Pensions Select Committee


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If you would like my  Pension Review Document – template letter and notes you’ll need this code Moneyt-Pension and this link  Pension Review

Response to the
Pension Costs And Transparency Inquiry.

About me.

Richard Smith is the explainer in chief over at and the resident specialist over at  you can contact him directly on 0774 007 6226 or via the website(s). Qualifications from the Chartered Insurance Institute and the Institute of Financial Services.



Pension providers are in a unique position in the UK.
The public perception is that Pension contracts are complicated with a number of moving parts, reality is, defined contribution pensions – personal pensions and the income options at  retirement are expensive and complicated. Many consumers are forced to pay for advice that is often not up to standard.
Despite years of regulation, since 1988. The same topics keep arising, mis-selling is still going on, poor investment returns are a constant topic and product charges are a real problem.
If you are in your forties now, you can expect today’s millennials to be at the peak of their careers when you draw your pension. Many of these will not want to be making contributions to a scheme that they are unlikely to benefit from.

There is little evidence to show that higher charging pension providers deliver higher performance. Many providers still don’t produce adequate levels of administration and nor are the comparison tools available.

Every change in Government involves a tweak to to pension policy or arrangements, with the main focus on ‘kicking the can down the road’ – there are serious problems with pension provision in the UK and no Government in the last thirty years has wanted to deal with the problems.

As an introduction I have included for you some of my comments from the Great British Pension Swindle along with placing a link to the full version in the appendix. A copy of this which has been sent to Messrs Hammond, Opperman and Corbyn and I have included the responses from their respective offices.

Do higher-cost providers deliver higher performance, or simply eat into clients’ savings?
There is no evidence to support that higher charging providers deliver more in the way of better performance or investment returns.  Before considering this furter I feel an explanation of charges is required.

An Explanation Of Charges

A 1% charge equals ten percent of a pension fund every ten years. 2% charge equals twenty percent every ten years.

Pension contract terms run from 18 ‘til death, dependent on the options selected. This means the provider has access to the income via charges for 61 years based on present average (male) life expectancy and assuming some kind of pension freedom contract is considered into retirement.

Charges are never expressed honestly, like they could be below.

“Dear Bob, good news about your pension. So far you’ve paid in x, we’ve charged you y, and because we are so great at managing your money your pension fund is worth £zz.zzp”

There are also further questions that arise.

Why there is little comparison information available.
Why can’t I find out who has the lowest charges?
Who has the best overall returns?
Who answers the phone fastest?
Who charges a penalty for early retirement?
The reason the industry doesn’t want to publish the information – it thinks consumers are too stupid to understand and will end up buying on price – not so.

Having access to information is not advice, advice is going to your GP and after an initial consultation you are are advised you are dying and need urgent medical help. You can’t find that out by looking it up on, but you could get access to a review about your GP, or information on the prescribed drug. Just not a pension

A business that sells pensions is in a unique position. They have access to OPM – other people’s money and levy a series of charges over a long period of time.

It’s for that reason pensions are attractive products for businesses to sell.

Remember in addition to the fund fee there is a provider fee and adviser fee (both for normal pension and income drawdown products) these fees could be

Adviser fee  .50% per annum

Fund fee 1.60%

Provider Fee .50%

Total charge of 2.60% per annum or 26% of the fund  every ten years effectively wiping out any effect of tax relief.

Charges are not clearly shown within pension statements. It should be possible to to explain to a consumer… that under this contract your charges will be 1% fund charge, .50% pension manager charge and .5% adviser charge.

This totals an annual charge of 2%. If you have £72.000 invested, which is the average UK pension fund then the total costs of running your pension will be £1440 every year or £120 per month.

You can get full access to all the MoneyTrainers reports and the education resources, along with the tools you need to transform your personal finances from here.  Financial Ninja Training – three months of the very best.  It comes with a complete ‘lifetime guarantee’- no quibble, no questions asked – just fire off an email if you are not happy and your purchase price will be returned with 24 hours.

The concern is, that many people wouldn’t invest in pensions if they understood the true cost of them – and that’s a massive problem, it’s also one reason they are not considered as a primary investment for the working classes, but are of course used by the wealthy as a tax planning tool.

Pop over to any of them and search for ‘charges’ or ‘pension charges’, there are few results and most certainly nothing there for you to use.

Providers tend to obfuscate costs and charges.

Since financial regulation in 1988 there have been various attempts at disclosure of charges and these have always been decided by the product providers. Financial regulators give guidelines and these are then interpreted by the advisers/provider.

This has not benefited the consumer. Yet with loan and mortgage contracts the regulations have been prescriptive and advised consumers exactly what these charges are.

So instead of using terms like RIY – reduction in yield or by ‘cost comparisons based on projected returns’ why not state the true cost in pound terms. This would then enable consumers to compare on a like for like basis.

Examples of pension charges if you pension fund is worth £500,000



Average UK Pension fund (source PensionBee) is £71342

Advisers are not clear about their initial charges or ongoing costs, sure there are some initial disclosure documents but the information tends to be buried in multi page documents, and normally within not on the front page or rear page.


