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Spurious correlations?

We spend a lot of time looking at numbers and the relationship between different sets of data, that’s part of our job. Sadly it gets addictive and we’re always open to new interesting datasets and the curious correlations they show.

For example, did you know that in the US State of Maine, there is a direct correlation (correlation 99.26% (r=0.992558)) between the per capita divorce rate and the per capita consumption of margarine; suggesting that as more marg is consumed, so the divorce rate increases. An even grimmer, but almost certainly spurious correlation is how the increase or decrease in US spending on science, space & technology mirrors (correlation 99.97%, r=0.99789126) the change in US suicides by hanging, strangulation or suffocation.

Closer to home we’re selfishly interested in the correlation between age (over 50) and weight (too short for weight) with COVID-19; but we don’t let any of this distract ourselves from our focus on the correlations between different types of investments. However, one new interesting correlation has come to our attention:

Our regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, working with Action Fraud and The Pensions Regulator have identified a correlation between pension fraud (being ripped off) and gents over the age of 50. A passion for football is also a factor!

50+ Year old men most likely to be ripped off in pension scams

Action Fraud data shows that over the last 3 years £31million has been lost to scammers. Reported losses ranged from below £1,000 to as much as £500,000, but regulators warn that actual figures are likely to be even higher than this as some victims may not know they have been scammed as many people do not know how much is in their retirement pot, so it may be years before they realise they have lost money.

Come on ref, you can’t be serious!

The FCA also found that from a survey of 2,000 football fans approaching retirement age, 76% said they know the cost of items related to their team while only 43% said they knew how much money was currently in their pension pot.

To us,  this is a scary statistic, especially as it tells us that the very people who should be super-focused on their pensions just aren’t engaged with the subject. We also know from experience that those who don’t engage, are the same people who shout “foul” later when they realise (too late) that they’re just not match-fit.

If people in their 50s don’t know how much their pensions are worth, how can they possibly plan for the retirement they want, or even have confidence that they will have the necessary funds to retire?

Team Talk

Action Fraud, The Pensions Regulator and the Financial Conduct Authority have secured ITV football commentator Clive Tyldesley to front a new consumer education campaign, in which he’ll be using football clichés to explain the risk of engaging with well-known scam techniques. No disguising the intended audience, but then ‘subtle’ rarely works.

Hopefully Clive’s clichés will be far clever and more entertaining than ours.

So if you’re

  • a football fan
  • over 50 & probably a bloke
  • not engaged with your pension

Make sure you pay attention to Clive’s team talk!

Don’t score an own goal

The regulators recommend four simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams:

  1. Don’t be rushed or pressured into making any decision about your pension
  2. Reject unexpected pension offers whether made online, on social media or over the phone
  3. Only deal with individuals and firms like Investment & Retirement Solutions Ltd, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. (Check the Financial Services Register or call the FCA helpline on 0800 111 6768)
  4. Consider getting impartial advice, remember this is ONLY available from Independent Financial Advisers like Investment & Retirement Solutions Ltd

Show the red card to scammers

Remember, if you want to kick around your pension ideas, worries or concerns, our training ground is available to practise your set-pieces and pension skills training before you venture onto the match-day pitch for that once in a lifetime, non-replayable game.

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Our posts are intended as financial education and financial information, not as financial advice, and are only suitable for UK residents. Always take professional, independent advice before acting on any information.

Investment & Retirement Solutions Ltd is authorised & regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The value of investments and income from them can fluctuate (this may partially be the result of exchange rate fluctuations) and investors may get back less than the amount invested. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

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