Sunday Times, A Question of Money - 15 December, 2013

Posted by Jill Kerby on December 15 2013 @ 09:00

Worthless PTSB shares can be put to good use

DP writes from Dublin: Like your correspondent GB from Co. Tipperary (8/12/2013), I hold a small number of essentially worthless Permanent TSB Group Holdings (formerly Irish Life) shares. I also have a small number of worthless AIB shares. I have no share dealing account and no desire to open one. What is the best way to get rid of these shares and so crystallise the capital loss for declaration on my tax return?

One relatively cheap way to sell your shares is to find a stockbroker with low minimum costs for once-off transactions – Campbell O’Connor, for example, only charge €40 for an execution only transaction on share values up to €12,500 or 1.5% of the value, whichever is the greater. Unless you have a huge shareholding (PTSB trades at 5 cent and AIB, 12 cent) the cost to you is more likely to be €40.  Or you could contact a charity of your choice and ask them if they would be interested in accepting the shares in exchange for paying any transaction charges. Big, long-established ones may be very happy to file your unwanted bank shares away in the hope that some day they will be worth cashing in.

As I explained to the Tipperary reader, PTSB (and AIB) were diluted to the point of worthlessness when the State rescued the banks from certain closure. The best you and anyone else with such shares can expect – unless there is a miraculous recovery in the value of these banks – is to dispose of them and carry forward your losses against future capital gains.

RW writes from Galway: I am a full-time adult student on a Back to Education allowance of €188 per week. I have no debt and while this is a liveable income, paying the usual car tax, insurance, oil bills can be a strain. I have three saving accounts with An Post that will be worth a total of €87,000 when they mature.  I tried to get a €5,000 loan with my local bank and credit union in which I would pay the capital interest in one lump in December 2015 but to no avail.  I wonder is it possible to cash in one of my post office accounts early and if so what are the conditions, the firsts matures in two years, the rest the following May.

Early encashment is always possible with state savings products whether they are savings bonds, certificates, or instalment savings and national solidarity bonds, but you will suffer an interest penalty that will vary depending on whether the redemption happens at the anniversary of the date of purchase or not. In the case of the latter it will amount to 0.15% per annum of the redeemed amount (the principal) for the number of days between the most recent anniversary of the purchase and redemption. Redemptions will be made within seven days of An Post receiving (at any post office) your completed redemption form that you can download from the www.anpost.ie website.


I’m curious as to why you wanted to borrow €5,000 from a bank or credit union when the cost of such a loan per annum, typically interest of 12%-14%, is so much higher than the puny amount of interest you would receive from An Post, or any other deposit taker at perhaps 2%.  Borrowing money to advance your education and employment prospects isn’t a bad thing in itself, but most students only do so because they don’t have sufficient savings or income.




GB writes from Dublin: Can you please advise on any good value health insurance policies, as you did for me 12 months ago? My Laya policy renewal has arrived and is up 32% from €885 to €1167 for 2014.  I am a single man, have made no claims since I switched last year. Are there any corporate policies that are cheaper?

Since you didn’t supply me with the name of your Laya policy, I suggest you contact a good broker who specialises in health insurance, such as www.healthinsurancesavings.ie . They should be able to supply you with a list of similar, cheaper alternative plans from Laya and the other three providers. And yes, the corporate ones tend to be better value:  our community rating system means everyone is entitled to buy any health plan on the market, even those designed specifically for companies.

All health insurance members can do their own research as well by going onto the Health Insurance Authority website www.hia.ie which provides a comparison search engine.


PC writes from Dublin: I am in my late 50s and am currently receiving Job Seekers Benefit which will end next May and am currently living off my savings. Am I liable to pay PRSI for as long as I receive this benefit? Does the PRSI stop after I stop receiving it?

You get PRSI credits automatically, that is, you do not have to make the contributions, if you are fully unemployed and getting Jobseeker's Benefit which now lasts nine months if you have made 260 past PRSI contributions, or six months if you have made fewer than 260.  When your Jobseeker’s Benefit runs out your credits should continue if you move onto Jobseeker’s Allowance. PRSI credits continue then, so long as the recipient has made PRSI contributions themselves in either of the last two tax years, or has been credited with PRSI contributions.



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