Saturday 6 March 2010

Are pensions a good retirement planning tool? (Part 1 of 2)

Where is the best place to put your money for retirement? Ask a lot of people and the automatic response is that you should put your money in a pension to get a bigger retirement pot which comes from the tax advantages given by HMRC. I however am not convinced and in fact believe the government and the pensions industry is actually close to misleading the public as to the advantages of pensions.

Thursday 4 March 2010

UK Bank Rate held at 0.5% while McDonald’s is deemed safer than UK government debt

Today’s chart must be the most boring I have ever posted. This is because the Bank of England held interest rates at 0.5% for the thirteenth month in a row. I can’t say that I’m surprised by this decision but I still think it irresponsible when you have a Monetary Policy Framework that you are supposed to operate within which includes the Government’s inflation target of 2%. Meanwhile back in the real world the Retail Prices Index (RPI) is running at 3.7% and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is running at 2.8%. The Bank of England are making excuses like inflation in the short term is high due to the reinstatement of increased VAT and falls in the pound. I won’t go on about this as I’ve talked about all this before except I will say when these factors were moving in the other direction the Bank of England were quick to lower rates.

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Winners and losers of recent government and Bank of England decisions – workers and homeowners

Picking up on Monday’s theme I’d like to have a look at two further winners or losers of the current governments and Bank of England’s decisions. This time is workers and homeowners. One is a winner and the other is a loser. Can you guess who is who? My chart today reveals all.
Firstly let me just benchmark inflation. The retail prices index – RPI, which is represented by the olive line, is current year on year running at 3.7% and since 1991 the arithmetic average of the monthly year on year percentages has been 3.5%. Of interest also is that the inflation trendline is heading in a downwards direction.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

UK Mortgage Rates and Approvals – March 2010 Update

Two in my opinion very interesting and somewhat conflicting charts today. The first picks up on yesterday’s theme by showing the monthly interest rate of UK resident banks and building societies sterling standard variable rate mortgage to households (not seasonally adjusted) and highlights that for this data set rates remain at near record lows at 3.97% (actual low was 3.82% in April 2009). Compare this with CPI of 3.4% and RPI of 3.7% and my comments of yesterday.

Monday 1 March 2010

Winners and losers of recent government and Bank of England decisions – Two B’s

On Thursday of this week the Bank of England makes another Bank Rate decision which I fear will be a repeat of the last year which is a hold at 0.5%. Additionally, we are now getting close to an election so I thought it a good time to stop, take a step back and just look at who the winners and losers are of the current government and Bank of England decisions in the lead up to Thursday.