Right. How to get into the bigtime, in one, quick, lesson – in today’s environment.
Answer: Two steps – 1). Self-publish your book. 2). Cross fingers.
True! Take the latest example from a long line over the past few years: Tracy Bloom, a self-published Kindle author, has just signed a four-book deal with Arrow / Cornerstone. Her best-selling novel, ‘No-one Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday’ has been signed up, along with other books, and will be re-published later this year, in print and as an ebook. Her ebook caught the public’s imagination and sold 220,000 copies in the first six months, which made it a tasty morsel to be snapped up.
This is what publishers do today, as I’ve said time and again. They only want a book if it has proved itself in selfpub mode. And that’s the only way into the club, if you still want in. It may be just the way things are, I’m not judging the system – perhaps today, like smaller publishers, the big ones just can’t afford to guess whether a book will make it or not. And, admittedly, that’s how it worked in the past; most books didn’t make back the author’s advance.
If your book makes it big in selfpub, you may wish to stick with selfpub, although there are advantages to being taken on by a big publisher. Nevertheless, go ahead and selfpublish, but do make it a decent book – replacing a formal publisher by selfpub doesn’t make the numerous steps in the publishing process disappear – you have the option of skipping some of them, but at your peril. In the USA, there are over 750,00 selfpub books around, and readers choose, mainly, by the reviews on Amazon. If your reviews tell the ‘poorly edited, unreadable’ story, then who is going to buy your book? Would you buy one with that kind of report?
Some people manage to do their own thing through the whole selfpub process, others need a hand, and that’s why there are many selfpub firms around. If you do want to enlist one, do your homework. Find reviews online, or buy a very useful book called’ The Fine Print of Self-Publishing’ by Mark Levine (not one of ours, he self-publishes, and this book is good!).
Yes, we’d like you to use our services, and yes, we think we’re pretty good, with personal experience of writing, publishing, self-publishing and marketing all under one roof. And we don’t overcharge, which several outfits do. But – we don’t push; we don’t have hidden agendas and charges, and we’re user-friendly.
Here’s a review from one of our recent projects – a 200-plus page family memoir, with over seventy photos that we had to touch up before using. It was a private project, not for public consumption, so I can’t mention S’s name, but this is a genuine bit of feedback:
I have just received the final copies of my book of memoirs. It is every bit as good as I had hoped.
I have been very impressed with the service you have provided, especially the personal attention you
have given me, the rapid turn around on all my queries, and the expert advice and comments you have
provided. My wife is threatening to write her memoirs, and if she does I will have no hesitation in
recommending that she use Stellium to publish them.
Thanks once again for all your help.
Need to know more? Talk to us. Remember our little motto – ‘It’s easier than you think, it’s more affordable than you think, and we’ll hold your hand’.
There is a set of priced packages on our main website (www.stelliumpub.com), but we’ve found that every project is different, and we haven’t yet done one that fits neatly into a set package. That means, either we have to use a crowbar to make you fit our package(s) – or we use them as an approximate guide.
Have a look anyway, as they do show you how much more affordable selfpub is today, as well as just how much work is involved!
Having just written earlier about dodgy books and ebooks being removed by Amazon, etc., last night,
I heard Charlotte Church presenting the 2013 John Peel lecture about women, on BBC Radio 6 music. (I understand the lecture is downloadable from the R6m site).
Charlotte’s lecture was in a similar vein to the dodgy ero*tica book scene; she spoke about the excessive use of sexy music videos that abound, like Miley Cyrus’ recent Wrecking Ball song, and along with the likes of Annie Lennox and Sinead O’Connor, Charlotte added her very clear views about the current vogue in sexy music videos – let alone some of the media projects she had been uncomfortable with, but had to do when she was in her early teens.
Could this be the start of a backlash against gratuitous excesses generally? Do I have grounds here to repeat one of my mantras again, namely, that self-regulation only works while it’s not needed? One probably doesn’t want actual censorship back again, but how to moderate media excesses (including books – nowadays it’s all about content) of the ilk that you don’t want your 8-year old kids to see… especially if you’re the Mummy? What do you think?
Taking a view from the self-pub authors’ position, perhaps it would be no bad thing to keep a clear distinction between general and definitely adult content. The trouble with mixing the two together is that a published book can’t be taken back and changed at a moment’s notice. Your name is stuck out there for years to come… with Google around, maybe forever! Is there a solution I’m not seeing – if so, tell us what you think.
