Over the decades, I’ve had several enjoyable conversations with friends about what a great plan it would be if, when we ‘got old’, we could all club together, buy a big house and live ‘separately but together’. We were generally pretty hazy about the precise household set-up, as we were about the financial implications of shared ownership, the location and the list of inmates – but it was a great way to pass an evening and a bottle of wine or two.
How are we going to pay for the economic damage done by the coronavirus crisis? It’s a question that’s receiving increasing airtime, and justifiably: as was reported in mid May, an internal Treasury document has found that the pandemic’s impact will cost the government almost £300 billion in 2020 alone.
In normal times it’s fair to say the British are reluctant to engage with death. We avoid it as a topic of conversation, and we are not keen on making preparations for it – as evidenced by the 54% of Britons who had not written a will, according to a report commissioned by Royal London just over a year ago.
Early in January, I came across a tweeted witticism that ran along these lines:
1 January: 2020 off to a good start!
2 January: Australia on fire
3 January: WWIII declared
Ten years ago, who’d have predicted that the number of online accounts belonging to direct investors (those without a conventional adviser) would more than double in three years, and rise by 800,000 – 16% – over the course of just 12 months?
Yet those are the findings of a survey of the direct online investing market recently released by consultancy Boring Money. It found not only that direct investor numbers have rocketed, but that the past year alone has seen a 20% rise in assets under administration (AUA) for online providers dealing directly with investors.
This month’s star letter flags up a dilemma likely to gain increasing prominence, given the significant rise in interest in sustainable investment over the past 18 months or so.
It’s that time of year again. Putting together the annual Wealth Creation Guide tends to act as a personal call to action for a spot of financial spring-cleaning, and this year is no exception.
We have charted the sorry progress of Neil Woodford and his stable of funds since the suspension of the flagship Woodford Equity Income fund back in June; it’s a train of events with far-reaching implications for the fund industry.
We have all seen the clichéed shots of well-preserved couples on beaches, smiling euphorically into the middle distance. It’s a clear message: retirement is a wonderful experience, a tonic after the exhaustion of the workplace. But in reality it’s a much less polished experience for many people, according to the findings from the Great British Retirement Survey (GBRS) released this month.
How times change. It’s hard to believe that 40 years ago, when Money Observer was first published, Margaret Thatcher had come to power months previously, Franco’s era in Spain had ended only four years earlier and the UK had just three television channels. On average, men at state pension age lived for just five years (now it’s more than 14) the average price of a home was just under £14,000 and a pint of milk cost 15p.