Let’s look at how one provider does it.   A simple search on Aviva – UK for ‘pension charges’ shows

The answers to the question are on one page.

However that is not the full story. In order to work out what the charges are on your pension you’ll need to do some digging.

What fund are you invested in? Each fund has a different level of charges.

What pension contract do you have? Aviva will have hundreds of different contracts each one with a different charging structure.

Obfuscation is everywhere.

Pension Providers Are A Business

Providers are businesses and are run with the sole objective of making a profit and will therefore charge the maximum they possibly can and despite the massive increase in the number of providers there is no evidence of true competition in the sector in that the costs of pension products have remained very consistent over the years, and there are no new firms coming into the market with different offers, just more of the same.

The cost of providing the pension wrapper should be very little, there is virtually no reporting (annual statements) and limited administration.

The levels of service from many providers has been slipping in recent years. – not helped by consolidation, businesses like Phoenix Life have taken over more than one hundred and forty seperate life assurance and pension providers in recent years.

Despite reviews and enquiries about pension charges various regulators, including the Financial Conduct Authority and the Association of British Insurers little has happened.

Five years after the OFT review, four years after the ABI review the FCA has decided to review pension charges and outcomes.

Non performance, high charges (that have contractual obligations that apply) and a difficulty in getting pension funds moved from one provider to another make them lucrative products for providers and awkward investments for consumers.

Investment Funds – important because this allows providers to further complicate the matter of pensions

Many pension funds have investment returns that can only be described as lacklustre, the underlying investments allow providers to further complicate matters and increase the overall level of charges.

With no downsides for non performance in relation to investments  – there is little chance a complaint will be upheld over poor investment returns, and many pension funds don’t outperform the market over the long term.

Let’s Consider Pension Fund Performance Generally. – a leading fund information provider show that there  are a large number of pensions funds available.

Of these funds there are 680 that get a five star rating, just four and a half percent (4.51%) of all UK pension funds are rated as the very best.

Excellent fund performance tends to come from specialist areas, most consumers will only have a small part of their overall funds invested in these specialist funds.

The key to all of this as a consumer, how do you work out what to invest in when you have a range of different investment returns and 15000 odd choices. Advisers are only guessing and consumers are doing even worse than that.

Thousand of pension funds underperform, for which there is no basis for complaint or any protection against non performance. Perhaps the only consumer product where there is no comeback for being useless, moreover chances are you won’t find out how crap the investment is until a lot closer to death.

Another reason why pension statements should show. “Dear Bob, good news about your pension. So far you’ve paid in x, we’ve charged you y, and because we are so great at managing your money your pension fund is worth £zz.zzp” perhaps this could add in ‘which is an increase of £xx in the last twelve months’.

At the date this feedback was compiled there are 2176 shares listed on the UK (LSE) stock exchanges.  Worldwide there are more opinions (fund managers) than shares to invest

Organisations like Money Advice Service and Pensions Advisory Service do not provide sufficient information in order for consumers to be able to make an information decision on charges.

Pension providers do not seem to behave like they are in a competitive market, no matter how many providers enter a market there is little different on offer.

Is the Government doing enough to ensure that workplace pension savers get value for money?

It would be easy to respond to this and say no, however the bigger problems seems to be in working out what is value for money.

Auto – Enrolment (AE) –  no more than a gift to the industry. These newer style plans have started to replace personal style pensions and are the new standard for company pension plans.  They are also mandatory for those earning over a certain amount, your employer is also forced to make contributions to the scheme on your behalf.

For many lower paid, multiple job workers they miss out on employer contributions and also tax relief which makes a completely mockery of the legislation – enforced savings.

Government is really saying, sure we want everybody to have a pension but not those working on a limited number of hours.

NEST  is the Government’s flagship AE scheme that was set up via a loan from Taxpayers and in conjunction with TATA Many employers use this scheme as a default option. At the moment is is some £400m in the red (latest accounts) and it’s only source of income is charges deducted from members funds.

Again it seems that a Government created provider is no better than a private company at this whole pension thing – problem is, as a taxpayer investing in a NEST pension you pay twice, once in charges for your own fund and secondly for the taxpayer subsidy it’s getting.

Further, TATA  the specialised consultancy had agreed a £600m fee over the first ten years to cover the I.T within NEST (£60m per year buys a lot of I.T)  given that TATA have been a supplier of I.T to the pensions industry for many years it would appear to be ‘money for old rope’ as they say outside of Government circles. As they had already developed the software required.

If you consider the situation with NEST, the organisation set up with taxpayer funding has continually failed to deliver, it has recently borrowed more money in order to cover its costs. These costs are borne by the policyholders, many of which have no individual choice under Auto Enrolment rules – mandatory pension contributions, deducted from gross pay.

Once a member works out that a) fund performance is poor or b) charges could have been lower with a different provider or c) NEST decides that it needs longer to set up and borrows yet more money and the members need to pay higher charges for a longer period – there is nothing the member can do. Save opt out and lose the employer contribution.

Forcing a consumer to pay for something and then not casting into statute a set of rules forcing the product to be better than best is not fair.

