Each month we publish the best comments, emails and letters by our readers. Here are the best of July 2017:
This month's star letter: Is it worth going to university anymore?
I sometimes wonder why we need universities or degrees at all. Universities have become hugely expensive and highly inefficient organisations for imparting knowledge and developing critical faculties. Furthermore, they load students with huge debts for relatively little advantage.
We need to educate for what the workforce needs, instead of allowing large numbers of young people to have three year-long ‘lifestyle experiences’ that in all too many cases are utterly unrelated to what they end up doing when employed. The mantra “education is good for its own sake” is not suited to a world where between a third and a half of the population expects this type of education.
BLOGNORTON/VIA ONLINE COMMENTS
Moneywise says: The Institute for Fiscal Studies reported this summer that some students face £57,000 debts on graduating, leaving many wondering whether further education is still worthwhile. So the point raised is an interesting one.
Interest-only mortgage complaints ‘unacceptable’
Moneywise says: Our feature ‘The interest-only mortgage time bomb and how to defuse it’ in the July issue discussed the problems faced by those struggling to repay their debts at the end of their loan periods. It has caused great controversy, with many readers arguing that the case study individuals should not have taken out the loans they did:
Do some people really take out loans for 10s or 100s of thousands without either reading the loan details or considering how or when they are going to pay the loans back? I understand that some people’s circumstances change, which can cause problems with repayment. But taking out a loan while not understanding that it’s all got to be paid back by a certain date is unacceptable in my view. You can’t just say: “The bank didn’t tell me.”
PORTLAND BILL / VIA ONLINE COMMENTS
It’s hard to believe people would take out loans without making sure they understand how they work. There are lots of cases where an interest-only mortgage is the right choice, so it’s really frustrating that these mortgages have been demonised and pretty much wiped out because some people cannot take responsibility for their own finances. It was made crystal clear that you only pay the interest on the loan, and it is your responsibility to put in place other means to pay off the capital at the end.
ANT D / VIA ONLINE COMMENTS
Charity contact blocking service not good enough
Unlike the telephone preference service, the new fundraising preference service does not offer ‘prevent all’ as an option. I will have to put every charity in separately, up to maximum of three per visit, in order to block their calls. There are more than 100,000 charities, so no one has time to do this.
P/E / VIA EMAIL
Should older women get apprenticeships?
Moneywise says: Pensions minister Guy Opperman caused controversy in July when he suggested that women caught out by the rapid increase in the state pension age should take up apprenticeships in old age. Two Moneywise readers have different views on this:
I am 62 this month. I have brought up three children and worked full time. I was aiming to take a private and a state pension at age 60, but the state pension age changed to 62.5 years and then 66 just before my retirement. I am losing thousands of pounds and struggling financially as a result of these changes, which were bought about far too late for me to adapt to in retirement.
T EVANS / VIA ONLINE COMMENTS
Re-training won’t suit everyone, especially if they are looking after elderly parents or helping out with the care of grandchildren, but what is wrong with re-training and learning a new skill? Most of us are capable, and I’ve certainly learnt a lot from my re-training.
I’m now much happier and more fulfilled, and I’m looking forward to continuing to work for longer than originally planned.
JULIE / VIA ONLINE COMMENTS
Write to us
Each month the reader with the best letter wins a £50 M&S gift card.
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