Thursday, October 13, 2011
Thursday, October 15, 2009
So, who are the Averages?To give you an idea of how we reached our conclusions, here are some of the basic assumptions we made: Mr and Mrs Average have two children, which remain financially dependant until our couple hit 50. The family have one foreign holiday a year and run a small car.
According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the average mortgagee is 36 and owes £112,030. We'll assume that they keep faith in the NHS and have very average taste in clothes and food. By age 40, they will owe around £110,000 on their mortgage and when they're no longer battling the rush hour traffic, will do up to 6,000 miles a year in their saloon.
According to recent data from comparison site confused.com, these are the Average's outgoings: credit card and loan debt (£2,791 per year), utility bills (£1,167 each year), insurance costs (£1,476.84) mobile and landline phones (£627 per year) and council tax (£1,222). Food costs £3,724 a year.
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As well as the boring stuff, it assumes the average person pays out for a TV licence (£142.50 a year) and a satellite or cable package at £225 every year. Internet access will set them back an average of £204 a year.
We'll also let them go on one foreign holiday a year. According to the Expenditure and Food Survey, Office for National Statistics this is £650 per year, but this seems rather low. Research for Holiday-Rentals.co.uk earlier this year put the figure at £2,092, including spending money and holiday wardrobe.
For the couple alone, we're looking at very basic outgoings of around £18,000-per-year, including clothing, car costs and leisure money.
However, kids are expensive. Research published in January 2009 by Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society found that the cost of parenting one child is almost £200,000 (£193,772) until the age of 21.
This figure includes the cost of education, food, clothing, babysitters, uniform, pocket money, presents and all the other trappings of family life.
So for two kids, we're looking at nearly £20,000 a year. We'll assume that Miss and Master Average are dependent, 11-year-old twins, living at home, for the next seven years. This will need a sum of £140,000.
However, the years between 19 and 21 are the most expensive (estimated at nearly £40,000 a year). So for three years, the two will cost £240,000.
Danny Cox of Hargreaves Lansdown explains that any retiree should aim to be mortgage-free, so you already need a lump sum of £110,000 in the kitty just to clear that.
As well as making sure you can sustain this for - what could be - a very long life, you must always have what Cox calls: "a cash cushion, a contingency and emergency fund.
"Normally this would be three to six months' expenditure. For retirees, I think cash balances should be much higher - the chances are that in the early years they are going to spend more (holidays etc).
"I would work on the basis of £50,000 plus any planned capital expenditure and this assumes that they live within their income."
To maintain an income of £18,000 a year, they will need a pot of cash to invest. Cox gives a conservative figure (assuming a yield of 2.5%, or 3% after tax): "For every £100,000 invested this generates £2,500 of income."
Mortgage pay-off: £110,000Contingency: £50,000Investment: £700,000Cost of kids: £380,000
To keep them in a very modest, basic but paid-for lifestyle, they'd need a whopping £1,240,000.
Mr and Mrs Average aged 50When the couple reach 50, something very helpful happens: they become debt-free. This has a significant effect on the amount they need to maintain their lifestyle.
According to finance experts, Your Money Matters, the average age that Brits shake off the shackles of debt (not, sadly, including mortgage debt) is 50 years and 90 days.
This knocks down the amount needed each year by almost £3,000. Also, their mortgage will be closer to £30,000, having been paying it off at 4% for the last decade.
The average annual outgoings will be around £15,000 a year.
Mortgage pay-off: £30,000Contingency: £50,000Investment: £600,000
To keep them in a modest, but paid-for lifestyle, they'd need £680,000.
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Mr and Mrs Average aged 60By the time Mr and Mrs Average reach 60, they have paid off their mortgage and their debts. They will probably still need around £15,000 to live a basic lifestyle, but will not need a lump sum to clear the mortgage.
However as it stands, if they have paid enough in National Insurance Contributions, Mrs Average will now be able to draw a state pension, and Mr Average will be able to in five years (assuming the age of retirement stays the same).
Mrs Average's pension will bring in just under £5,000-per-year. When Mr Average turns 65, this becomes just under £8,000-per-year.
For the next five years, the couple need £10,000 from their investment. After this, they need only £7,000 to supplement the state pension.
Mortgage pay-off: £0Contingency: £50,000Investment: £350,000
To keep them in a very modest, but paid-for lifestyle, they'd need £400,000.
In reality, today's 60-year-olds will most likely be reliant on a state pension or combination of state and private pensions.
Some words of warning, however. We are increasingly taking debt into retirement, while living longer. The average age expectancy of around 80 means very little in relation to 40-year-olds today.
Chris Wicks, financial planner at N-Trust Limited explains, this scenario is very simplified.
"The calculation of the mortgage costs depends on how long is left and what basis it has been set up on. As you can imagine, it is likely that a 60-year-old will have a smaller mortgage than a 40-year-old as they will have paid all or most of it off by then.
"The other problem with the calculation is that you can't just assume a life expectancy of 80 years. A person's life expectancy means that they have a 50:50 chance of making or exceeding it."
