Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tax Advantaged Premier Lifestyle Endowment Policy - or, the Bigger Doll Fund.

When I was little, money was easy. I got sixpence a week pocket money and that would buy one of a selection of tiny dolls from the Post Office. Then it went up to a shilling. Two dolls. Heaven. But, more often, I just saved it to amass enough to buy a bigger doll. I kept it in a piggy bank.

From time to time I would have a birthday, or it would be Christmas, and kind relatives would give me a ten-shilling note, and into the piggy bank it would go.

And then - oh joy! sometimes I would take it all out and see if there was enough to buy the Bigger Doll. If there was, I would be taken to town and choose one. Bliss!

I didn't buy sweets, ever, with my pocket money - I didn't like the idea that they'd be gone and I'd have nothing to show for it (and I have a feeling that this argument is one reason why I never started smoking).

No, it was dolls. I think I still have them all. I didn't do that combing-hair and dressing them that lots of little girls do. My dolls took part in imaginary adventures, mostly involving building dens in the garden or exciting trips to foreign countries, usually located at the bottom of the garden.

So that was it for the financial decisions. Easy.

Then I grew up.

This instinct to save money for a Bigger Doll has stayed with me. But in adulthood it has translated into buying such things as a mortgage and life insurance policies and Critical Illness cover and pensions - that kind of thing.

And we've bought lots of them over the years. No sooner does money hit our bank account than it's spirited away into a dozen different Bigger Doll policies.

Our Financial Advisors are coming on Tuesday (two of them, I think it's for protection from me) and so I decided to try to make sense of all these. Now, I'm the kind of person who does put things in files - - but even so, sorting them all out and making a comprehensive list is tricky bordering on the impossible.

For one thing, all the different companies keep changing their names. A few years ago just about everything in the world became Zurich - - though it's still coming out of our bank account as Allied Dunbar or whatever it was before.

And all the policies have very similar names. They're all called something like the title of this post. And whenever I see meaningless jargon like that I just want to go to sleep and never look at it again. So the only way to distinguish them is by their policy numbers and those are all very similar too. They're all called something like ZQX11320940WP which is vastly different from ZQX11320940VP.

Trying to work out what each policy is for is really tricky. I knew at the time of course - - why didn't I just write myself a three-line explanation then, whilst it was in my head? "This is to pay for the cost of inheritance tax so Olli won't have to pay it out before the house is sold when we die." Well, let's face it, because once I'd filled in the form and signed it all I'd just had enough and never wanted to see it again.

And now, even reading the original blurb that accompanies any policy, it's very hard to work out, simply, what the hell it is. They are all couched in so much legal jargon that I just want to set fire to them.

I could devote the rest of my life to trying to make sure that insurance companies write stuff in clear English. But I don't think I'm going to. I'm engaged in a crusade to stop student doctors speaking in jargon, and that will have to do, I'm afraid.

I have typed the whole lot of policies into a long list, with as much information as I can find about each of them, and I have sent them to the Financial Advisors with some exciting questions.

I'm not looking forward to the Financial Advisors' Visit on Tuesday evening. But I think it could well be worse for them than it is for me.

I hope there's going to be enough to buy a Bigger Doll.


Blogger Jennytc said...

Ah! Good luck with that one, Daphne. ;)

8:49 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I love a good laugh early in the morning! Thanks! Well done!

1:33 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only time my parents took financial advice they lost a LOT of money, so perhaps you should do the opposite of what they tell you to do...


12:17 am  

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