Slope of Hope Blog Posts
Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.
What strange times these are. I saw a story this morning in the UK's Daily Express about the meltdown in private pensions in the UK. You can see that here. There's not much to say about this really, regulations (by the government) force pension funds to hold long dated bonds, the yield on those bonds has been pushed down to less than inflation (by the government), and UK pensioners are forced to buy annuities at retirement (by the government).
A 65 year old man retiring at the moment in the UK can use a £100,000 pension fund to buy an annuity yielding £5,743 per year. As the life expectancy for that man is 78 at the moment, the company selling him the annuity can expect to pay him about £75,000 on average before his death, at which point they will keep the change, as well as any return they have made from the £100,000 in the interim. If you're wondering how that's possible, you should remember that the competition authorities in the UK are notoriously deaf, dumb and blind. They famously concluded a study in the 1990s looking into why compact discs cost 25% or more in the UK than elsewhere by saying that UK consumers were happy to pay more, and the cartel of car dealers and manufacturers in the UK kept prices so high for so long that car manufacturers used to refer to the UK as 'Treasure Island'. That scam only ended because UK car buyers starting buying in large numbers from Europe through the internet.