I see in today’s news that Amazon, Waterstones, and B&N are all going through their catalogues to root out porn / otherwise offensive titles, as it has been found that many self-pub books and ebooks are ignoring the rules. WH Smith has even closed down its website totally until they have sorted out the problem.
As usual, there is always a minority element that abuses systems that work well for the majority, causing problems and reputation damage for the innocent. One hopes that there will be some kind of penalty meted out, to drive home the point that what one does on one’s own website is different to what should happen in public.
The above online bookshops have reacted pretty strongly, even going to the extent of searching for all ero*tic (in case WordPress also does a keyword hunt, I’m trying to keep these keyword comments clean!) keywords and removing such titles wholesale. I guess, with millions of books around, that’s the only way to be sure. It does impact on those authors and publishers that are operating legally, but the fact remains that ero*tica is a grey area that has its risks as well as rewards.
Rest assured that no books or ebooks published by us (both Stellium and Zampub), or our personal publishing titles, ever have such content – we check every manuscript pretty thoroughly, as it’s easy to lose credibility, but very hard to rebuild. We probably wouldn’t have taken on eleventy-seven shades of whatever either, along with many other publishers. Would have kicked ourselves later? Who knows. Where do you draw the line? Reminds one of the old joke where the youngster asks his Dad about the difference between fact and potential – the thing is, I can’t repeat the rest, albeit mild, else you might not see this blog! Have to see how far this issue goes.
Trouble is, lines keep moving, so we each have to decide: set our own limits, or go with the flow. Even David Cameron has recently commented that the line is moving so far that there’s a danger of porn becoming the norm.
Also, remember that most of the world’s bankers over the past decade or so, decided to go with the flow…
If you’ve been plagued by cold calls, even though you’re signed up to the TPS, at least you’re not alone: the TPS has admitted that many people get up to ten cold calls a month (I get more than that…), because businesses are ignoring the TPS.
I wrote earlier about my mantra, that self-regulation only works while it’s not needed. Well, I now know who the TPS is run by – according to consumer association, Which?, it’s run by none other than the Direct Marketing Association. You might have views on that point, but “I couldn’t possibly comment…”
Legislation is in place about cold calling, clearly it still happens, sometimes placing the elderly at risk of being taken in.
However, there must be a good number of businesses that do follow the regulation, so if you aren’t on the TPS database, you can call them on 0845 070 0707, or register on their website. I don’t have the address offhand, but a Google search will turn it up. It’s a free service, and did work better in the past. One thing it can’t do is to stop those irritating overseas calls. The best thing for those callers is to tell them to hang on, and leave the phone on the table. Mind you, a few expletives might soothe one’s feelings, too!
Here’s one to buck up those self publishers who get caustic reviews about errors in their masterpieces.
A well – respected publisher (Vintage), recently released two top titles in their Xmas line -up – the latest Bridget Jones book, and Sir David Jason’s memoirs, both on the same day, as expected. However, it seems that somehow, about 40 pages of Sir David’s book got into Bridget Jones’ offering – oops…
(see the BBC report here:
and here’s another write up:
Vintage put the ball in the printer’s court; perhaps, somehow. But I can’t help the feeling that, as with our books, the printer puts out what we give them. We don’t expect them to sort out last-minute things for us.
In any event, it gives one a measure of relief to know that there are others in the same boat – or should that be in the other boat… or partly… oh, you know what I mean!
Here’s a post I put together on 29 Sept. but left unpublished, wanting to add a bit more. However, in the meantime, the UK Daily Mail newspaper has just published a scathing attack on Ed Miliband’s (dead) father,and one wonders if it’s just coincidence that it came in the middle of the Tory Annual Conference… for those not in the UK, Ed Miliband is the UK Labour party leader.
Ed Miliband protested, and was given a chance to respond, but in publishing his response, the newspaper immediately published a fresh article alongside, and repeated the first article, adding more inflammatory comments, labelling Miliband senior “evil” as well.
Even ignoring the background (the Milibands are Jewish, the newspaper’s founder was close friends with pro-Nazi ringleader Moseley), there was no obvious reason for such a story out of the blue, with many people speculating that it was simply to stir up controversy for circulation purposes – not an unknown tactic. My point is, however, as mentioned below in this article: “Self-regulation is a waste of space. The only time self-regulation works is while it’s not needed.”
