't apply to Roth IRAs, as these plans are funded with after-tax contributions. Roth withdrawals can be delayed until the account owner's death.
After hitting 70½, investors with traditional IRAs and 401(k) plans must pull out a portion of their account and pay taxes on the proceeds. The yearly withdrawal amounts, based on a government life-expectancy schedule, rise each year, meaning higher and higher distributions.
Trump has ordered the Treasury Department to review that schedule with an eye on lowering the required withdrawal amounts to reflect slightly longer life expectancy. That would result in slightly smaller yearly required withdrawals.
Many account owners, upon reaching 70½, are finding that they don't yet need to live on money withdrawn from their accounts.
Kaplan thinks a review of this policy also could lead to a new age for starting RMDs – something he considers much more critical. The triggering age of 70½ was established in 1982 and should be increased, in his view.
"Adjusting that age for the increase in life expectancy since then would bring it closer to 75 years old," he said.
Ed Slott, a retirement plan expert in suburban New York City, also favors boosting the starting age to 75, if not higher. "That would be great, the better way to handle (increased life expectancy)," he said.
The Treasury Department can change the yearly schedule but not the starting age for mandatory withdrawals without Congress' approval. Kaplan doesn't think that's likely to happen before midterm elections in November but he considers it a possibility after that.
Separate from Trump's executive order on mandatory withdrawals, Congress passed legislation in late September, the Family Savings Act of 2018, that also could change some of the rules regarding IRAs and age 70½.
This bill, if it becomes law, would exempt people with small retirement balances from having to make RMD withdrawal calculations and deal with possible penalties. People with less than $50,000 in combined retirement-plan assets would be able to withdraw money whenever they wanted and in whatever amounts, Slott said.
A related provision from that legislation would allow people to contribute money into IRAs past age 70½. Currently, that's not allowed. It would apply only to those individuals who continue to work beyond that age, as earned income still is required for making IRA investments.
The Internal Revenue Service continues trying to educate the public about the considerable changes brought about by last year's tax-reform legislation – and for good reason. Reform was supposed to simplify tax-return preparation, but a review of the rules just involving itemized deductions shows that hasn't been the case.
The government expects fewer people will itemize, instead taking the standard deduction, which was nearly doubled to $12,000 a year for single taxpayers and $24,000 for married spouses. Personal exemptions, meanwhile, were discontinued.
Among itemized deductions that were retained, you may continue to write off charity contributions. So too for medical and dental expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of income in 2018 (there's no such medical deduction limit on Arizona state returns).
State and local income, sales and property taxes remain deductible but only up to $10,000 in total, for both singles and married couples. Gambling losses are still deductible up to the amount of winnings.
Itemized deductions that are no longer allowed include job-related expenses and other miscellaneous deductions above a 2 percent AGI floor. Moving-expense deductions also are out (except for active-service military personnel).
Deductions for home-mortgage interest are tricky, partly because of timing and partly because this tax break isn't based on the amount of interest paid but, rather, the debt tied to it. For mortgages incurred after Dec. 15, 2017, this deduction, in general, is limited to interest on up to $750,000 of debt incurred to buy a home.
Meanwhile, interest on home-equity debt remains deductible if you use the proceeds to buy, build or improve a dwelling, such as by remodeling. Interest isn't deductible if you spend the proceeds to pay down credit-card debt or splurge on a car or big vacation.
If you need to review your tax information from a prior year, you might want to request a free tax transcript from the IRS. These are summaries showing various information listed on your return, including adjusted gross income and numbers from forms and schedules.
"Tax return" transcripts show information as you filed it, without any later changes. "Tax account" transcripts show basic information plus any changes made later. Mortgage and student-loan lenders might accept the information on a transcript rather than requiring a copy of the full return. You can order transcripts by filing Form 4506-G with the IRS.
The IRS has revamped its transcript formats with an eye on protecting taxpayer identities. The new formats still display relevant income and tax information but redact sensitive information such as a taxpayer's full name, Social Security number, Employer Identification Number, address, phone number and more.
The idea is to make it harder for criminals to impersonate taxpayers and file fake returns in their names.
The new forms will display only the last four digits of Social Security numbers, the first four characters of a last name and other truncated information.
