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Investment Tips for Pensioners

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The recession and credit crisis has hit people on a fixed income the hardest, and pensioners in particular are suffering from rising food and energy prices.

Make your house work for you

There are a few ways in which pensioners can make the most of their investments and assets, though. One good way is to rent out a room. A homeowner can earn up to £4,250 each year from rental income before it gets hit by taxes. Even better, this money doesn’t affect the capital gains exemption, as the house is owner-occupied.

There’s more wealth in the home, as owners might think about equity release to free up a lump sum – either for a one-off big purchase or to earn extra income. This move will reduce inheritance, so anyone considering this should think carefully and get advice from an independent advisor.

Quick cash and comparisons

Cash ISAs are a good idea, as the interest earned is tax-free, and the money is available immediately with no penalties applied. There are several banks or building societies that pay more than six per cent interest on ISA balances, so shopping around is a good idea. Getting cash out of an ISA in a hurry is infinitely preferable to getting a payday loan for examples (see wonga.com for more details.) Payday loans can be useful in a tight spot, but they have strict time limits and can easily snowball you into a dangerous place if you’re not able to pay them back.Ladies 50 more1

Compare, compare and compare again! This is the age of the comparison website, and these sites are saving people hundreds of pounds a year. If a site is accredited by Energywatch, it means it looks at every single provider possible. Saving money on energy has never been more important, as one third of pensioners could soon be in fuel poverty.

Pensioners should also use their capital gains tax exemption each year, as this can prevent a big bill further on down the line. Each individual can make as much as £10,900 in tax-free capital gains in the financial year 2013-2014.

Play the field

Spread investments across industries and global regions so that you don’t suffer too much if one area or sector has a bad year. It’s also important to structure your portfolio cautiously – aim for around 60 per cent in shares and the remainder in fixed interest stocks or bonds. There are also absolute return funds which can offer better-than-inflation returns in the long-term, despite what the market throws at them.

Of course there’s always a downside to playing it safe – you’ll probably never

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Matthew McConaughey explains why he’s inspired by Marc Benioff’s ‘new capitalism’

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Salesforce (CRM) CEO Marc Benioff has burnished his reputation amid the COVID-19 pandemic as an outspoken advocate for a “new capitalism” that improves social welfare, and he has used his resources to develop contact-tracing technology and donate 1 million masks.

That commitment to “stakeholder capitalism” caught the attention of actor and investor Matthew McConaughey, who told Yahoo Finance that Benioff “inspired” him to embrace the notion that business ventures can both generate profit and promote the common good.

“I’m all for making money — I have good money. I’m all for fame — I’m happy to be famous,” says McConaughey, author of a new memoir called “Greenlights.” “But I’m inspired by looking at people like a [CEO] John Mackey with Whole Foods or Marc Benioff at Salesforce that go, ‘Hey, I have an idea that’s really good to do, even if it was for nonprofit, but let’s make profit off of it.”

McConaughey elaborated on the mentality embodied by Benioff: “I want to make money off this. I want to get rich off this. And how can we parlay that to being something like, ‘Oh, and it’s good for the most amount of people.”

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Government, religion, the economy and capitalism

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Mr. Selby, Mr. Bloom, and Pastor Biller have brought an interesting conversation on governing, religion and the economy to this page.

Governing. The U.S. Constitution establishes a representative Republican form of governing the USA and in each state. The power to democratically elect their representatives for governing resides in the people and the right of one person, one vote for all citizens, regardless of religious or spiritual affiliation, ethnic origin, orientation or gender. The Declaration of Independence plays no role in our governing design.

Religion. The First Amendment to the Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free expression thereof.” After the war over secession, there have been efforts to amend the Constitution to declare the USA a Christian nation. All of those efforts have failed, reinforcing the USA as a nation of religious and spiritual diversity.

The economy. Nothing in the Constitution specifies that the USA must have a certain type of economic system and certainly not that it must be capitalism, however defined. We have a wide range of choices available to us for our economy. At one extreme would be an economy where there is a totally free market system where all ownership of all property is held privately by individuals. There is no government, consequently there are no regulations and no taxes. Individuals and corporations are free to do whatever they wish as there are no constraints on their actions. It is essentially anarchy. At the other extreme is an economy where the national government owns everything and dictates all production and prices. This other extreme is equally odious as there is no individual freedom, only the government as the absolute dictator of activities.

In between these two extremes, however, we have a wide range of possibilities for our economy, politically and socially. Capitalism encompasses a fairly wide segment of that range. “Capital” can be property, plant, equipment, patents, trademarks, inventories, stocks, bonds and cash. Fundamentally, capitalism is a means of wealth accumulation for those who have sufficient capital to put it to work earning more capital. Those who have little or no free capital are employees in that wealth accumulation process.

There are, however, opportunities for imaginative entrepreneurs to break into the capitalist elite. Unfortunately, over the past 50 years in the USA, the wealth gap between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of us has risen dramatically.

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Where is Capitalism’s Superiority Now?

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HAVANA TIMES – I have been hearing capitalist propaganda’s clamoring about how this system is here forever, because it’s the best option out there. It supposedly offers the most opportunities and freedom, upholds democracy and defends human rights, while, socialism is a failure, and has no future.

However, it is becoming clearer and clearer for us to see how capitalism is marching towards a general crisis, which will inevitably lead to its demise.

From an economic standpoint, there is no way that a government can survive if the rich only get richer and the poor only get poorer. A government where thousands of workers end up unemployed every time there is a crisis. Also losing their homes because they can’t afford rent and ending up on the street like the homeless.

Others have to pay for health care, which is very expensive. If they get really sick, they end up losing everything or being stuck in debt for the rest of their life.

The same goes for education, because the only quality education systems in much of the world are private and expensive. Public universities in the US aren’t free, you have to pay, and students end up in debt for many years.

In terms of democracy, it’s just a big fat lie. A democracy is a people’s government for the people. However, in capitalism, a country is governed for capital, for the rich. The only thing ordinary people can do is vote in elections, for a candidate they often don’t know, and they have no idea what they will do once in office.

Leaders in capitalist countries fill their pockets, because pretty much all of them are corrupt. When elections favor more progressive candidates who are genuinely concerned about the general population, the Right refuses to recognize the results and turns to violence or a coup d’etat. Is this a democracy?

There are plenty of examples, but I’ll only mention the more renowned. For example, Evo Morales won the elections in Bolivia a year ago, in the first round, but was accused of fraud. This happened with the OAS getting involved, and the armed forces were incited to carry out a coup d’etat.

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