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AliG last won the day on January 14

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  1. Yes this benefit for the retired seems to be ignored. They pay considerably less tax than working people. A retired couple by moving their money around, having some capital gains, some dividends, some income etc could earn almost £50,000 before they pay any tax. Basically as older people have historically been more likely to vote, the system is somewhat skewed in their favour. A couple working with one person earning £30,000 and one earning £20,000 would pay around £10,000 in tax and NI. This is why I would be looking to limit taxable income in DB schemes and why there is a lifetime allowance limit. People on high basic wages can save more money than needed when they retire, people on a low wage who live in a rental might see very little drop in their living costs when they retire. We should probably be aiming for everyone to have a £15-20,000 income in retirement, depending on where you live, whether you are single or a couple etc. A major problem is that on £50k a year, saving for this kind of pension, 40% of salary as @ProDave pointed out is doable, saving for that on a £20k salary will be a lot more difficult. You can save and have a higher income clearly but not in a tax advantaged way. This is basically where we are getting to in DC schemes with the lifetime allowance limit, but not in DB schemes.
  2. I saw a talk the other day by the author of a book called the 100 year life. Life expectancy for people born today is approaching 100 years. When defined benefit pension plans were created the expectations was that people would be retired for 5-10 years. Now it is 30+ years. To pay for this the cost of running a DB plan has risen from a low single digit percentage of earnings to around 25%. Also the required retirement age is rising. Ultimately the problem is, as the guy pointed out at the talk, people are unwilling to save 25% of their earnings as it creates too big a hit to their lifestyle. But you cannot expect to work for 40 years and retire for 30 years on 2/3 of your earnings without saving a very substantial amount of your earnings. You cannot create money from nowhere. Thus people in defined benefit plans have been receiving effective pay rises from the higher cost of running the schemes. People in DC plans have not. In general DB plans are mainly now for government workers and DC for everyone else. This rising cost of DB plans has become a massive transfer of wealth from taxpayers mainly in DC schemes to government workers in DB schemes. I have sympathy with the view that lecturers took a job and their T&C are being changed, on the other hand you could argue that to some extent employers are asking them to accept the cost of the scheme returning to where it once was and they accidentally received improved terms as life expectancy rose. When government DB schemes began they were seen as an added benefit to compensate for lower pay in the public sector. Public sector wages are no longer lower than average, but their pension schemes cost more than ever to run. The easy solution is to change terms for all new staff, but this may not save enough money. I have not looked at all the ins and outs of the specific scheme. I would be in favour of everyone having similar pension arrangements. I think if corporate management were in the same schemes as the staff they would be in a lot less of a hurry to reduce the benefits. It seems particularly odd that people who already have the highest salaries and the most ability to save also receive the highest pension benefits. This also goes for MPs etc. I would also limit the maximum pensionable salary in DB schemes to around £60,000. The lifetime allowance in a DC scheme is now limited to £1,000,000. This would pay a 40-50,000 pension depending on the terms. Yet we have judges, university vice chancellors and BBC staff on hundreds of thousands a year of pensionable salary. Effectively they are receiving £50,000 plus on top of their income in pension contributions and have access to a benefit not available to most people. A pension based on a £400,000 pensionable salary is like winning the lottery and a major drain on these schemes. The media wants to proclaim that people are being worked into the good until they drop. But the reality is that people are very definitely living longer and fitter longer. Unfortunately too many politicians want to give the impression they can magic away life's problems so we cannot have a reasoned discussion about this. Your life expectancy is 95, would you rather work until you are 70, have a lower pension or save 25% of your income or a combination of the above. There is no other solution. Not only that but the longer the solution is pushed off the more that people retiring today are being paid excessive benefits relative to what was being paid in on their behalf whilst they were working and the more that these benefits are stealing from the benefits of younger people with many years of work ahead of them. One of the favourite refrains of older people is that they paid for their benefits. They didn't, they paid for the benefits of people who were retiring when they were younger and the unexpected increase in life expectancy over the last 50 years mean that they didn't save enough for their retirement. This cost is now being borne by younger people. The lecturers of today had free university education and have a generous pension scheme, they are fighting for them to have a considerably higher standard of living than the students that they are now teaching. They are entitled to large for that, but is that fair?
  3. Having often considered this issue myself and having loaded the car up with large items only to be terrified that they puncture the headliner or scrape the boot, causing a repair that might run to hundreds of pounds I came to the conclusion that it is probably better to pay for delivery or rent a van. Nowadays you can rent a van cheaply for a few hours and don't have to worry about damaging your car. Assuming that the need to require this kind of item is rare, this might be the better solution.
  4. Surprisingly few cars will take a 2m load behind the front seats. As @gravelld says the Skoda superb is a great combination of value and space, Google suggests a 2.13m load length. They also have an enormous amount of space for 2nd row passengers and a nice interior. An A6 doesn't offer much extra luxury for a lot more money. E-Class has lots of space but personally i would be put off by most being rear wheel drive. Also I think the Skoda is a bit tougher if you plan to lug loads. A people carrier like a Ford S-Max also makes an effective van with all the seats down, but Google suggests only 1.97m load length. The 5m long A6 still lists the boot as 1.97m it appears, same as a Mondeo estate. The Skoda is a bit more compact than some of these as it is based on the more space efficient Golf platform.
