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QP1

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  1. All contractor rates being cut 20% from Jan 1 in the oil major I'm currently working for.
  2. I've been trying to get rid of my (share of a) house for seven years (long and bitter tale of woe) - completion finally set for today and the banks go t1ts up and can't process the transactions...
  3. I stand corrected - but is it not still the case that you can only take 25% as a lump sum? What are you allowed to do with the other 75%? Depends upon the sort of financial difficulties you find yourself in and whether any benefits would be available to you or sufficient for your needs.
  4. Your point? I'm simply saying evaluate the risk, consider the alternatives and decide what is best for you in your circumstances. I suspect too few people think about risks associated with pensions as they are sold the upsides by government and financial advisers and blinded by the thought of 'saving' some money that would otherwise be taken from them as tax. I'm just pointing out the downsides.
  5. Yes a pension is an investment with risk (a bet), but I think that some (many?) people don't view a pension in the same terms as a BTL, a trade on the stock market, a flutter on the horses or a punt on gold. I expect many get a pension as that is "what they are supposed to do" and then simply do not think about it anymore, telling themselves they've followed the advice of the government and financial advisers so they don't need to worry about their old age. With a pension the government will help subsidies your stake with a tax incentive but the hitch is that you can't get your chips out of t
  6. Indeed - I know people who lost on Equitable (don't know how much but they certainly weren't happy!). I have a family member who paid for nearly 30 years into a company pension scheme only for the company to go bust (not sure the scale of the hit he will take but it will be substantial) - the company was a multi-national, market-leader over 100 years old - he couldn't conceive of the company suddenly going under until it happened. For me the tax upside (which may not be as great as people think - depending on tax rates/thresholds when the pension is drawn) just doesn't outweigh the downsides
  7. Just to put a counter argument… I would rather have the money in my control (albeit 40% less of it after tax) than locked away in a pension. The future may have a tendency to come up fast but is also has a tendency to be unexpected. I am no expert but AFAIK if you put the money into a pension: • You cannot touch any of it until 55 (although that can change, it was 50 when I started a pension so best not to make any plans) • At 55 you can only get 25% of it back • The remaining 75% has to be used to purchase an annuity • You only have a small window of time to purchase your annuity and if
  8. I think that's the point I'm reaching. I was lucky enough to have had the material things... they're not all they're cracked up to be. One option may be to get the occassional job in the Middle East now I have contacts here. Few months of slaving away in the sun followed by long breaks somewhere with a more relaxed way of life enjoying skiing, kayaking, hiking, etc.
  9. I imagine NZ must feel pretty isolated and insignificant (on the world scale) to a youngster - which is exactly why I imagine it would be a nice country to live in. A colleague moved out to Oz with his family a year or so ago and seems to be loving it, although I've heard of plenty of stories of Brits giving up and heading back to the UK. I'll be looking for quality of life, not a mega-bucks job. Unfortunately in the UK you seem to need the mega-bucks job (with the stress and hours that go with it) to afford even the basics - hence not much scope for quality.
  10. Unfortunately I'm the wrong side of 30 for one of those 12 month work visas although it looks like I could get a visa if I got a job offer (degree educated, professional qualifications, work in IT). I've already made my break with the UK and I'm something of a nomad now so it's not exactly moving 'lock stock' or at least what the 'lock stock' consists of is little more than a few suitcases worth and a healthy bank balance Well, that and a house I co-own with my ex-gf but haven't lived in for three years and hope to be shot of within the next six months... but that's a whole other thread!
  11. Currently applying for an Irish passport. Part of my travelling may involve an overland trip from UK to OZ through places where Brits are not the most popular nationality.
  12. No, not planning to stay in the Middle East - I'm definitely here for the money, although it is an interesting experience for a couple of years. I plan to go travelling when I finish my job here (possibly April but chance of an extension) - by that time I can afford to take a long time exploring the world and seeing where I'd like to settle. Australia and New Zealand sound appealing but I'll reserve judgement until I've spent a couple of months getting to know what they're really like.
  13. I left the UK a year or so ago as my contract with a FTSE 100 was cut short (major retrenchment) and the first thing I was offered (through a combination of luck/word of mouth) was a job in the Middle East. Not massively convenient but availability of contracts in the UK was the worst I've seen it since 'going contract' over 10 years ago and while the rate was the same as UK there is no tax and all expenses are paid - nice! When I finish here I have no intention of returning to the UK. There are aspects of the UK I love and I have some ties there but as others have already said, the place is
  14. I'm an IT contractor and inclined to agree. I started contracting in the late 90's and have worked a variety of 'styles' of contract. Initially some on-site 9 to 5 stuff but all project based and as part of a loose 'consortium' and clearly differentiated from the permanent staff. When IR35 came in I changed my style of working to offering fixed prices on projects (i.e. payment on milestones/completion, not a day rate) and doing the work from home on my own kit. I have been IR35 investigated and it is not a pleasant experience (though they did 'clear me', as it was obvious from the way I was
  15. A few years back I hurt my foot. Strapped it up and drove (carefully) to A&E. Was seen relatively quickly, X ray revealed a broken bone but I was sent away with an appointment for the fracture clinic about a week later. Went to stay with friends (about 100 miles away) as I was obviously not too mobile. Wasted a day or two trying to get the appointment moved to the local hospital - eventually I was told to just (re-)present myself at the local A&E. Same story - x ray reveals broken bone, given an appointment for fracture clinic about 10 days later. Finally make it to fracture clinic (
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