Be no King Tut

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

Lewis Caroll, Through the Looking Glass

Monevator had a deconstruction of the potential of Jeremy Hunt’s new pension freedoms to knock £360,000 of the aggregate tax in a dynastic bequest. As a virtuoso performance of creative tax planning there was nothing wrong with it, but I venture the title was either provocative or ill-chosen, because the virtuoso performance was drowned out somewhat by the car-crash of multiple readers losing contact with the narrative. Because this was titled Pensions, the LTA, and IHT: how a middle-class couple can bag £360,000 for free and this crew were earning £160k each.

And that wasn’t how most readers defined middle-class, nor indeed how the dictionary defines it. I am at the end of my working life, so my definition of this was probably set two generations ago, and matches the dictionary version. For a more modern take on this let’s take a leaf from FireVLondon’s taxonomy of London salaries and apply a 30k p.a. malus to their £160k salaries to make it 2015 again.

Even in the rarefied air of London salaries they are almost one percenters. There is vigorous support for Monevator’s impoverished middle-class strivers, however, from the Torygraph which is right behind these poor strugglers.

“Very often high earners will be working in highly unequal environments where the people they network with earn about as much or more than they do, so they are likely to think their income is about average.

“People on £125,000 are relatively close to the top 1pc of earners (those on around £180,000 a year) in their workplaces and social networks, but the rungs ahead of them are further and further apart, so they don’t feel especially high up the ladder.

Diddums. For some reason the obsidian Ermine heart fails to bleed… There’s more love from the Torygraph for these dear folk who can find solace in a forthcoming book Uncomfortably Off. Having read the rubric on Amazon I have the feeling that our tragic Rich Kids of London might feel a tad out of place at the book launch in May, and possibly feel that they are surrounded by lefty snowflakes failing to genuflect to their desperate plight.

The Telegraph really ought to hire more competent interns. OTOH if the the byline writer Harry Brennan gets ChatGPT to write his articles then they only have themselves to blame. Or maybe they will spike the article before the end of May 😉

For reference the UK median wage is 33k, though in London the streets are paved with gold so the median is £41800. Before all you country mice hightail it to the Great Wen check out the cost of accommodation first. That ejected a young mustelid from the city thirty years ago.

OTOH the Great Wen offers a wide range of better paid jobs, so if you have what it takes that’s a good option, and you have more resilience to your employer going titsup than somewhere where they are the major upscale employer in the area. I unwittingly took more risk in that department when I moved out of London. For example, as an engineer1, there is a fair cluster of electronic and aerospace engineering around Bristol and a fair amount of engineering around Birmingham and Coventry, and I only found that out after I retired. Professional jobs were generally more stable in the late 1980s before waves upon waves of delayering, globalisation, business process outsourcing destroyed many of these jobs. Young ‘uns now should very definitely prefer regions with clusters of employers in their field if that is an option.

Capitalism is eating/redefining the middle class. I guess the writing was on the wall already eight years ago. It looks like these days you need to have gone to a public school2 to gain admission, so I will accept that a mustelid lies beyond the pale. Historically the stolid professionals who used to make up the middle class in the dictionary definition often did send their children to public school, but the price has risen beyond their reach nowadays.

whither frugality

We went to Dorset recently, to indulge in some decadence. Oddly enough living a little higher on the hog was the sort of thing was what I meant when I made this hollow claim of returning to the middle class, rather than an aspiration to bang on the door of the 1% with a leasing downpayment on NetJets. We started at the Crab House Cafe which near where Chesil Beach starts. Like many a coastal town ex-resort, hope came to die in Weymouth, we drove out to the Hardy Monument and approached from the west along the coast road and the B3156 to avoid the dispiriting Weymouth experience along the A354 main road. I’m sure there must be lovely parts of Weymouth but it seems to treat the A354 like most towns other than Edinburgh treat the mainline railway tracks – showing their backside to it.

The Crab House Cafe is magnificent, in its unlikely setting 😉 H/T LivingCheapInLondon

The eponymous crab
The eponymous crab

Then it was time for some culture. Although we also took in Kingston Russell stone circle, the weather was poor, tackling the chalk and mud farm track meant we didn’t see it at its best. Grey Mare and her Colts had some charm though

Grey Mare and her Colts
Grey Mare and her Colts prehistoric long barrow

The next day was similarly dreich, after all we were out before the Easter break, there’s a reason availability is easy in the UK at this time 😉

We took on the hillfort at Eggardon Hill, and got soaked enough to need refreshment at the Club House


This is on Chesil Beach, it is beyond the point where there’s a gap with the mainland unlike the doomed lovers of the book and movie of the same name

Looking west towards Golden Cap
Looking west towards Golden Cap,
Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle in On Chesil Beach

Whither frugality indeed, serious lifestyle creep even if the Netjets card is out of reach 😉 In the days crawling from the wreckage of the Global Financial Crisis(GFC3), the FI/RE space had more people from the provinces, as this 10 year old ancient taxonomy shows.

There was an emphasis on frugality, doing more with less, that is less apparent in today’s UK personal finance blogosphere. It’s possible I’ve just lost touch, I had a poke around on sovereignquest and didn’t find as many frugalistas as back then.

I did learn some interesting things. For instance Growing money Trees taught me that salary sacrifice can reduce your student loan repayments.  I’d understood that student loan is like the Terminator, it keeps on coming for you. That sounds like a wizard wheeze, but it’s not hugely actionable IMO4, though I admire the spirited pushback to one of the policies that are borderline abusive of our young folk. We go to our young folk, at the beginning of their working lives, and say “You can borrow an absolute shitload of money to take a chance on improving your earning power in future”. We call it a loan rather than a graduate tax, which normalises debt when they are trying to work out how to live in the capitalist system. Then we hang this albatross called debt round their neck for 30 or 40 years. Framing is important – if we said we will pay your university fees but in return you are liable to a graduate tax until retirement it would not normalise debt in the same way.

I feel a kindred spirit with Life after the Daily Grind, the wry observations of office life and the hedonic treadmill. and I enjoyed my time with Sonia writing on Money for the Modern Girl, although I don’t recognise the world the Londoners are fighting. They are all far more sociable than I am, what with Financial Independence Week Europe and FI Meetups London. I did once go to a FI shindig/meet-up about a decade ago, but most of what I learned was that I was different and perhaps the enemy was me, rather than consumerism in general; I didn’t need money off my Cath Kidston habit because I didn’t have one. I would feel poor in decadent London if I went to a FI Meetup London, because Sonia is right about Brexitland, London is a bubble. It’s a foreign country, they do things differently there. I suspect one day I will have to show my passport at the border of the city-state and prove that I have £1000 is cash and a return fare. Maybe I will be able to claim a historical abeyance if i show my birth certificate because I was born there.

