Raising the interest rate

MONEY TALK

You may have thought these pages were about as exciting as you could get in the world of money. But they're about to get even better - even more stuffed with sassy savings tips and better ways of managing your meagre, or not so meagre, resources. And they'll take a much broader look at real people's money issues.

New look, new place in the paper, new feel.

Two reasons are normally given for not reading the personal finance sections of a newspaper: no money and no interest. In truth, you have never needed thousands of pounds to take advantage of many savings and investment deals. But, certainly, the finer points of pension plan charges are no one's idea of scintillating Sunday lunchtime conversation.

These pages will continue to tell you about PEPs, pensions, insurance and the like - because, yes, they are important. But we'll also give practical money-related advice on many other areas of your life.

We will tell you how you could spend less - so saving money - on the necessary clutter of living. On this week's back page we warn you about the costs of ringing mobile phones, pagers and even many numbers you may have thought were cheap.

We will also tell you how to get the most from your money when making more pleasurable purchases - for example, by telling you about your rights on goods bought in the sales and why credit cards offer valuable protection with big-ticket items (also featured on the back page).

Whether or not you really have no money, we will tell you how to manage your debts better (not forgetting how to lighten the millstone of your mortgage).

A new series, "What's the deal?" (page 18), starts this week by dissecting a seemingly attractive offer to cut up to pounds 150 off your existing credit- card bill if you transfer to Barclaycard.

Regular features such as our popular "Readers' Lives" column - write in with a question and we aim to answer it - will continue (although not this week), so keep the letters coming (write to the address provided below).

We also plan to offer another reader service: the opportunity of a free financial makeover in these pages. An independent financial adviser (IFA) will take a look at your overall financial situation and make recommendations.

So if you fancy having your money affairs (and even a picture) splashed across these pages, send me a note at the address below. Initially, I need to know the basics: age, family details, job, salary and your financial situation (mortgage? Other big outgoings? Amount of savings? In what?).

I also need to know a daytime telephone number where you can be contacted.

Finally, as well as being practical, the aim is to make these pages a good read. Feel free to drop me a line if there's anything you'd like covered that we're not covering, or if you've any other comments.

q Write to Steve Lodge, Financial Makeover/Readers' Lives, Personal Finance Editor, Independent on Sunday, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL.

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