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Selling up

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  1. Even if not "more intelligent", one might consider "more self-confident" or "more ambitious". So you're right that the figures are deeply flawed. On the other hand, short of randomising a group to "uni" and "non-uni" it's hard to see how you can adjust for the self-selection bias.
  2. They're not new, I had one in 2003. They are indeed a tax-efficient way of managing your money: your savings reduce the mortgage interest so that there is no tax to pay on your savings. But as others have been pointed out, there's no free lunch. The interest rates are higher. I'd almost certainly go for one if I buy again though.
  3. That's not exactly been my experience. I think plenty of sackings occur due to personality clashes; where the employee is bolshy and hard-to-like but not actually incompetent, and the boss is bolshy and hard-to-like but not actually incompetent.
  4. CRB checks are an insane waste of time and money. We need less of them, not more.
  5. This IFS press release and article was a disgrace, as I'm glad so many here have noticed. The IFS simply took a well-recognised (though I think absurd) measure of relative poverty, and called it "absolute poverty". Distressingly, very few of the Guardian readers picked up on this linguistic fraud.
  6. Living ones life in the same house depends on stability of employment. We won't be going back to that world any time soon.
  7. Mine is about zero, since almost all my wealth is being saved to spend on a house; house prices are more or less flat year on year.
  8. You are probably right that they will continue to try to prop up prices. But can they succeed? Could the dutch government have maintained the inflated price of tulips? I don't know, and as far as I can see, nobody really knows...
  9. I suppose they calculate this by noting the excess number of deaths in the cold months over those in the warmer months. It's true, no doubt, but I think there is an interesting historical reflection to be made. Respiratory viruses, bronchitis and pneumonia are commoner in the cold months. These can prove fatal to the frail elderly. I imagine they account for most of the excess winter deaths. BUT remember that it was not long ago that pneumonia was called the "old man's friend": The frail elderly people susceptible to death from respiratory infection will typically have other underlying conditions such as cancer and heart failure; cold-related respiratory infection used to be seen as a way of dying that is shorter and less symptomatically unpleasant than dying from, say, cancer or heart failure. I don't claim to know who is right and who is wrong. I just know that our society seems to assume that all death must be a tragedy; former societies have considered that some deaths might be preferable to others, and that cold-related respiratory infection is one of the better deaths available. Edit 1: and of course the fact that somebody dies of a cold-related illness does not mean that they were cold. There are simply more people with a cold about in winter who can pass it on to an elderly person, no matter how warm and comfortable that person's house... Edit 2: Realising I don't come across well here: If old people are cold, that is bad. The extent to which they are dying of cold-related illnesses, however, does not tell us whether they are cold - see edit 1 -, and may or may not be bad, depending on the situation.
  10. Nationwide figures (nominal) Nov 10: 163,398 Feb 09 (recent trough): 147,746 Oct 07 (peak): 186,044 May 04: 149,020 So we're 12% off the peak. To return to the recent trough in nominal terms needs a fall of a further 9.6%. Any bigger fall would put us back to April 04 prices.
  11. It's important not to confuse responsibility with blame. If a borrower borrowed unwisely, repaying the loan should be his or her responsibility. Is the borrower to blame? Maybe, maybe not. I personally don't feel much blame towards, say, a young couple with a child on the way, who were not prepared to tolerate the insecurity of UK rental contracts, and whose bank, newspaper, TV, friends and parents all assured them that house purchase was a one way bet.
  12. I've not been able to find details of the original research, which (according to the article) compares Rightmove asking prices with LR sales prices. But I strongly suspect that it's not been carried out on a house-by-house basis; instead I think someone's just said: Overall average London asking price on RM is 400k, overall average London LR sold price is, 320k so the gap is 79k. Fine, but that gap could, for instance, simply mean that only cheaper houses are selling, and that they are selling for 100% of asking price. So, as usual, we can't conclude anything without more information on the methodology. :angry:
  13. But it's more likely laziness than incompetence [edit: I mean "conspiracy"]: I would imagine that when the figures are negative for any of these indices, the press release is written to sound as non-newsworthy as possible; when the figure is positive, I guess it gets a big attention-grabbing headline etc in the press release. So reporters naturally notice the positive ones more.
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