Personal finance can be tough to get to grips with. But there are sources of online information that can help. You can also buy online from many of them.
Here are some of my top UK financial websites, broken into various categories. I have also included a range of non-financial links at the bottom of this page. Why? Because they interest me.
You can either scroll down, or be taken to each section in turn.
Please note: comments, inclusions and omissions are entirely subjective. If you're not in there and want to be, convince me that you should. If you don't want to be there, let me know.
www.thisismoney.co.uk Includes content from the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard, plus material from its own online journalists. Simply-written and easy to understand. Has a wide range of online tools and calculators allowing you to "personalise" the information given.
www.ftyourmoney.com The Financial Times' award-winning personal finance website, formerly stand-alone and now largely subsumed into FT.com. Still good, has various "finders" allowing people to source a wide range of best-value financial products.
www.moneyextra.com Used to be totally independent, now owned by Bristol & West, a subsidiary of Bank of Ireland. But has a wide range of excellent and informative content, plus various useful calculators.
www.iii.co.uk Was also independent, now owned by the Australian insurer AMP. Still a very large community of investors who post regularly, combining all the best and worst aspects of online gossip, inside knowledge, misinformation, paranoia, abuse and expert opinion.
www.fool.co.uk The UK offshoot of a long-standing US site, Motley Fool is effectively the sum of its users' knowledge and insights. It has masses of useful material. One of its best features is the discussion boards, in which holders of various shares – and mischief-makers – swap opinions and comments on companies' shares and prospects.
www.money.guardian.co.uk Clean, simple site with a good range of guides on personal finance topics. It also has a list of "special reports" covering topics such as cars, the Euro and house prices.
www.bbc.co.uk/business Huge amount of business and personal finance content from one of the world's premier news sites. Well worth a visit.
www.ft.com The mammy and the daddy of financial websites. More information than every other UK site put together. Hundreds of news and markets stories uploaded daily. You now pay an annual subscription for archive content more than three days old – but what an archive!
www.citywire.co.uk Another fast-moving site, partly owned by Reuters, with masses of regularly-updated news and inside tips including directors' dealings, secret buying and other share price information. Also gives advice on funds to buy, including ISAs. Some content is subscription-based
www.bloomberg.co.uk Slightly ugly-looking site, focuses on shares, "borrows" content liberally from its US counterpart. But also very informative and has a mass of useful share-charting tools.
www.itruffle.com Provides information on all UK quoted companies: from AIM companies to FTSE 100 firms. Specialises in researching small to mid-sized firms.
www.ftyourmoney.com We've already mentioned this site. It allows you to look for and compare almost any financial product. Includes car, home, life and other insurance, mortgages, bank and savings accounts, credit cards, loans, even utility and phone suppliers. Comes with do's and don'ts to help you make the right choices.
www.thisismoney.co.uk As above.
www.moneysupermarket.com Offers a bewildering choice of comparison tools in virtually every product imaginable. Less interested in guides to assist your purchase or news, but still very thorough and objective in terms of its search functions.
www.moneynet.co.uk As above
www.moneyfacts.co.uk A website by one of the UK's leading financial information specialist firms. They supply the "best-buy" tables to most daily newspapers. The site isn't so hot: there's a difference between "best-buy" choices, which ultimately are made by them, and "comparison" sites, which give you all the info and the freedom to choose between them.
www.tqonline.co.uk A very good site for online life insurance quotes. They offer a 65 per cent discount on the commission that would normally be paid to the adviser (as does FTyourmoney, above). Also sells ISAs online.
www.hargreaveslansdown.co.uk Superb annuity quotation service, with up-to-date prices. Although you then have to get in touch with them by phone. Still…
http://funds.ft.com/funds/ This is the FT Fund Ratings service from the Financial Times. Extremely complicated and sophisticated back-end, but essentially rates funds on the basis of a combination of risk, charges and performance. Includes investment trusts.
www.morningstar.co.uk UK subsidiary of a hugely successful US company. Uses its own assessment tools to provide information on and rate more than 3,000 funds.