Someone making payments to a NEST AE scheme could also have credit card debt or personal loans in place. Credit card interest rates could be as high as 29% per annum and personal loans could be as high as 10% per annum in interest charges. Government should be doing it’s best to inform and educate these people that putting money into a pension, instead of reducing debt could be doing them great financial harm in the short term.

Interestingly enough, the fund manager for NEST – State Street was expecting the funds under management within NEST to be in the region of £100bn and £200bn in total

Based on these figures, and, the fact that average charges for NEST are .50% per annum, there will be at least £500m of gross profit available per year at some stage in the future. It’s good news for State Street, TATA and NEST – but as the figures are not published we can’t tell.

Let me ask you this question. How would you like a business that makes half a billion a year, with profits tied in for fifty or sixty years of more and fully supported by law?

Government is being naive over NEST and Auto Enrolment more generally.

What is the relative importance of empowering consumers or regulating providers?
Consumers need to be fully aware of their options. If we continue to use taxpayer funds to subside an industry via pension tax relief I think they should be made fully aware of their options and a full explanation of the pros and cons of pensions.

Importantly, risk warnings about the importance of reviews, charges and investment performance along with the implications of investing in pension versus repaying short term debt.

Empowering consumers is the most important issue here, no more regulation for providers but more information and workshops held.

Simple and timely information should be provided and impartial information given.

NEST is soon going to have profits of half a billion – it can afford to run these. If pension tax relief is ended there will be a further £50b (odd) available. If we make Google and Amazon et al pay their may be a bit more to go around – sorry off topic.

4. How can savers be encouraged to engage with their savings?

Not so long ago there was an army of people offering local advice in the home. The home service providers, The Pearl, Pru, Liverpool Victoria etc. Offered low cost guidance and a range of savings and investment products.

Sure, you could say that these products were expensive or that the distribution costs were prohibitive. Yet, there was a class of citizen that could access a trusted adviser – every month as they called at the house. Sure, it seems an outmoded form of advice, but plenty of people benefited from this kind of service.

We also had milk delivered in reusable containers, and meat wrapped in paper, took our own bags to the greengrocer – some things look dangerously outmoded, but actually were the right model. We didn’t need recycling then.

There is no reason why a number of online portals can’t be created with some simple ‘do this get this’ examples. But, with further input from specialists. Sure the advice industry is going to hate it, but they hate anything that may take bread of their table, to alter the status quo.

There is a distinct lack of information around. Money is perceived to be boring or difficult – it’s not properly taught in schools and there is limited information available from the Government/Industry supported portals – where it does exist, there are few positives.

You can get full access to all the MoneyTrainers reports and the education resources, along with the tools you need to transform your personal finances from here.  Financial Ninja Training – three months of the very best.  It comes with a complete ‘lifetime guarantee’- no quibble, no questions asked – just fire off an email if you are not happy and your purchase price will be returned with 24 hours.

There is not sufficient information showing/helping people become financially independent, just plenty of negative stories for when the proverbial is hitting the fan.

Organisations like MoneyAdvice are not proactive enough in their approach to make sure that everyone considers their personal financial situation.

There are no charge calculators or guide.
There are no risk profile/asset allocation tool.
The two things that decide how good or bad an investment is are, charges and asset allocation, little mention of this on Money Advice and certainly no practical help.

Advice on AE if you have debt’s needs to be better structured on Money Advice, but at least it’s mentioned.

How Can Poor People Save?

This conundrum has been considered carefully by Government after Government – and so far they have all missed the point.

Poor people can’t save because they are poor.

Those just over the breadline are struggling because of low paid work, zero hours contracts and a constantly changing benefits system, oh and then there is the housing issues.

If you have a have a healthy and wealthy working population with money spare at the end of the week or month – they’d save, no problems.

Enforced savings via Auto Enrolment should be replaced with an adequately funded state pension – see The Great British Pension Swindle in the appendix.

Money Education

All Government portals should be focused on a financial education.

5.How important is investment transparency to savers?

It is vitally important.

The industry, both provider and adviser do their utmost to make sure that specific charges are hard to work out, they complicate fund choice by using Mirror Funds with no meaningful explanation and don’t offer information in a straight forward enough way.

6. If customers are unhappy with their providers’ costs and investment performance/strategy, are there barriers to them going elsewhere?

Of course they are. The one thing that providers hide behind and are fully supported by the regulator is the issue of barriers.

Government even helps by making advice mandatory in some instances.

There are no


Understanding the terms

No comparison of charges available

Simple table of charges laid out in an identical way from each provider

7.Are Independent Governance Committees effective in driving value for money?

This is not a complicated thing to we have a number of financial regulators who should be working to make sure that the industry they regulate does the right thing for the customer.

If the advice industry and the providers adopted the stance of a fiduciary there would no need for regulation or independent committees.

From Wikipedia

A fiduciary is someone who has undertaken to act for and on behalf of another in a particular matter in circumstances which give rise to a relationship of trust and confidence. — Lord Millett, Bristol and West Building Society v Mothew

8. Do pension customers get value for money from financial advisers?

Despite being heavily subsidised the advisory industry, along with the fund management and pension industry continues to charge considerably more than necessary.

