24 December 2018 FT — Articles to Read

24 December 2018


Question: According to MSN: Money, what are eight (8) surprising things nobody tells you about retirement?


For the UK homeless this Christmas will be cruel – Pg. 8

–          Some 277,000 people overall are considered homeless, …a figure that has risen 120% since 2010

–          This includes those living in temporary accommodation, in hostels or sofa surfing in the houses of friends

–          It is not only the unemployed, victims of violent abuse, drug addicts and people with mental health issues who are finding themselves without a roof over their heads.  It is also people in work but earning wages that have not kept up with soaring rents

–          The problem is at once structural and cyclical.  Its roots lie in the 1980s, when the late prime minister Margaret Thatcher pushed the act through parliament that gave tenants the right to buy the municipal housing they rented – at a steep discount….the snag is that the amount the Treasury returned to local councils to restock the supply of housing has been eroding ever since

–          The UK has now arrived at the perverse situation where the government will spend….1.1% of national income (on housing benefits)…most of this will go into the pockets of poorly regulated private landlords


The crisis of modern liberalism is down to market forces – Pg. 9

–          Smaller comp[anise pay more taxes relative to their income than large multinational corporations

–          The economic policies that followed the financial crisis ended up widening income and wealth differences

–          …Margaret Thatcher’s successful brand of entrepreneurial capitalism in the UK in the 1980s.  Through privatization, she turned ordinary savers into shareholders.  Through the sale of council houses, she turned tenants into property owners

–          …household income after housing costs stagnated for the 60% of households towards the bottom of the income distribution between 2002 and 2015

–          The main constituency backing the Thatcher revolution in the 1980s was the C2s – the demographic classification for skilled working class people.  Thatcher looked after the median household.  Her successors first lost the middle classes, and then pretended to be shocked by events such as Brexit

–          Any system that leaves behind 60% of households will eventually fail.  It is the ultimate irony: liberalism is failing because of market forces


Answer: (1) Housing will remain your biggest expense; (2) Work will not end – it will simply change; (3) If you’ve never volunteered before, you won’t start in retirement (Prof Note: I have always believed this….you are who you are); (4) Retirement can be lonely for single men; (5) Health issues likely will catch you by surprise; (6) As you grow older, you will feel younger; (7) Your early golden years might not gleam as you had hoped (Prof Note: As I discuss with older individuals, this is a true.  However, I will also state that for some, it is better than anticipated but this is a minority); (8) Initial disappointment will give way to later satisfaction