Moneysavingchallenge’s taxonomy was selective, I just happened to make the bar, in the same quadrant as Monevator 😉 Nowadays I would put Weenie’s quietlysaving and GFF perhaps to frugality. Monevator remains sui generis, I would place FireVLondon and 3652days in the growing wealth department.

Perhaps thin-FIRE was never going to make it across the stormy seas of the business cycle, and it was a one-off response to the GFC, back in the day when we thought the GFC was fixable. It wasn’t, the West never paid down the debt, and asset prices drifted higher as the flood of free money had to find somewhere to call home. In the UK it did just that, squatting in the same place everybody else wanted to call home, pushing up house prices. It pushed up asset prices in general, favouring people with assets over those without. It probably makes achieving financial independence harder now.

the deconstruction of the welfare state

The unresolved GFC crap has been shit for many other Brits, it may be disputed that we had austerity, but when I was a student in London in the early 1980s I assisted with soup kitchens at Charing Cross Station/Embankment for the rough sleepers under the railway arches. There were no widespread food banks, so something must’ve gone titsup since then. We were all a lot poorer in many ways in the 1980s, but I don’t recall the destitution that seems common today. The Fire Shrink has a good post riffing off a Twitter thread arguing that we are seeing a deconstruction of the welfare state that started in the 1970s

In Henry Madison’s Twitter thread – abridged he says

We are returning to a ‘normal’ form of life, but it’s not the normal of the post-war years, since 1945. […] But the new elite generation that came to power in the 1970s forgot that, and began a process of erasing all of those 19th and 20th century public health and welfare actions. What we now call the birth of ‘neoliberalism’, and libertarian politics. Just names really, you need to zoom out to see the true social movement it represents. It’s societies’ most common form, throughout all of human history, feudalism topped by some form of monarchical figure.

I don’t have the history background to qualify the detail, but I have lived through some of the changes and can corroborate the direction of travel. In the 1960s and 70s of my childhood,before the start of the deconstruction, people could afford somewhere to live, because firstly many lived in council housing, and secondly Thatcher hadn’t seized5 council housing to buy votes with, which is probably the original sin of the UK housing market today.

Oi! Thatcher! Git yo' filthy paws off them deeds, they're not yours to sell!
the Original Sin of British housing in the making
Oi! Thatcher! Git yo’ filthy paws off them deeds, they’re not yours to sell!
the Original Sin of British housing in the making

It’s more important to be able to live somewhere other than the street and afford to buy food than it is to have Netflix and a phone that’s not screwed to the wall and can show you the internet as well as talk to people. This is how we ended up with Hoovervilles with people living in vans and caravans in some edgelands in 2023.

We never repaired the damage the GFC wrought, we put tarps over the wreckage and ratchet straps to hold it down in the wind. Interest rates never returned to their long run average of 5-6%, and the bleating about interest rates now is because house prices went higher as interest rates went down, and banks struggled to make money in resilient ways 6. Perhaps thin-FIRE just doesn’t cut it in that sort of environment, because of the housing clusterfuck. The Guardian’s critique of the mid-2010s blog space was sharp but true

Most are written by middle-class people who either fell into debt, are saving for an ambitious goal or prefer a minimalist lifestyle.

Yeah, I was that guy 😉 I used to like Notes From The Frugal Trenches in Devon, and I recall reading this and looking round the office and thinking ‘that bell tolls for thee’.

life expectancy is increasing, but I’d like to see research around life experiences of middle class people who work full time related to their health. In the last week I’ve seen endless examples of supposedly healthy people, having significant health setbacks at an early age, the one common denominator of these people is they are career people working full time.

That’ll be one guy who was on his third TIA, the fellow into walking who was in Cyprus with his girlfriend when all the clockwork stopped on a walk, he never go to use the return part of his ticket (he looked fitter than I was, but was very unhappy at work). Thank you for the memento mori, NFT.

There was another resonance in Notes from the Frugal Trenches’ first act in pitching for an emergency fund of £1000. I was a year into the journey before I started on here, but in that first year just before April 5th 2009 I put £3600 into a Cash ISA7, with the other £3600 into a S&S ISA with iii, with a repeat just after April 6th. The Guardian was right, inasmuch as I was technically solvent, but needed the cashflow of my salary to stay that way. Frugality was a way to improve firstly the resilience of my position to losing the job, and then to start the fightback to make it optional.

I stopped reading when NFT adopted kids, because there’s nothing duller than hearing people talk about indescribable, deeply personal revelatory experiences, things like the LSD experience, the ayahusca retreat, the delights of music that bores you to death, and the ineffable joys of kids. But it’s heartwarming to see she is still there, because this is someone from the early GFC days that pulled herself out of the shit through grit, frugality and determination. There’s still a charming quotidian aspect to some of it, and indeed this was part of the inspiration of many of the post-GFC FI aspirants in the early days. The lady bloggers tended to be better at the art of balance in life. Reminding a desperate mustelid to look up from the how-soon-can-you-retire spreadsheets every so often and take joy in the everyday good bits. I recall a living-in-the-moment fail one day in 2009 going to the farm we had to fix some piece of kit before going to work. It was a Spring day and there were some goldfinches on a wire, making the delightful liquid sound a charm of Good King Harry’s Red-caps make.

I remember feeling pissed off that they were free and I had to go to the office, and I drove to work with a black cloud over my head spinning The Road to Hell part 1. I did think that Frugal Trenches does this better, and imagined she would say “ermine, you are the engine driver. You have passed three lights set to red and thrown the switch onto a track where there be Dustbowl-era cattle skulls at ever more frequent intervals. You need to back the heck up and zoom out”. I have had a soft spot for the sound of goldfinches now, I hear a lot on the Somerset Levels these days. If you ever find yourself jealous of birds, you are doing something wrong in life.

Secular decline

In the early days I was heavy on the secular decline, but I came to view the tarps covering the mess as normal. The damage it was doing to the housing market didn’t hugely affect me. I bought a third more house in 2017, but arguably the difference was made up with assets inflated by the same pathology of low interest rates leaching from the tarp-covered GFC wreckage. Laura Kuenssberg hits you with it between the eyes – gurus say it’ll be a long time before people feel better off, as inflation eats your lunch.

Reader, this is what secular decline looks like. Cheap and easy oil is on the way out, and if you want to greenify everything then that will cost a lot of money, assuming that it is possible. Having washed in for the last 50 years, the tide seems to be washing out somewhat. It’s not unheard of, it just hasn’t happened round here for a while, but just before the GFC was probably a high-water mark.