www.micropal.com This takes you to Standard & Poor's, another firm which offers its own risk-based assessment of UK and European funds, backed up by "qualitative" analysys (they go out and talk to the fund manager).
www.trustnet.co.uk Is more geared to providing fund-based performance statistics. But also has some useful investment-oriented guides that are well worth reading.
www.citywire.co.uk Already mentioned them. They operate a twist on everyone else's fund rating and performance sites, by offering a fund MANAGER rating system. This looks at a manager's cumulative performance, following him or her round all the different groups he joins and leaves.
www.ethicalinvestors.co.uk Is owned by a firm of financial advisers. Rates ethical funds on the basis of so-called "humanist", "environmental" and "animal welfare" criteria.
www.fidelity.co.uk The biggest fund supermarket. You can buy hundreds of other companies' funds at a discount. Also has a range of tools you can use to personalise your fund selection.
www.egg.com Also offers hundreds of funds. Its own fund packages are created using FT Fund Ratings. Some investment tools.
www.ample.com Provides a range of funds and also its own fund packages, including an ethical ISA investment option.
www.bestinvest.co.uk This is actually the site of Bestinvest, financial advisers in London, who use a combination of platforms including Fidelity's. But they have brought to it their own research and fund selection tools, which makes them one of the best in the business.
www.hargreaveslansdown.co.uk Another firm of financial advisers with a wide selection of tools, including ISA purchasing online.
http://ftyourmoney.ft.com/FTym/brokerfinder There are two ways of finding an online stockbroker. One is to research every site and find something that suits your criteria. The second is to use this simple service from FTyourmoney. On the whole, this is easier. But if you want to do your own research, www.find.co.uk, the online financial directory, has the full list. Good luck.
www.unbiased.co.uk This is the site from IFA Promotion, an organisation that promotes independent advisers. You can search for the nearest advisers to your own postcode. You can also filter them according to various criteria, including qualifications, areas of interest, gender and fee structures
www.sofa.org The Society of Financial Advisers (Sofa), is the UK's leading body promoting greater financial education and professionalism among advisers. Members must have higher qualifications. The site lets you search for them by postcode.
www.solicitor-ifa.co.uk There's nothing particularly better about advice coming out of the mouth of a solicitor, as opposed to any other type of financial adviser. But if you believe there is, this site, from Solicitors for Independent Financial Advice (Sifa) lets you find a lawyer who can do the business.
www.financialplanning.org.uk The Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) is a small organisation of mostly fee-based advisers (they prefer the word "planners"), who claim to have a more holistic approach to people's finances. Its website allows you to search by location and area of expertise. Well worth a visit.
www.eiris.org/index.htm Financial advisers specialising in ethical investment can register with Ethical Investment Research Services (Eiris), a firm that does what it's name suggests. Note, however, that being on Eiris' register does not guarantee the firm itself is ethical.
www.ethicalinvestment.org.uk The Ethical Investment Association is a body of financial advisers specialising in ethical investment. You can search its list by postcode.
www.find.co.uk This is the online version of a financial Yellow Pages. The find site carries details of - literally – thousands of websites broken into nine main and scores of subsidiary categories. If it's a financial firm, it's in there.
www.google.co.uk This, to my mind, is the best search tool in the business. I've given the UK address, because it makes it easier to divide a search between UK sites and others.
www.eiris.org/index.htm Look here for information about ethical investment, banking, mortgages, advisers, funds, everything you need – but with an ethical slant.
www.fsa.gov.uk The Financial Services Authority is the one-stop regulator covering the financial industry. This website has a mass of consumer-related information to help you make financial decisions - and avoid costly mistakes. This includes online comparative tables of financial products and guides.
www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk The Financial Ombudsman Service is the place you go to complain if you have been badly treated by a financial company. The FOS website has a mass of useful information about how to complain and what th grounds for a successful complaint might be, plus details of rulings that might determine your own complaint.
www.mortgagecode.org.uk The Mortgage Code Compliance Board regulates the activities of lenders and mortgage brokers. For details of what it does, what you should expect from mortgage advisers and how to complain, go to this site.