October 11, 2018
Sources: USA Today
st year according to the latest Halifax house price index, which also revealed the second largest monthly drop in values since September 2010. </p><p>Across the country, annual price growth slowed from 1.3 per cent in December to 0.8 per cent in January, one of Britain's biggest lenders says. </p><p>Down: House prices have dropped £6,000 in a month, Halifax data shows</p><p>The average house price now stands at £223,691, more than £6,000 lower than December, meaning prices have now fallen in four months out of the last six. </p><p>However, December did see 102,330 home sales, which means 100,000 homes or more have now been sold for the fourth consecutive month.</p><p>Revising his bold projection from last month, Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said price growth is now expected 'to remain subdued in the near-term'.</p><p>He said: 'Attention will no doubt be drawn towards the monthly fall of 2.9 per cent from December to January, the second time in three years that we have seen a drop as a new year starts.</p><p>'However, the bigger picture is actually that house prices have seen next to no movement over the last year, with annual growth of just 0.8 per cent.</p><p>'This could either be viewed as a story of resilience, as prices have held up well in the face of significant economic uncertainty, or as a continuation of the slow growth we've witnessed over recent years.'</p><p>House prices dropped nearly 3% last month after a surprisingly strong December. Halifax has now revised down its prediction for house price growth in the near future</p><p>He added: 'There's no doubt that the next year will be important for the housing market with much of the immediate focus on what impact Brexit may have.</p><p>'However, more fundamentally it is key underlying factors of supply and demand that will ultimately shape the market.'</p><p>According to Halifax, the quarterly figure provides the clearest indication of overall market trends, 'smoothing out the monthly volatility caused by the reduced number of monthly transactions used to calculate all house price indices'.</p><p>On that basis, quarterly prices are down 0.6 per cent, which compares to a 0.3 per cent fall in December and 1.1 per cent drop in November. </p><p>The figures are based on its own mortgage approval data. </p><p>Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY ITEM Club, said: 'The Halifax reported house prices plunged 2.9 per cent month-on-month in January, which was the second largest monthly drop since September 2010.'</p><p>He said January's drop was 'clearly partly a correction' after house prices surprisingly spiked 2.5 per cent month-on-month in December.</p><p>Mr Archer added: 'Caution over making major purchases will likely be magnified in the near-term by current heightened uncertainties over Brexit.'</p><p>Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: 'What we are seeing on the ground is the release of some pent-up demand prompting more listings, viewings and offers over the past few weeks than we dared hope for.</p><p>'However, interest is very patchy and real value must be perceived, otherwise little market change will result.</p><p>'Looking forward, we do not expect any significant improvement at least until the odds on a Brexit deal improve.'</p><p>Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: 'Flat growth is probably the best we can hope for given the current tricky political situation we find ourselves in.</p><p>'Brexit has caused a slowdown in purchase activity as would-be buyers sit on their hands, waiting for the outcome before committing to something as major as buying a new home.</p><p>'Fewer transactions has meant less business for lenders, yet they remain keen to lend.'</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
Struggling fashion brand Superdry bemoans warm weather as store sales melt and online sales slip too
d coats - was not best pleased about last year's warmer-than-usual weather, and has blamed balmy temperatures for a sharp decline in sales. </p><p>The under-pressure company's store sales sunk 8.5 per cent in the last three months, including Black Friday and Christmas. </p><p>Melting sales: Superdry said that warm weather dampened its sales in the last three months </p><p>Unlike many of its rivals, there was no digital surge to help offset the High Street decay. Superdry's online sales slipped 0.7 per cent during the period. </p><p>Boss Euan Sutherland described the quarterly performance as 'subdued', pointing to 'ongoing legacy product issues' as well as the 'unseasonably warm weather'. </p><p>'We continued to be impacted by the ongoing product mix and relevance issues we have previously highlighted and by the lack, until the end of quarter three and the start of quarter four, of any prolonged period of cold weather in our key markets,' he said.