The 1970s was another energy crisis, when oil went up three times in price. Later on that was to make North Sea Oil viable, which fuelled Thatcher’s projects in the 1980s. The resource curse is usually applied to sub-Saharan banana republics, but it’s recognisable in Britain too, much of the apparent success of the UK from 1980 didn’t weather the GFC that well, though the weaknesses were hidden in the easy times of cheap Chinese imports after the Millennium.

Like in Forbidden Planet the monster from the id grows in the unacknowledged crawl-spaces drawing all power towards itself

Morbid forms arise in the hidden spaces of free capital, without the need to deliver a useful rate of return zombies prosper. We will see now how much firepower there is, with central banks stuck between a fractious economy over-fragile to historical norm interest rates and fragile banks. It’s going to be a tough ride…

hasta la vista, crypto

a mustelid with its favoured bearer instrument. Goldbug, not crypto nut. These were given me by various family members decades ago, and are about the same value of an iPhone 14 Prox max, although they will hold value better, but as WB said, all you can do is fondle it. The rest is in ETFs which you can neither touch nor make phone calls with. There’s now’t as queer as folk, or mustelids…

I cleared out of crypto. I came to the conclusion that I am a goldbug, not a cryptofan. I was right first time, crypto is an asset class I can live without, and I will leave that to better men than I.

Part of the problem is the usual thing. Look around you on the bus. Are the co-riders your tribe? I was introduced to crypto from a financial instrument POV, and there’s an argument for it to be a speculative financial instrument. So yeah, maybe my tribe, in that respect. After all, what is gold in some ways but a speculative instrument? In other ways, however, cryptofans are definitely not my tribe. I haven’t spent very long in the space, since Autumn 2021. I used Coinbase, which at the time was about as square as you can get, because I was a tyro. Sure, you pay a little bit more for that, and I should make clear that my personal experience as a Coinbase customer has been absolutely fine. But since I started I have seen:

It feels like there’s the beginnings of a bank run or a credit crunch going on. Rule one on page one of the book of how to handle bank runs is GTFO early. I don’t need a walk-on part in this fight, if Coinbase goes titsup I’m small fry when it comes to pleading alms from Uncle Sam, so I liquidated and repatriated GBP. Crypto currency exchanges seem fragile businesses, and yet the alternative of having your own crypto wallet has issues enough of its own.

Throughout the period I held gold ETF SGLP, and it just didn’t give me the same sort of shitty newsflow and things to worry about. If that had been crypto I’ve have lived through the Great Train Robbery, the Brink’s Mat heist and Goldfinger’s fictional attack on Fort Knox, whereas all SGLP did was turn over in its sleep and charge me o.41% a year.

There seem to be too many new ways to lose money or have crypto thieved8 off you, and this Yale report didn’t fill me with a great feeling. Gold is my bearer instrument9 of choice. I know stores of wealth attract bad actors like flies to shit, but I’ve had enough. If I really want to speculate on the value of BTC then IG index will facilitate that without the aggravation though a higher cost of carry.

Before cryptofans dump on me with conspiracy theories and saying I am a pussy in the face of intimidation, I say “Miaow” guilty as charged, this is not a hill I want to die on.

I’m not saying crypto is bad in itself. I don’t like heavy metal or rap music, but good luck to fans of both even if I give the genres a wide berth. I can leave crypto alone from experience, not from prejudice now. The £500 loss is neither here nor there, it’s insignificant in the volatility of the gold holdings. I made a little overall on BTC topping up in the crypto winter but I was hosed more on ETH, ADA and others. I have neither taste nor talent for this, and I don’t trust Uncle Sam to look after me if he does crush Coinbase. You run, not walk, from the 600lb gorilla. Don’t fight Uncle Sam.

Once more into the breach

Talking of bank runs, looks like there’s a rumble on the markets on the way. One of the difficult things to do in a market swoon is to retain perspective. In ten years of investing I have never found a reliable source of alerts that was free. Sharepad, which I used for a few months of shorting the Covid crash, was terrific, but it is expensive if carried for any time. Crashes are fast and furious compared to bull runs so it had value there and I was happy on the ROI, but the cost of carry is too much for routine use, unless you are a trader, which I am not. I tried using Yahoo, but that needs an app and I can go for days without looking at a mobile phone. I tried using ADVFN but it’s tiresome, and their email alerts never seemed to work for me.

A better use for IG spreadbetting – premeditated ISA opportunities

So I looked at IG. It’s important to note that their spreadbetting platform is a model of the stock market, and can get out of whack with it, particularly outside the trading period and at the beginning and end of it. But in practice it’s good enough for me, because if I am going to act on an alert then I will see the real price quote before I buy on iWeb/Vanguard. I can sit, like now when the market is high on a run of success, and look at stocks I hold and say ‘what price do I think Mr Market should drop it to for me to increase this holding’, and set an alert to send the email to my fearful future self, with the message as to why. Not quite Odysseus lashing himself to the mast so he could hear the Sirens’ song without foundering, but the same sort of idea – keep perspective and avoid decisions in the fog of war. You still have to buy in a falling market and see it go down, of course, so it’s a nudge rather than a guaranteed win.

how to nail down your inner day-trader – be like Odysseus
(by John William Waterhouse)

Alerts have helped me build holdings in a bear market in the past, both with Sharepad and with iii alerts when they used to work. Email alerts aren’t really a big thing nowadays because people want to use their apps for that. Time is not so much of the essence if you are buying in bear markets, so email is fine. I don’t want to spend all my days in hock to a beeping smartphone, because life is short. Unusual opportunities from alerts are few and far between, and I don’t want to spend my time looking at charts, and I don’t believe in technical analysis10 anyway.

IG, of course, want you to trade, on their platform, which is why they make their alerts work right, easy and free. You don’t generally want to do that, although I will sometimes short a holding if there are good reasons not to liquidate the holding (Sharesave in the past, CGT are two good reasons, early Covid was risky but worked for me), but you have to remember the cost of carry is high. If I use the alerts, it’s mainly to stiffen the spine to add for a strategic holding in the ISA or GIA, to remind myself in the teeth of the gale that this too shall pass.

Where do I want to be?

I am probably close to the end of my accumulating investing journey, though like any old stager I perhaps want to participate in the potential 2023/24 crash for a last turn at the wheel, to try and reach an arbitrary but common goal in the FI/RE space. I am drifting towards the Permanent Portfolio sort of allocation, though I need to up the gold quite a bit.

The bond quadrant is represented by 16*the net value of my DB pension rather than a real bond holding, because a DB pension is a bond-like offer. I do wonder if the simplicity of that is wrong somewhere, because the classic 60/40 portfolio requires the bonds to move in nominal value, theoretically opposite to equities. Maybe I should allocate the DB pension notional capital across cash and bonds, and buy half the bond quadrant as bonds, which would reduce my cash allocation because half of that quarter would be eaten up by half the DB pension capital. I really don’t like holding a lot of cash and haven’t managed the PPs quarter in cash for any period.

