Looking to buy your first home? Consider a Lifetime ISA
PUBLISHED: 12:21 06 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:21 06 September 2017
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Though initially coerced into going to see Logan Lucky at the cinema last week, I have to say that despite an outrageously ridiculous plot, it is a very funny film.
In many respects, it was not dissimilar to a big-screen version of The Dukes of Hazzard, replete with car crashes, buxom blondes and an over-riding sense that you’re deeply immersed in C&W country. Hank Williams Jr could have walked onto the set at any time and not been out of place. Set in West Virginia, it contains one particularly amusing full-body spray-tan scene which several of those people who could uncover political allegory in an empty room described as a sly Hollywood comment on living with America’s most senior spray-tan man. Give us a break; it’s just a very funny heist movie.
One character who is clearly enjoying himself is the appropriately-named Joe Bang, played by Daniel Craig. Yes, that Daniel Craig. Bond with bleach-blond hair and an iffy southern US accent: 007 in a standard-issue prison jumpsuit.
Craig’s role, which he plays to perfection, couldn’t be more distanced from the one to which he’s become accustomed in recent years. Here he plays the polar opposite of the suave, tuxedo-wearing, licensed-to-kill secret agent, a contrast presumably made all the more enjoyable for the actor because it prevents him from being typecast or, worse still, playing a caricature of Bond for the rest of his working life.
Actors appear undecided when it comes to typecasting. Bert Lahr famously commented that “After The Wizard Of Oz, I was typecast as a lion, and there aren’t all that many parts for lions.” Craig clearly has no intention of anything similar happening to him.
While thesps usually consider it a best-avoided feature of the acting profession, typecasting (perceived or otherwise) is evident in many other walks of life. There are professions, activities, even sports, which, from afar, appear reserved for certain types or closed off to many folks, although upon closer inspection this tends not to be the case.
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Since the end of the Second World War, Britain has undergone a silent revolution, the effects of which have not always been welcomed with unrestrained glee. However, as educational barriers in particular were dismantled and hundreds of thousands of working class children deservedly gained places at the nation’s leading universities, so change gathered pace and what might be called “professional typecasting” began to disappear.
It’s taken longer than might have been expected, but over the past 20 years this change has finally had an impact upon investing.
Once deemed the preserve of fusty old men who gathered in oak-panelled clubs to discuss such matters, investing has become just as important to a younger cohort. Indeed, it could be argued that it’s even more important to folks in their 40s and younger than it is to those of us for whom greying at the temples is but a distant memory.
Yes, yes, I know there’s today’s caricatured investor, invariably portrayed as a middle-aged, computer-literate male with all the time in the world to sit at his uncluttered desk, stare at multi-coloured graphs on two or three screens and make instant decisions resulting in immediate profits. Investing is nothing like this, though its frequently-inaccurate portrayal alienates a large number of people who should be embracing it, learning more about it and investigating its enormous possibilities.
Consider, for example, the Lifetime ISA (LISA), a comparatively new and incredibly tax-efficient product designed specifically for people aged between 18 and 39 who want to either save for their first home or create their own pension fund.
Savers opening a LISA before they reach the age of 40 can contribute up to £4,000 a year, on top of which they will then receive a taxpayer-funded bonus of 25%, ie £1,000. Furthermore, contributions can be made to the LISA until a person reaches the age of 50.
Granted, there are restrictions when it comes to withdrawing your money – it can be used either as a deposit on a first home at any point or as a supplementary pension, but only once you reach the age of 60. However, assuming the rules relating to contributions and bonuses remain unchanged, a saver contributing £4,000 a year to a LISA from the age of 18 will receive a maximum £32,000 bonus before any interest, growth or dividends are applied to the fund.
The LISA should be investigated by everyone under the age of 40, precisely because they’re the cohort that needs to dismiss visions of typecast, caricatured investors and become one.
THE WEEK IN NUMBERS
Cost of new Queensferry Crossing, scheduled to replace the Forth Road Bridge for traffic between Edinburgh and Fife when it’s formally opened by the Queen this week.
There were predictably long delays on the first day the bridge opened to traffic last week.
Percentage of profit the craft brewer BrewDog aims to give away to staff and charities as part of its new Unicorn Fund. The hugely successful crowd-funded business has 57,000 investors, known as ‘equity punks’.
The weight, in stones, Sir Chris Hoy suggested was the maximum for Mamils (middle aged men in Lycra) wishing to wear Lycra when riding their bikes. Anyone over this weight looked, well, ridiculous.
The following day, Sir Chris apologised for his comment, though one wonders why, when he was absolutely correct.
Number of stores M&S has in Hong Kong. However, they’re franchised operations and the owner, Dubai’s Al-Futtaim, is looking to sell them all.
Number of mobile phones stolen every day in London by thieves on mopeds and pedal bikes.
A Gallic rule (Number 126) introduced in 2013 which stops ‘unorthodox craft’ from entering French waters. The rule prevented Andy and Bradley Lang from completing their Channel crossing (on a tandem-cum-canoe) as they endeavoured to raise money for charity. Presented with little choice other than to turn back at the halfway stage, the pair still pedalled the full distance of 22 miles.
Peter Sharkey read economics at the University of Bristol. He worked as an accountant on three continents and has been a company director and investor for more than 30 years, building and selling three different companies.