06 March 2014

Looking after the pennies

It's all your fault, y'know.  You're not saving enough.  CityAM reports:
BRITAIN remains in a savings crisis. A shocking 19 per cent of the public have no savings at all, up from 17 per cent last year, and the average stash put away for a rainy day is a miserable £10,208. The total number of people who felt able to add to their savings actually dropped last year to 14.4m (just 30 per cent of the adult population) from 14.8m the previous year, and 54 per cent of people surveyed by Scottish Widows said they were saving less than they did two years ago. Just 12 per cent of people have more than £50,000 in savings.
It is clear that individuals, when at all possible, need to accumulate more financial assets. As incomes start to grow again, as much of the increase as possible ought to be put aside, rather than be spent on consumer goods; this process would depress domestic demand for years to come but is the only way the economy will ever be rebalanced. Tragically, it won’t happen.
A lack of trust in the system is one important explanation. People simply don’t believe the government – and politicians of all parties – when it comes to long-terms savings and pensions. They worry, with good reason, that the rules will keep changing; they are afraid that savers are an easy target and that they will eventually be hit by a wealth tax if the national debt continues to grow; and many therefore say that they prefer to invest in property instead. Many also distrust the financial services industry.
As a simple soul, my view is more pragmatic.  Why put your money in a savings account paying peanuts in interest and watch its value frittered away by inflation?  If you have any spare cash (which is a big if), better to buy shares in National Grid which will deliver an annual dividend payment of over 6%, more or less guaranteed - it's as least as safe as houses ...

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