Changes that will affect your personal finances in 2019

The New Year will bring with it a number of change that will all feel in our back pockets. Some of the changes will leave us a little richer, while other will leave us a little poorer. Flandersnews.be provides summary of the most import changes.

The price rises

The price of beer will rise from 1 January with the country’s biggest brewer AB InBev set to increase the price it charges supermarkets and the hospitality industry for its products. They can decide themselves whether they pass on the increase to their customers. An AB InBev spokesperson told journalists that the increase equates to around 1.6 eurocent for a glass of draught beer and 1.5 eurocent for a bottle of beer. The Alken-Maes brewery whose products include Cristal Alken and Maes Pils is also putting up its prices. 

Some banks too are putting up the prices they charge for a range of everyday banking services. In addition to this BNP Paribas Fortis is introducing extra charges for the management of legacies left in wills that have not been dealt with within a year of the deceased’s death. ING is also raising some of its charges. Belfius and KBC have no plans to do so.

The telephone operator Proximus is putting up the price of a number of its most popular products, including the Tuttimus and Familus packs that include TV, internet and telephone services. The price of a subscription to the operator’s sport channels is also going up. 

The amount payable for funeral or a wedding in a Roman Catholic Church is to rise to 275 euros in the Mechelen-Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges and Hasselt dioceses, a rise of 25 euro. This is the first price increase since 2011.  

Anyone calling an ambulance on 112 emergency number will soon be for 60 euro rather than an average of 130 euro as is currently the case. However, this can vary. Half of this sum is repaid via the health mutual. The new system will reduce red tape and mean that a person knows in advance how much they will have to pay. 

A visit to your GP will be more expensive in the New Year. The cost of  consultations and home visits are set to rise by around 3.3%.

The price of a stamp is also set to rise. A “prior” stamp for next day delivery will cost 1 euro. Those using stamps they had bought before the price rise will see their letters treated as “non-prior”, as will those using the new “non-prior” stamps that will cost 95 cents.

It pays to buy in bulk though as a sheet of 10 prior stamps will cost 9,70 euro, while 10 non-prior stamps will cost 9.20 euro. Non-prior letters will be delivered within three working days. 

Cheaper gas and electricity

The distribution charges for and electricity are going down by an average of 46 euro/annum/household and 25 euro/annum/household respectively. 

The tax shift and child benefits

As we reported on Sunday, the final stage of the Federal Government’s tax shift will leave us with a little more take home pay. Click here to find out more. 

On Sunday we reported on a raft of measures that will mean big changes to the system of family allowance and other child benefits in Flanders. Click here to find out more 

Deposit for rented accomodation

The rules on renting property have been reformed. The biggest change is to the rules governing the deposit tenants pay when they move in to a house or flat.

From 1 January a landlord can ask for a deposit up to the equivalent of 3 months’ rent.

Previously this was two months’ rent. Those with limited means will be able to get an interest-free loan from the Flemish Accomodation Fund to enable them to pay their deposit. 

Grants for energy-saving measures

Those installing an energy efficient warm water boiler will be able to get a 400 euro grant from the Flemish Government. The grant for solar-powered boilers remains unchanged at 550 euro.

The grant for roof insulation in Flanders is being reduced from 6 euro/m² to 4 euro/m². Those replacing an old wood burner with a more eco-friendly modern model can apply for a grant of 250 euro.   

The Flemish Government will no longer offer so-called “energy loans” to anyone wishing to renovate their home in order to make it more energy efficient. Instead the loan will be targeted towards socially disadvantaged groups and associations. .

Pensions

Those working for longer than 45 years will be rewarded for doing so when the level of their pension is calculated. Previously pensions were calculated based on a career of 45 years. Any extra years worked were not taken into consideration. The changes mean that those working longer will now receive a higher pension that would previously have been the case.

Money transfers

From 1 January you won't have to wait as long for your money. 16 banks, including the big four, have signed up to a new system that will allow payments to be made by bank transfer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The money that is transfered will be on the recipients account within a matter of seconds, regardless of whether they are with the same bank.  

Merlin Meuris / Reporters