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Being robbed by the bank



By Michael O’Connor from

This week, inflation in Europe hit 10.7%. Just 12 months ago, this figure was 4.1%.

Painfully high energy and food prices continued to push inflation to record levels. Over the past 12 months, energy prices rose by 41.9%, while food prices increased by 13.1%. With Russia's withdrawal from an agreement that allowed grain exports from Ukraine, grain prices are likely to go up even more.

Of course, we don't need to be told the exact figures. We can see it all around us; the food we buy, the bills we pay.

The precarious balancing act that the ECB now faces is too layered a discussion point for this short article, but it is a fight they are currently losing.

Statements from the IMF this week reiterate this point.

"European policymakers face severe trade-offs and tough policy choices as they address a toxic mix of weak growth and high inflation that could worsen."

As the outlook worsens, the knee-jerk reaction may be to do nothing. But this is not the answer.

One point I have been trying to press home with clients lately is - the price of inaction in the current inflationary environment is immense.

In economics, the Fisher Effect is the tendency for interest rates to change to follow the inflation rate. As inflation rates rise, so too should interest rates, or at least this was the case before the mass amounts of credit in the system made this an unviable option.

Historically, the Fisher Effect held true. In the late '70s, inflation ripped through economies and in turn, interest rates rose to nearly 20%. Those battling inflation had the ability to offset these rising prices by simply leaving their money accumulate the higher interest rates available in their savings accounts at the bank. Doing nothing was an option.

Since then, things have changed. Bank interest rates in the US reached an all-time high of 20% in March of 1980 before a precipitous decline brought interest rates to a record low of 0.25% in December of 2008. Europe took it a step further and introduced negative interest rates.

Despite the changing narrative, the old belief that 'your money is safe in the bank' still rings true for many. Unfortunately, the residual advice of a previous generation who benefited from a different economic framework muddies the clarity for many trying to save in this new environment.

What worked for your parents won't work for you. A lot has changed. Simply putting away a little money every week into a savings account isn't enough anymore if you want to be able to function as an independent adult. It's a harsh reality, but it's true.

What you are saving for is rising in price faster than you are saving, so you need to do something to tie yourself to these higher prices.

Take the first step

They say the price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake. This is especially true for so many investors in the current market.

On average, the stock market has returned roughly 10% annually since 1974. A far more enticing return than the pennies on offer in your savings account.

You don't need to make a huge decision regarding your life savings all at once. Focus on finding an investment better than your current deposit account and work from there.

Start small but start now. After that first step, it all gets a little easier.

Doing nothing is no longer an option.

If you have any questions, scan the QR code above and reach out. Always happy to help.

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Benefit-In-Kind tax rules overturned for company cars

By John Healy of Healy Insurances Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has announced a temporary change for company-owned vehicles following a backlash from drivers whose Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) taxes increased substantially […]




By John Healy of Healy Insurances

Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has announced a temporary change for company-owned vehicles following a backlash from drivers whose Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) taxes increased substantially in January.

While the move to a CO2 based Benefit-In-Kind system, which incentivises the use of Electric Vehicles and lower emission cars, a significant number of employees with vehicles in the typical emissions range experienced large increases in their income tax liabilities since the start of 2023.

To address the issue, the Finance Minister has introduced a relief of €10,000 to be applied to the Original Market Value (OMV) of cars in Category A-D in order to reduce the amount of Benefit-In-Kind payable (this is not applicable to cars in Category E).

In effect, this means that, for the purposes of calculating BIK liability, employers may reduce the OMV by €10,000. This treatment will also apply to all vans and electric vehicles. For electric vehicles, the OMV deduction of €10,000 will be in addition to the existing relief of €35,000 that is currently available for EVs, meaning that the total relief for 2023 will be €45,000.

The upper limit in the highest mileage band is amended by way of a 4,000km reduction, so that the highest mileage band is now entered into at 48,001km.

These temporary measures will be retrospectively applied from 1 January 2023 and will remain in place until 31 December 2023. It is proposed to introduce the measures at Committee Stage of the Finance Bill 2023.

From an insurance perspective, if a vehicle is owned by a company then the motor policy in place must be in the company name and have full business use cover known as Class 2 cover. It is customary that the policy is on an open driving basis, usually aged 25 to 70. The cost for a company owned car policy can be higher than privately owned vehicles.


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Reduce the stress of downsizing

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY It is widely accepted that moving house is one of THE most stressful life events one will experience, but does it really need […]




By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

It is widely accepted that moving house is one of THE most stressful life events one will experience, but does it really need to be?

Embrace the change and look forward to new beginnings.

One particular cohort of home movers are those downsizing from their larger family homes, perhaps to a more manageable property with little/less maintenance. Here we look at potential ways of reducing the stress involved when downsizing:

Start the process as early as possible. Putting it off will add to the stress and result in a rushed job that is maybe not thorough enough. You only want to bring items you LOVE, NEED, USE and have SPACE for to your new property. Use this time as an opportunity to declutter – be ruthless. This is a fantastic opportunity to put some organisation into your life. Perhaps declutter prior to placing your existing home on the market – it may well add value to your home.

Don’t underestimate how much of a reduction is required pre-move. If the new property you are moving to is 50% smaller, then a quick estimate is that 50% of items in your current home need to be rehoused elsewhere.

Have an exit plan for the items leaving your home. Where are your local charity shops, do they offer a collection service? Is a skip required? A carefully planned exit strategy will make the move a lot more seemless. Have detailed measurements of your new home so you know which larger furniture items will/will not fit in your new property.

Take your time and do not try to do multiple areas simultaneously. Perhaps take it room by room and set yourself realistic targets.

Most importantly don’t panic. Allow yourself sufficient time, have a well-planned system in place and do not be reluctant to ask for help. Involving family members and relatives in the move will make the whole process a lot easier.

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