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In 2017 we need a route back to normality, where saving is rewarded


The coming of a new year inevitably means a host of new anniversaries to reflect upon. At the very end of 2016, on Boxing Day, we marked the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

And in 2017, remarkably, we will find ourselves a decade on from an event that may turn out to have equally profound ramifications. 

In August 2007, the very foundations of Western capitalism shuddered as banks reported a collapse in liquidity and several headed for failure.

In the US the real-estate market plunged, with share prices following suit, as it became clear that huge debts were never going to be paid back. 

The tenth anniversary of the global financial crisis, as it became known, is odd in a way, because we seem to have been living with it and its effects ever since. Can we truly say it is over when monetary policy once deemed freakish has now become the norm?

To stave off catastrophic collapse, central banks have pumped money into the system, driving the value of assets up, but the returns on savings down.

Inevitably responsible savers, particularly in later life, are worried about this collapse in income. But their concerns have too often been shunted aside as policymakers focus on the macroeconomic picture.

Average cash Isa savings rates have now fallen below the rate of inflation, meaning that the capital in them is actually being eroded. Returns are less than a third of what they were just four years ago.

In this context, it is little surprise that an increasing number of over-55s are turning to credit cards and personal loans to make ends meet. In 2017, as central bankers reflect on the anniversary of the crisis, they must plot a route back to normality – where saving is rewarded.


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