Less than ninety four percent (94%) of UK consumers take advice.

Advisers are not interested in working with people that can’t service their businesses long term. The advice industry is like a ‘heroin addict’ desperate for it’s morning fix, but then makes sure that once it’s had it – the abusive relationship with it’s income source continues  – ongoing advice fees allows it’s desperate habit to continue.


There is no other professional service in the UK that would be allowed to operate like financial advice practices.

If adviser fees are deducted from the investment funds then no VAT is charged on this fee which does seem like a heavily tilted market for advice.

Based on some industry figures it seems that around six percent of the population use the services of a financial adviser, with ninety four percent not using them at all. It does seem a little unfair that there is a VAT charge on tampons, but not on financial advice, all because of an historic arrangement in relation to commissions.


This unequal treatment robs the taxpayer of the VAT.

Financial advice and product arrangement are clearly a service and should have VAT levied in the amount charged. Every other professional service provider works on this basis.

There would be questions asked if Accountants, Solicitors and Estate Agents could avoid VAT by the use of a different form of contract.

Contingent Charges

Since the commision ban came into force some years ago, advisers have been able to opt to have the fees charged for advice and product arrangement paid by the provider, taken from the amount of money invested or transferred.

This has made it very easy for advisers:

To get paid
To hide the true cost of advice
To benefit from no VAT on services (advice)
Commision has been replaced by a disclosed fee that is not paid paid by the client, but paid by the product provider – so much like a commission, but not.

Importantly, the level of fee charged is often disproportionate to the work done.

If we consider Final Salary Pension Transfers, where it is a legal requirement that members get advice if the transfer value is over £30,000.

Government decided that it should force consumers to take advice, which on the face of it seems fair. However it forgot to ensure that the costs of advice were also legislated for.

Now we see the costs of advice running from £2500 – £10,000 depending the size of the fund, advisers are leaning on the fact that ‘because members don’t have to write a cheque for the costs of advice’ – in that it’s taken from the final transfer figure – advisers can charge more.

At the same time we’ve seen the quality of that advice – which is mandatory called into question – I’ll be honest the results ain’t that great.

Given that the time taken to process and advise on a such a transfer is the same for a £30,000 pension pot and a £1,000,000 pot it doesn’t make sense to have charging schemes on a percentage of fund basis.

One option here would be make advisers charge a set number of hours – let’s say four hours and then prepare an actuarial assessment of the advice and the options for transfer. Cost of which could well be less than a thousand pounds, this will achieve several things.

Prevent the sale of a pension transfer
Ensure the advice has at least two heads looking at it
Prevent the ‘bad guys’  and ‘scammers’ from getting a look in
Funding could easily come from the scheme with an extension to the Pension Advice Allowance. Importantly it comes with a positive assurance that at least two suitably qualified people have considered the options and highlighted any potential problems.

Trustees can confirm the process has happened before releasing funds.

Pension mis-selling

Contingent charging – commission from a sale that is only paid if a client goes ahead with a  pension transfer encourages miss-selling and should be banned with immediate effect.

If advice has any value it should be paid for directly. It works very well with the legal profession and accountancy.

The failed sales where advice has been provided are subsidised by the others that do end up paying. Most advisers are playing a numbers game, hoping to make a couple of sales per week. Rather than being truly independent professionals.

Can you imaging going to see your Oncologist, only to be told you won’t need to write a cheque for your treatment, as they’ll be paid a fee for the advice, from sale of the recommended treatment to the NHS?

Ongoing fees

Many consumers do not under the fact that there will be an ongoing charge levied on the products arranged. For many financial advice practices this is ‘money for nothing’ as little review work is really undertaken.

Ongoing advice fee’s should be invoiced, have VAT charged on them and be used instead of ‘ongoing commission’.

It is not always made clear what these fees are for and the basis for charging them – nearly always are ongoing fees charged as a percentage of fund value – yet the same amount of work is required to manage a portfolio of £50,000 and £250,000 yet the fees charged could be massively different.

Final Thoughts

We’ve had financial regulation since 1988. Little has changed, there have been plenty of reviews and lot’s of talk – yet there is still mis-selling going on – e.g British Steel pensions – all created by regulated firms, still no ban on cold calling and still charges being levied on pension products that no one wants to address.

Why is that? Is it the same reason no one from RBS was sanctioned over it’s restructuring unit, is it the same reason that every decade has seen problems of pensions, PPI, fraud. The same people doing the same old things, still no effective competition, still no serious considerations of the options.

The state needs to either state simply – ‘buyer beware’ over the entire thing and put it’s resources into stopping the out and out fraud, or step up and start to use it’s strength and buying power to solve the problems we are facing. The half-way house, in place at the moment is serving very few.

2018 – Where Are We Now With Pensions? State pension provision is collapsing unnecessarily, there are some options (more to come on that later) and despite mandatory pension contributions in the form of Auto Enrolment plus the recently announced Pensions Freedoms many consumers have no idea what is really happening – nor how they are being milked  by providers and advisers to tune of billions of pounds per year, via pension charges. Along with being let down by Government policy.

