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|>>|| No. 3840
The OFT have come out and said that many old (i.e. set up before 2001) pension schemes have high charges and offer savers poor value for money. They've also suggested a cap for auto-enrolment schemes, but it's going to be an almost meaningless gesture as you'd be very hard pressed to find a provider offering auto-enrolment terms with annual management charges greater than 1% anyway.
The pension scheme I'm in at work (contribution: 5% employer, 5% employee gross) has management charges of 0.6%, which I'm alright with as it's less than I'd get if I was investing in collectives through an ISA.
However, I've put the charges and contribution details into Invidion's pension calculator for an idea of what I'd get when I'm 65, 40 years from now, and if my salary increases in line with National Average Earnings and I took the 25% tax-free lump sum I'd be looking at a pension in today's terms of 27.5% of my current salary. If I wanted a pension that would be about two-thirds of what I'm earning now then I'll need to contribute, assuming the employer contribution stays at 5%, 15% gross (12% net) of my salary every year for the next four decades. This does depend on what annuity rates will be like then and I'd also be getting the State Pension, as long as they haven't upped the age you receive it to 80 by then.
If it wasn't for the tax relief and my employer matching my contributions then I doubt I'd bother and I'd look into other ways to support myself while I'm in retirement. What about you lads? What are your thoughts on pensions? In my opinion to have any form of decent retirement income you're at the mercy of your employer offering a good pension scheme.
|>>|| No. 7223
Going into administration is effectively a compulsory takeover of the management. The appointed administrators will have the task of representing the creditors of Toys R Us to achieve a maximum return on their liabilities. That might mean restructuring the company, it might mean selling it as a going concern or it might mean closing up shop and stripping the assets.
If the PPF think that the current management of Toys R Us are unable to turn the business around, then it's probably in everyone's best interests to force them into administration. The CVA might protect some jobs in the short term, but it might also just drag out the inevitable. If Toys R Us keep trading and incur further losses, then it's harder for the PPF to recover funds to close the pension deficit.
Defaults on corporate debt can cause secondary job losses. A large proportion of the debts of Toys R Us are credit lines from suppliers - everything from toy manufacturers and distributors to the people who tarmac their car parks. Poorly managed insolvency can have a domino effect on other companies. If I sell to Toys R Us and they aren't paying my invoices, I might be unable to pay my suppliers and so on. Trading while insolvent is a criminal offence for good reason.
|>>|| No. 7224
>The fundamentals are very poor for this business, I don't see how they survive.
They're one of those companies you're surprised have lasted as long as they have.
The stores are depressing and look no different inside than they did twenty years ago, which were already quite dated at the time. I was in one a few years back and was amazed they were still trying to sell VHS tapes, which were priced at around a tenner each.
|>>|| No. 7225
Yeah agreed - I visited one about ten years ago when I first became a dad, they had a surprisingly good range of baby gear (which is quite obvious when you think about it) but the shops were depressing and dated, even back then.
|>>|| No. 7226
>The British arm of Toys R Us faces being plunged into administration within the next 48 hours, risking the loss of up to 3,200 jobs, after the UK’s pension lifeboat fund indicated that it would block a restructuring proposal for the ailing business.
>The retailer has offered to pay about £1.6m, related to contributions due to the PPF by March, but has said it does not have the resources to pay the remaining £7.3m that has been demanded, according to people briefed on the talks.
>The PPF has suggested a solution whereby the US parent waives an annual royalty fee to use the Toys R Us name, worth about £9m a year. But the US parent has argued that it is unable to do so under the terms of its court-led bankruptcy process. Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada in September after struggling to compete with online competitors. It has been forced to put in place a plan to restructure almost $5bn in long-term debts.
That's that, then. Toys R Us will collapse on Thursday. £584.5m in loans to the parent company written off, most likely extracted by private equity firms.
|>>|| No. 7261
I've been predicting the death of Argos for almost a decade now, convinced that they'd be pushed out of the market by Amazon. Turns out that people who are stupid enough to buy things at the same price it was almost a year ago overlap heavily with the same people who don't do their shopping online.
Maybe Amazon should have had allowed people to do their purchases with cash or card in newsagents in the same way they buy their scratch cards.
In any case; UK highstreet deathwatch: Argos or WH Smith lads?
|>>|| No. 7262
Smiths. Argos is at least making an effort to change whereas Smiths might as well have given up years ago when they closed the entertainment departments.
|>>|| No. 7264
WHSmith is fine (pic related).