www.oea.co.uk This is the Ombudsman for Estate Agents website. It gives details of the code of standards that estate agents should follow, what the grounds are for making a complaint and how to make one. I have no views whatsoever on the likelihood of your being successful.
www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk If you are a member of a company pension scheme (as opposed to having a personal pension) and you want to complain about how your scheme is run, you come to the Pensions Ombudsman, as distinct from the FOS, above or Opra, below.
www.opra.gov.uk A regulator is a different beast to an ombudsman. Which makes the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra), whose website link is here another place to go to if you fear that the rules governing your company pension scheme are being broken. Basically, this is the place to go to if you think Robert Maxwell has come back to life and is running your pension.
www.ihos.org.uk The Independent Housing Ombudsman Scheme deals with disputes between landlords and tenants in England. It aims to provide a fair and effective way of dealing with complaints against member landlords from people who receive their services. It also seeks redress for complaints, where it believes this is justified.
www.endowmentvictims.co.uk This website is for people who believe they are victims of endowment mis-selling. It tells you all you need to know about how to make a complaint.
www.endowmentaction.co.uk Another excellent site, this time from the Consumers' Association, with lots of details about what constitutes mis-selling, what you can do and how to go about it.
www.uk-endowment-mortgages.com This is a commercial site. In other words, the people here help you to get compensation – but will charge you for it. Nothing wrong with that, you may feel. The Financial Ombudsman has warned against some "compensation-chasing" companies operating in this area. I have had no complaints about this one so far, but proceed carefully.
www.financevictims.co.uk This is an offshoot of the site above. Again, you act alone on this one, so be careful.
www.global-investor.com From time to time you may need more in-depth information on a particular financial topic, a book to read, put down and come back to. Global Investor's online shop is the leading online provider of financial books. You get a minimum 15 per cent discount on any of them. And the site also has some quite interesting content. Well worth a browse.Return to top
www.lcgb.co.uk This is the website of the Lambretta Club of Great Britain (LCGB). Lambrettas are a vintage type of scooter that ceased production in 1971. They are still revered by tens of thousands of scooterists worldwide. The LCGB is the biggest Lambretta club in the world.
www.mbdevelopments.co.uk One of the best, if not THE best, two-stoke engine tuning specialists in the business. Mark Broadhurst, the boss, can make a Lambretta sing. Masses of good anoracky info.
www.100-mph-lambretta.com Of course, these old vintage scooters are very slow. Even an electric wheelchair can go faster than a Lammie. Hmmm…
www.scootersurgery.freeservers.com Baldie Mark, the guy who ran this particular scooter restoration firm is not in business at that address any longer. Try him on 07799 768352 for his new gaff. I've put his old URL up both because he's a brilliant restorer – and as a tribute to the web designer's skills (if only putting a scooter back together were so easy…)
www.northernsoulmusic.co.uk Northern Soul is a uniquely British music scene, albeit based on US 1960s/70s soul music. For more information go here.
www.soulsurfin.currantbun.com Or here…
www.soultime.demon.co.uk Or here…
www.tpnet.demon.co.uk/onsoul/ns_links.htm By now, you will be fascinated by Northern Soul, In which case, this is a links page for even more sites.
www.modculture.co.uk/index1.php Look, I was never a mod OK? But there are some things about the mod scene that I do like, including the scooters (obviously) and some of the music. Here is a site that tells you more about it.
www.runnersworld.co.uk If, like me, you are mad enough to enter your name for the London Marathon, you will want to go here. Lots of vital info.
www.throughtheline.co.uk OK, so you've had a website designed and it looks great - or you need your site spruced up a bit - or maybe you haven't even got a site yet?. But how are you going to put up new content, take down old stuff and generally manage your site on a day-by-day basis? Here's a firm offering a simple and relatively cheap way to do it.
www.nuj.org.uk The National Union of Journalists is the world's largest independent journalists' union, with 30,000 members. It went through a bleak period in the late 80s and 90s, as de-recognition and the abandonment of local bargaining by most employers almost broke its back. Today the NUJ is back in business, recruiting and organising again. Well worth joining.