Importantly these same consumers are accepting a promise of riches from their pension schemes when they retire.

These promises are unlikely to be realised and there is nothing the pension owner can do about it. Because of charges and dire investment returns these riches are unlikely to be realised.

For many, any penson reviews will be to late, and given that pensions don’t pay out until you three quarters of your life has already past – it’ll be far too late to do anything about it.

Worse still, many UK workers, peer through the window of local council offices and schools, to see those employees feasting at the table of a ‘gold plated final salary pension’ these Government staff,  will enjoy a guaranteed pension that has to be topped up by taxpayers, who will never see such a thing.

State Pension

Over the last twenty years state pensions have been altered and adjusted to the point where they are now no more than a giant Ponzi scheme. This weeks income to the system only covers this weeks cost with little or any left in reserve. Indeed any National Insurance fund the general public think there is, will be tiny if it exists.

Given that there are less people paying into the State Pension it is a reasonable expectation that any drawings from it are going to be under pressure.

It is the tax payers of today that are paying todays pension – there is no pot of money.

Future generations are being left with a liability – something they must pay for but are unlikely to receive any benefit from – mainly due to the overall reduction of the State Pension scheme but also because of the huge liabilities that are building up within public sector pensions.

No matter how this is fiddled with from a political standpoint    it is not sustainable. Government keeps tweaking the system in the hope that no one notices but not telling the truth or informing the people properly. It would be wrong of me to accuse ministers and members of parliament of lying – more just not dealing with the problems that are obvious.

The #waspi campaign highlighted the lack of information provided by Government in relation to pensions. Extension to retirement ages under the state scheme were not well publicised and lots of women who expected to draw on pensions found they had to wait a further few years before getting it. We can expect these changes to continue.

Indeed since the changes made in 1988/1995 the whole area of state pensions has been under pressure. It is partly due to population growth and partly because of people living longer in retirement. All of these things have been known about and well documented since the 1980’s.

Private (Personal) Pension Arrangements

All of us have been encouraged to make our own provision. Yet, after some thirty years of personal pensions most of these are not clearly understood nor effective. The pension providers and Government do as much as they can to complicate matters. With rules and regulations that change frequently.

The big problem with any conventional private arrangements is this – you’ll never know how much the likely pension will be until you are at least halfway to retirement (at least a third dead) or maybe even longer, and

Charges have a massive impact on your final pension under any personal arrangements.

Investment performance is questionable in the main with average investment returns being bad to dire, with a handful being good.
Government Subsidy for The Pension Industry
Pensions tax relief costs us the taxpayer some £41bn per year and based on the present population (May 2018) that’s £624 per person per year,  and has done little to improve the lot of the pensioner. Importantly, treasury forecasts seem to indicate that the cost of tax relief will be at £50bn very shortly (see appendix).

Based on the current set up of most defined contribution pensions all of this relief is lost in charges and therefore is more of an immediate benefit to the providers/pension managers as they levy their charges on the pension contribution/fund once the tax relief has been added, thus increasing their take.

Importantly for the individual,  pensions are broadly tax neutral over the long term. When you draw down on the benefits you can take some as a tax free cash amount and the balance is taxable, in fact dependent on the actual performance of the pension fund the Government may even make a small amount of money on it’s tax relief loan to you.

What tax relief does do, is mask the level of charges levied on pensions and is an immediate gift to the large insurance companies in the UK.


You can get full access to all the MoneyTrainers reports and the education resources, along with the tools you need to transform your personal finances from here.  Financial Ninja Training – three months of the very best.  It comes with a complete ‘lifetime guarantee’- no quibble, no questions asked – just fire off an email if you are not happy and your purchase price will be returned with 24 hours.














My Thirty Years In Financial Services

Thirty Years In Financial Services  – Here Are Thirty Things I Have Learned

Richard Smith is the explainer in chief over at in this short article he talks about what he has learned and now this can impact your own financial future

Start Making Your Money Work For You
Pay Yourself First
Start Slush/Rainy Day/Spending Pots Of Money
Spend Mindfully
Don’t Buy Stuff
If It Goes Down In Value – Lease It (Cars and Vans)
If It  Goes Up In Value Borrow Against It
Make Sure You Know What The Charges Are
Invest In Tracker Funds
Invest In Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s)
If Using An Adviser – Ask For Evidence
Pensions Should Be A Last Resort As A Investment Wrapper
Trying To Beat The Market Is Futile
Invest For Income
Invest With Low Charges
Invest in Peer to Peer schemes (Funding Circle etc)
Never Invest For Tax Reasons
Use Tax Free Allowances
Make Sure You Use Capital Gains Tax Allowance
Set Up Your Own Business
Learn How To Trade Your Skills
Invest In Your Education
Learn How To Leverage Everything
Watch What Everyone Else Is Doing And The Do The Opposite
Avoid Investing In Areas Of Government Support/Legislation
Understand How Markets Work
Use The Online Platforms
If It Seems Too Good To Be True – It Probably Is
The Bloke Down The Pub Is An Idiot
You Know What You Need To Do In Order To Stay Healthy


Buy On The Dips


I’m sure you have heard this  before, that you should only invest your money in stocks and shares when the price is right.