It’s not that long since the media in this country were pilloried for hacking private mobile phones (even that of missing schoolgirl Millie Dowler, later found murdered). One newspaper, News of the World, was forced to close down, but there really haven’t been strong enough measures taken to ensure a bit of decency among the media.
I repeat – wherever you live, don’t let anyone kid you that self-reg. or “light reg.”, whatever, is a good thing.
Here’s my original article:
A couple more tips come to mind:
- Don’t bother laying down vintage wines as an investment. You need a dark, cool cellar, no moving the bottles around, and you need a buyer. When times are hard, there are few buyers around, there are lots of sellers.
- Self-regulation is a waste of space. The only time self-regulation works is while it isn’t needed. Think banks, think newspapers.
I spent a few years managing our lending to the diamond cutters in the bank’s books. An interesting, somewhat romantic group of clients, with the links to de Beers, Kimberley and the historic Kimberley Club, where Cecil John Rhodes spent much of his time. If the beer tasted as good in those days as it does now, I don’t blame him. A real, old style gentleman’s’ club, which by the mid-nineties, still didn’t allow women to stay there. I’m sure that has changed by now, though. Hopefully the heating has improved too, I remember staying there once when I had a really bad cold in the middle of a cold winter, and having to keep a bath full of hot water to keep the room from freezing…
However, I digress. The point is, I learnt a lot about diamonds, cutters and diamonds as investment material. Investment-wise, things are simple. If you want a quick way of halving your money, buy diamond jewellery. You won’t get more than half of what you paid for it, if you try to sell it. Buy jewellery for your good lady, but don’t think about taking it back later, even if she would let you. Remember the advertising quote? Diamonds are forever… Genuine, sealed & certificated rocks will do better, but you have to hold them a long time to have a chance of appreciation. Don’t forget – de Beers has a long-term policy of keeping prices up and avoiding volatility, so you have that to contend with. de Beers is a force to be reckoned with, even with Russian efforts to get more of their stock out into the world markets.
One last tip, it set me off about writing this article. I was walking our dog this morning, when my mobile rang. It was someone from my service provider (I won’t mention the name, I don’t have anything against them), saying all the usual, “hi, you’re a good customer, how can we help you further, etc., etc.” Which, as we already know, means, “how can we get some more money out of you…”.
If they’re now hiring people instead of just sending texts to try harder to get into my pocket, what does that mean? Clearly, they aren’t doing that well, they need to bump up sales. So, do I buy their shares? No. Is this an isolated example, or are there others, in other industries? Actually, yes, I see this kind of thing quite often of late, in big and small businesses, in people’s spending patterns (the book trade is a prime example, book sales have been miserable for years), so what can one deduce from all that? Well, put it this way – George Osbourne’s bright, positive remarks about how well things are turning out in the economy may be a bit off the mark…
More later, but note how these clues turn up, even if it’s in the papers, which usually present financial developments too late for you to do anything about them. When it concerns major moves like the above, you often do have time to adjust your self-preservation first aid kit.
P.S: talking about clue-tracking the economy, here’s a news item today (2 Oct 2013): “Social media spam increased 355% in the first half of 2013”. More and more people are struggling to survive, and social media spam levels are another significant indicator.
We’ve ignored the idea of doing colour content in POD (print on demand) books for years; it has just been far too expensive for commercial purposes. However, after being nagged about it by many people (if Lulu can do it, why can’t you?), I investigated current options.
Well, I always say that technology moves faster than the speed of write, and so it does. We can now do colour content for perfectly reasonable prices; a 100 page colour book is now a piece of cake, so to speak.
Many options are still fine in black & white/grey – personal memoirs with old B&W photos are fine with just a colour cover. But a colour book is always going to have more appeal, unless it’s just a novel, and, with zillions of self-published books already out there, standing out in the crowd is more difficult than ever.
If you have any questions about this development, please ask; you can fill in the form below to contact me directly. I’m not trying to flog our wares; I’m trying to get more knowledge out to people so they can make informed choices in this totally new arena. We even come across people who don’t know what POD (print on demand) is. That isn’t them being ignorant, just unaware of how radically things have changed in the last five years or so.
This is important, but sometimes people either forget, or have never been told, just how to respect the value of their home.
Your home is usually the biggest purchase in your life. A lot of people in Europe get along happily by renting all their lives, but I think that isn’t the norm elsewhere. If you’re into owning your own property, then here are a few thoughts:
If you have a mortgaged property, you’re not completely the owner until it’s fully repaid. And, as the small print in UK adverts says, if you don’t keep up repayments, you may lose your property.
Therefore, it’s important to make sure you keep up those repayments; it wouldn’t hurt to save up and build a reserve specifically to cover six months repayments, so that in any eventuality, whether losing a job, illness or whatever, you’ll have six months in which to get back on your feet. Let me put that more gently, tactfully: Do it!
Saving isn’t always easy, but think about it – if you put away just 10 percent of your (net) income, that doesn’t hurt that much. Maybe not every month, but whenever you can.
Save your small coins. Get the family to do the same. Make piggy banks out of empty soft drink cans, and all the small coins that you don’t normally use (I’m told some people chuck out their pennies! As an ex-banker, I cringe…). In a years’ time you’ll find that you have a pretty interesting amount of money saved up. I paid for air tickets for wife & me on a holiday, through saving pound coins as well as smaller ones.
This next one is really important: don’t take out a second mortgage for anything except to improve or maintain your property. Not for a speedboat, not for a holiday, nor anything. Your mortgage is meant to end while you’re not too old to still enjoy life. Once you’ve retired, you will regret the drain on your income if you still have years to repay a mortgage, and you won’t remember the holiday you used the money on.
Another, even bigger, never-never: don’t ever speculate with your property. Not with the roof over your head. If you have a second, holiday property, fully paid up, repeat fully paid up, that’s different. I’ve seen people using their house as security for a loan to start a business, or to finance stock market investments; sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t. If you don’t, you could lose the wife and family as well as the house…
A simple gambling rule – don’t play with more than you can afford to lose. Period.
Repay that mortgage as soon as possible. If you pay a bit extra each month, you can knock years off your mortgage. A small amount, £10 or £20 helps just fine, especially if the interest rate is high. If rates are in double figures (it does happen. I’ve seen over 20 percent rates), the effect is much greater. A typical mortgage often allows you to repay about 10 percent extra.
As a side bonus, this could help if you find yourself strapped for cash at some point, as the bank is likely to let you miss a few months payments as long as you’re within the laid down reduction programme.
Here’s an interesting one I never came across until recently; some banks, somewhere in the obligatory small print, allow themselves to attach assets like your mortgaged property to help repay a loan or overdraft if you default. Solution simple – don’t take up a mortgage with the same bank that you use for the rest of your personal and business accounts.
That’s all that comes to mind at the moment. If you have other thoughts that might help other people along, I’d love you to write in. If you have an article in you and you want a home for it, let me know.
Every so often I get an urge to do a news item. Hope you like. It won’t be regular unless someone pays me. Sasha says, don’t hold your breath, don’t look at me…
Google announced today that they have launched ebookstores here in the UK, and in New Zealand and a number of Asian countries in the region as well.
They will be selling epub versions of ebooks, which is the open standard accepted widely by the publishing industry. Major publishers like Penguin, Random House, and Hachette have already signed up to provide content. For anyone who doesn’t know about the different formats, here’s a quick summary:
Amazon sells its own proprietary format (AZW), Mobi (also owned by Amazon) and PDF, possibly a couple of other smaller players. It doesn’t sell epub format.
Epub format is sold practically everywhere else – Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Waterstones, Google, most other distributors / sellers.
Apple iBook Store uses epub with DRM (digital Rights Management), but iPads, etc. can also handle PDF.
You can also download Kindle apps that work on Android or iPads, etc., so there’s a reasonable choice of reading systems, especially if you’re using a tablet or smartphone. Dedicated ebook readers like the Kindle are limited in what they can handle.
What’s best? Well, at this point, Amazon is the sticking point with its own format, to keep you locked into their bookstore, and they’re big enough that nobody can deflect them.
However, indications are that dedicated ebook readers are likely to fade out, giving way to multi-function tablet devices, which will give Amazon food for thought, even though they already have a range of Kindle Fire tablets. The planned lifespan of an ebook reader like the Kindle is about three years. I have a couple of kindles that I use, partly for reading, partly for checking how our ebooks look on them, but I probably won’t replace them when they die off. The Android Kindle app works fine on a tablet, and we’re going to bring out more and more colour-content ebooks, which, with some adroit footwork, will hopefully come out on a black & white screen as well. However, colour is definitely the trend for ebooks, and I would rather have one multi-function device to carry around.
The Bloomsbury brand Writers & Artists has launched a brand new service for self-published writers. This is on a section of their website for the well-known Writers & Artists Yearbook, and it will host a number of resources for writers, whether novices or cool dudes.
