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The feeling's mutual

Mrs Fiendish went to see an independent financial adviser (IFA) yesterday to help her sort out her financial future, which has been complicated – to say the least – by the loss of her job last year.

Choosing to see an IFA on the day the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced major changes to the pension system in the UK was unfortunate timing, but he still gave some good advice, including a top tip on avoiding inheritance tax on our house.

The young me – “young” in this context probably meaning any time up until my late thirties – would have sneered at a rich bastard opting for a workaround to avoid inheritance tax, but as it gets closer to the point where I am faced with the prospect of handing over scores of thousands of pounds to the tax man, the desire to see that money go to my kids instead is strong. I’ll be reading the Daily Mail next...

One brownie point we earned from the IFA was having our savings with the Nationwide building society. Apparently, it is consistently one of the better payers; hurrah for mutual societies!

When I last saw an IFA, which was probably back in the eighties or early nineties, the IFA approved of saving with the Nationwide because of the possibility of a carpet-bagging windfall from demutualisation.

I was adamant the Nationwide would stick with the mutual society model; the cynical IFA suggested that all the building societies would eventually follow the lead of Abbey National (gone), Alliance & Leicester (gone), Bradford & Bingley (gone), Halifax (nearly bankrupted the country), Birmingham Midshires (taken over by the Halifax), Northern Rock (gone; almost sparked a run on the banks); Bristol & West (taken over by Bank of Ireland, which almost bankrupted Ireland), Woolwich (might still be going as a sub-brand of Barclays), National & Provincial (gone) and Cheltenham & Gloucester (became part of Lloyds), and demutualise.

I don’t think he could understand why anyone would prefer their building society to remain a mutual, when they could cash in on it changing to a bank. He’d probably also be baffled by my recent decision to remain a member of the Co-operative Society.

So, there is still a bit of a collectivist streak somewhere in my soul, but the sound of it is largely being drowned out by the siren call of the tax dodging part of me.

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