The problem is no one fully explains exactly what that means.

So, let me explain in a little more detail about how this works in practice. And provided you follow the steps laid out in the money trainers training you will be aware that you need to secure any investments in cash first,  and then allocate this cash across a range of investments – when the time is right.

The problem being, when is the time right?

We know that the markets fluctuate on a daily basis and very often you’ll find the markets on a roll upwards over a period of weeks and then dip slightly, the market never continues to go up it always levels out,  consolidates and/or often falls slightly.

Falls in any market; of any share price of one or two percent are very common, falls of 3% or 4% on less common but do happen on a regular basis.

Buy on the dips – moneytrainers investment training.

Larger falls in the price of the market happen less frequently but nonetheless arrive with a reasonable amount of regularity.

Therefore it makes perfect sense for you to invest when the markets are lower than they were yesterday rather than the highs of today, quite simply we know full well, and can state with some certainty that the price in the market today of a given share or stock index will different tomorrow, or the day after, or stay the same.

Provided you have cash in your portfolio you have no need to invest today and you can time your investment to suit you, if we use a different analogy.

Let’s say you need to purchase oranges, you don’t need them immediately but it would be nice to have some in the house at some point in the future you can  – simply wait until the price of oranges falls.

You have no need to invest today or tomorrow or the next day but simply wait for the market dips and let the market come to you rather than you chasing the market. Provided you allocate your funds correctly you can simply invest when the market suits you, or at least when the price suits you.

This kind of market timing can improve your investment returns by 10 or 20% per year dependent on market conditions.

Just one simple method can improve your returns exponentially. Sure it’s a bit fiddly, but making money it’s always been fiddly.

when you’re ready to get some more information on this don’t forget to subscribe the box is on the right-hand side of this post, or drop me an email via the contact form


Happiness | Money | Freedom

Are we all just slaves?

I attended a meeting last week and observed the trains in a mess with delays and cancellations on route, got to the presentation  – small group training in a clients office, and couldn’t help but notice how miserable everybody looked. On the train, in the office everybody is seemed was a little pissed off.

Sure, I get it. With rent and mortgages to pay, a transport system at crisis and one of the warmest summers on record I understand that many people would be rattled.

The big thing for me, was this. How long have these people been tolerating this crap life? Certainly more than one I reckoned, and with many it could have been going on for years.  No wonder everybody seems stressed and anxious. Think is I get it. Not so long ago when I was working for ‘the bank’ I was in the same boat, with a very young family and one income – things were unusually tight.

It only needs an awkward manager and your life very quickly turns to hell on earth.

Happiness | Money | Freedom

Financial plans.

I think that up there in the heavens a god sits and smiles every time someone mentions a plan, a long term investment – something for the future.

As you know full well; the future is not certain and we don’t know if any of us going to get there, we assume but don’t know if we’ll arrive. This is important, sure we need to make a plan for it just in case we arrive at that time, but there is next week or next month to consider carefully – living a life now as if it’s the only time you and I have. Now is certainly the only time we are guaranteed.

Work hard, marry, buy a house, retire. This is what I was told when growing up in the sixties – it all seemed to solid with little else to be concerned about. The path it seemed was all laid out.

This no longer happens, we never saw the rise of capitalism, the damage to the environment or political systems creaking in the middle and cracking around the edges.  My grandparents would never have understood, apps, the internet, access to porn or online banking or the present situation in relation to jobs and housing.

All of use are we working harder than ever.

For me having moved through the last banking crisis and through two bouts of serious illness I realised that the financial plan I had in place was not fit for purpose.

The plan you’ll get sold by the local adviser or a bank sales person fails at almost every test.

  • They won’t make your money work hard for you.
    You won’t be able to have the mini retirements
    You won’t be in control of your own money


  • Financial advisers / financial product providers are acting in a disingenuous way. These are businesses that are they are solely to produce a profit and not to care about individual policyholders and all the bigger societal picture.

Sure, on the box they’ll tell you how important you are, and how they are better than all. Until, you’ve got the product and you phone with a query and find a ‘throw a six to start’ telephone system and then a foreign call centre…

Worse still after five years of investing you’ll have a review meeting with the adviser and they tell you that ‘they are really sorry, but the markets have just not performed as expected.’

That is the reality of modern financial planning.

As I keep saying if all you had to do was sit down in front of a financial adviser for a few hours a year in order to become financially independent we’d all be doing it and you’ll never be able to get an appointment to see one.

This question is important.

Let me ask you this who cares more about your money than you?

Which is why you should make sure you know all you can about what makes it work, what makes the difference between wealthy and poor – I assure you, the differences are few. Just a few principles keep people in the proverbial poor house.

Let’s consider carefully where we are now.

You buy a house –  tens of thousands of pounds tied up in equity.