Monevator says bonds are there to stop you selling equities in a market crash. Which I suppose holds – the pension income meant I didn’t feel I had to do that, though I didn’t see the spine-stiffening increase in the bonds part. I know very little about bonds, from this it would appear as a decumulator (simple) I could use a 50:50 mix of

Intermediate global government bonds (GBP hedged) and
Short global index-linked bonds (GBP hedged)

and ignore Cash and/or short government bonds (Gilts) because that is for immediate needs and my DB pension is fine for that as it is. Seems strange to kick one bed-blocker out of the ISA (gold) and then introduce another – bonds. It seems a bad idea to hold bonds unwrapped.

I’ve thought that I was at the end before, so perhaps it’s the investor’s equivalent of One More Year. Mindful of the fact that time is also running out, I have invested outside the financial space.

of King Tut and ancestral wealth


The point of investing in solving the problems of people and situations that you care about, while you are still alive, is that you get to see results of your contribution. It’s the smile on people’s faces and the problems they can sock in the mush which they couldn’t before. There’s a buzz in that, and you get to share in it! I was reminded of this fact by this grizzled IFA opining on Monevator.11 on the topic of wealthy ageing parents and their cash-strapped kids

They would rather die with their riches like Tutankhamun, than see their children enjoy while they are alive.

We went to the Tutankhamun exhibition in Dorchester, after getting soaked on Eggardon Hill. Although this is a replica, it’s quite well done and shows the sort of thing. I have seen the original12, but so long ago I can’t compare.

King Tutankhamun Gold Mask model
King Tutankhamun Gold Mask model. This is a replica

The King Tutankhamun13 problem so ably summarised by this IFA14 has always been a puzzle to me. OK, I admit it. I don’t know anybody worth £7m like Monevator’s protagonists’ parents, I am a country mouse 😉 Nevertheless, I have met parents who have well past enough, and more years behind them than ahead, who regale me with tales of how they are proud of their children, y’know, that ineffable joy. I am their guest and after all they are pouring the wine, and I think great, that’s all tickety-boo then. Really, the mustelid heart is joyed by the reports of success, go with the abridged version, if you please. There’s always a but…

They get on to the trials and tribulations of these precious children and the grand-rugrats. You know the trifecta. Housing, debt, childcare. Sometimes these gramps are at least part of the solution with grand-childcare. It was news to me that it was possible to spend £80000 on childcare in four years. Sometimes these gramps are too busy to do that with their four foreign holidays a year, that’s often after telling me they are so dreadfully concerned about the environment because of the children. The litany of woe continues.

Picture the counterfactual. Your kids are probably past the buying fast cars or designer handbags stage15. Being the noble pillars of society you are, presumably you brought them up to have decent values? Rather than stressing about inheritance tax to the Torygraph and winding yourself up needlessly, give some of your wedge to the fruit of your loins in your sixties. Because you are rich, you are pretty sure to reach your three-score years and ten, and are probably going to be in extra time. Your IFA can help you qualify this, and suggest you some ways of tackling uncontrolled expenses of living too long. Purchased life annuities and all sorts of things I am not clever enough to know about, but it was an IFA rather than a financially unchartered mustelid who made that pithy King Tut observation.

Do this in your sixties, and you are likely to live long enough that the taper-relief on gifts will diminish the inheritance tax to zero. Which is good in two ways, firstly it will be good for your longevity because you don’t have to get all worked up  about how terrible IHT all is. That lowers your risk of an early heart attack. But the most important part of it is that you get to watch the show – the value your gift adds to the people you care about, pretty much for as long as you live, it’s a gift that keeps on giving. I think More To That has absolutely nailed the win with this story H/T Monevator. Die With Zero makes a similar point regarding children.

be the change you want to see in the world

Now I share some of the sentiment, and my ticket to watch the good cheer is valid while I am alive. The HMRC clock will run down hopefully faster than the sands of my hourglass 😉

I let go of a common FI/RE nominal target, because at the end of the day it’s all numbers, and it’s more important to live my values and enjoy the vicarious ride than to get the digits line up in a satisfying way. Not everything of value can be measured in numbers, and I have time enough to clear the bar again, perhaps, if we have a good market crash. Covid served me well, in networth terms, as did the GFC, of course. If I don’t see that number again, well, the ticket to the show is still good and I am old enough. Where people are involved, give without reservation – if they screw it up, that’s life, no controlling behaviour.

I have also invested a little in mustelids so that perhaps in my dotage when I am no longer hard enough to drive to Scotland to pay Johnnie Rothiemurchus to see his pine martens – I may see them in Wales.

In any interaction with a charity, a CAF card is the dog’s bollocks, because you can sort out your Gift Aid bung16 and you can donate anonymously17, which means you don’t end up on a charity’s mug’s list for the next ten years.

For the record, I am on a list with the Vincent Wildlife Trust because I am interested in mustelids and pine martens, and their communications have been exemplary. I similarly have zero complaints about the National Trust, English Heritage or the RSPB on that front. The bad rap charities got for pestering tends to be the ones associated with human causes, I do disaster relief things in human charities, where I definitely use CAF, and I never talk to chuggers. I haven’t seen a chugger for a while, perhaps the practice has been nixed.

CAF tell me that a charity can claim Gift Aid when you make a monetary donation from your own funds and have paid UK Income and / or Capital Gains Tax during that tax year. The amount of tax you pay needs to be at least equal to the value of Gift Aid. I believe if you are a higher rate tax payer you can claim the difference between 25% and 40% back through self assessment. I have never done that, because when I was paying HRT I used Payroll Giving which saves all that bother, though I assumed rather than inquired if it came off the 40% slice. Obviously I shut all that down when my world ended in the GFC and I had to save get my ass out of work ASAP, because charity starts at home…

So yeah. One Life. Live it, but maybe don’t hoard it, if you are one of those lucky fortunates who end up with enough, and can recognise what it looks like. Share some of the joy while you can still see it at work rather than from six foot under.

What’s curious is that rich parents in particular, seem to balls this up quite often as that IFA said and anecdotal eperience shows.  That sort of trend is  also symptomatic of the trend to philanthropy and the poorhouse The Fireshrink mused about, but I’m not going to change the system – it seems that it’s world wars and pandemics that do that, and I’d prefer to see out my days without any of that, if possible.


