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mattyboy1973

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  1. Yep, we have also found this. Cash is no longer king for car purchases - they'd much rather you take out a credit agreement because this is where they are making much of their money, or their systems are so geared to it now that they have no easy way of negotiating cash deals. Lease deals do include servicing, and are also priced according to the resale value of the car at the end of the deal - so deals for more luxury brands can be relatively cheaper than for brands that don't hold their value as well. We're still in a 10 year old Focus that we bought at a place that shifts on cars from the mobility scheme after the original owner has had them for a couple of years. That's a fairly cheap way to get a recent second hand motor, as well as expired PCP deals where the owner moves onto another new car - the 3 year old cars are then sold on, having had maintenance paid for etc during the lease. Madness to buy new, but I'm glad enough people still do. Cars in general seem to be a bit of a "solved problem" now; they just work better and for so much longer than they used to, and rust issues etc are far rarer. I think 20, or even 10 years ago you'd not want to be driving a 10 year old family car unless you had to, but ours is still fine, even though list price now is probably about a grand. We will probably will pick up a newer model this year or next, and just keep the old one as a second car since it's hardly worth selling for what we would get for it.
  2. The article makes little sense, or at least some pertinent information has been omitted. They've spent 3 years building a dream home in West Yorkshire valued at £1.3m, and the "extra" stamp duty would be 40k, which is indeed 3% of 1.3m. So did they build it or not? Or was the plot of land itself £1.3m? Because I thought one of the advantages of building your own place as that you only had to pay stamp duty on the cost of the land purchase, not on any improvements that you make to it. Or is this some strange rule to do with the stamp duty surcharge? Or has this just been exagerrated for the sake of the article?
  3. That's a pre-print study based on a set of pre-prints. Not to say it is wrong (we just don't know yet), but the larger serological studies that have taken place mostly seem to agree on something around 0.7-1.0% as an overall IFR. What has become clearer is the dramatic age-stratification of death rates, and it does seem like younger people are at even less risk than was thought, and older people moreso. I read something recently that estimates the IFR for > 80s at around 20%, which is extraordinary if true. A London serological study estimated over 20% of 20-30 year olds had been infected, but that dropped to just 3% for over 70s. That's good insofar as older people appear to have been well protected (apart from care home residents, unfortunately), but it does leave a big problem for older people coming out of lockdown. The obvious solution would be to allow the young to get on with things and keep the old protected, but I don't know how easy that would be to manage in practice.
  4. Despite making up the bulk of the deaths, relatively few over 70s have actually had it. I think the results of a London serology study showed high prevalence in younger age groups (20%+ in 20-30) but only 3% of pensioners. A good thing, of course, but one does wonder how sustainable it is if we still have a year to go until vaccine. I still think the govt will do anything it can to keep nominal prices up there, which means inflation. One way or another, I think they can manage do produce it. Whether they can then stop it is of course another question, but they might still consider that the preferable outcome.
  5. Nothing about the buying or selling process in England is legally buying until exchange.
  6. The government incentivises or disincentivises all sorts of activities within the economy, often using tax legislation. I doubt the government want to incentivise "risk" in particular - probably quite the opposite - but they do lend a lot of lip service at least to wanting to encourage new small businesses, which I think is reasonable enough. What they don't do much of is actually provide much incentive to start small businesses with any sort of tax break (at least until and unless you are able to sell your business on at some point). Starting any business is risky and uncertain, and being able to structure your personal taxes in a mildly advantage way was one of the benefits that weighed against that risk. If the government really does want to see more small businesses starting up, then I don't see anything wrong with them providing some sort of incentive to do so.
  7. You save 13.8% employer's NI plus you get the possibility to split ownership of the company with your (life) partner (or anyone else) and, if they are not working themselves, they'll get the full set of tax allowances as well. It's not as luncrative as it was before the dividend taxes were increased in recent years, but still somewhat better than full PAYE.
  8. Not Greg, but the simple answer is that paying yourself in dividends is still the most tax efficient way to do it, due to the lack of NI payments - which are substantial on PAYE, particularly the (uncapped) employer contribution. It's not exactly fair, but as someone who runs a small Ltd company that actually sells things (ie I am not a disguised employee), I always thought of this particular tax dodge as a subtle nod form the government that people who take the risk of running their own (real) business should get some sort of tax break - and believe me, there really is a lot of risk and uncertainty from month to month when running an actual business. Your central premise is correct, though, which is to say if you can afford to live without the money immediately then PAYE and maxing out pension contributions (40k p.a., for now) is a very tax efficient way to do it, although you should certainly max out your PAYE tax allowance before you do it, and most people do need some sort of income to live off.
  9. Hospitality in particular is screwed, I think. The idea that low margin businesses like restaurants are going to come back to profitability when they have pay back whatever loans they took on to get them through this and operate at 25-50% capacity is laughable. And the lower capacity is just going to be what the government mandates - I would think that, after perhaps a "relief rally" when lock down ends, that a lot of people will continue to avoid pubs and restaurants until they feel safer. This probably applies especially so to older demographics, who just happen to be the ones with the money and the time to support hotels, decent restaurants etc. Many of the smart operators will already have seen the writing on the wall. Better to stop pissing money away as soon as possible and try and get into a position to open something new when the time is right - and premises lease costs are probably on the floor, to boot.
  10. I couldn't be further from an anti-vaxxer, but it is still important to acknowledge the risks of new medicines, especially longer term risks that don't become obvious immediately. With the amount of people likely to be given the first vaccine that gets approved, they need to make very sure that it is safe or this could be yet another catastrophic health crisis.
  11. Luckily for our US brethren, the governors have most of the power when it comes to how the States respond to this virus, so the current situation is more in spite of the president than because of him. Not to say all governors are doing the right thing, in particular the governor of Georgia I think it is, who is ending the lock down as of now. Spread of this thing does seem very strongly correlated with density of population, and public transport in particular. Theories going around now suggest the subway in NYC and the Tube in London were massive vectors. A lot of the US is pretty spread out and, outside of the biggest cities (or even just outside of NYC in particular), they are not huge users of mass transit, so large parts of the US might end up doing OK, or just having a slow burn version of what the hardest hit areas have already have.
  12. No one knows. For the common, cold causing corona viruses it is typically less than a year, although perhaps milder symptoms next time around (or perhaps not). For SARS, which is apparently a more similar virus to Covid, I think it is a bit longer, the order of a few years, but there isn't much data to go on here. The simple answer is that it is too early to tell, that some immunity is likely for a while, but that we shouldn't necessarily count on it.
  13. True that. It is making lock down a little more bearable, I must say.
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