Can you see danger ahead?
In Financial Risk Outlook 2004, the regulator has urged that people carefully consider the level of debt they take on while commentators predict rising interest rates and continued low levels of inflation.
Are you in debt? Are you aware of the long term implications of your situation? This is your chance to have your say.
Click here to find an e-mail form.
I am concerned that nothing has changed in respect of the regulations for early settlement of loans. I believe there is, or was, a government review of the Rule of 78, the way in which early repayment is calculated.
Has this resulted in any changes? At present the charges are so high for early resettlement that there is no incentive to repay early.
So the FSA regulator you interviewed thinks that cash is not likely to be a successful strategy over the long term. I don't think so.
In December 1983 I started an endowment plan to cover my first ever mortgage. The projection says that assuming a 5.2% rate I could expect to get back £39,354.
In December 2003 the FSA ordered the insurer to sell all the investments and put them in fixed rate bonds as the fund was insolvent. The insurer wrote to me saying there would be no more bonuses applied to the policy, which now stands at £16,258.
I don't know what the average interest rate on building society accounts has been over the last 20 years, but my guess is it is well above the 5.2% estimated at the outset of my policy, and considerably above the level I have actual received, 3.6%.
I am sorry Mr regulator but I for one am not putting any more money into so-called investment schemes when I can safely put it in the bank.
What is the point in warning people about the danger of overspending when we have a government encouraging young folk to notch up enormous levels of undergraduate, graduate, and failed-to-graduate debt? Not to worry: keep buying lottery tickets!
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BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 24 January, 2004 at 1200 GMT.