If you want to know where the economy is heading then a look at inexpensive treat items is often a good indication that things are not all well. The boss of John Lewis last week pointed to a return of “the lipstick effect” – when a rise in sales of beauty products heralds a consumer squeeze.
While retirement certainly brings about its share of unknowns, perhaps the most daunting prospect associated with this stage of life is the potential to run out of money. That fear is so widespread, in fact, that 60% of baby boomers are more worried about depleting their nest eggs prematurely than actually dying.
The headline rate of house price growth across London boroughs has slowed to 1%, down from 4.3% a year ago. This is the lowest annual rate of growth since August 2011. In contrast, regional cities such as Edinburgh, Liverpool and Manchester are registering house price growth in excess of 7% per annum.
A combination of aggressive reductions in the lifetime allowance (LTA), as well as restrictions on the pension annual allowance – such as the tapered allowance for high earners – has had a positive impact fuelling interest in VCTs as an alternative option for tax-efficient investing.
The big question is will workers stand for a tripling in pension deductions from wage packets, or rebel against auto-enrolment increases? Millions of workers auto-enrolled into pensions will see deductions from wages triple in April – in 2012 levels were set at 2 per cent of banded earnings, split between employer and employee.