After pension rules were relaxed by George Osborne in April, savers were reported to be ‘cashing in their pension pots’ at the rate of £30 million per day — and estimates of the total that might be liberated ranged up to £6 billion. Some of the proceeds will be used to pay off mortgages; much will simply be held on deposit for future needs, joining the £700 billion or so the UK already keeps in low-yielding savings accounts — dull choices, perhaps, but for most of us entirely sensible. Beyond essential prudence, however, there are all kinds of interesting ways to deploy the liquid wealth you don’t need to hold as a cash reserve, and that’s the theme of this issue of Spectator Money.
Perhaps you dream of freedom afloat; or of seeing your own racehorse in the winners’ enclosure; or of owning an artefact as rare and beautiful as a Stradivarius violin: our ‘Spend It With Style’ feature explores the financial implications. Then again, you may be tempted to back high-growth ventures through the fashionable mechanism of crowdfunding: Laura Whitcombe explains the pros and cons. And have you considered owning a city pied-a-terre that you can use when you need to but monetise through short lets when you don’t? Ross Clark looks at that one for us. Or perhaps you’re focused on refining your stock-picking techniques as you build your share portfolio: top fund manager Nick Train and our own ‘veteran investor’ Robin Andrews offer very different perspectives.
Whether you see your savings strictly as a safety net, or as a source of intellectual stimulus and a key to long-dreamt-of personal fulfilment,I hope Spectator Money helps you make the choices that suit you best.