  5. I have a block build, my builders still managed to put 2 pipes on the wrong side of a wall! Looking at the comments I am not alone, I could see that pipes were out of line just by looking, but in the end they just went ahead and cemented them in before fixing them as discussed here. @nickfromwales you are right (as usual ) I didn't have a close enough look at the DPC. I think my guys did cut into the subfloor also and they had a bit more room to maneuver as my cisterns are all concealed so they were coming up inside a bulkhead.
  6. is that just the subfloor laid? Is there still insulation and screed to go on top of that? If so you should be able to attach an offset bend to move the second one over to the wall in the depth of the insulation and screed.
  7. Thanks, my main issue is insulating the service ductwork. After looking at the costs, the 50mm duct insulation is not that expensive. Hopefully we won't have issues on the exhaust duct as we don't have an ASHP getting the air so cold. But it is not too big a job to add armaflex to the exhuast. What caught me out was a very high cost quote from the MVHR supplier for the insulation. They were almost 2x the price I can buy it for.
  8. Hi, I spotted an opportunity to save money a while back and in areas where we are not using the space all the way to the roof I changed from PIR insulation between the rafters to rockwool above the ceiling. What I did not realise though was that the MVHR ducting has to be in an insulated space. So now we need to insulate the MCHR which loses almost the entire saving. The installers have recommended using 50mm foil backed insulation wrapped around the ducts. This is fine, but I wondered if in areas where the ducts are installed just above the roof trusses and the loft insulation was pushed under the duct work could be just add another layer of rockwool that covers the duct work? This would be a lot faster and cheaper, but there is more risk that bits of the duct aren't covered.
  9. Replacement front door upgrade

    This company do very nice doors, similar to Hormann but more options. I have a Ryterna front door which again is very similar to Hormann. They are very nice doors but very expensive. You are probably talking around £2000 for a door including VAT, delivery etc.
  10. We had a couple of wastes that were too far from walls. Basically they should be almost hard up against the wall. The builder simply dug the screed out around the waste and put in a bend that was then screeded back in. Even if you have UFH it should be fine as it won't be behind or close to the pipe. What kind of toilets are you planning to have. Most toilets nowadays are back to the wall or wall mounted. This means that the cistern is inside a bulkhead and the waste disappears into it. If the waste is far into the room then the bulkhead hiding the cistern will end up really deep and take up a lot of space. If you have a close coupled toilet where you can see the cistern sitting on the back of it then they are usually designed to have the waste either inside the wall or tight against the wall behind them. You can get ones with a side waste or even a bottom waste or you can use a swan neck connector, but again the WC might end up well into the room or a large amount of waste pipe will be on display or you may need to box in a large area of the room. In the long run you are probably better digging up a little bit of the floor and moving the pipe. It is better than having a pipe on display in the room or having to box out 300m of the space in a small room.
  11. Originally I searched for crystal chandeliers and used images on Google. However, I now know that some people list them as RH style chandeliers. Once you find one, you can find others from the list of similar products in the search. I got around $20,000 of lights for $5,000. We also got hall lights which are Moooi style lights. The originals would be £20,000, we paid about £2500. The original price is a joke, the are just stainless steel frames with LEDs. I don't see any real element of design in all these lights to say that you are breaking copyright, many companies make similar looking lights. All this tells me is that the markup on nice lights must be ridiculous. These prices include shipping from China.
  12. Resurrecting topic. My MVHR was in a warm space but I decided to change from PIR to rockwool on flat areas of ceiling so the ducting is now in a cold space. The MVHR supplier has quoted £1540 for 50mm insulation and 20 rolls of duct tape to cover 150m of MVHR ducting. looking online it seems that maybe only 25mm is necessary. Can anyone point me to insulation that they have used?
  13. I am trying to hold off pictures until we are finished, but I think this is useful for other members. We bought a light from Aliexpress for $760, the same light at Restoration Hardware in the US is $3896 for a member or $5195 for a non member. It looks the same to me! The lower picture is from Restoration Hardware, the upper is our light and table just delivered today. Oh and most importantly on Valentine's Day, my wife likes it and the table, she was particularly unsure about the table.
  14. I didn't know the thing about a vestibule improving the BRE rating, I don't think that is a thing in the SAP rating. Typical arbitrary system, most vestibules are too small to be used like an airlock in this way. I'd check that you haven't made the landing a little narrow outside the bedrooms upstairs, I'd want to stay at least 1m wide and ideally 1.1-1.2m for a landing. @Nickfromwales is right on the en suite. Put the toilet under the lower ceiling like the sofa. Keep the door where the wall is highest. Also you need to think about getting a waste down from the WC and at the moment it is placed over the middle of the kitchen. The other bathrooms are stacked better. I would make sure your architect has allowed for MVHR and soil pipes as they are a pain to fit in.
  15. Awesome episode of Columbo. My friend and I have been talking about remaking it for years with modern day stars as the guest murderer. Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise etc. Elon Musk too!