Thursday, 28 April 2011

Pension Postcode Lottery

Once again justifying it's "Daily Fail" title, the mail prints this article.

If someone said to you: "I'm going to give you £100, if each year you then give me a certain amount back until I die." What questions would you ask before accepting the offer?  Certainly, how long they're likely to live would be one of them...  If someone's on their last legs and the doctor thinks they've only got a couple of years left in them, you'd give them a lot more than if they're hale and hearty and likely to live for 40+ years.

According to the mail, this is unfair. 

It's a well known fact that people in different areas live different lengths of time.  How is it wrong for insurers to take this into account?  The EU have already said that they can't take into account the fact that women live longer than men (which - if it's anything like the last big change to pensions back in 1990 just means that most people will now get the lower rates), so the insurance companies need to take into account other factors.  Isn't it fairer that everyone gets a reasonable return on their money over the whole period of the annuity, rather than the people in the affluent, healthy areas getting a lot more money than the people in the crappy areas (over the length of the annuity)?

"Fred Ford , 67, a finance director and semi-professional magician, lives in Biggleswade, Beds, with his wife Dorothy (pictured above)... living in Basildon, Essex, would have boosted his income by almost £300 a year. He says: ‘I think it’s unfair. It should be about the lifestyle you choose as an individual, not where you live.’"

I wonder if he's quite cottoned on to the fact that people in Essex live shorter lives.  Would he be willing to make that exchange?  (Imagine if an insurance company did offer lowered rates, in return for your taking a daily cyanide pill, or somesuch...)

Incidentally, if you're applying for an annuity, do make sure to tell the insurers about all of your vices.  If you smoke, for example, most insurers will offer an enhanced annuity rate - although they do periodically check up on these things, so don't be tempted to lie...

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


According to a recent survey, the great British public believe that welfare shouldn't just be handed out willy nilly, people should get off their backsides and do some work, and that a life on benefits is not something to be proud of.

Can't say I disagree...

Monday, 25 April 2011

New site - worth reading

The Orphans of Liberty site has just been launched.  As I already read a lot of the contributors, I plan to follow this site and see what the others are like, and it all looks great so far.  Check it out:

Thursday, 21 April 2011

What gender pay gap?

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about the male-female wage gap.  Apparently there isn't one...  I've not seen it reported elsewhere so thought I'd encourage others to go and read :-)

Monday, 18 April 2011

Just got back

I've just got back from holiday in Scotland - we had a lovely time, but there was a lot of driving (1600 or so miles in the last week).  I'll be posting more this week, but in the meantime here are a couple of pics of our little pup after the break (click for higher resolution):

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Law is an Ass (aka an example of how government writes laws without understanding how and why laws work)

As some of you may be aware, I work in pensions.  Currently my job title is Subject Matter Expert Project Technician, which doesn’t mean a lot to anyone.  It may help shed a little light on the subject if I tell you that my Subject Matter is Defined Benefit pensions, particularly those in wind up or in financial difficulty.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Android app

Just a quick aside to mention that my android app is now on over 100 phones :-)

more details here if anyone's interested