Royal Mail announced yet another increase to the price of a first-class stamp. As of 23 March 2020, the price will rise from 70p to 76p. Second class rises 4p to 65p. This will possibly have you gasping at yet another increase and recollecting when stamps used to be much cheaper.
This neatly leads me to discuss the topic of inflation. Whatever anyone within the financial world tells you, this is arguably the most devastating element to your financial wellbeing. Imagine you have £100,000 and inflation runs at an average 3% a year. Over the course of 25 years £100,000 is effectively worth £50,000.
Most people should be investing for decades, not days, weeks or months – decades. Your finances need to outlast you. When you enter the adult workforce and ultimately leave it, you have to rely on your investments to provide an income.
FIVE DECADES OF FIRST CLASS STAMPS
The price of a first-class stamp 10 years ago was 41p. In the millennium year 27p would have covered the cost of your standard first-class letter, which was not that much more than the 22p it cost in 1990. If you remember 1980, you will perhaps remember the 12p first class stamp and a decade before that – well, we hadn’t yet gone decimal, so 5d would have paid for your first-class letter which is around 2p. Over 50 years the price has risen from 2p to 76p for the same service.
The illustrations that you receive about investments (which are nothing like as beautiful as those of stamps) try to account for inflation, typically assuming 2.5%. CPI (yet another measure of inflation) is currently 1.8%.
IS YOUR MONEY GOING BACK IN TIME?
So, think on this. If your money in the bank is getting less than 1.8% interest, you are losing money. Your purchasing power is shrinking. Whilst this is great for those that owe money, it is terrible for those living off their savings. Yet I regularly come across people that lack into 3 or 5 years fixed rates of interest that are less than inflation. There are a variety of reasons, partly poor alternative cash deposit rates, but also a deep misunderstanding of how investments work and the dreaded “stock market” which news outlets seem to do their best to instils a sense of terror at the daily movements.
THERE IS NEVER A RIGHT TIME TO INVEST
Many of you worry about the right time to invest – the truth is, that it was 50 years ago, but otherwise it is today. Yes, we do not know what will happen to the UK economy, (we never do) we are facing all sorts of significant problems (again) but these will pass (again) being replaced by the next round of bad news and you will still have to live with the consequences of your decisions.
CHECK YOU ARE NOT DESIGNING TO FAIL
As the tax year is drawing to a close, check that you are not holding too much in cash. Certainly, having access to cash is vital – for planned expenses and the occasional mishap. You should have an emergency fund if your income is likely to stop. However, beyond that, you need to deploy your money to work for you over the coming decades so that it grows faster than inflation.
Do not make the mistakes you made a decade ago, holding onto cash and worrying about the financial crisis, or the decade before about Y2K or the one before that… inflation does not reward anxiety, it eats it for breakfast.
Pick up your phone or send me an email. It’s about time that this was mastered. Let’s get started…
You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email email@example.com
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Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
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