Overpaid professionals are always going to buy overpriced shite from train stations.
Argos is owned by Sainsbury's now and apparently the acquisition is going well. They're certainly closing some high street stores and moving them within supermarket. So in that sense, Argos?
|>>|| No. 7265
We had a thread about Smiths shortly after Christmas. They're maintaining the same level of profit off declining sales, through ripping people off, particularly from their monopoly at places like train stations.
|>>|| No. 7268
I think Timpsons are a great business, don't see them under threat at all - they have a nice little niche, some good corporate social responsibility policies, their little shops are always busy and well located in places like Tesco/Sainsbury car parks and I can't see them being knocked out easily by Amazon (which is the main existential threat to the high street).
People need keys cut, shoes fixed and dry cleaning done. Be a while before things like that are disrupted.
|>>|| No. 7269
Have Timpsons branched out into dry cleaning? Just Googled it and they took over Johnsons last year.
I don't know what's next in the chain. What's the logical progression from shoe repairs to key cutting to dry cleaning?
|>>|| No. 7270
They also own Max Spielmann and Snappy Snaps. Those businesses have diversified into things like canvas prints, photo mugs and VHS-to-DVD transfers. They've started doing mobile phone repair in some Timpsons branches, which I think is a savvy move.
|>>|| No. 7271
>mobile phone repair in some Timpsons branches, which I think is a savvy move
Noticed that too, its a very nice string to the bow - I'd rather give my phone to them than the usual dodgy little kiosks that do the job. (Personally I do the job myself now, they sell all the screen and battery kits on Amazon for about 20 quid).
|>>|| No. 7274
Timpson Group have bought out Asdas photo section as well, I'm to be managing one in a couple months.
|>>|| No. 7278
You can 3D print a key (or key pattern) from an image these days. There's probably money to be made in a service/app that you upload pictures of all your keys to, and can then order a replacement from your phone.
I can already see the headlines when the image repository is leaked, but I'll have sold the whole operation to someone for 50 million by then.
|>>|| No. 7279
> when the image repository is leaked
I envisage problems with your business model way, way before that. It's the digital age's equivalent of taking an impress of a key made into a bar of soap into a locksmith and asking for a copy.
|>>|| No. 7280
Don't worry. A flood of cheap Chinese locks will kill key-cutting before his business can take off.
|>>|| No. 7281
I visited a Halfords today and then searched on Amazon for the same things - almost half price and it is much easier to enter your reg number and see what fits. I think they're next.
|>>|| No. 7283
What, more business cutting keys for locks people don't own? I can't see how that could possibly go wrong.
|>>|| No. 7284
Well the Timpson's bloke isn't going to prison for cutting my works safe key, so I'm sure I'll be fine. There doesn't seem to be any law against cutting a key from a photograph, indeed the only proof Timpson's has that you have legal access to a lock is that you walk in holding a key, which isn't particularly solid evidence, really.
As long as you followed similar policies to locksmiths (i.e not copying security keys) then I honestly don't think it'd be a problem. It's probably a shitty business idea for many reasons, but I don't think it'd be operating against the law in any way.
Look for Keey in your app store soon.
|>>|| No. 7285
Thinking about it, the USP (and ultimate downfall once it's hacked) could be the database of keys registered to users. If someone else uploads your key, it could flag that up for you. Then the sensible thing to do for everyone who owns a key is to get my app and use it.
Again, it's a terrible idea but I bet someone would pay me for it.
|>>|| No. 7286
>which isn't particularly solid evidence, really
It's evidence of physical access. Your average person doesn't tend to have keys on their ring that they've never used. Gaining physical possession of a key takes effort. Just ask the guys that reversed the TSA keys without ever coming into possession of them.
|>>|| No. 7287
>It's evidence of physical access.
That's just saying we should reward the burglars that put the work in.
In this system you'd have to be delivered the copied key, so at least there'd be a paper trail to the bloke who cloned your key, or at least far more potential of one than going to a Timpsons.
I will take my seed capital now please.
|>>|| No. 7289
Old fashioned key cutting is on the way out anyway (at least when it comes to your front door key.)
