October 2017
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The Great Savings and Pensions Scam. An A-Z Guide. Today I-J

I – Investments. The word ‘investment’ conjures up pleasant images – you put money into something and you get back more than you originally placed. Gordon Brown was perhaps the man who most used and abused this word. Between 1997 and 2007, he more than doubled public spending from about £350bn a year to over £750bn a year. He repeatedly claimed he was ‘investing’ for Britain’s future. We now know this was just another of his many lies and in fact he squandered over £1trn of our money. Financial advisers, bank staff and other assorted salespeople also use and abuse this word like Liar Brown. If your financial adviser really knew the best place to invest money, why does he or she spend so much time grovelling to and brown-nosing everyone they meet in the hope of persuading them to hand over some of their money? Similarly, if the supposed investment expert at your local bank actually knew how to grow money, would they be on their yacht in the South of France or working hard to sell you some crappy financial product their bosses had just cobbled together? Most so-called ‘investments’ are just rubbish, often complicated rubbish, pushed on naïve savers by commission-hungry salespeople and multimillionaire fund managers.

J – Journalists. Unfortunately most people don’t read the financial pages of their newspapers and very few subscribe to an investing magazine. If we are ever to arm ourselves to see through the sales pitches of those who are so eager to get hold of our money, we must make the effort to read what the financial journalists are writing. They know what’s happening, so can advise us about how to increase our savings and warn us about expensive and unsuitable financial products to avoid. But can we trust what these journalists are writing or are they just in the business of pushing the products which place most advertising with their employers? Personally, I’ve found the Daily Mail one of the few papers to dare take on the lying, mis-selling crooks who seem to flourish in financial services. In other papers, I’ve been worried about how frequently the journalists recommend products when the companies selling them just happened to have placed nice, big, expensive ads.

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