Geek Pension

My first grey hair

I’ve long been annoyed by large corporates, hedge funds and investment bankers. I believe in a world of small businesses and this is why I’ve already invested a large proportion of my efforts in Free software & the (open) Web.

However it comes to a point in one’s life (I’m 30 now) where one needs to aggressively save money. Save for a car, save for a house, save for the future. In England tax-free cash ISAs are just 3600GBP a year. That sum makes it very difficult to get a mortgage for a house in England. Though, the UK government also offers tax-free share based ISA savings.

That means you need to invest in a public limited company on the stock exchange. I.e. you need to give your money to those “large corporates, hedge funds and investment bankers”. Not cool.

Recently the company I work for set me up with a Scottish Widows plan. Personally I’d rather have the extra money, but once again the powers that be force me to put some of my money into “large corporates, hedge funds and investment bankers”. Grumble.

Scottish Widows however does allow you to make (token) choices. You have very little to go on, except for the name of the funds. You really haven’t got a clue where the money goes. :(

I chose the following funds with the advice from my pension adviser:
* Property 15%
* European 15%
* SW Newton Managed 20%
* SW MM UK Eq Growth 10%
* Corporate bond 15%
* Fixed Interest 10%
* SW Art UK Sm Cos 15%

I tried to invest in EU small businesses, as I believe in a strong economic European union. I wanted to invest mostly in property as I argued to myself that property would be safe, low risk, long term and didn’t involve the short term interests of “large corporates, hedge funds and investment bankers”.

Unfortunately 15% is the maximum you can spend in property.

My dad later commented that investing in typical pension property schemes like shopping centres isn’t going to work with “E-commerce”. That had me again about the future. Where natural resources & food will probably rise and travelling gets harder and the Web’s reach will probably span wider.

Now I can understand how those VCs at Minibar London get all their money!

Ideally I could take that share ISA allocation and the money going into that aforementioned pension plan and put it into my own Web kiosk company. It might be risky, but I think it has a good future and a future I can control. That’s piece of mind for my principles and beliefs.

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