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National Savings and Investments cuts Premium Bond prizes...

Buying Premium Bonds from the government owned NS&I has long been viewed as the safe alternative to stock market investment for the British public; you get to keep all of your original capital, you stand a chance of making a million, and an even better chance of winning a smaller amount. But if you’re one of the thousands of people eagerly awaiting the monthly Premium Bonds results from Ernie, you’ll be disappointed to learn that since interest rates have been cut to historic lows, NS&I has been forced to slash the prize fund, significantly reducing your chances of winning a big prize. The Premium Bond prize fund has been cut from almost £60 million down to £32 million....

posted on: Mar 18, 2009 | author: Lance

Penny drops in Whitehall – some people like to ’save’ money...

There’s been a noticable change in the noises coming from our politicians over the past few days. Up until recently, they seem to have been largely preoccupied with helping ’struggling homeowners’ (i.e. baling out the simpletons who bought houses they couldn’t afford) and ‘restoring confidence’ (i.e. convincing people it’s safe to keep digging themselves into debt to by crap they don’t need, because it’ll probably all turn out ok in the end). But now there seems to be a slow, creaking realisation that all these proposed measures designed to encourage irresponsible borrowing and reckless lending might not be very helpful for the financially prudent members of society who cling to silly outdated notions like ‘living within their means’...

posted on: Jan 6, 2009 | author: Lance

Britons are saving the lowest amount of their earnings in half a decade...

People in the UK are saving the lowest amount of money in almost fifty years, according to research from the Office of National Statistics. In the first three months of 2008 Britons saved just 1.1% of their income, compared to 3% in the winter of 2007 and 6% in the summer of 2006.  The last time people were saving this little was in 1959. Given recent increases in the cost of living, it’s hardly surprising that everybody is feeling the pinch and finding it harder to put money away for their future. With the economy looking likely to continue tanking for a long time to come, you have to wonder how people are going to cope if they’re...

posted on: Jun 28, 2008 | author: Lance

The physics of economics

Put two economists in a room together and you’ll get three different opinions on the state and future direction of the economy. Surely economics, the dismal ’science’, could learn something from one of the true sciences, such as physics? Certainly there have been efforts to do so, particularly among large investment banks and hedge funds, who have used quantitative analysis tools running on powerful computer systems to try to tease out the signals from the noise of price movements, taking into account thousands of different influences from interest rates to tax variations, asset prices to currency exchange rates and much more, all on the basis that there is some underlying predictability, some ‘law’ that governs price movement. Which...

posted on: Mar 11, 2008 | author: Alex