Invest in a pension  – at least 30% of your fund does not benefit you because it goes in charges and your money tied up for forty years or more – and the breaking scandal is that Auto Enrolment providers are just milking consumers.

Investments – it’s exactly the same with them – returns are dire and they often lack flexibility.

The State is increasing taxes and reducing spending and this looks like it’s going to continue certainly for the foreseeable future.

And we now have all of the evidence to support another way forward – to make our money works for us rather than us working for it  – this is why the rich are rich they make their money work for them,

If you do nothing but invest it until you  retire which is what the industry wants you’ll be at least 70% dead before you get a chance to spend your money comma that doesn’t sound like a plan for financial independence full stop in actual fact it sounds a bit f****** mad.

Leverage money, make it work for you.

Take longer over financial decisions, there is no magic answer

Understand income producing investments these are the best to own.

Once income is paid to you it’s yours forever no one can ever take it away.

Understand why financial advisers and the industry hate peer to peer lending platforms and the related options.  Understand why they will not recommend exchange traded funds, or ETF’s as they are known. These products are not widely recommended, because the industry hates them, because they work, because they work for consumers, because the industry can’t get paid for recommending them unless it charges a fee, and of course we all know the story there.

We are  in a place now where we are modern money slaves, we’re all going to work every day trading  precious time for money and then giving that back via charges and fees to a handful of very well remunerated advisers and providers.

When you are ready for more, subscribe (on the right of this page)  and I’ll get you updates out and and when new content is posted.


The Great British Pension Swindle


British pensions are in trouble. Despite thirty years of change and Government fiddling the poor consumer still has no idea.

The financial advice industry is not working like it should.

Pension providers continue to milk consumers  like they are some never ending Milk Lake.

Lifestyles are changing quickly and modern investment methods now make pension planning look  – so last century. It’s time to modernise, to end the rip off and take control of your money – you’ll thank me for it.

When you’re ready to get a grip on this. Get in touch

The Great British Pension Rip Off

Pension Charges – Don’t Be Fooled –

There is an entire industry that is no longer fit for purpose. It’s the financial advice industry. Individuals and employees are being ripped off – like pigs feeding at the trough  – all fighting to get a share of the feast.

In order to explain further I’ve done some charge comparisons just so you know some truths. Importantly, it’s not only charges that have a major impact, there are a couple of other simple issues that that advice/pension industry seems to miss. More on that in separate article.

Meanwhile, in order for you to understand how much you pay in charges

I’ve done a quick comparison – just so you can see the true cost of your pension charges, you’ll note that managing pensions is not like managing property or animals – it’s a lot less labour intensive and a lot more profitable.

Money for nothing, or at least very close. It’s certainly one of the last ‘no risk businesses’ left on the planet.

UK Average Pension Fund with charges of 1.5% per year Charges £87.50 per month.

For that you could lease a Toyota Aygo over four years 10,000 miles per year.

Average Pension Freedom – drawing on pension. Based on 1.5% charges (be lucky to find that in the market place, most will be higher). Charges of £1560 per year or £130pm.

For that you could least a mid range Ford Focus on the same 10,000 miles per year.

There are also a good number of ‘half a million’ pension pots in existence. Charges on these start to become really substantial. Like the same as monthly rent on a flat in large chunks of the country. Charges on a pot this size on the same 1.5% of fund will run into £7500 per year or £650 per month.

Car wise it’s now getting interesting with a Range Rover Evoque convertible available.

Lucky enough to have a mill’ in your pension fund and the whole charges thing starts to look like your most expensive monthly bill. £1,000,000.00 pension fund, charged at 1.5% per year means you’ll be paying some £15,000 in charges alone, that means £1250 per month.

In terms of the car you could lease for that you are up in supercar league with a Porsche 911 Targa coming in at about £1250 per month.

You should be amazed and a little shocked by that, it takes no more effort or work on behalf of the provider/adviser to manage a fund of £1 or a £1,000,000.00 yet charges are 8333 times more. You couldn’t make that up.

No wonder the industry is keen to get you to invest.

Let me put some more perspective on this charge issue. The highest council tax in the UK is set via Elmbridge Council at £3128 for 2018/19 on a Band G home, there are a surprising number of people who gripe about this – but not about the costs of their pensions.

When you are ready to consider your own pension charges in detail and at a fixed cost or just want some truth around business or personal finances, you may want to get in touch.  – consultancy – education

Car Leasing costs supplied by on 11th June 2018

Financial Independence – Making your money work hard.


March 2018 Money Trainers – what is it you have to do in order to become wealthy?


Try sitting down in front of a financial advisor let them make a plan for you and sit back and wait for the riches to arrive.  If that was how it worked, we’d all will be doing it.


Of course that’s not the case, that is now how it works.  There is no way that a simple meeting or many meetings with any financial advisor can either make you wealthy.  


Sure they may add some value over the longer term but the reality is you need to be better at money than the adviser. Look, who cares  more about your money them or you.


There is a whole science that goes on around money and it’s a science that most financial advisors just don’t understand.  See if you know how to make money based on your own knowledge, your own skills – your own ability it’s possible for you to effectively own a  money making machine that you switch on and off whenever you want. Or as the wealthy do, keep it running.


