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Selling up

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Everything posted by Selling up

  1. I have a couple of friends working for East Lancashire PCT. One (senior manager) has been made redundant and the other is probably about to. I was commiserating with them when the ex-senior manager revealed that their pay was protected for 5 years. So as of today the ex-senior manager is doing nothing while drawing her salary. The PCT will now try to find a more junior post for her to fill, at the same salary she was earning previously. It makes the GP contract look positively sensible! Edit: So it isn't only in Wales!
  2. Forum domesticum perfututum est. ('The marketplace pertaining to the house is f*cked)
  3. You can call it shallow but I don't think of it judgementally. Remember we're all basically apes. The male ape seeks signs of health and fertility (EG youth). The female seeks signs of the ability to protect and provide.
  4. Dare I suggest that the letter above is a little long and not quite as focused as it could be? How about something closer to: Sir The media are painting the proposed cut in housing benefit as a bad thing. Yet high housing benefit supports high rents. A cut in benefit will drive down rents, thus saving taxpayer money while benefiting tenants everywhere. The people who will lose out are not the poor but any overextended landlords who rely on fleecing the taxpayer. Yours,
  5. One can buy index-linked gilts of course, and maybe more will, but they carry a a capital risk that the certificates didn't...
  6. Is it only me who feels a deep unease about this? This was the one more or less risk-free way to store value available to savers.
  7. (Which means of course that a Black Swan is indeed a Black Swan TO a particular person or institution. The UFO is a Black Swan to the casino management. It might be a considered probability to the bunch of UFO crackpots next door.)
  8. Actually, I thought that a Black Swan event = one whose likelihood has never been considered. Think of a casino; the probability of a lucky gambler bankrupting the casino one evening is known to the management and tiny; this would not be a Black Swan event. Whereas the probability of a huge flying saucer landing on top of the casino and crushing it has (probably) never been considered. This would be a Black Swan.
  9. No it isn't. It's not taking money away from them, it's taking it away from their landlords.
  10. Hmm. I rather imagine the same words could have been written when the novel was invented... or radio... or television...
  11. I think the agent's attitude is crazy. You don't want that house. Fine, that means you are a buyer looking for a different house. In today's market that makes you gold dust. He cannot afford the luxury of trying to make you feel bad just to soothe his ego. If you did write to his boss I think he'd probably get quite a reprimand. Not pissing off buyers is quite a fundamental principle of selling.
  12. The bonds are specifically designed to give a return of 1% over inflation, guaranteed. So yes, if RPI inflation over the next 12m is 5%, the bonds pay 6%. As to 'not a very good investment', I beg to disagree. Where else do you plan to find 1% over inflation (eg 6% in the last 12m) guaranteed?
  13. There seems to be a mismatch between the maths that indubitably says '30th percentile will have a cataclysmic feedback effect' and the govt prediction that this will only save 7% over the parliament. Anyone understand it?
  14. LHA (housing benefit). Cut it radically - stop supporting rental prices and thereby house prices.
  15. When I worked as a GP I used to see people who were living (usually) in Spain and would nip back 4 times a year to get their NHS prescription renewed, have their blood pressure checked etc. I had to point out to them that they were no longer entitled to routine NHS care now that they were not UK residents (I believe that any EU member is entitled to free emergency care here as we are when visiting other EU countries) and if they would be so good as to confirm that they had the means to pay for this private consultation then we could proceed. It surprised me how many ex-pats seemed to be unaware of this fact... and un-amused by it! (This was a couple of years back, it may have changed.)
  16. The vanity is just laughable that any person or institution thinks it is worth making a forecast for house price growth in 5 years time to the nearest 0.1 percentage point.
  17. A noble sentiment but it seems a little foolish to me. Buyers and sellers both know perfectly well that nothing is settled until exchange, that's how the game works. Both sides are well aware that an unwritten agreement to sell is not legally binding. I would no more expect a seller to refund the buyer's costs than I would expect a buyer to pay the seller's agency fees on pulling out of an unwritten deal.
  18. How do you propose to make this work? Say a public servant is paid 30k. You would need to find a way to assign a monetary value to the benefit of the work they do, then work out if this value is more or less than 30k. Clearly an impossible task. What is the monetary equivalent value of a single soldier's contribution to the wellbeing of the nation, for instance?
  19. My impression is that the amount given in aid is so small that maintaining it will give good headlines while costing very little. Okay - that's not an argument for why it SHOULD be maintained as much as an argument for why it MIGHT be maintained.
  20. This brings up all the problmes of defining wealth that I started a thread on recently. You're bringing in a red herring by mentioning the MARKET value of nation A's housing stock. This might for instance, change radically from day to day depending on credit availability, whereas the utility (I think that's the word) or 'social value' of the housing stock will differ little from day to day. The housing stock will certainly have a social value; how one rationally assigns a monetary equivalent to that value is deeply problematic. And therefore the difference in 'wealth' between your two nations will depend entirely on if and how your measures convert such 'social value' to numbers.
  21. Actually it's not so clear at all. When a newspaper, or a commentator here says 'RPI hits 5%' they are actually using the wrong terminology; what has actually happened is that 'the RPI [Retail Price Index] has increased by 5%'. The RPI itself is an index (think of it a basket of goods), not a measure of inflation. On the day the RPI was created, the cost of those goods was mathematically manipulated to give a value (I haven't been able to find out what the value was but usually the value of any index at creation is arbitrarily set at 100 units). This would mean that RPI was 100 units in year 1. By the end of year 1, the value of the goods had increased: The RPI was now valued at 105 units. So in year 2, RPI was 105. Over the first year, RPI INFLATION, IE the change in RPI was 5%, and this is what would have been reported. IE. RPI INFLATION, which is what the papers report, is calculated by the change in the value of the RPI. Sorry that my explanation is poor, the concept of an index and its inflation is not easy to cover in a single post. Check out wikipedia 'price index' for more information. The bottom line is that what we colloquially call 'RPI' is in fact the CHANGE in the RPI (which is the same as RPI inflation).
  22. Agreed, it's possible. But there aren't many better ways of preserving wealth in that scenario. All I can think of is gold (which is 15% of my portfolio along with 10% cash and 75% index-linked certs) and forex, but those investments risk being legally restricted in an emergency scenario.
  23. I've got about 75% of my wealth in these. What's the worst case scenario? That they slightly underperform a savings account. Given their safety and the huge upside if inflation persists, that seems a risk worth taking.
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