The moral of the story is, of course, that Mr and Mrs Average don't exist. If you're genuinely considering retirement options, it's important to seek proper financial advice specific to your individual needs and finances.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Titanic's Captain, Edward J. Smith, had been napping in the chart room after leaving the orders: "If it becomes at all doubtful let me know at once." He was now on the bridge. Looking at his first officer he asked "What have we struck?" "An iceberg, sir ", was the reply.
Captain Smith summoned the ship's carpenter Thomas Andrews, one of Titanic's designers from Harland & Wolff Shipbuilders. Andrews was traveling on Titanic's maiden voyage to work out any "bugs" that might occur with the new liner. Both men were asked to conduct a visual inspection to access the ship's damage and report back.
Twenty minutes later, Captain Smith was all too aware of the fate of his ship, and equally aware of the fact that Titanic's lifeboat accommodations were far fewer than the number of passengers and crew on board. Smith would now for the first time in nearly 40 years at sea, give the orders to abandon ship. He expressed to his officers the necessity of calmness and order in the evacuation. His orders were to see that the crew informed everyone on board and to report to the boat deck with their lifebelts on. The order was given to swing out the boats.
Now, at 12:05 A.M., only 30 minutes since the berg was initially sighted, lifeboats were being uncovered, and ship was beginning to take a noticeable dip forward. The squash courts, 32 feet above the level of the ship's keel, were awash. Passengers (mostly first class, being closest to the boat deck) were beginning to appear on deck, many having just slipped a coat on over their night clothes and not realizing the seriousness of the situation. Titanic's small band, under the leadership of Wallace Hartley, came out on to the boat deck and began playing a medley of cheerful ragtime turnes to keep spirits up.
Lifeboats were now lowering, the first few but half full. Passengers were hesitant to climb in, thinking the whole procedure was unnecessary. People were saying"This ship can't possibly sink, It's supposed to be unsinkable" This dreadful fact was becoming more apparent however as time passed. A deafening roar was present as coal stokers were drawing out the fires and relieving pressure from the boilers to prevent an explosion from the cold seawater rushing in from the bowels of the ship. The hiss of distress rockets being fired way up into the darkness overhead amused the children as their parents were trying to get them aboard lifeboats.
Titanic's bow section was now completely underwater and her stern was beginning to rise. More people from below had now worked their way out on to the boat deck, but there were very few lifeboats remaining. The last few boats had been filled to capacity. "Women and Children first" was the general rule. Some of the men had quietly stepped aside, a few had jumped down to the life boats as they were lowering. Some were already diving into the water from the deck. Overall there was no panic; not yet.
Titanic was now assuming a horrible list. It had become evident to all on board that the ship was indeed going to sink. Captain Smith personally went to the wireless shack and instructed operators Bride and Phillips to send out the distress call, and gave the ship's position. The Cunard ship, Carpathia was 58 miles away, but still 4 hours out. She signaled that she was en route, but Captain Smith knew Titanicwould be gone before she arrived.
Items within the ship could be heard crashing through walls toward the sinking bow, as Titanic made her final "headstand". The boilers were tearing from their beds and smashing through bulkheads. One survivor later compared the sound to distant thunder rumbling. People were struggling to climb to the back of the ship as it began to rise in a vain attempt to seek a higher area away from the swirling water. Suddenly, a giant wave washed over the deck as water filled the last remaining compartments, sweeping many overboard.
Slowly, the mammoth liner now began her final dive in an almost perpendicular position. Her lights flickered a couple of times, then went out for good as the stern disappeared from the surface. Screams and moans could be heard from those struggling in the frigid water. Some passengers in the lifeboats wanted to return to retrieve these poor souls but were quickly told by others that they would surely be swamped if they tried. Amazingly, some of the very same women that protested to officers on the boat deck about their husbands not being allowed to board, were the very same that protested returning to rescue those in the water. The yells quickly faded out one by one as the victims lost consciousness and succumbed to their fate. Two boats, one boat under the command of surviving 5th officer Harold Lowe did manage to pick up a few from the water after transferring passengers from one lifeboat to two other boats. Another boat, under the charge of Seaman Perkis, managed to pick up three victims from the frigid water.
A few hours later the remaining passengers in the lifeboats spotted green colored rockets going up in the distance. It was the Carpathia, she was signaling that she was near. Of approximately 2,227 passengers on board Titanic, only 705 survived.
After the Titanic disaster, Fleet worked for a short time (June-August, 1912) on the Olympic as a seaman. Unfortunately, the White Star Line looked at formerTitanic crew members working on other WSL vessels as both an embarrassment to the company and as a "bad omen" in the eyes of the passengers. He sailed with the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co. working various positions and left the sea in 1936. He worked as a shipbuilder for Harland and Wolff's Southampton shipyard during World War II after which he became a night watchman once again, for the Union-Castle Line. In his later years, he sold newspapers on a street corner in Southampton.
