Some quick thoughts, then the best links, rounded up and revealed.
Here’s a finding to depress my domestic readers: Britain is now the second worst place to live in Europe, according to uSwitch.
The news is doubly dispiriting. Not only is Britain officially a rubbish place to live, but we can’t even claim the top (bottom) spot, which goes to Ireland!
According to the report:
The UK came 9th out of the 10 European countries in the Index, thanks to high living costs, below average government spending on health and education, short holidays and late retirement. The Index shows that people in France enjoy the highest quality of life, closely followed by Spain.
People in the UK pay the highest prices for food and diesel, yet the government spends below the European average (as a percentage of GDP) on health and education. We also work longer hours, retire later, receive less annual leave than most of our European counterparts and get less sunshine along the way – not to mention the fact that we can expect to die two years younger than our French counterparts.
The UK no longer has the highest net household income in Europe, after falling behind Ireland, the Netherlands and Denmark. In the past, the relatively high net income in the UK has offset the poor quality of life, but this year net household income it is only around £5,000 above the European average, compared to £10,000 above last year.
Of course, you discover what you measure.
As our annual three week summer ends bitterly (although temptingly sunny looking, as I gaze out of my home office window) and the six-month winter slog begins, I couldn’t bear to live anywhere else in the UK than London. And most of the good reasons why I choose London aren’t measured by this survey.
Still, I can certainly relate to the lack of sun, the expensive alcohol, and the prevalence of tattoos scrawled across over-flabby flesh even here in Central London, where the UK’s last skinny people seek refuge from the fattening, fighting provincials.
But perhaps the most depressing line in the report is this one:
As it stands, people in the UK can expect to work four years longer and die two years younger than their French counterparts.
Are you planning your escape from the rat race, or do you intend to slog to the end with your stoical co-workers?
Nobody says they wished they’d spent more time ducking the inevitable on their deathbed.
On the blogs
- How to make money from dividends – Dividend Growth Investor
- Quality signalling for quality stocks – The Psy-Fi blog
- Bond funds: Time to diversify – Coffeehouse Investor
- Unemployment hypochondria – Investing Caffeine
- Why college rocked – My Money Blog
- Being evasive about your salary can backfire – Consumerism Commentary
- The autumnal equinox – Simple in Suffolk
- Think big, basically and simply – Early Retirement Extreme
- How stamp duty can distort investing decisions – The Munro blog
- The Instant Millionaire (book review) – MoneyFunk
- You can’t beat index funds – The Digerati Life
From the Money Maven network
- Green Panda Treehouse on what to do with your first pay check.
- The Centsible life on organic Eating on a budget.
- Joe Taxpayer outlines the estate tax rules in the US.
- Oblivious Investor on Roth IRA rules for US investors.
- Len Penzo explores college loan debt.
- Money Help For Christians on how to budget.
- Delivery Away Debt on preparing your christmas budget.
- Canadian Finance Blog on marginal tax rates in Canada.
- Wealth Pilgrim’s US disability insurance for the self employed guide.
Stories from the big boys
- Independent Commission on Banking kicks off – Get the PDF
- Five lies about index funds – Forbes
- Corporate bond ISA boom – Motley Fool
- Where every country is in the debt cycle [Bit silly!] – Business Insider
- Gold touches $1,300 record high – BBC Business
- Food price rises are a growing concern – BBC Business
- Can an ETF collapse? – FT Alphaville
- Three equity bears tell a cautionary tale – FT
- Income from beyond the FTSE 100 – FT
- Stocks on track for best month of the decade – FT
- Eyes turn to Japanese stocks after Yen sell-off – FT
- An end to self-cert loans at last? – FT
- Mortgage lending hits ten-year low – The Independent
- UK housing on track for double-dip – The Guardian
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