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Weekend reading: Spring Budget 2024 roundup

What caught my eye this week.

Nobody really needs more than a couple of articles about the Spring Budget. Alas for me, I only concluded this after reading dozens of them.

For all the noise, this wasn’t a Budget that will move the dial for most people. Even the welcome reduction in National Insurance won’t really be felt as such, given it just blunts the impact of ongoing higher taxes due to fiscal drag.

The coincident OBR figures paint a sobering picture too. What good news it has will mostly arrive next year – apparently.

Those of us who have followed every Budget and Autumn Statement for the past few years can only ask: “Are we there yet?” We’ve heard we’re close before.

The following graph from Martin Wolf in the FT [search result] doesn’t tell us anything new – but wow it’s striking:

Wolf – an economic commentator who attract critics mostly on the back of being right – warns:

To put it bluntly, the British policy process and the institutions in charge of it are broken. Yes, that is true elsewhere, too. But that is not an excuse.

Can one plausibly imagine that stagnation on this scale can continue without dire consequences for the stability of our society?

The Spring Budget didn’t – and probably couldn’t – do much about any of that. And with Labour 25% ahead in the latest polls, the man delivering it knows he almost certainly won’t be around to see the consequences.

Time will tell if the opposition can do any better – it hasn’t got much to play with. I still think Hunt could have made a good Chancellor in another era. Unfortunately for him and us, this is the one we’ve got.

Still, there are actions to take. In particular, make sure you’re paying attention to the Child Benefit threshold changes. Many more should be able to claim that. Consider making pension contributions if it helps you qualify.

Spring Budget announcement roundups

What changes did Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announce? – Which

Really nice roundup, especially re: non-doms – JP Morgan

What you need to know – Be Clever With Your Cash

What does the Budget mean for you? – BBC

Biggest budget winners revealed – This Is Money

Hardcore economic action

Five things we learned from the Spring Budget – IFS

The Office of Budget Responsibility’s latest data and forecasts – OBR

National Insurance cut by 2p

National insurance calculator [with new rates]Which

How much will the new NI rate cuts save you? – This Is Money

What is National Insurance and should it be scrapped? – Guardian

New UK ISA and British Savings Bond

Does it pay to be patriotic with your savings? – Which

Some investors are keen to use the UK ISA – This Is Money

British ISAs are a gimmick that won’t move the dial – Guardian

Do we really need another Isa allowance? [Search result]FT

NS&I to offer three-year fixed-rate ‘British bonds’ – NS&I

Property matters

Property tax and stamp duty changes – Which

Hunt hands buy-to-let landlords a CGT tax cut – This Is Money

Child benefit and loose ends

What the child benefit threshold rise to £60,000 means to you – This Is Money

A parent earning up to £80,000 can now still benefit – BBC

Spring Budget small print – Which

Rich non-doms ‘dismayed’ by Hunt’s decision [Search result]FT

Verdicts

Why fix a tax trap when you can kick it down the road? – This Is Money

Pensioners and wealthy big losers from Tory government, say think-tanks [Search result]FT

The IFS response – IFS

Hunt was hamstrung by Britain’s sickly finances – This Is Money

Have a great weekend.

From Monevator

How to read an equity fund web page – Monevator

Introducing the UK ISA: Don’t panic! – Monevator

From the archive-ator: Fund ratings and Best Buy lists are useless for passive investors – Monevator

News

Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view click through to read the article. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing to sites you visit a lot.

Nationwide to buy Virgin Money for £2.9bn – BBC

Eight troubling omens for the London stock exchange – CityAM

Dozens of ‘major’ compliance breaches at Bank of England, NAO reports – Guardian

Swiss vote to give themselves a bigger pension – BBC

Revolut’s UK boss says London risks losing its crown as fintech leader… – Fortune

…as fintechs gets a new industry body to champion their cause – Innovate Finance

Is the gold ETF story repeating itself with Bitcoin? [Be careful…]All Star Charts

Products and services

How to save money as rail fares rise – Which

The real cost of new build versus older homes – This Is Money

Mobile phone contracts: spring price rises – Be Clever With Your Cash

Open an ISA account with low-cost platform InvestEngine and get up to £2,500 as a cash bonus (Affiliate link, T&Cs apply. Capital at risk) – InvestEngine

Fixing the housing market with 30-year mortgages – This Is Money

Car insurance premiums jump 50% for new drivers – Which

Some Chinese electric cars ‘almost uninsurable’ in Britain – This Is Money

Homes for sale with a wine cellar, in pictures – Guardian

Comment and opinion

Households on more than £60,000 a year describe their financial struggles – Guardian

The trillion dollar equation [Black-Scholes, nerdy, great video]YouTube

Should target-date funds allocate more to equities? – Morningstar

Can the typical person become a millionaire? – Of Dollars and Data

How UK private pension rule changes can disrupt retirement plans – Guardian

An ex-Googler retired at 40 on a Friday. By Monday she regretted it – B.I.

Retiring on your own terms – Humble Dollar

New figures puts the UK middle-of-the-pack for housing affordability – K.O.I.

Fit for retirement – Humble Dollar

Why wouldn’t your employer remove your personal allowance when you earn £100K+? – This Is Money

People who underestimate longevity save less for retirement [Research]SSRN

Fear and investing mini-special

Why you’re scared of investing – Darius Foroux

Buy & Hold versus Fear & Greed – A Wealth of Common Sense

Yesterday’s influence – Humble Dollar

Buy the dip! Or, don’t [Search result]FT

The fear of missing out – The Irrelevant Investor

Naughty corner: Active antics

Here’s your chance to not buy a painting [Search result]FT

Michael Mauboussin: cost of capital and capital allocation [PDF]Morgan Stanley

Royalties trust Hipgnosis sees portfolio value cut by 26% – Shares

Another look at how much Bitcoin to own in a portfolio [Spoiler: not much]Quantpedia

Why now isn’t the time to sell investment trusts – Interactive Investor

The case for owning ‘safe’ equities instead of bonds in a portfolio [PDF]SSRN

Kindle book bargains

The Success Myth by Emma Gannon – £0.99 on Kindle

Eat Shop Save by Dale Pinnock – £0.99 on Kindle

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg – £0.99 on Kindle

The Making of a Billionaire by John Caudwell – £0.99 on Kindle

Environmental factors

Rewilding project to be awarded £100,000 for Sussex coastline – BBC

Can Europe’s trains compete with low-cost airlines? [Search result]FT

Humpback whale spotted off Porthleven, Cornwall – BBC

Robot overlord roundup

Aggregator’s AI risk – Stratechery

Off our beat

How to survive when people are mad at you online – Will Leitch

‘My IVF years’: a male perspective – GQ

The dumber side of smart people – Morgan Housel

The Trading Game: This is how you make money… [Book extract]NY Mag

…and an interview with The Trading Game author [Podcast]Slate

The 100-Year-Life author on how to live well longer – Guardian

Stop playing games you can’t win – The Joint Account

US says UFO sightings were likely military tests – BBC

The joy of not wanting things – Becoming Minimalist

German guy spends £8,500 a year to live on a train – Metro

And finally…

“Acknowledgment, applause, and honour are welcome and add zest to life but they are not ends to be pursued. I felt then, as I do now, that what matters is what you do and how you do it, the quality of the time you spend, and the people you share it with.”
– Ed Thorp, A Man for All Markets

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The post Weekend reading: Spring Budget 2024 roundup appeared first on Monevator.

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