After a series of personal problems; the recent loss of his wife, eviction from his home by his brother-in-law, Fredrick Fleet, the first man on Titanic to spot the iceberg and warn the bridge, hung himself on a clothes line in his backyard in 1965.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
秦穆公 嬴任好 (?-前前621)
秦僻处西陲，周初为附庸小国，春秋初年因秦襄公助平王东迁才被封为诸侯，并承平王赐给岐山以西之地，後定都於雍（今陕西凤翔南）。到了秦穆公（前六五九年 — 前六二一年执政）时，国势逐渐强大起来。秦穆公名任好，赢姓，秦国历史上一位有作为的君主。他在位期间，内修国政，外图霸业，统一了今甘肃、宁夏等地，开始了秦国的崛起。
秦国要发展，首当其冲的是其东邻晋国。在百里奚和蹇叔的辅佐下，秦穆公将注意力集中於晋。 晋献公晚年，骊姬之乱，公子重耳和夷吾出逃。穆公九年（前651年）晋献公死，驴姬子奚齐继位， 旋即被其臣里克杀死。秦穆公派百里奚带兵送夷吾回国继位，为晋惠公。夷吾事先答应将河西八城割给秦作为谢礼，但继位後却毁约。晋臣丕豹逃到秦国，受到穆公重用。十二年（前648年）晋国旱 灾，秦穆公运了大量粟米给晋。十四年（前646年），秦国发生饥荒，晋国不仅不给秦国粮食救灾，反而乘机出兵，於次年攻秦。双方在韩原大战，秦军最终生俘晋惠公。在周襄王和穆姬的请求下，秦穆公与晋惠公结盟後，将其放回。晋惠公送太子圉到秦国为质子，并将黄河以西的地方献给秦国， 秦的东部疆界扩至龙门。二十三年（前637年），晋惠公死，其子子圉逃回国继位，为怀公，继续迫害逃亡的公子重耳。秦穆公於是将重耳从楚国迎来，以极为隆重的礼节接待，将女儿文嬴及四位宗女嫁其为妻，然後於次年送重耳回国为君，是为晋文公。晋文公杀死子圉，在秦的参与下，尊王攘夷，败楚城濮，成为霸主。三十年（前630年），秦又出兵帮助晋文公围郑。郑老臣烛之武夜裏从围城中绳出，见秦穆公说：「郑国灭亡，於秦不利。晋人这次开拓了东边的领土，下次就会向西边的秦国用兵。大君何必损害自己国家的利益，共帮助晋国呢？」秦穆公於是与郑结盟，留杞子、逢孙、杨孙戍守，罢兵而还。
晋文公的夫人文赢，是秦穆公的女儿，她对襄公说：「这三人挑拨我们两国国君的关系，穆公对三人恨入骨髓。你何必自己去杀他们呢？不如放他们回去，让穆公去将他们煮死！」晋襄公同意了。秦穆公穿了素服，哭看到郊外迎接孟明视等人，说：「我不听从百里奚和蹇叔的话，使你们三位遭受耻辱，你们有什麼错？你们要专心谋划报仇雪耻，不可懈怠！」恢复了三人的官职，对他们更加信任 了。三十四年（前62前6年），秦穆公又派孟明视等带兵东向，与晋军战於彭衙（今陕西白水东北），秦 军再次失败。两次较量，秦东进的路被晋牢牢地扼住，只得转而向西发展。
穆公三十六年（前624年），秦穆公亲自率兵讨伐晋国，渡过黄河以後，将渡船全部焚毁，表示誓死克敌的决心。秦军夺得王官（今山西闻喜西）和郊。晋军不敢出战，秦军从茅津渡过黄河，到南岸崤地，在当年的战场为战死的将士堆土树立标记，然後回国。三十七年（前623年），秦军出征西 戎，以迅雷不及掩耳之势，包围了绵诸，在酒樽之下活捉了绵诸王。秦穆公乘胜前进，二十多个戎 狄小国先後归服了秦国。秦国辟地千里，国界南至秦岭，西达狄道（今甘肃临洮），北至朐衍戎（今宁夏盐池），东到黄河，史称「秦穆公霸西戎」。周襄王派遣召公过带了金鼓送给秦穆公，以表示祝贺。
秦孝公 嬴渠梁 (前381-前338)
秦庄襄王是 战国 末期的秦王，本名异人，后为华阳夫人子，故另赐名子楚，前249年至前246年在位。 秦始皇 之父。相传他尚在 赵国 为质子之时，为 吕不韦 相中，并加以栽培，成功得到秦王的地位。由于他突如其来的早逝，有人认为是因为他撞破了吕不韦与赵姬的奸情而被吕不韦所杀。
秦始皇（前259～前210），中国统一的秦王朝的开国皇帝，嬴姓，名政。秦庄襄王之子。 13岁即王位， 39岁称帝。战国末年，秦国实力最强，已具备统一东方六国的条件。秦王政初即位时，国政为相国吕不韦所把持。公元前238年，他亲理国事，免除吕不韦的相职，并任用尉缭、李斯等人。自公元前230年至前221年，先后灭韩、魏、楚、燕、赵、齐六国，终于建立了中国历史上第一个统一的、多民族的、专制主义中央集权制国家—秦朝。