By pursuing a globally diversified approach to investing, one doesn’t have to attempt to pick winners to achieve a rewarding investment experience. Every day we enjoy the benefits of an interconnected world. We might start our day with a cup of coffee that originated in South America, check our email on a smartphone designed in California and manufactured in Taiwan, then dress in clothes woven from Egyptian fabrics before driving a German-made car or riding in a French-built
The end of rip-off charges?
While companies and service providers can no-longer charge customers for using a credit or debit card there are a range of unintended consequences that highlights the tendency towards 'sound-bite-grabbing' politics.
Yes, so-called rip-off charges may now be outlawed, but one immediate effect of the new law is that it is no longer possible to pay your tax bill online direct to HMRC. Many retailers, especially the large ones, will of course sim
The US central bank increased interest rates again in December. While the Bank of England managed just one interest rate rise in 2017, to end the year at 0.5%, its counterpart in the US notched up three increases, finishing at 1.25%-1.50%. The trio of Federal Reserve increases were all well telegraphed, so much so that by the time each arrived, the focus was on when the next 0.25% addition would occur. That was the case with December’s increase, the last overseen by Janet Yel
Last month saw another Budget – for Scotland, this time. The Scottish Budget in the middle of December contained potential omens for the whole of the UK with its proposed changes to income tax bands and thresholds. In the foreword to the main Budget document, Derek Mackay, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution said he believed his income tax measures would make the system in Scotland, “fairer and more progressive”. Whether or not that is true, Mr Mac
Investors at year-end are inclined to reflect on the 12 months gone and muse on what the coming year might bring. Aware of this appetite for speculation, the media tends to feed it with forecasts. These articles can be fun to read, but are even more so a year later. In January 2017, one media outlet said Wall Street strategists were more bearish on equities than they had been for any year since 2005. The consensus forecast for the S&P 500 was for a gain in 2017 of about 4%. I
An HMRC paper promised in the Budget could be bad news if you use Airbnb. The government has set out a call for evidence relating to rent-a-room relief in response to the rise in short term rentals facilitated by Airbnb and its competitors. Rent-a-room relief is typical of some of the neglected parts of the UK income tax system. Introduced nearly 26 years ago, it has subsequently changed only three times, despite governments pursuing the goal of increasing the supply of low c