The 50+ Blog

Ruminations

Menu Close

Month: October 2008

Statistically Political

The United Kingdom has one of the lowest turnouts for elections in the World despite having one of the most transparent political processes. Could it be that this very transparency is responsible?

Apparently, 47% of people in this country are not interested in the US elections compared to 25% in France and 15% in Germany. Only 51% in the UK say they would vote in a General Election whereas 70-80% in other European countries is not uncommon. Only 27% of the electorate here have any trust at all in politicians generally yet, even in those countries with openly corrupt regimes, polling turnout is considerably higher than here.

It is my contention that a transparent political process following the usual posturing and brazen lies to secure control of parliament shows the electorate has been shafted yet again. You don’t need to have a brain the size of a planet to figure out that most people, if repeatedly kicked when they get up, will soon learn not to get up. So it is with politics. What’s the point of making the effort to consider policies and manifestos then go to the polling booth and vote for someone who is never going to do what they promised.

It might be better if we didn’t get to see what’s going on in politics as it just rubs salt in the wound. After all, getting shafted is one thing, but knowing you’ve been shafted that’s completely different!

Pension Woes

Worried about the effect of the credit crunch on your pension? If you’re 50+ you should be. That’s not to say you should be panicking just taking a good, hard look at your retirement provision. Now, we are not going to pretend that we are experts on financial matters but, looking at our own retirement plans, we’ve got some concerns.

How can you get good, reliable information about savings and investments (or indeed any financial matters)? I suggest you take a look at The Fool’s website, there’s loads of information but you can also mail if you can’t find the answer to your question. I found them very responsive and helpful.

While I would never suggest that Independent Financial Advisers are a waste of time 🙂 the best person to look after your interests really is you. You don’t need to be a guru to figure out a reasonable investment that suits you. At 50+ you should be looking for something that is low-risk as you may not have sufficient time to recover from market dips. Low-risk also means low return but at least your money is secure. Most people now know that there is a limit to how much you can hold in any one bank but, with the recent mergers and acquisitions, banks which had previously been separate entities may now be one.

This means that if you have more than £50,000 in two banks you may still only be protected to the maximum of £50,000 as both banks are part of the same group. You can find out which banks are in the same group here.

An increasing number of people are finding they are having to defer their retirement, some have lost a great deal of money in events such as the Iceland bank crash, to avoid this kind of disaster remember, these days if it looks too good to be true it is!