UK Retail Prices Inflation (RPI) is currently running at 3.7%. This means that if you are a UK basic rate taxpayer that to just stand still you need to be earning interest of 4.63%. It’s even worse for higher rate taxpayers, you need to be earning 6.17%.
So what’s available out there? A quick look at MoneySavingExpert shows that the best ‘clean’ account, which is one that plays no tricks like introductory bonuses or withdrawal penalties, is paying interest of 2.5%.
This means that even with this account the basic rate taxpayer is every year is losing 3.7% - 2.5% + 2.5% x 20% tax = 1.7% of purchasing power on their cash holdings and the higher rate taxpayer is losing 3.7% - 2.5% + 2.5% x 40% tax = 2.7%. So if you are a prudent saver you are being punished while if you are in debt up to the eyeballs your debt is gradually being eroded by the wonderful [sic] inflation that we are seeing. This is thanks to the Bank of England base rate of 0.5% plus the great management that the government is showing.
I’ve protected myself as well as I can by having a significant portion (17.6% of total assets) of the low risk (cash and bonds) portion of my current low charge portfolio in NS&I Index Linked Savings Certificates which is giving me a real positive return. Unfortunately a new Issue of these has not been offered for some time and so I can’t put any more money here.
A little over 3% of my cash is sitting offshore in a ‘clean’ account paying interest of 4.25%. I’m losing money in real terms daily however at least it’s better than the best UK ‘clean’ account rate of 2.5%.
The remainder is in a ‘clean’ UK based account paying 2.1% interest. This is losing significant purchasing power however I feel powerless to do anything about it. I see no option at the moment but to sit tight and hope that one day my prudence is rewarded. Does anyone have a better option?
As always DYOR.