The Green Shoots of Spring?

As we enter a new decade, the global economy seems to be precariously balanced. Although recent data supports this pessimistic prognosis, forecasters suggest 2020 is set to observe a recovery.

Global growth rates

Gross domestic product (GDP) data for the third quarter of 2019, highlighted a continuing decline in global growth. In the US, GDP grew at an annualised rate of 1.9%, just below the 2.0% recorded in the second quarter. China’s growth rate of 6.0% was the country’s slowest in over 27 years.

While both the UK and German economies experienced growth in the third quarter, neither economy particularly flourished. The UK recorded its slowest annual rate in nearly a decade, while the German economy grew just 0.1% in the third quarter. Both economies were successful in avoiding consecutive quarters of negative growth – the ‘technical’ definition of recession.

Trade traumas weigh

Published in mid-October, the International Monetary Funds (IMF) World Economic Outlook, outlined the global economy is growing at its slowest pace since the financial crisis. They downgraded the 2019 world growth forecast to 3.0%, a 0.3 percentage point reduction from the April estimate. The bi-annual Outlook cautioned that the self-inflicted wounds of the US China trade war had created a ‘precarious’ economic situation.

Cautiously optimistic

The IMF predict that growth will pick up this year, forecasting that the world economy will expand by 3.4% in 2020. Global trade protectionism and geopolitical tensions remain primary risks to the outlook going forward. The estimated pickup reflects projected improvements in the economic performance in several markets, developed and emerging. Considering the uncertainty surrounding prospects for many of these countries and prominent risks, it is possible that a more subdued pace of global activity could emerge.

The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. The past is not a guide to future performance and past performance may not necessarily be repeated.

It is important to take professional advice before making any decision relating to your personal finances. Information within this newsletter is based on our current understanding of taxation and can be subject to change in future. It does not provide individual tailored investment advice and is for guidance only. Some rules may vary in different parts of the UK; please ask for details. We cannot assume legal liability for any errors or omissions it might contain. Levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are those currently applying or proposed and are subject to change; their value depends on the individual circumstances of the investor.

The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. The past is not a guide to future performance and past performance may not necessarily be repeated. If you withdraw from an investment in the early years, you may not get back the full amount you invested. Changes in the rates of exchange may have an adverse effect on the value or price of an investment in sterling terms if it is denominated in a foreign currency. Taxation depends on individual circumstances as well as tax law and HMRC practice which can change.

The information contained within this newsletter is for information only purposes and does not constitute financial advice. The purpose of this newsletter is to provide technical and general guidance and should not be interpreted as a personal recommendation or advice.


The latest population statistics released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of people in their nineties continues to grow. And this trend is raising serious concerns over whether traditional views of retirement are still fit for purpose.

Population trends

Figures from ONS show that the total number of people aged 90 and over rose to 584,024 in 2018 – an increase of 0.7% from the previous year. This continues the trend towards an increasingly ageing population which has been driven by a combination of medical advances and improvements in public health.

Implications for retirement

While greater longevity is clearly welcome news, the fact that so many people now live 30 or so years beyond traditional retirement age does have financial implications and is inevitably changing people’s expectations for later life. Indeed, we are already seeing people withdraw more gradually from work as retirees find an optimum work-life balance that accommodates their personal needs.

A further complication is that, as the population ages, people are increasingly living more of their lives in a relatively poor state of health. Consequently, there is a greater chance of people requiring some form of care, which again has significant financial implications.

Planning increasingly essential

As a result of these trends, it has never been more important for people to set targets and ensure they have sufficient financial provision to cater for all of their retirement needs. And, as retirement planning is never a case of ‘one size fits all’, it is increasingly vital to obtain sound professional advice that can be tailored to your individual needs.