Thursday, 5 April 2007

Individual Squirrel Account

Of late I have been acting like a squirrel. In addition to devouring a lot of nuts (damn, those roasted monkey nuts are surprisingly addictive!), I have been scurrying around and stashing away my hard earned moolah in anticipation for some perceived future winter of discontent. As is my custom to leave things to the last minute to the nth degree, I have just sorted out squirreling away my maximum ISA allowance for the tax year....that ended yesterday! Woohoo!

ISAs are promoted by the UK government as an investment with tax advantages to encourage its own people to save - there is no UK income tax or capital gains tax to pay on any growth.

First, that is assuming people even know or care about it.

Secondly, that is assuming if people have the money to save.

But to be honest, I rapidly lose interest once the discussion spirals into maxis and minis. This means it has become an annual ritual for me to tap the brains of IFAs to suss out what is on the market at the fag end of a tax year. I inevitably end up having the profile of an adventurous investor and will then make a decidely decisive decision after a careful perusal over several meetings. Ya ha.

With the smug satisfaction of knowing I just got away with another one of life's arbitrary deadlines, I recently found out, as I ambled past his house, that the author of the 'Wealth of Nations' (1776) and the new face of the Bank of England £20 note, Adam Smith (1723-1790) was a resident of Kirkcaldy, the proud little town where I have the pleasure of meeting many of it's inhabitants on a daily front line basis.

From Wealth of Nations to ISAs, Adam Smith's promotion of capitalism still seems to hold significant sway in many parts of the world centuries later. The Scottish people have a strong history of academic excellence and a proud tradition whose influence all over the world seems amazingly disproportionate to the size of the population.

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