  1. There may be all sorts of other clusters that I don’t know about. All I can say is that while I survived the hidden risk, employment is much less stable now and you want to inform yourself about resilience to finding other work should your employer go titsup. Also be wary of an ecosystem around a single genre – like car manufacturing for instance. The Bristol concentration seems to aerospace and defence. Brum was probably a combination of automotive and a little aerospace 
  2. for non-British readers a public school in Britain doesn’t tolerate the public anywhere near it. These are exclusive enclaves where about 7% of parents pay eye-watering amounts of money to buy their children an advantage over those of the lumpenproletariat. That buys these kids a place at the top, according to the Government. Also called private schools and independent schools, read more at the Good Schools Guide which is targeted at purchasers of such privilege. Bizarrely, these companies are often structured as charities so they can avoid tax. The British Council has indeed informed me that public schools, private schools and independent schools are all fee-paying schools with nuances I had never observed between them. 
  3. While we call it the Global Financial Crisis, some in Asia and perhaps the global south consider it the Western Financial Crisis because the issues and the resolution was not as global as we like to think. See for instance Greece and the Western Financial crisis
  4. Using salary sacrifice to minimise your SL repayments will crimp your ability to do an awful lot of things early in your working life, including having children and buying a house which are common desires in the first half of working life. Putting your life on hold for 30 (and now 40) years is a tough price to pay for sticking it to The Man. 
  5. She didn’t just seize council housing, that wasn’t hers to sell and sell it at knockdown prices, she damn well made it virtually impossible for councils to use the fire sale money to build any more housing
  6. Perhaps banks can’t make money in resilient ways, and there always must be a lender of last resort 
  7. Hindsight shows that to have been an absolutely terrible idea compared with putting it into the S&S ISA, which it where it ended up after a few years having missed out the uplift from the GFC 
  8. This never happened to me. It appears the risks were higher than I was aware, one of the things that bothered me was a note saying there was a risk of capital loss if you staked it for a measly few percent return. After I had staked. 
  9. I am perfectly aware that SGLP is a certificated instrument, not a bearer instrument. 
  10. I’m entirely agnostic as to your aptitude for chartism or if it works in theory. All I know is I am no bloody good at it, and I’m still not paying for your course on how to become a shit-hot trader in three weeks. Because if you were so great at it, how come you aren’t busy getting rich, rather than selling empty dreams to suckers ;) 
  11. He is grizzled, in having at least some white hair. 
  12. My parents took me to see this as an ankle-biter when it was on display in the British Museum. It seems the Gold Mask isn’t let out of Egypt nowadays 
  13. That’s probably a bit unfair on poor old King Tutankhamun since he died at 19 which was young even for 1323 BC, he was no death denying 70 year-old 
  14. Independent Financial Advisers. Although IFAs have a bad press in FI/RE circles I think this oversimplifies the situation. There’s no place for an IFA when you are in the accumulation phase unless you are very well off – the cost of carry is too high. But once you have made your stash, there’s an argument to go that way to keep your stash, both because of the potential issues of cognitive decline and because your financial position and dependent situation may be complex. Some financial solutions for paying for care can only be bought through IFAs. But IFAs can also help you with the vexed Tutakhamun problem of assisting children while preserving the interests of parents. Qualifying these risks is something that people suck at, because wrangling the concept of your own mortality is emotive. 
  15. I have every sympathy with the poor devils worrying about their kids spaffing their JISAs on the things that 18 year olds spaff money on. It’s the teenage hormones, although society deems you are fully grown up at 18 observation shows it takes a little more time for most, halfway through your twenties probably 😉 It’s a pity you can’t embargo the release of a JISA to 25 but you can’t. 
  16. Gift Aid is a 25% uplift on your donation, with CAF it is applied to your balance, though many charities let you make a declaration, but you have to give them your name and address. 
  17. This is an option with CAF, it’s not mandatory. Though if you don’t want to donate anonymously, do it directly with the charity and go through the giftaid rigmarole, because there is some extra cost associated with CAF. I consider that well worth paying for anonymity to avoid the mugs list, but why pay the cost if that isn’t what you want? 

45 thoughts on “Be no King Tut”

  1. Nice post that covers a lot of ground.

    FWIW, I have been interested in the maths of DWZ for some time.
    As you may suspect it is not straightforward, but a couple of papers (that both use the economic concept of ‘utility’ and really require the presence of some guaranteed income (pension, annuity, etc) to frame the problem) you might find useful are:

    Spending Retirement on Planet Vulcan, Milevsky & Huang, 2011

    Approximate Solutions to Retirement Spending Problems and The Optimality of Ruin, Habib, Huang, & Milevsky, 2017

    They are widely available [foc] on the net but if all else fails I would go to US Society of Actuaries for the former and the SSRN for the latter.

    I struggle a tad with the utility framework, but nonetheless, I recently applied some results from the latter paper to our situation and was quite surprised!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m surprised by the significant increase in spending rate later in life, but this may be a feature of the way the American health system works. Mind you, if the deconstruction of the welfare state post is true I may get to experience that towards the end, so perhaps it’s more germane than I would think!

      > and really require the presence of some guaranteed income (pension, annuity, etc) to frame the problem)

      I think that’s a key aspect of what makes this more tractable for people with a significant DB accrual, and it’s particularly easier if you aren’t bothered about building dynastic wealth, which tempts people to sell their DB pensions to get DC capital they can leave to their kids if unused. An annuity, whcih is what the SP and a DB pension are, gives a lot of peace of mind by taking a fair bit of longevity risk off the table.


      1. The stand-out feature of both these papers is that they recommend running down your financial capital before you die, such that later in life you get by on your pension(s) alone – ie DWZ (bar survivor needs). Also, the more pension you have (relative to your Pot) the quicker they recommend running down your capital., ie earlier “Ruin Age” in the terminology used by the second paper. What I found eye catching is that the shape of the deterministic spend down is very much front-loaded (as it is related to one over remaining life expectancy) and that for our situation it recommends an initial spend that is far higher than we have ever spent even after correcting for inflation. Interesting!
        A good link for the second paper is at:

        See e.g figs on page 10 – the reason I think you see the upticks in spend in the blue and red lines is favourable stochastic (random) market returns; the black line is with deterministic (ie fixed or static) returns.

        Table 4 illustrates the more pension point above….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ok, not only did I miss the trick but failed to engage brain in the first skim. Insufficient coffee. I can sort of see the high-level concept of favouring the go-go years. After all I will have the DB pension and the State Pension, whcih given it is < 10 years to go I can believe in now 😉 So while 10% inflation will erode the DB pension the combined part should keep the wolf from the door. So the argument is to burn the entire GIA in the go-go years 65-70 leaving the ISA income for a combination fo the slow-go years and an acknowledgement that I will likely go 10 years earlier, so Mrs Ermine can inherit the ISA currently as a functional ISA. As a rough starter guess.

        The only problem with that is I have absolutely no idea how to spend that fast. The F|I/RE journey changes you, it was evident in Monevator’s John’s inability to pay £15 for an airport burger even when hungry. There’s a limit to how much lobster and wine a fellow can consume. Travel is the obvious way, I suppose NetJets gets away from putting up with people’s kids on an aircraft but it just would feel wrong. Still, FW problems etc. And life can throw curveballs, we don’t know what we don’t know.


