Consumer rights: 'Can I protect myself if the best day of my life turns out to be the worst?'

A bride seeks ways to ensure she will not lose out if anything goes wrong on her wedding day ... state pension age dilemma ... investing a small legacy

Q I'm getting married at the beginning of June and have just started to make the arrangements. I'm not a young bride but have never been married before so it is extremely important to me that everything goes well. However, I am beginning to worry that there are a whole raft of things that could go wrong. We've already been on the point of booking a reception venue only to hear rumours that the business was in financial trouble. Thankfully we escaped in time but it has given me nightmares. We're not badly off but couldn't afford to lose a lot of money on the day. What can we do to protect ourselves?

CM, Wolverhampton

A There are lots of things that can go wrong and it seems you've already conjured up all the possible disasters without any help from me. It's not only the venue that might go bust but the wedding dress retailer or the florist could shut up shop, the rings might go missing in the post or the photographer's camera break down. It seems to me you need to buy peace of mind. As soon as you start committing any money to this project think about insurance.

You'll need to do some research to find the policy that's right for you. There's a huge variation in those available and what they cover. For example you probably want a policy that will cover the costs of your event if it has to be cancelled. If your wedding is costing you £20,000 you don't want to discover that you'll only be entitled to £5,000 for cancellation in some circumstances. It's not just the venue going bankrupt that might lead to cancellation. Will the policy pay out if you have to cancel because you lose your job or one of your family gets ill?

Most policies won't cover all of the costs of rearranging and some won't pay out if the caterers don't deliver the food you agreed on, so check the small print carefully.

Don't forget that if you have lots of presents stacked up in your home your usual level of contents insurance may not be enough so you might want to increase that cover too. And what about travel insurance if you're going away on honeymoon?

Make a list of all the things you want to be covered and shop around until you find the cover that best fits your needs. If you type "wedding insurance" into a search engine you'll find a whole array of sites and comparison sites offering all levels of cover.

I hope all goes terrifically well, you have no reason to claim and you have a great day.

***

Q I've had a letter from the pension service telling me that I won't get my state pension until 2020. I was expecting to get it much sooner but, because I was born after 6 December 1953, I have to wait. I hadn't realised that I would be affected by changes in the rules and was planning to retire in a couple of years' time. How can I find out what I'm entitled to and whether there's anything else I will be able to claim? Will I just have to keep on working until 2020?

MD, Chester

A The rule changes affect men and women who reach state pension age on or after 6 April 2010. Part of the changes means that instead of being able to retire at 60, over the next few years women's state pension age will increase until it matches that of men. The other part of the changes means that everyone's state pension age is going up from 65 to 66 by October 2020 (and later to 67 and then 68), so you are caught out on both counts, having to wait six years longer than you expected.

Don't forget though that that is just the age at which you become entitled to a state pension. If you can afford to you can stop work at any time you like. If you don't want to stop work you can claim your state pension or defer it and carry on working much longer. If you delay claiming your state pension you may get more money each month at a later date.

The first thing is to find out how much you will be entitled to when you do reach state pension age. You can do that by asking for a pension forecast at www.directgov.uk/pensionforecast or call 0845 3000168.

If you have ever paid into an employer's pension you may be able to claim that much earlier than your state pension. Contact the employer to find out when you can claim. If you have old work or personal pensions that you have lost track of, the pension tracing service can help at www.direct.gov.uk/ pensiontracing or call 0845 6002537.

In the end you may have to work longer than you wanted but at least you will have a better idea of what your financial future holds.

***

Q I am seeking some guidance regarding a share of a fairly small inheritance which I will soon come into. My mother died and left her assets to be shared equally between my sister and me. Aside from a share of her small liquid savings, the majority of my inheritance will come from our mother's bungalow, which we expect to fetch around £110k, the proceeds to be equally divided. Ideally, I would like to buy a small apartment but, as I live in a prosperous northern Italian town, this would be impossible on my capital share. Could your experts offer some advice as to the options open to me to get the best return on this capital amount, or part of it?

MB, London

A The very short answer to your question is "no". I am sorry, but only people in the UK who are registered by the Financial Services Authority have a licence to give financial advice. You need to talk to several advisers, preferably recommended by someone you trust, and choose one you get on with, feel you can work with and whose suggestions suit your needs. Ask each how their fee structure works, don't go with anyone who tries to persuade you to take more risk than you want to and remember "if it sounds too good to be true it probably is".

Anyone giving you investment advice will want to look in detail at your current income, any pensions you can expect when you retire, what you want from the money such as income or capital growth, where you want to invest it and how much risk you are prepared to take with your money.

Many people with little savings want to keep their money safe and accept that their money isn't likely to earn them a big return. Others are willing to take more risk in the hope of getting a better return. A good financial adviser will help you get the best outcome. Sorry we can't do that for you.

www.moneyagonyaunt.com

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbridge Wells - £32,000

    £30000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbrid...

    Derivatives Risk Commodities Business Analyst /Market Risk

    £600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Derivatives Risk Commodities Business A...

    Power & Gas Business Analyst / Subject Matter Expert - Contract

    £600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Power & Gas Business Analyst/Subject Ma...

    Infrastructure Lead, (Trading, VCE, Converged, Hyper V)

    £600 - £900 per day: Harrington Starr: Infrastructure Lead, (Trading infrastru...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering