Two days ago at 07.00 the UK launched the sale of its 'Pensioner Bonds'. To buy these you had to be 65+.
At 07.20 I tried to log and buy some. The website was overcome by the demand and was showing an 'unable to cope' message.
I keep going and by 08.00 had completed the transaction. Clearly, the online demand was massive.
We learn today that in 48 hours, 110,000 pensioners invested a total of £1.15 billion making this the fastest-selling financial product in modern times.
Let me just say that again - a product that could only be purchased by over-65s, with most of the transaction being completed online, was the fastest selling financial services product - ever.
So much for the digitally excluded oldies.
Of course there are lots and lots of older people who are not able/willing to go online and will have to make do with the phone and post.
The reason why this product was being sold is that the largest holder of savings in the UK (by far) has seen their income decimated by the artificially low interest rate of 0.5% since mid-2008.
Just a reminder, that a year before they were slashed, the interest rate was 4% and for the period since 1998 the rate oscillated in a range between 4-7%.
No doubt about it, this offering of savings at a rate that was the lowest it had been for the previous couple of decades was a bribe. Certainly the Sunday papers were full of the commentators bitching about how the young are having such a tough time.
What really, really gets annoyed is the dishonesty of journalists that weave a story of intergenerational stress and exclude all of the facts that don’t fit the victim tale.
Andrew Rawnsley, somebody who should know a lot better, has done this today. In his article there is no mention that the old have been the major funders of the UK by seeing their savings and pensions shredded. Young people have never had such a long period of debt relief on their credit card bills and mortgages. You would have thought that was worth a mention?
itch over. I guess you don't look to journalists for a balanced view. You would think that I would be old enough to know that.
Image via flickr