      3. FWIW, I first came across the “planet Vulcan” paper years ago and IIRC it took me a while to come to terms with it even though it is supposedly a “practitioner-oriented” document. It took me even longer to spot the really rather obvious link to the DWZ concept. I only recently became aware of the second paper and, if anything, it is tougher going (but probably more complete) than the former.
        The second paper does capture the essence in this extract culled from the Introduction:
        “… from a lifecycle perspective, ruin is not a scenario or outcome that should be avoided at all costs. Rather, the rational objective should be to slowly and smoothly deplete financial resources accounting for the declining probabilities of living to very old ages. And, if a by-product of this behavior is that financial wealth is expected to hit zero at some distant point, so be it – provided there is some pension income to fall back on.”

        Like you, I very much struggle to see us spending that much that quickly. Having said that, I found it really interesting to put some figures to what a DWZ framework (albeit perhaps a tad naïve or unrealistic one) might really mean for us.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. > And, if a by-product of this behavior is that financial wealth is expected to hit zero at some distant point, so be it – provided there is some pension income to fall back on.”

        Hmm, there seems a certain internal inconsistency with that. It should be spelled out more clearly, particularly for people who have pure DC pension assets. Which is run your assets down to a certain level and then buy an annuity. Easy to say, but given annuities’ dependency on returns, indroduces a different sort of hostage to fortune problem. You do see some of this thinking in later life IFA solutions like purchased life annuities.


      5. @ermine My reading of the papers is that you commence your pension or annuity at retirement. This gives you the certainty of a floor that allows your to draw down from your investment portfolio at a faster rate than would be feasible if there was no guaranteed income. I don’t think there is any concept in the analysed strategy of only annuitising part way through the drawdown journey.


      6. I agree with DavidV’s interpretation.

        However, your and DV’s comments reminded me of this paper which encapsulates the idea of running down your assets until you ‘need’ to annuitize, sometime referred to as the annuity hurdle approach, see either:
        Monitoring and Managing a Retirement Income Portfolio (Parts One & Two), Collins, et al, 2015 – which used to be widely available (foc) on the Web, and/or the book Someday Rich, see:

        In any case, the stand-out feature for me from the two “utility” papers is the ‘early doors’ spending implied.


      7. > another paper on the ‘annuity hurdle’ idea is available (foc) at:

        That one, as I read it, for a pure DC pot would run down until reaching a specific, and dynamic, low-water mark of capital to buy an annuity for a certain amount. I find it an easier one to grasp.

        I can imagine a sequence of returns risk where you could end up SOL if annuity costs increase due to market changes. However, it was the intuitive case I cited of buying an annuity later (ie when the capital reaches the low-water mark) rather than on retirement. They seem to indicate the annuity costs vary within a narrow band, if that really is the case the SORR may not be such an issue. They are also lifestyling the investment mix.


    2. I agree that this paper is easier to grasp.
      It was written a few years back and from a US perspective. Also, quite a lot has changed since it was written – not least of which is the absence now, in the US, of inflation linked annuities.

      > They are also lifestyling the investment mix
      I get what you mean but IMO lifestyling only ever means less equities as time goes on, and is probably (and somewhat belatedly IMO) discredited as an approach now. The paper proposes what they call a dynamic allocation strategy where I think equities could go down or up as time passes.


  2. ” a public school in Britain … are exclusive enclaves …”

    In England. In Scotland a public school would be owned by a council so that the meaning is the same as the American one. (Unless the sneaky bastards have changed the usage without my permission.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fair enough – I didn’t realise England had this monopoly. I blame the British Council article for leading me astray

      However, the term public school has an entirely different definition in the UK education system. Public schools are perceived as the most exclusive and prestigious private schools in the UK

      I looked up Gordonstoun which is the only Scottish fee paying school I’ve heard of and they were founded in the 1930s. The only other one I’d heard of is Fettes, and they as still new money from 1815.


      1. From the list in Al Cam’s link I’d only heard of Fettes, Loretto, Dollar Academy and Gordonstoun. I do have a friend from childhood who went to a girls’ boarding school, The Beacon School, near Stirling. That’s not in the list so I assume it has closed in the meantime.


      2. @Al Cam It seems to have changed its name from The Beacon to Beaconhurst since my friend went there but, now my memory is jogged, Bridge of Allan was certainly the location.


      3. @Al Cam I was a little too hasty with my reply. The bottom of the article says that Beaconhurst was formed from a merger of The Beacon School for Girls in Bridge of Allan and The Hurst boys school in Stirling.


      4. Yes, the Herald article was pretty thorough.
        Bridge of Allan (aka BOFA) was familiar to me many years ago from summer holidays!


  3. Hi Ermine,

    an interesting read as always.

    I bought the book ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’, by Thomas Piketty a few years back and only just started reading it. There is lots of reseach in there on the direction of travel. I find it absorbing to read and a little shocking too. Society, everywhere, is moving back to the level of inequality last seen before WWI. By 2030, the USA will be the most unequal society ever. It covers some of the areas your have raised and that have been covered over on Monevator recently. I think you may enjoy it too.

    Another book I can recommend is : ‘The Intelligent Asset Allocator: How to Build Your Portfolio to Maximize Returns and Minimize Risk’, by William Bernstein. It is another good read, but be warned, I had to did my old statistical tables out of the attic to follow along. Great to understand the role of different asset classes in a portfolio and how rebalancing pushes the entire portfolio towards the efficient frontier. Not something I had ever come across before, but a really important concept for all investors.

    I am still pondering what to do with my few coins. Sell the now tax free, while the gold price is high and buy gold ETFs so I have a potential capital loss, when/if the price goes down? I am wasting too much time on this, given it makes up just a fraction of a percent of my net worth. Maybe I should just sell it all and stick to equities and bonds which have served me so well, as I am not sure the extra juice of the gold asset class is worth the squeeze. My ambivalence is trying to tell me something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some of the point of holding physical gold is the friction to trading 😉 Depends very much what it does for you and also what other resources you have. Particularly annuity-like resources. For people who don’t need to think of intergenerational legacies intuitively annuities (DB pensions and the SP) much shift the balance of the mix signficantly. It shifts me to a higher equity mix, I haven’t really bottomed out how sane that is.


  4. The Monevator article was a bit weird from a number of angles. First, there is some sort of cognitive dissonance at work. I’m in the wrong to talk about macro hedge funds because it’s not appropriate for the masses but it’s ok to spend thousands of words on an article dedicated to tax evasion for the 1%! Second, surely it would have easier just to use surplus income trusts and an offshore life bond to solve these issues. Why so damned convoluted?

    Where I can agree with Monevator though is that they are all middle class. They may be wealthy middle class but they just ain’t upper class. To be upper class, you need some money, but what you really need is power. The power to influence and corrupt others. They don’t have that.

    I don’t understand this need though for the wealthly to hoard money from their kids. My children will be getting massive lumps of money before they are 30. Enough to ensure that work is totally optional. InstaFatFIRE. What they do with it is up to them. If they spaff it up the wall, I’m not fussed. It’s their choice because that’s the whole damned point. They will have choices. I didn’t and it ruined my career. To hoard the money until they are say 50 would deprive them of key choices and that’s just plain nasty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @ZX. Interesting last paragraph, with which I tend to agree, although some personal finance education and guidance en route is recommended. Probably mother’s milk stuff given your line of work, but won’t be for others. Getting children set up with ISAs and SIPPs is a minimum, and one can contribute directly to their SIPPs as a third party, up to the amount of their earnings (below the annual allowance) unmatched to their occupational pensions (if they have them), or £2,880 annually if they have no earned income. Particularly if you are unlikely to survive to see your children reach their forties (if one is a late starter in the parenting business), it is a comfort to know that whatever they may have made of the bulk of the funds you have endowed them with by thirty, at least their will be something for them later in life when you are no longer around.


    2. > To be upper class, you need some money, but what you really need is power. The power to influence and corrupt others. They don’t have that.

      I’ve probably been reading too much American content, they are simpler over there and culturally split class on income deciles. Intriguing that power is the new landed gentry, and I’d agree, that crew seemed to have precious little power over their own life, never mind others!

      > Enough to ensure that work is totally optional. InstaFatFIRE. What they do with it is up to them. If they spaff it up the wall, I’m not fussed. It’s their choice because that’s the whole damned point. They will have choices.

      That’s the way, I like the cut of your jib. If you are going to give money to people, then FFS do it without let or hindrance, because otherwise it robs them of agency and can make people less free. I have seen that sort fo intergenerational pathology too. Having said that, with two exceptions to the rule perhaps the King Tut thesis is being deconstructed before my eyes 😉

      > I didn’t and it ruined my career.

      I am sorry to hear that. Obvs you have done well financially, but thwarted dreams can cause pain even if overlaid with new directions.


    3. Hey ZX – I don’t think that anyone over at MV towers thinks your in the wrong, you should get back into the comments, they’re definitely missed. Sounds like you could give Finumus a run for their money, as it were, in the wheezes department.

      The power to influence and corrupt? I think I’ll leave the upper class to it, sounds horrible, I’d just like some of that crab and wine if its all the same..

      Hope it goes well with the kids, but I’m bound to say you can ruin their careers just as badly carpet-bombing them with money early on as you can from having limited choices due to impoverishment. It’s just destruction from the other direction. Not a given, for sure, but a risk… I’m prob going to do the same though (albeit on a smaller scale) so don’t really have a leg to stand on making the counter-argument.


    4. @zx I didn’t realise you had been ‘ousted’ from Monevator, but would say that although your comments certainly gave the impression of you being very knowledgeable about the subject matter, they often felt very niche, to the extent of perhaps not being relevant for the typical readership of that blog (I’m sure you’d agree that the advice in the blog is generally aimed at a more novice market?)
      I also noticed that over time your commenting seemed to become increasingly confrontational, picking holes in the articles almost to the point of “listen to me everyone, I know all the answers.”
      If you genuinely have info you feel is worth sharing, how about starting your own blog?


      1. I want emphasise I wasn’t outsed by TI (he has been perfectly reasonable) but more by a specific poster. It was becoming more confrontational but I don’t feel I was alone in that process. Frankly, keyboard warriors bashing away at each other is not worth the candle. Blogging is not something I’d ever been allowed to do by my firm. Moreover, I don’t have the patience. I’ve moderated financial forums such as the P2P indep site and it was bloody awful, especially around Brexit.


    5. @ zx I hear adoption is amazingly rewarding . Care for another 42 year old child? 🙂

      On a more serious note could you perhaps have a word in my dad’s shell like about this point . As an example they’ve said they’ll help if I want to move house. I said just give me the money now and I’ll invest it. Their response ? Well that’s not much fun for us is it? Well no but Infinitely more rewarding for me as that say £50k £100k could quite easily double in the next few years. and what’s with the cognitive dissonance that it’s OK to spaff the money on a mansion I don’t really need but if I want to be sensible they’ll just hold on to it ?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sensible is in the eye of the beholder. Many in the UK consider property to be nailed on, risk free. They forget the early 90s or the example of Japan.

        Nonetheless, I have sympathy with your parents if they don’t want you putting their money in equities. I’d feel the same to be honest. As far as I’m concerned a willingness to lose 20-50% just isn’t responsible. Professionally, I fire people for losing 5% with no questions asked.

        When I transfer money to my children it will be invested in funds like Citadel Wellington which has converted $1 into $200 (19% return) over the last 30+ years (poor old Buffet hasn’t even turned it into $50 … he’s a bit rubbish). Or Millennium which has never lost more than 3.5% in the last 35 years vs. an average return of 14%. Each one of the 1000+ PMs has a stop of around 5%.

        The idea of putting in S&P trackers is a non-starter. Not only is the market risk too much but the daily redemption policy is not acceptable. My children will have agency to do what they want with the money but given the redemption policy of Millennium is 5%/quarter, it will take them 5 years to get all the money out!


      2. The point is if you’re giving it away it ain’t your money anymore isn’t it . It’s theirs. If I choose to live below my means house wise (bearing in mind I already have more house than i need really) and invest the money it’s my choice.

        And yes equally it’s their choice not to fund that and that’s fine the moneys a small % of my networth anyway.

        I just find the thought process quite bizarre that’s all . I could logically understand if I wanted to spend it on a car, or drugs, or holidays and they didn’t agree with it.

        And their argument isn’t the risk of the investment don’t forget.

        And say I take the money and upsize and put it in a house for a bit. Then remortgage and take it out and buy an Aston Martin. Or a buy to let. Or crypto. Does that then make it better than me investing it in my pension for example and getting a 40% uplift on it immediately?

        Cognitive dissonance. I still say it doesn’t actually make any sense at all. Bonkers

        Liked by 1 person

      3. > The point is if you’re giving it away it ain’t your money anymore isn’t it

        Therein lies the rub, and oddly enough the most fucked-up examples I know of are parents ‘giving’ money with their children. It’s as if the parents don’s really believe they have passed on competent money managing skills to their offspring, in which case the mirror in the morning shows the perp 😉

        Carl Jung said that

        the greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents

        and nowhere does this stick up in plain sight as when said parents claim to want to give crystallised power. a.k.a. money, to their children, but they also want to wield the power “only for the uses we approve of”

        I do see the point that JISAs etc are released too early, you aren’t really an adult at 18, still an impulsive teenager 😉 But most have cracked this by 25.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ey ermine, completely unrelated I spotted a couple of brown minks near a river on my commute today and thought of the blog! Fascinating creatures, quite a lot bigger than I might have assumed. Going to keep an eye out for them from now on at that spot.


  6. ZX
    Re you remarks and kids and money-interesting
    We never had excess cash on our journey but more than enough but we spent a lot on the kids-music etc who were at good comprehensive (Wife and I were products of private schools)- life was simpler
    All got good qualifications up and beyond their parents and of course are much more better/ rounded people having gone through a comprehensive education
    I now am interested to observe my children-2 of whom are now wealthy-dealing with the upbringing of their kids with the additional problems of plentiful cash about
    Kids are very aware of their family’s financial status
    Interestingly all my 8 grandchildren are in comprehensive schools by parental choice though 2 of the parents (6 of the kids) can well afford private education
    So far so good with them all but it’s a harder job holding the line for the 2 wealthier parents
    What I would also be very aware of is rich parents castrating the husbands (and wife’s ) main role of protector,provider etc to their children by providing large amounts of extra cash unless it is gifted without strings directly to the children’s parents who then control/ are responsible for the outcomes and spending
    Doing this can have serious consequences to the maintenance of a union/marriage and it is accepted that a broken union/marriage usually has serious consequences for children
    Money is important but people/kids are so much more complicated than that
    Money can allow parents to have time with their kids-allow the mother the option to work or not while kids are preschool etc etc
    Again interestingly like their parents (us) all the wives opted out of work while their children were pre school


  7. Thanks for the mention, ermine. I myself don’t know where I would put my blog in that table so can’t disagree with your classification!

    Interesting use of IG, something I hadn’t thought of but an idea I would consider in the future when I might want to chance getting an ‘edge’ during bear markets.

    I’m currently using IG spreadbetting to trade options, so have experience of the phone notifications – not that I take any notice of them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hard to saw whether it gives an edge in bear markets, but it’s a way of delivering a message from your slightly younger self. It’s lowered my average purchase price of VWRL across the ISA year, compared to DCA. VWRL is ideal for that, you’re pretty sure it won’t go bust of have a SMT-style catfight in the boardroom.

      Congrats on staying the course for 10 years and counting since that chart way back when!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. @ZX, I’ve looked for you on Twitter! I also wish you’d return to monevator. Many of your posts in that forum are seared into my memory.

    Because you’re you, I don’t think you’re remotely aware of your distinctive voice and unique perspective, eg “that’s just nasty” (three words that convey much)! Your upbringing, neurology and market expertise is unique! I relish everything you ever post! And I always valued your confrontational, sometimes rage-fuelled style …

    So, Twitter?


  9. “the dispiriting Weymouth experience”

    I feel I should defend poor old Weymouth!

    It has seen better days, true (but then have you seen, say, Ilfracombe recently?), and the prevailing demographic may make the middle-class nose wrinkle (but talk to any tourist in the town over the summer and 10-1 they will be happy, friendly), but it has some superb Regency terraces, a marvellous sandy beach, safe for children, a terrific promenade from which you can enjoy one of the best coastal views anywhere, along the coast to Lulworth and beyond. The harbour and the older housing around it is a lovely place to spend half an hour. You have Chesil Beach in one direction, Portland Bill to the south (drive to the top and check out the breathtaking view along Chesil Beach), some of the finest coastal walking around to the east – when I was younger and fitter I used to do a 3-day walk from Poole to Weymouth every summer, bliss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ilfracombe, eh – never been there. I have been to Portland Bill though, which I was reasonably taken with. Having said that it seemes to have suffered some indignities of late. I only stopped at one of the laybys on the cliffs overlooking the sea, we were too tight to be rushed for parking at the lighthouse

      A report last year by the South Dorset Research Group said Weymouth and Portland had become “forgotten towns in which a fragile economy, shrinking job opportunities and rising costs place increasing pressure on local communities and present few options for young people”.

      You’ve almost sold the idea to Mrs Ermine to give it another go, but she has a penchant for seaside attractions I don’t share – such as a fondness for Felixstowe pier 😉


      1. tbh I’m probably not entirely objective about this. I share Mrs E’s predilection for English seaside resorts in spades, but then I can (just about) remember them from the days before the great British public was lured away with the promise of cheaper holidays in exotic places with more reliable weather. The Sunday school which I perforce attended in Frome in the early ’60s used to run us down to Weymouth for the annual summer outing. By train. Drawn by steam… So there are distant memories of a more prosperous town underlying the present reality.

        Despite their sad and rundown state, even now these places act on me like catnip. I love them. Odd, because from my early 20s on I became what Mrs May absurdly dubbed a “citizen of nowhere” with the inevitable broadening of horizons. But I do think they still offer more than many people are willing to concede. If you do visit, may I suggest diluting Weymouth by stopping off elsewhere as well; Lyme (as I’m sure you know ) is nice, Lulworth, Corfe and the Isle of Purbeck in the other direction ditto.


  10. It’s a pity you can’t embargo the release of a JISA to 25 but you can’t.
    Now there is a product that could be a really good seller.
    A 7 year S&P 500 / All World fund that just can’t be sold before the 7 years are up. Switch the JISA to that fund just before the 18th birthday and give them control. Knowledge that it can’t be sold in the stupid years.

    As the parent of a 10 year old boy, I’d buy that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a but rough that there’s no graduation between the short-term JISA and the long-term of a SIPP. I reckon 25 is time enough for most of the impulses to go. Mind you, I was over 25 when I perpetrated the single biggest finacial mistake of my entire life to date, so it’s still nto a dead cert. 18 is too young.

      Like the idea of a product with a 7 year notice period. Wonder if you could switch it to a Cash JISA on a 5 year fixed bond when they are 17 1/2. Buys at least a little time. However these guys say about 5 year fixed ISAs that they still have to allow withdrawal on demand, though they apply a penality. So even that won’t save your son from the lure of that high powered electric motorbike when he’s 18!


  11. I was stationed at Lulworth Cove whilst in the Army in the mid 80’s, really happy memories.
    I had the care free outlook of a late teens squaddie, getting paid to play with big boys toys (Tanks and Armoured Vehicles).

    We explored that particular part of the coastline thoroughly, usually early in the morning and at a run!
    We were lucky that we could explore down the range as well, which was not easily accessible for the public back then.
    The Cove, Durdle Door and Tyenham Village ( ) are all worth exploring.

    I haven’t been there for many years, but back then The Castle Inn was worth visiting as well

    Writing this has brought back so many happy memories I think its time I visited the area again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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