Stock Market High
Having failed to reach an all-time high for the last 15 years, the FTSE 100 finally managed it just a few weeks ago. Now, it is sitting above 7,000 points for the first time in its history and if, like many people in the UK, you own shares then it is more likely than not that your portfolio is showing a very healthy gain at the present time.
However, even if you do not hold shares directly, the value of your pension is also likely to have risen substantially in recent years. Certainly, it may not mean you can afford to retire just yet, but it does bode well for the future and, with the FTSE 100 having the potential to go much higher, your retirement plans could receive a further boost.
Low Interest Rates
While low interest rates are a problem for savers, they are great news for anyone who has debt. Put simply, low interest rates mean that the cost of paying back your mortgage, credit card or other loans is lower than it ever has been in history, thereby providing you with greater disposable income each month.
Certainly, rates will not stay this low forever, but the Bank of England seems to be guiding businesses and consumers towards a very slow and gradual rise in interest rates over a number of years. As such, you stand to continue benefiting from more cash in your pocket for a good while yet.
This week saw inflation fall to zero in February for the first time in history. That's a significant event and means that the cost of living 'crisis' is, for the time being, over because wage rises are very likely to be greater than zero for the majority of UK workers. As such, disposable incomes (in real terms) are on the up for the first time since 2008, which is clearly great news for UK consumers.
Looking ahead, inflation could turn negative and, while this may cause problems if it lasts for more than a short while, it could ease the pressure on household budgets yet further.
Whether you agree or disagree with the UK government's handling of the economy in recent years, the facts do not lie. The UK economy is now one of the fastest growing economies in the developed world and, as a result, unemployment is falling and the country's finances are slowly improving.
Certainly, the present period will not last in the long run and challenging economic times will return. However, right now the UK economy is enjoying a very prosperous period, which is great news for jobseekers, businesses and, most importantly, investors.
In fact, now could be a great time to buy shares for the long run and, with that in mind, the analysts at The Motley Fool have written a free and without obligation guide called 5 Shares You Can Retire On.
The 5 companies in question offer stunning dividend yields, have fantastic long term potential, and trade at very appealing valuations. As such, they could deliver excellent returns and provide your portfolio with a major boost in 2015 and beyond.
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