STAMPS TELL STORIES OF INFLATION

TODAY’S BLOG

THE PRICE OF A STAMP

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.

First Class 1970,1980,1990,2000,2010

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…

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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 info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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STAMPS TELL STORIES OF INFLATION2020-02-22T08:48:01+00:00

Pensions: Annuities starting to improve?

Annuities starting to improve?

We appear to have witnessed a small upturn in annuity rates. In June the best open market annuity for a male aged 65, with £100,000 seeking a single life, level income with a 5 year guarantee rose to 5.35% or £5,350 in April and May the rate was 5.09%…. technically a modest increase of £260 a year in this example, but equivalent to an increase of 5.1% (Ok it is starting from a very low point).

Why?

Well, gilt yields have increased modestly too, these essentially drive annuity rates, along with mortality rates (as well as other health and geographic factors). The 15 year gilt yield bottomed at 1.76% in February this year, but has slowing started to increase. All this suggests a possible interest rate rise is probably coming.

Back in the day…

I wonder what your feelings are to this news. In October 1990 the same £100,000 for a 65-year-old male, also buying a single-life level annuity with a 5 year guarantee would have received an annuity rate of 15.64% or £15,640 a year (nearly three times as much). At the time the 15 year gilt yield was 11.74%. Gilt yields have historically always been less than annuity rates, tracking a very similar path but 2-3% less.

Of course to buy an annuity in October 1990 you would be born in 1925, the year Clara Bow starred in “The Plastic Age” and you would now be 89. Most men born in 1925 do not live to 89, (and some may have fought in WW2… just, being 20 when it ended) but for those that have survived until 2015 the average man would live another 4.32 years according to the ONS. Some will obviously live longer, some less (hence it being an average figure). If you are lucky enough to have a 15.64% annuity rate that started in October 1990 you would have already had £400,384 by the end of June 2015 from your £100,000. Living until the average 93.3 would provide a total income of £458,252… which really isn’t too bad is it.

What about inflation?

Since 1990 until the end of last year (2014) the average rate of RPI was 3.1%. As a result anyone with a level annuity has seen the effective value reduce by 3.1% a year (assuming that you believe the RPI data and buy the same goods and services – which is a significant point).  Of course £15,640 today is £15,640, but if we back date this to 1990, its worth the equivalent of £32,746, in other words a little more than twice as much…. or to put it another way £15,640 is worth about half what it was worth in the space of about 25 years.

Planning your retirement income

If only life were as simple as buying the best deals. In practice planning your retirement income is a fairly involved task, there are lots of choices – loads in fact. How much income you need and your thoughts about inflation are part of the discussion. The new pension freedoms make this a more valuable discussion than simply having to buy an income and living with the consequences, the downside is that greater choice, brings greater complexity and possibility.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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 info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Pensions: Annuities starting to improve?2017-01-27T11:09:55+00:00
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