</p><p>The stock barely moved in early trading today, however, with much of the investor disappointment already priced in. </p><p>Superdry is understood to be in the midst of a boardroom bust-up; co-founder and 18.5 per cent stakeholder Julian Dunkerton is frustrated by the firm's lacklustre performance and hankering to make a return to the helm. </p><p>Co-founder and stakeholder Julian Dunkerton (above) is said to be putting pressure on shareholders to vote for his reinstatement to the board </p><p>According to AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould, today's numbers will only have fuelled Dunkerton's ambitions further. </p><p>'Today's weak update from Superdry is hardly likely to dissuade Julian Dunkerton from his efforts to seize back control of the company. All eyes will be on Dunkerton now and what his next move might be,' he said. </p><p>Mould added that Superdry's falling online sales 'begs the question of whether its web-based sales platform is fit for purpose and/or if its brand still resonates with its target demographic'. </p><p>Global Data analyst Amy Higginbotham said Superdry's weak ecommerce performance is 'especially worrying' given that 'spend continues to shift online as competition from young fashion online pureplays intensifies'. </p><p>'Both ASOS and boohoo.com stock own-brand sportswear and athleisure ranges at competitive prices,' she said. </p><p>Superdry's saving grace was its wholesale division, where sales rose nearly 13 per cent. </p><p>Sutherland insisted that the company's transformation plan - aimed at slashing £50million of costs by 2020 and making its products more diverse - is making good progress. </p><p>'We are pleased with the early progress being made with our transformation programme, designed to reset the business and deliver a return to higher levels of growth and profitability,' he said. </p><p>A zipped up: Superdry is trying to become less reliant on its cold weather wear</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
'all options to enhance value to shareholders' sent the firm's shares up over 13 per cent this morning.</p><p>In its first quarter trading update, Thomas Cook revealed it has swung to a £60million operating loss. </p><p>Review: Thomas Cook could end up selling its airline arm </p><p>The company said it needed 'greater financial flexibility and increased resources' to invest in its own-brand hotels. </p><p>The group wants more control over its hotels to make them more customisable, it says, such as offering a sunbed booking service. </p><p>Thomas Cook's chief executive, Peter Fankhauser, said: 'As expected, the knock-on effect from the prolonged summer heatwave and high prices in the Canaries have impacted customer demand for winter sun. </p><p>'Where Summer 2018 bookings started very strongly, bookings for Summer 2019 reflect some consumer uncertainty, particularly in the UK, and our decision to reduce capacity which will both mitigate risk in our tour operator business and help our airline to consolidate the strong growth achieved last year.'</p><p>Results: Thomas Cook suffered a £60million loss in its last quarter</p><p>Thomas Cook's share price tanked last year after it posted a profit warning in September. </p><p>The travel group saw its operating loss rise by £14million year-on-year for the three months to the end of December, with holiday booking levels down.</p><p>The firm operates a fleet of 103 aircraft, carrying more than 20million passengers, and generated £3.5billion in revenue last year, with underlying operating profits growing 37 per cent to £129million. </p><p>Revenue increased by just over 1 per cent to £1.66billion over the period.</p><p>For its winter seasons, total bookings are up 8 per cent, but average selling prices are 10 per cent lower overall.</p><p>The summer 2019 programme is 30 per cent sold, slightly ahead of last year, and tour operator bookings are down 12 per cent.</p><p>Peter Knapp, chairman and chief creative officer at Landor: 'It comes as no surprise that Thomas Cook is looking to sell off its airline brand, which has become conspicuously old-fashioned. </p><p>'The market today is increasingly polarised between low-cost, low-frills short haul airlines and luxury, long-haul carriers. Unfortunately for Thomas Cook, its airline fits into neither category and no one knows what it actually stands for now.</p><p>'We don't yet know who will buy the brand, but easyJet and Ryan Air are potential would-be buyers, looking to grab its lucrative airport slots to holiday locations.'</p><p>Ed Monk, associate director from Fidelity Personal Investing, said: 'The past year has been a holiday nightmare for Thomas Cook. It plunged from profit to loss and saw its debts piled up to £389m at the time of its last update in November. </p><p>'Today's first quarter results show losses grew again but at least showed no worsening of full-year earnings expectations, with winter breaks to the Nordics and Continental Europe down on last year but trips to Turkey and North Africa higher.</p><p>'Net debt remains the huge problem, however, and jumped to £1.588bn. That coincides with the company announcing a 'strategic review' of the profitable and growing Group Airline business, which has seen profits rise 37% in the past 12 months. The company is now considering 'all options', which could mean a sale.'</p><p>Upbeat: Shares in Thomas Cook have increased by 13% this morning </p><p>Meanwhile, Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: 'Referencing a hangover from the warm and sunny summer of 2018 as part of an effort to explain a fall in winter bookings seems like clutching at straws by tour operator Thomas Cook.