6 Ways Brexit could affect your finances

Harvey Jones

Here's how the unyielding topic of Brexit could affect you and your cash...

As the deadline for leaving the EU on 29 March draws inexorably closer, your personal finances are in the Brexit firing line. Deal or no deal, Norway option or second referendum, whatever happens, it pays to plan for the worst, so here’s how Brexit could affect your finances in the weeks ahead.

 

1. House price crash

Brexit isn't wholly to blame for the UK property market slowdown, but it hasn't helped. The Treasury's tax crackdown on foreign buyers and buy-to-let has also slowed demand, while housing simply remains unaffordable for many.

If you have no plans to move home just sit tight and wait for Brexit to blow over (it has to one day, doesn't it?). Buyers who have found their dream property and can afford the mortgage should probably press on. They might even be able to negotiate a discount but vendors also need to hold their nerve, as prices could snap back if we get some kind of resolution. 

No deal could wreak havoc, though. relentless

 

2. Stock market slump

The last 12 months have been bumpy for investors although the US-China trade war, rising interest rates and slowing global economy have also played a part.

Among global markets the UK is particularly unloved as investors recoil at Brexit uncertainty. Again, long-term investors should sit tight, you cannot sell up every time markets wobble. 

Brave investors might even take advantage of recent dips to invest money at reduced prices. You should only invest your money in shares if you plan to keep it there at least five years, which should give you time to overcome the worst of the volatility.

 

3. Pensions confusion

Growing numbers of pensioners now leave their pot invested in the stock market and take money as they need it, known as income drawdown.

If you withdraw money at the same time as stock markets fall, your pot could deplete at double the speed, so tread carefully. 

Hundreds of thousands of British expat pensioners get their UK pensions annually uprated under a reciprocal social security agreement with the EU, but this could be at risk if relations turn really hostile.

 

4. Plunging pound

Brexit has pummeled the pound, which is down, between 15% and 20% against major currencies such as the US dollar and euro.

It could go either way from here: shoot up if we get a deal, fall further if we don’t.

A crash will make your next overseas holiday more expensive. All you can do is get the best possible rate on your foreign currency by ordering online in advance to avoid rip-off rates at the airport.

A weaker pound could benefit anybody selling a foreign property, while hitting those looking to buy overseas.

 


5. Interest rates uncertainty

The Bank of England could cut interest rates from today’s 0.75% to offset the shock of no deal, alternatively it could increase them to protect a crashing pound.

An interest rate cut would be yet another blow to hard-pressed savers, although mortgage borrowers will be celebrating.

Alternatively, the bank could hike rates if we get a deal and the economy picks up, cheering savers but hurting borrowers.

 

6. Unknown outcomes

There may be other unexpected results if we crash out. For example, European retailers such as airlines could impose debit and credit card surcharges on UK customers, currently banned under UK rules.

Given all the uncertainty, all you can do is plan ahead and keep your feet on the ground.