Tips for Brits on holiday etiquette

CASHPOINTS

Nearly 50 per cent of British holiday makers are unsure about whether and how much to tip when abroad, according to a survey by Visa. Brits are regular but conservative tippers, with most leaving less than 10 per cent. Visa's free 1997 Holiday Money Guide gives practical advice for 12 of the most popular holiday destinations. Call 0171 231 5432.

Eagle Star claims to be the first home insurer to offer a discount, 10 per cent, for homes with full double glazing. The company's research suggests that homes with double glazing are less likely to be burgled.

The average Briton is now worth nearly pounds 40,000, with pounds 17,000 of that in savings and investments that can be readily converted into cash, according to a report by Datamonitor. Britons have got more money in pound terms, but after inflation is taken into account we are poorer in real terms, thanks to falling property prices over the 1990s.

Two-thirds of employers say the Government should require employees and employers to make higher pension contributions, according to a survey by Alexander Clay, a firm of actuaries. Compulsory saving is favoured by parts of the Labour Party; the problem is that it would be criticised as a "tax by another name".

Borrowing for home improvements is on the increase, according to Colonial, a financial company. Its research shows that on average people borrow pounds 5,500 for an extension, pounds 4,000 for a new bathroom or kitchen and pounds 2,000 for maintenance.

A survey by American Express has found that Britons are divided over whether they feel richer or poorer than last year. More than a quarter think they have less to spend, while a fifth feel they are better off; around half think their financial position is unchanged. Consumers remain cautious: three-quarters would rather "do without" than take out a bank loan or go overdrawn, and more than eight in 10 always check their monthly bank statements.

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