</p><p>'More credible is the argument that consumer uncertainty is pressuring bookings for this summer, where at least the company has adjusted its capacity accordingly.</p><p>'The most telling element of Thomas Cook's update today though is a strategic review of its airline business.</p><p>'This review, which could result in a sale of the division, is an acknowledgement that the company needs to take radical action to steady its performance and repair a fragile looking balance sheet. Investors will be hoping it might avert the need for a dilutive fundraising.</p><p>'There seems merit in the company concentrating on its portfolio of hotels instead. These typically generate better margins and it has plans to open 20 new hotels in 2019.' </p><p>Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: 'Reading between the lines of Thomas Cook's latest trading statement, Brexit is dampening summer holiday bookings, as consumers sit on their hands, waiting for more clarity on the UK's withdrawal from the EU.</p><p>'Part of the reluctance to book ahead may be logistical, part financial, as Brexit causes concern both over potential travel disruption, and the value of the pound.'</p><p>Thomas Cook's share price is up 12.07 per cent or 3.75p to 34.83. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
t rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 6.25 percent in a surprise move intended to keep growth on track.</p><p> The interest rate is what the federal bank charges on lending to commercial banks. Lower interest rates help borrowers but can also spur inflation.</p><p> The Reserve Bank of India judged the consumer inflation rate, which dropped to 2.2 percent in December — the lowest level in 18 months — from 3.4 percent in October, safe for loosening monetary policy.</p><p> In a bimonthly review of the economy released Thursday, the central bank forecast India's economy will expand at a torrid annual rate of 7.4 percent in 2019-20, up from 7.2 percent in this fiscal year. India's financial year runs from April to March.</p><p> The central bank said that was mostly supported by government spending on infrastructure though investment activity was recovering.</p><p> The rate cut was the first in 17 months. The bank hiked rates twice in quick succession in June and August of 2018 to keep inflation in check.</p><p> "Headline inflation is projected to remain soft in the near term, reflecting the current low level of inflation and the benign food inflation outlook," the central bank said.</p><p> The bank said its policy stance had shifted from "calibrated tightening to neutral."</p><p> Mizuho Bank economist Vishnu Varathan noted in a commentary that India has one of the highest policy rates in the region. He added that "hastily cutting rates alongside fiscal slippage (led by farm cash handouts and tax breaks) smacks of leaning into loose fiscal stance; potentially at the cost of rupee and wider macro-stability."</p>
, with plenty of twists and turns and heroes and villains along the way.</p><p>At the moment there is a cliffhanger: will house prices start falling?</p><p>Steady growth has been swapped for a slide towards stagnation in the headline figures, but how much does that mask a regional divide, with things looking far healthier outside of London and the commuter belt?</p><p>In this Investing Show special, Andrew Montlake of mortgage broker Coreco, joins us to discuss what’s going on in the residential property and buy-to-let markets.</p><p>He also looks at why mortgage rates are near their all-time lows despite a base rate rise and how long that could last.</p><p>The stock market has put a bad 2018 behind it and jumped at the start of 2019. Major markets in the UK and US have added between 5 and 8 per cent since the New Year, so what’s fuelling that and can it continue?</p><p>Richard Hunter, of Interactive Investor, joins Simon Lambert on the Investing Show to discuss it. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
have to clear any debts and charges on the card - operated by Allied Irish Bank - by that time or else the debt might be transferred to a third party.</p><p>Saga told This is Money the Platinum card 'consists of a small portfolio of customers, of which only a fraction have outstanding balances.'</p><p>However, one reader contacted us stating the closure raised a number of issues for cardholders.</p><p>Saga's Platinum Card was popular with holidaymakers because of travel discounts and fee-free withdrawals and spending abroad, but there are some alternatives now it's closing</p><p>Most importantly, customers lost a card with benefits that are hard to recreate elsewhere. </p><p>The Platinum card offered no fees abroad, 55 days of interest-free cash withdrawals, discounts on Saga holidays and cruises, alongside a competitive APR of 11.9 per cent.</p><p>What's more, the card was open only to over-50s - and the reader raised the question of whether retired or semi-retired customers would be able to qualify for replacement cards.</p><p>Andrew Hagger, of personal finance site Moneycomms, told This is Money that 'just because someone is over 50 it doesn't mean they won't be eligible for a mainstream credit card – as long as they have a decent credit rating and a regular income.</p><p>Saga said it 'believed the vast majority should have no problem obtaining a card with similar credit facilities elsewhere.'