Personal finance queries answered

I have pounds 50,000 in a Northern Rock Postal 60 account, but I've noticed I can get a higher rate elsewhere. Would withdrawing this money affect the value of the bonus shares I will get when the society converts into a bank? I also have a Northern Rock Tessa and, jointly, a Go-Direct account.

MR, Cambridge

Be very careful. The society has yet to give details of its share handout. In particular it has not said whether savers who touch their money now will affect their windfall eligibility.

A balance of pounds 50,000 in the Postal 60 account could be valuable in windfall terms. Assume the building society's conversion to a bank takes place as planned next autumn. How much are you losing by keeping your money where it is for another year? Each extra 0.5 per cent interest you could get on your pounds 50,000 elsewhere would be worth pounds 250 if you're a non-taxpayer, pounds 200 if you're a 20 per cent or basic-rate taxpayer, and pounds 150 if you're a higher-rate taxpayer. But the conversion windfall may well be worth more than the extra interest you could earn by moving.

Savers will get a better idea of what they stand to gain (or potentially lose) when the society publishes its transfer document early next year. This will give details of the conversion proposal.

The free shares distribution is likely to consist of a basic number and then an additional hand-out related to the size of larger savers' balances. But the degree of skewing is anyone's guess.

Without exact details of your Tessa account, it is probable that this account on its own will entitle you to the basic payout. However, any balance-related payout will be based on the aggregate of balances in all your qualifying accounts.

But while it might prove unwise to take your Postal 60 savings out of the Northern Rock, you should consider switching this money to the society's Great North Postal account. Such a switch will not affect your entitlement on conversion, says the Northern Rock, but you must get advice from the society on how to do it. In particular, you must make it clear that you are transferring funds from an existing qualifying account.

Great North Postal is an instant access postal account with a penalty. The account cites an interest rate of 5.85 per cent gross on pounds 50,000, but all withdrawals are subject to 30 days' loss of interest. By contrast, Postal 60 pays 3.85 per cent gross on pounds 50,000 (or 3.78 per cent if you receive interest monthly).

Over a year and if interest rates remain the same, the switch would earn you pounds 800 extra after basic-rate tax. If you then wanted to close the account, the 30-day interest rate penalty would cost you around pounds 192 on the pounds 50,000.

Northern Rock's members' information line can be reached by calling - 0345 448866.

About 20 years ago I bought 50 krugerrands through Lloyds Bank. I now want to sell them, but Lloyds no longer buys and sells gold coins. Can you give me any advice?

PL, Surrey

Try the British Numismatic Trade Association. Send a first class stamp to get a free directory of members, showing what each trades in. Write to BNTA, PO Box 474A, Thames Ditton, Surrey, KT7 OWJ or phone 0181-398 4290.

The exact price you get changes all the time and depends on how many coins you have to sell. One BNTA member, Spink & Son, says that on Wednesday (2 October 1996) you could have received pounds 11,900 for your 50 krugerrands (pounds 238 a coin). Spink & Son will give its current price to callers on 0171- 930 7888. Its address is 5-7 King St, St James, London SW1Y 6QS.

I enjoyed your recent article about unusual insurance policies. You mentioned a firm called Grip, but I cannot get a number from directory inquiries. Can you give me details?

MV, London

Grip stands for Goodfellow Rebecca Ingrains Pearson Ltd, a broker whose bread-and-butter business is redundancy and disability insurance.

The firm also offers what can only be described as a range of wacky policies. pounds 25 will buy an "erection all-risks" policy. It gives pounds 100,000 worth of cover and is thought to be attractive to women fearful of penile failure in their male partners. A different policy allows prostitutes to get insured against backache and headache.

The firm insists it has customers for its off-the-wall policies. But, as with all insurance, anyone tempted to buy an unusual type of policy should read the small print very carefully. Find out exactly what the payout is and the precise circumstances in which you can claim.

Grip's phone number is 0171-929 5198 and the address is 150 Minories, London EC3N 1LS.

q Write to Steve Lodge, personal finance editor, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, and include a telephone number. Do not enclose SAEs or documents that you wish to be returned. We cannot give personal replies and cannot guarantee to answer every letter. We accept no legal responsibility for advice.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing