Monday, 28 July 2008

Savings for 52 rainy days

According to a study by the Yorkshire Building Society, the average Briton can only survive debt-free for 52 days if he/she would find herself out of, or unable to work.

This means that if the average person lost their job tomorrow, they would have run out of money by mid-September, not taking into account that they might want to go on a proper summer holiday in the meantime.

Taking into account that property prices seem to be in freefall (if one believes the headlines pretty much every single day) and the UK seeming to be destined for a recession, this all adds to a perfect recipe for disaster.

  • Take 52 days worth of savings set aside for tough times
  • Add a rather bleak prediction of an unemployment rate that - according to the Ernst & Young Item Club, which is a Think Tank - might rise up to 7% from currently 5.6% which would mean that more people find themselves in exactly those times
  • Stir in record oil, food and electrity prices and season with an inflation rate on an 11-year high which could imply that 52 days could soon be less than that
  • Add a 4.4% year-on-year drop in house prices (in the year through to July), and a property market which does not deserve the attribute "liquid".
Maybe the Bloomberg commentary Mark Gilbert wasn't that far off the mark when he recently stated that Optimist buy iPhones, pessimists hoard gold.

Maybe the upgrade to the 3G iPhone was a bit premature and I should have considered the latest macro-economic data.