</p><p>The company added it is working on a new card, but while we await more details, This is Money has run the rule over cards that might potentially be a viable replacement, even if the benefits aren't exactly the same.</p><p>It doesn't offer any interest-free withdrawal period, but you won't pay any charges when you spend abroad, whether that's paying by card or taking out cash, and whatever you spend is converted to sterling at a rate set by MasterCard.</p><p>When it comes to requirements for applying for the card, Halifax doesn't specify a minimum required salary but you will need a credit check, while the bank says that 'at least 51 per cent of successful applicants will get a representative rate of 18.9 per cent APR.' </p><p>The rest get a rate of 25.9 per cent APR, so bear that in mind.</p><p>The card has a slightly steeper APR of 21.9 per cent, and Barclays recommends it is 'best suited for customers who have an income of at least £20,000', but it does come with another perk. </p><p>It offers 0.25 per cent cashback on all spending until the same date, while it also gives £15 back if you spend £1500 in the first three months.</p><p>The clue is in the name: zero annual fees, zero foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad in the local currency, and zero cash withdrawal fees 'anywhere in the world'.</p><p>That means there also appear to be zero other benefits, including no interest-free period on cash withdrawals. It also requires you to have an income of £7,500 a year if you want to be accepted for it.</p><p>The most important thing to note is that Tandem Bank is a mobile-only bank. If you're an over-50 Saga customer then you're far less likely to bank this way when it comes to your day-to-day banking, and it'd certainly take some getting used to.</p><p>However, don't let that necessarily put you off and Tandem's offer sits in This is Money's 'five of the best holiday money deals' for a reason.</p><p>On top of that, it gives you 0.5 per cent cashback on every purchase above £1 at home or abroad.</p><p>On the downside, it doesn't offer a fee-free period on withdrawals in the UK, and comes with a £12 charge if you make a late payment.</p><p>Part of bank BNP Paribas, Creation is also partnered with the likes of Asda, Currys PC World and Marriott Rewards to provide a variety of cashback and rewards cards. </p><p>It also comes with no annual fees, no fees on spending or cash withdrawals abroad and no fees on cash withdrawals in this country either, which might make it an attractive proposition.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>This calculator will show you just how long it's going to take you to clear your credit card balance if you don't wake up, face reality, stop paying the bare minimum and start clearing this punitive form of debt.</p><p>Now see how much you need to pay a month to clear your balance in the shortest possible time.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
of Feb. 28, it said in a statement. Its chairman, Ken Henry, will retire from its board once Thorburn's permanent replacement is found.</p><p> Board director Philip Chronican will act as chief executive from March 1.</p><p> Thorburn and Henry both gave evidence to Commissioner Kenneth Hayne in his misconduct inquiry. On Monday, Hayne recommended sweeping changes to Australia's banking industry to protect the interests of customers as well as shareholders.</p><p> Thorburn and Henry were the only executives named in the inquiry into the misconduct.</p>
ernment's energy price cap will be hit with price increases of £117 a year.</p><p>The cap on standard variable tariffs (SVTs) was introduced on January 1 with enormous fanfare.</p><p>Customers were told they would save an average of £76 a year – or around £1billion in total.</p><p>However industry regulator Ofgem has reviewed the cap and is announced today that it will go up by £117 to £1,254 a year from April 1 due to hikes in wholesale costs. </p><p>The cap on standard variable tariffs (SVTs) was introduced on January 1. Stock picture shows a gas hob</p><p>Ofgem said the price cap for pre-payment meter customers will also increase - by £106 to £1,242 a year from April 1.</p><p>It insisted those affected will still pay a 'fair price' for their energy as the increase reflects a genuine increase in underlying wholesale costs, rather than provider profiteering.</p><p>It said even after the April increase, those on default deals - including standard variable tariffs (SVTs) - will still be saving around £75 to £100 a year on average thanks to the price cap, which was introduced in January.</p><p>Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, said: 'Under the caps, households on default tariffs are protected and will always pay a fair price for their energy, even though the levels will increase from April 1.</p><p>'We can assure these customers that they remain protected from being overcharged for their energy and that these increases are only due to actual rises in energy costs, rather than excess charges from supplier profiteering.'</p><p>Experts say customers were misled by 'fake' claims from the Government and Ofgem that they'd save £76 over a year.</p><p>But Stephen Murray, of MoneySuperMarket, said the issue was an 'easy situation to fix and the message is clear – take control of your bills and don't let the regulator determine how much you're paying.</p><p>Go online today and switch to a competitive tariff. It takes five minutes and you could save £200 on your bills.'</p><p>And head of energy at auto-switching service WeFlip, Sally Jaques, added: 'It will be ironic if, three months after being introduced, the Government's own price cap unintentionally delivers one of the single biggest energy price increases the market has seen for years.'</p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