Of course it’s not that easy, if it was we’d all be doing it but with a few skills and the use of modern tools it’s possible for you to get your money working for you today and tomorrow and the day after. That’s what rich people do, in order to become wealthy or as I like to say financially independent they get their money working for them and then it starts to become a fully working,  money machine.


People become wealthy because no matter what they do with their lives – their  money is working for them in the background. What happens with most people is they trade their time for money – you give your time up to a business or do to a job in order to get money. You then take some surplus cash – savings and then put it in a bank or a building society.


Your money then works hard for the bank and does little for you.


If you want to know how hard it’s working for them, take a look at these recent rates.

Deposit interest rates of .15%

Loan rate – lending your money to their customers.

In this short article, you now now know that Santander are making more than 22 x times more lending your money, than they are paying you.  Let me know how that feels.

Of course, you can do something about it.  Get in touch today and I’ll send you a couple of my recent reports. No obligation, your information is not shared.

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Why the rich are rich?




You will need to do things differently – if you want a different result from your money!

Over the last couple of years I’ve looked at exactly what it is that makes the difference between
those that are incredibly wealthy and those just getting by, the J-A-M’s as Theresa May called them.

Whilst there are considerable differences in the overall wealth the are some fundamental differences between their approaches to money. I’ve been studying these for a number of years and the conclusions I’ve arrived at are interesting. There is no right or wrong answer in this short article but it does seem to concur with a lot of the research that’s already out ‘there’.

When talking to and commenting on those very wealthy people I’ve had contact with I have only included those that are self made, ignoring those lucky enough to have inherited wealth.

Mindset, money and the medium term future.

Two aspects of modern life will change a lot in the coming years, one is the death of the high street as we know it and the second part is technology. These changes will be profound, yet with some effort and a little knowledge it should be possible for everyone to have a share in the future, to have a seat at the big table, where the party’s at.

No matter how far back in time you want to look, you’ll note that the system of capitalism favours those with the available money and those that can move fast – in 2018 everything is moving faster, which is why there are so many millionaires and billionaires. I suspect that the pace of change will be even faster in the coming years.

The changes have always made the rich richer and the poor, poorer. The evidence for this is all round us and I don’t for one minute think it’s going to get better without a nudge. I do accept that there is enough money to go round, enough for everyone.

But I don’t believe that it should be taken from the rich and given to the poor – that does nothing for them long term, except make them dependent.

It’s all about the process.

Wealthy individuals broadly accept that becoming wealthy is a process that can be learned by anyone, whereas poor people make the assumption that the rich have a secret that no one else knows.

Understanding that a pound spent never comes back. Wealthy people spend their money more slowly than the poor, they don’t buy stuff unless it’s really needed and then they often look for value.

Either way they take a longer time to  buy. No money is ever spent on impulse and they always shop with a list and never ever buy things that aren’t already on their radar as something that’s needed.

Making your money work hard.

By understanding about money and how it really works it’s possible to make it deliver for you. Most of us that work for money (sell our valuable time) end up having to wait until we are half dead (retired) before we can slow down or start to enjoy our hard earned cash. Yet, there is a class of people (let’s call them the rich) that seem to enjoy their investments, or at least the returns on their investments well before being half dead.

They do this by investing on smarter basis than the poor, obviously. The rich, use models of ‘asset allocation’ or spreading their risk and invest for income not capital growth – they also take a lot less risk with their money.

The poorest amongst us tend to think that ‘they’ll be lucky’ so speculate more on lottery tickets and other forms of gambling. Whereas the wealthier tend to avoid this kind of investment as being far to risky.

No matter how much money you have/don’t have you should never take a risk with all of your money. That’s the  quickest way to the poorhouse.

Spending less than you earn – therefore making sure that you don’t need to borrow.

No matter how little you borrow – you are mortgaging your future income. Cash that you are trading your life for is being soaked up by a third party – the lender. If you are borrowing to purchase something that goes up in value – like a house or precious stones it makes sense to borrow.

However borrowing to fund day to day spending or to buy stuff is a guaranteed way to future unhappiness.

Having a focus on a money education will help

What you don’t know, you don’t know.

By design we are not able to manage money, it’s not something we are born with. You will need to get  educated about money if you are to make it work for you. Your parents probably don’t know how it works.

The better educated you are about money, the more you’ll understand it; the more you’ll make it work for you.

By following these basic steps it seems that whatever happens in the short to medium term your financial independence is  assured at some point in your lifetime. It really is.

Understand, that having a steady income from assets allows freedom from work. Even if it’s only a small amount.  You’ll get time freedom to use as you want, could go be used to deliver a better political system, to allow time to clean up the environment.

It’s obvious that the current system is not working, not delivering for all. And with the rich in charge of the systems – and they are in charge we will only get more of what got us here.

For more helpful insights in this area of your life, get in touch, the more you know
the more you’ll make.

Richard – Chief MoneyTrainer aka The Pitbull of Personal Finance.