Money round-up: the rise of the 'cleanfluencers', how to 'Marie Kondo' your investments and keeping up pension contributions

Money round-up: the rise of the 'cleanfluencers', how to 'Marie Kondo' your investments and keeping up pension contributions

From the rise of the ‘cleanfluencer’ and how to ‘Marie Kondo your investments’ to warnings over auto-enrolment pension contributions, here’s a round-up of last week’s money news.

The rise of the ‘cleanfluencer’ and how to ‘Marie Kondo’ your investment portfolio

Charity shops are turning down donations after a surge that has been put down to the popularity of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix.

Personally, I approve of getting rid of things that don’t make you happy or, as Marie Kondo says, “sparks joy” (sometimes the best advice is simple). But not if it means replacing them with more junk for a future bin bag fest.

The past year has seen a ‘proliferation of Instagram “cleanfluencers”’ who attract enormous followings, MoneyWeek reported. People are applying Marie Kondo’s minimalist ‘KonMari’ method to everything from makeup bags to our digital lives and even investment portfolios.

The FT’s Moira O’Neill (@moiraoneill) has selected four KonMari principles that investors can apply to get a tidier view of their finances:

-          Step one: Gather your items in one place. Have a holistic view of your investments.

-          Step two: Should your investments spark joy? Not quite. Feeling joyous about our investments is dangerous, says Moira.

-          Step three: Focus on what to keep. Moira argues diversification “echoes Marie Kondo’s mission of compartmentalising our wardrobes”.

-          Step four: Treasure what you have. “Make it easy and you’ll have more time - and hopefully money - to devote to other pleasures in life,” according to Moira.

Auto-enrolment, maternity leave and keeping up pension payments

Last week the BBC reported ‘pension contribution hike to see pay fall’.

It was referring to the next increase in auto-enrolment minimum pension contributions on 6 April 2019. The minimum employee contribution will increase from 3% to 5% while the employer contribution will increase from 2% to 3%.

The BBC stated: ‘Millions of workers could see their take-home pay fall in six weeks’ time, when the amount they have to pay into their pension pot increases.’

As Ben Clatworthy wrote in The Times last week, the issue is debatable. He said: ‘Since 2012, when auto-enrolment was introduced, some ten million workers have been automatically signed up to workplace pensions. That’s ten million people who otherwise might not have been saving for retirement.’

He cited a rule of thumb some experts use, that you should be contributing ‘a percentage of your salary each month equivalent to half your age when you started the pension’. Put like that, a 5% employee contribution might not sound that much, especially when you’ll miss out on the government’s 20% tax relief on contributions as well as your employer’s contribution if you opt out.

Meanwhile in The Sunday Times, journalist Kate Palmer has warned new mothers who stop paying into a company pension scheme for just two years can lose £25,500 (Take maternity leave from work, not your pension contributions).

Read more: My generation will be the one to ditch car ownership - and I’m delighted

Read more: Why I fell in love with renting

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