If you will soon become entitled to a state pension, then the big question is whether you should defer taking it, says FT columnist John Kay (Deferring Pension Advice).

Since you get a 10.4% increase in the pension for every year of deferral if you reached pension age before April 2016, you might think deferment is a no-brainer. But as economist Kay points out, to get an actual 10.4% return from deferment you would have to live for ever, and the actual rate of return you get will depend how long you live. Taking average life expectancy, he calculates that a woman who reached pension age before April 2016 should defer taking her pension until age 71-2. Sadly, the rate of increase for those retiring after that date is halved, and for a man with average life expectancy Kay reckons there is virtually nothing to be gained by deferral. But he also adds that if you are paying 40% income tax now but expect to be paying 20% later, that can also be a good reason for deferral.

 Why pirates wore gold

Why did pirates wear gold earrings? asked the Financial Times. So that if they died in foreign lands, they stood a better chance of getting a Christian burial – paid for by their jewellery. Gold attracts strange facts, but it is not so strange that a specialist shop has opened in London’s St James offering storage facilities for small quantities of gold bullion in heavily-guarded vaults. The proprietors see gold as a ‘safe haven’ or insurance-against-disaster type of asset rather than an investment.

Is uni really worth it?

English students graduate with more debt than those of any other country including the US, says the Financial Times, citing recent research. With typical fees and living costs, UK graduates will have £44,500 of debt compared with a US average of £23,000. Government figures show than more than one in three graduates has a low-skill low-paying job, leading the research sponsors. The Sutton Trust to question  whether going to university is worth it or whether  a degree-level apprenticeship would be a better option for many.

 Care home closures rise 

Care home insolvencies rose by a sixth in 2014-15, reports the Financial Times.  And this year’s rise in the minimum wage to £9 per hour, plus recent cuts to the fees councils pay for those entitled to free care, mean the risk of an increase in closures among the UK’s 20,000 care homes is rising. Several of the larger operators are struggling under the burden of too much debt.

Deferring Pension Advice

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About Us: Churchill Wealth Management is a team of independent financial advisors/financial advisers (IFAs) based in Clifton, Bristol. We provide independent financial advice, including pension advice, investment advice, inheritance tax planning and protection/insurance advice.