22 June 2013

Workplace Pensions - how much will you really save in 40 years time?

Right, so this automatic-enrollment for workplace pensions, let's figure out how much would actually go into the pot.

I'm 23, and the default retirement age is 65, but most people retire for their state pension between 61 and 68.
So this gives me a default of 42 years.
Pension is only taken out from one month of payroll, so this means there would be 42 x 12 = 504 contributions.

Now, you wouldn't have the same salary for 42 years, but let's establish a baseline:

The minimum contribution is 1%, with a company contribution of 2%, and you get a small tax relief.
This tool can help you figure out what the contributions from yourself, your company and the government will provide in total:

I've taken my own details for one year from the page linked, and then just calculated what it would be for the rest of my life.

So looking at this, if I did save the minimum contribution into a pension instead of an ISA with 2% interest, I would get double the amount I saved.

9 June 2013

Fix Most Common Windows Problems

I'd just like to outline some steps everyone should take when trying to troubleshoot their computer. He are some of the most common things I get asked.

It doesn't work
Performance/speed issues
  • Install all Windows (operating system) updates - both recommended and optional (no need for language packs, Bing or Security Essentials if you always have AV)
  • Update all installed software and plugins
    • Use FileHippo, SUMo and any Software Updaters already installed
    • Update Microsoft Office from File - Account - Update.
  • Update all drivers from your OEM
  • Disable or uninstall toolbars for your browser
  • Uninstall unnecessary software e.g. a second antivirus scanner, old versions of software
  • Clean temporary files, caches, logs, recycle bin, registry etc.
    • Use C-Cleaner, Cleanmgr (delete your old restore points)
    • Something both of these miss out is the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder
    • There are many software products out there than advertise as cleaning, decluttering and optimising your PC, many of them make things seem worse than they really are and some are more damaging than they are worth
  • Defragment disk - Defraggler or the Windows version will do
  • Check for problems by running sfc and dism /restorehealth
  • Delete old files that you definitely don't need anymore to save disk space
    • This includes setup files in the C:\ drive
  • Install free Soluto software to help keep track of things slowing it down and any updates available
  • Install free Acronis Drive Monitor to keep an eye on hard drive failure (computers often slow down when the hard drive starts to fail)
  • Install 'Core Temp' which shows the temperature of the processor in the bottom-right of the screen (if it gets hotter than about 80 degrees there might be a problem with the cooling which might help identify why it would slow down)
  • If still having issues, try doing a refresh install of Windows, or completely fresh install.

If you think you may have a virus/malware
  • Update your antivirus product and scan the whole computer
    • If you don't have one, get one!
  • Microsoft Security Essentials
  • Avast
  • AVG
  • Comodo
  • ClamWin


  • Norton
  • Kaspersky
  • McAfee
  • Trend Micro
  • Dr Web
  • E-set
  • Others
Temporary free antivirus
Download, install and run a temporary antivirus solution (even your prime antivirus can become compromised

Also as a recommendation
  • Install free 'Prey' software to help locate the computer if it is stolen