airline business amid concerns over the company's future. </p><p>Superdry has blamed 'unseasonably warm weather' for a dip in third quarter sales, with revenues at its stores sliding 8.5 per cent in the last three months. </p><p>The Bank of England is widely expected to keep interest rates where they are in the latest decision due later today. </p><p>Thomas Cook may wave goodbye to its airline arm amid mounting losses at the firm</p><p>Good morning. The Footsie didn't move much at the open today. It slipped a few points but is now broadly flat at 7,167.03. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
ld but when it comes to long-term returns they are among the most reliable.</p><p>The Barclays Equity Gilt study shows £100 invested in the UK stock market in 1899 would have been worth £16,004 by 2017 - but would have reached £2,635,984 with dividends taken into account and reinvested.</p><p>The tricky part for investors is navigating their way through the stock market and spotting the companies that can deliver over time – or the fund managers who are good at unearthing them.</p><p>If you can find an investment that pays out dividends as reliable as clockwork then the returns will build up over time</p><p>For the latter, there are a few handy reports that come out each year and the latest edition of one of them Sanlam’s White List has just landed.</p><p>It looks at total income, capital growth and volatility over the past five years in an attempt to name the best prospects for investors. The top 14 fund on it have an average yield of 5.6 per cent.</p><p>Sanlam names Troy Trojan Income, Axa Framlington Monthly Income and Miton UK Multi Cap as its top three UK income funds.</p><p>The Sanlam study is worth a look for some pointers, but there is, of course, the question of why would you even use a fund manager?</p><p>Plenty of investors choose to research and buy individual shares themselves, but the reality is that many people don’t have the time to do that properly.</p><p>For those who would rather outsource the hard work to someone whose job it is and has greater resources to do it, a fund or investment trust is a wise move. </p><p>You could pick a tracker that simply follows the stock market and picks up the dividends along the way – the broad UK stock market index, the FTSE All-Share, currently yields a chunky 4.29 per cent.</p><p>However, that does mean relying heavily on a fairly limited number of companies to do the dividend heavy lifting – and these tend to be big, mature firms with limited opportunities for growth, such as Shell, BP, HSBC and GlaxoSmithKline.</p><p>Alternatively, you could find a fund or investment trust manager who goes looking for dividend prospects among smaller and medium-sized companies with headroom to grow.</p><p>This is something that is well worth bearing in mind when weighing up funds or investment trusts and Sam Lees, at Fund Expert argues that ‘the consistency of growth in the income a fund pays out’ is as important as any of the measures in the Sanlam study.</p><p>This is one of the reasons why I favour funds and particularly investment trusts that look for dividends lower down the company scale than among the giants of the FTSE 100.</p><p>What’s also important is avoiding the dividend traps.</p><p>These are the companies that look like they pack a hefty payout, but only have a big eye-catching yield due to a collapse in their share price - and a dividend cut or worse is on the way.</p><p>In my early days of investing, my first experience of a dividend trap was HMV. I was lured into its shares by an 8 per cent yield, thinking that as the last remaining music store on the High Street the firm couldn’t possible fail. I was wrong and it went bust (and recently did so again).</p><p>I imagine there were more than a few income fund managers who also made that HMV mistake, but the advantage of a fund or trust is that your money is spread around, so at least you are not too heavily affected by such a collapse.</p><p>Investing for income through an investment trust carries an extra advantage too, they are able to hold over some of their payouts in the good years to help cover the bad.</p><p>Investing has proven to be the best way to beat inflation and grow your wealth over the long-term, but how do you get started?</p><p>And if you do already invest but feel you’ve lost track of your goals or ended up with a jumble of investments, how can you improve things?</p><p>In this podcast, Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost dive into how to be a smarter investor.</p><p>They bust the jargon and look at why people should invest, how to get started, what investments you can choose and how to find the right ones for you.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>