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A glossy finance magazine that markets itself as an aid to assisting the individual with making reasoned financial decision. For a monthly cost of £2.50 (less if you opt for subscription) Real Money attempts to demystify and inform the financially uninitiated across the length and breadth of money matters, from investment tips to best buys. There are the usual in-depth articles covering subjects as diverse as can pub quizzes make you a fortune, to 100 per cent mortgages, to how to get out of debt. Generally these articles are digestible while remaining sufficiently comprehensive to be highly informative. The majority of information comes from snippets or brief articles, which cover all manner of financial subjects and are usually quite entertaining and instructive, while not being patronising. The magazine has a generally friendly and accessible approach and unlike some of its contemporaries, does not have that dull encyclopaedic layout whereby the reader is bombarded with facts, figures and charts. However, like its counterparts it does have the overabundance of advertisements throughout. I suppose that this is to be expected with the high cost of producing a glossy, but nevertheless it can be quite annoying. I decided to review a particular edition of the magazine in order to provide an in-depth breakdown of its usual content. Obviously the information changes monthly, but the layout appears to remain the same, so at least you can get some idea of what the magazine's approach is. But before I come to that, you might be interested in the details of how to obtain a free copy of the latest edition. Log-on to www.freeguide.co.uk/cgi-bin/free/185 and provide your contact details. (Incidentally, there is lots of free stuff on freeguide's site, covering all sorts of products). When I requested my copy it was delivered within 72 hours and came with an opportunity for a reduced subscription. Overall if you are
new - or even not so new -to proactive personal finance then you could do a lot worse than starting with Real Money. It's an accessible magazine providing enough information to enlighten but not overwhelm. I chose the October issue of Real Money to review, mainly as I moved house recently and can't find the others, but they are all much of a muchness. Where I have not provided a page number, you will find advertisements. Pages 1-7: Just the usual contents information, Editor's comments and ads. Page 8 Letters page requiring advice. This month included: saving for a child's future. Voting rights on the transfer of a mutual building society. Capital Gains Tax in relation to in-house company shares. Investment advice on the excess from a maturing endowment policy. Generally abridged advice, but this is more likely to do with space constraints. However, the questioner is directed to further sources. Page 11 (Regular) Details of Intelligent Finance - Internet banking from Halifax. 4 bite-size snippets: Scottish Widows take-over and how much policy holders stand to gain. Barclays take-over of the Woolwich. WapitOver - a London based home-delivery company. Government measures to protect consumers in relation to distance selling. Page 12: Four offerings of bizarre (usually funny) money stories. Page 14 : Yorkshire and Britannia agreeing to allow each other's customers to use both services Bank of Scotland providing female advisers specifically for female clients Entrepreneur of the Year Comparisons of vegetarian lasagne Page 16: Cheque clearance delays; Death of cheques in Sweden; £50K to invest? Page 19: Transferring credit card balances; Holiday insurance; Making a will; Saving rates; motorbike insurance; Loans & Peps. Page 20-1: Reviews: Finance books, banking services, etc. Page 24: Share tips; Com
pany news; Market risers Page 27: Spread betting; Company news Page 28: Investment tips Page 29: Penny shares Pages 31-2: Detailed information on Tracker Funds Pages 35-6: Government Bonds; International Bonds. Pages 38-40: How to get out of debt, with case illustration Pages 42-3: Comprehensive article covering the various finance pages on the Net. Pages 44-6: Pensions Pages 47: Details from the life of a private stock-market investor Pages 49-50: Insurance on the Net Pages 52-3: Paternity leave Pages 54-6: Interview with peter Stringfellow Pages 57: Individual advice on money matters Pages 58-9: Pub quizzes - can you make a fortune Page 61: General information on web sites, etc. Page 62: Mortgage tables/comparisons/general round-up Page 65-6: One hundred per cent mortgages Page 68-70: Home improvements: swimming pools Page 71: Further sources of help from information contained in the magazine Page 72-3: Best Buys: Loans, Savings, Mortgages, etc. Page 74: Fun Page (stories, etc.) As noted above (p71), articles contain Internet sources for further research. This is a nice touch: saving the reader from trawling the vast, and sometimes confusing, amount of information contained on the Net.