Wordery, a Global online retailer, launched earlier this week. They are a Bertrams (the UK wholesaler) project, they aim to undercut Amazon book prices from the start, and they envisage an annual turnover of up to £15m.
Quite how they expect to confront Amazon, I don’t know. Amazon can undercut anything you can think of, they counter Sony easily, but on the other hand, it’s good to have competition.
Turning to issues closer to my heart as a publisher, this kind of price cutting devilry just affects book prices drastically, and they don’t recover. It creates problems for authors, publishers, agents, printers, bookshops and others.
I really, really wish that we could have better regulation (see my comments on one of my “Money” articles) of the publishing trade, including protective legislation. Why not limit discounts to, say, 50% instead of the current unlimited scenario?
The government is quite happy to regulate speed limits on the roads, why not discounts on books? It kills off publishers and bookshops, drives authors into misery, what more incentive do they need? All very well to say government shouldn’t interfere, but when there’s total war by the big guns, how do the rest survive? How can anyone compete with 80% discounts to the few major retailers?
All I can think of, is exactly what’s happening right now: self-publishing, with sales direct to the public, whether in paper or ebook format. It may take time for a what can we call it… a sub-culture doesn’t sound quite right, but for a new, independent structure to gel.
So, we provide self-pub services, we’re seeing more and more people getting into the idea, and at this rate, who knows, the big players may regret ignoring the people who provide them with content.
I’ve just heard from someone about this withholding tax issue. Mentioning no names, her publisher, based in the States, has apparently withheld 80% of her latest royalty, instead of 30%. I can’t say whether there’s anything else affecting this particular case, but if not, that’s totally incorrect.
If there’s anyone else experiencing this kind of thing, I’d recommend you make lots of noise about it to the publisher. If you get no joy, go straight to the top – they usually don’t like bad publicity, and you may get better results that way.
Here’s an issue for all the self-pubbers out there; if you have a book or books selling through Amazon, you’ll have received a message warning you about IRS withholding tax regulations. Briefly, if you don’t register with the IRS, Amazon and any other entities selling your books (and ebooks) in the States are obliged to withhold 30% of your income / royalties, etc. And it’s not easy to get it back from the IRS once it’s been paid in.
Amazon does give you a reasonable set of instructions about how to deal with the issue, but it may not be clear to everybody, especially if you aren’t good at dealing with forms and tax stuff in general, so I’m putting down a few pointers here that may be useful.
First of all, the bad news. You can’t avoid the issue. Sooner or later, if not already, any commercial entity that sells things for you in the States will withhold 30% of your sales income, whatever form it takes – royalties, direct income, whatever. They will pass this money on to the IRS, and they can’t do anything later about getting it back – you would have to deal directly with the IRS, and your (relatively) unidentifiable money (i.e. if you’re not registered with the IRS ) would be difficult to trace.
Secondly, the good news. It’s actually not that difficult nowadays to sort things out, usually pretty swiftly.
What are needed are an EIN number and a W-8BEN form. Once you have the EIN number, it’s inserted into the W-8BEN form, and you make copies of that form, sending one copy to each organisation that you deal with. They can then release all the millions of dollars you’ve made with your Seventy Shades of Grey book! Provided you’re based in the UK, there is an income tax treaty between us and the USA, so in most cases, you won’t need to pay any USA tax. If you’re based elsewhere, the same may or may not apply. Check with the IRS website.
The first step is to get onto the IRS website and download a copy of form W-8BEN. Get all the information needed for the form, fill it in.
Then, phone the IRS (I don’t have the phone number offhand, if you can’t find it or the IRS website, let me know, leave a comment on this article, and I’ll trace it for you).
You can deal with them by snail mail or fax, but the system has been upgraded over the years, and the best way is by phone. You may sometimes have to hold on for ten, twenty minutes, but it’s worth the expense to save you grey hairs. I gather that unless they’re very busy, you may get through pretty quickly.
I have found them to be friendly and helpful. They will take down your details (as needed on the W-8BEN form) and if you have all the answers ready, they will give you an EIN number over the phone. You then complete a clean copy of the W-8BEN form, in fact, make a number of copies, as you’ll need to send / fax one to each organisation you deal with. With Amazon, it’s even easier, you can fill in the details online.
You will normally need to be registered with our own HMRC to take advantage of the income tax treaty with the USA, but everyone is different, I can’t cover all eventualities in a short article.
If you need, I can help with a few general questions about the system, but for more complicated matters, do talk to the IRS people – the feedback I’ve seen is that they are helpful.
I thought a short quote from Dickens would be a change from my own chatting:
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”
Over a century later, Mr. Micawber’s advice still holds good. Don’t “Fly now, pay later”, do the reverse. Don’t listen to the kids. Do they know better than you?
I do feel for all the single mums out there, it must be really difficult if you don’t have a partner to help with things, so that at least one of them has spare time to learn about how to protect themselves from all the incredible stupidity and greed evident in the world today, that eventually hurts all of us, while the guys at the top seem to have charmed lives. It seems to me that, if you allow leaders to experiment with people’s hard-earned, without real penalties if they muck up badly, then of course, why should they worry. Lost bonus? Maybe, but if your pay package is just bumped up to compensate, one can relax, yes? All I can say is, I’m really glad I climbed out of banking before I could be lumped in with the current lot.
Here’s a little tip for now:
- No matter what the advertising says, remember that the prime objective of any organisation is to make money for the shareholders.
I’m not attacking the principle, it’s a valid rule, and it lets one remember that the organisation can easily go down the tubes if someone tries to run it as a charity.
What I do have a button about is when people start going overboard. I have a little motto that I use as one of my own guidelines, and I believe that a lot of people at the top ought use it as well:
- From the Greek, “Pan Metron Ariston”, if I recall correctly. It means, “moderation in all things”. Works with cooking recipes, works with businesses too. So, if you come across some outfit that isn’t doing that, watch out, it could be heading for problems, either for them or for you…
Oops; I’ve just published Money 4, for reasons mentioned in it, so I guess I’d better publish this one, which I still wanted to polish up a bit:
Ever since I left the bank, long, long ago, I’ve obviously not had access to all the data streams, in-house gen, and other sources of information that exist. It does help to have a sound financial advisor, but that depends on how flush you are.
So, what to do? Well, first of all, be sensible and save. Especially in hard times. Don’t keep all your reserves in one basket, have some in the stock markets, some in other, balancing investments like gilts, some in good, solid assets like gold, silver, some in liquid form – needs to be accessible at a moments notice. There are so many books & magazines and Internet resources that can keep you up-to-date with what’s available, I couldn’t be more help even if I wanted to, I’m now a publisher, not an investment advisor. I can give out ideas in general, and everyone is different, so you have to take thing further yourself.
What I say has to be adapted to your own circumstances. Also, style is a factor; if you’re young, you can afford to take a few risks (always within reason). Come to middle age, less so, and if you’re approaching retirement, then you need to be risk-averse. Then, also plan out your strategy to spread through short-term, medium term and long-term investments. The latter is usually your home sweet home. Hopefully, by retirement age, you want to be rid of the mortgage as well, leaving you in relative peace…
What I can do, is to mention things to watch out for. And help you to sharpen your mind to developments that you can learn from. Like a Native American Indian, or an African Bushman hunting for food, you need to learn to pick up the scent, have a keen eye for clues and tracks, footprints, except that yours will be of the financial kind, and not physical.
For example, I mentioned earlier that back around 2003, personal borrowing passed the trillion pound mark, for the first time in history. That’s time to start watching out for property bubbles, stop buying property at ridiculous prices, etc. Soon after New Labour got into power, Gordon Brown didn’t waste time. He sold off most of our gold reserves at the pitiful prices available at the time; he added a really painful levy on the pension funds, that really hurt. With the result that your investments, pension and otherwise suffered, because eventually, it’s always the customer who pays, be it pension funds, supermarkets or fuel. Yes? Did he make saving more attractive? Of course not. He reckoned we/he had the bubble trap well under control, so spend, spend, spend. No more boom & gloom…
Enough. Those were more clues/tracks to note down. You also have to know a few rules, before you recognise they’re being broken. For example:
Always, repeat always, help people into a save mentality.
Don’t mess with the pension funds. Regulate them so they don’t do stupid things, but don’t bleed them.
Residential property prices have to fit into affordable levels. If the average property is not priced within about 3.5 to 4 times average annual earnings, things are out of kilter. If cheaper, you know you’re getting a good deal. If higher, you’re paying too much and running the risk of negative equity sooner or later. Nowadays, people tend to move every 8 years or so. If you can’t get your price when moving, you probably can’t move. People didn’t want to hear that ten years ago, now everybody understands it.