In recent years, burglars have twigged onto just how easy a traditional euro-cylinder lock is easy to break into. From methods such as simply snapping the front of the lock off with a pair of pliers, to using a bump key which will open perhaps 50% of the doors on any one street in seconds.
Locks made to new standards are much harder to cut, the proper way needs a CNC Machine and perhaps some special tooling, and the manufacturers will only be distributing blanks to certain locksmiths.
Some manufacturers are also setting up their own key registration schemes, so you can only get a new key cut if you can remember the answer to the security questions you set.
|>>|| No. 7290
>Some manufacturers are also setting up their own key registration schemes, so you can only get a new key cut if you can remember the answer to the security questions you set.
That feels like the equivalent of using your mother's maiden name to generate encryption keys.
|>>|| No. 7291
>What was the name of the street you grew up on?
|>>|| No. 7292
Pensions? You lads have got little interest in discussing them. Where Timpsons may branch out into next and what the future holds for the business of cutting keys? That's certainly got the juices flowing.
Never change, lads. Seriously.
|>>|| No. 7293
Key control has been around since the beginning of locksmithing and has been the norm for decades in high-security locks. Most domestic users will probably stick with normal pin tumbler locks, since they were never much more than a deterrent even before bump keying and cylinder snapping.
Even if everyone abandons the conventional pin-tumbler lock in favour of high security locks, it won't be a major problem for a company like Timpsons. The little independent key cutters might be driven out of business, but Timpsons have the scale to do some amount of specialist key-cutting in store and the logistics to provide controlled keys from either the manufacturer or a central cutting facility.
Ultion's "encrypted security algorithm" is bollocks - you can duplicate their keys on a perfectly ordinary cutting machine with dimple capability. The cheap manual machines won't do it, but any machine capable of cutting car keys will also cut Ultion keys. Their website makes a lot of noise about using "genuine Ultion keys" because they know that third-party blanks are readily available from normal distributors.
With the possible exception of EVVA MCS keys, there isn't a key on the market that's genuinely difficult to duplicate. The real protection for keys comes from the legal system. If your key uses a patented technology, you can sue anyone who sells blanks or cut keys without your permission. That's no impediment to a black bag team or a serious criminal gang who have access to a bent locksmith, but it does stop casual abuse of key management such as an employee taking a bunch of shop keys down to Timpsons during their lunch break.
The industry really does respect key patents, because The problem is that a patent only lasts for 20 years, at which point you lose key control - either you replace all your locks, or you accept the risk of key duplication. Only a handful of manufacturers go to the effort of inventing new, patentable key technologies on a regular basis and only a small minority of customers care.
The really secure key control systems are hybrid electromechanical systems like Abloy CLIQ. These keys work like a car key, with both mechanical features and an embedded security chip. These keys can be remotely disabled - if you lose one of your keys, you can invalidate that particular key without having to re-key the tumblers and replace all the keys. You can program keys so that they only work at a particular time of day, or make a temporary key that disables itself automatically after a certain time period. Copying the mechanical aspect of the key is useless unless you can also break into the key management server and authorise the electronic part of the key into the system.
|>>|| No. 7294
Yeah but its actually a discussion about which companies are doing well on the high street, who is next to be subsumed by Amazon, that is very relevant to our pension interests (particularly as some ladm8s will have worked in some of these places).
|>>|| No. 7295
House of Fraser.
The clothes are overpriced unless there's a sale on. The range of what they offer is fairly poor. The stores are starting to look dated and the layout needs an overhaul; if I want a coat then I want to look in a specific place of the shop dedicated to coats, I don't want to have to go looking around the shop one brand at a time. The staff are very snooty and up themselves.
They've issued profit warnings and been trying to negotiate lower rents with their landlords; they used to own many of the buildings the stores were located in but sold them off for a quick profit that's biting them in the arse over the long-term. It's only a matter of time before they're gone.
|>>|| No. 7296
Couldn't agree more - I last went into one about three years ago - in Slough - could not figure out for the life of me what the store was about or who its customers were. Shitty brands, badly organised as you say and a weird mix of products.
|>>|| No. 7297
I think you all just need to invest in my brilliant ideas. One day I'll come up with one that isn't already an established business and we'll all be minted.
|>>|| No. 7298
I've been working on this thing where you post pictures and all your friends can comment on them and say they like them. Get on board and there's tens, even hundreds of thousands to be made.
|>>|| No. 7299
>They've issued profit warnings and been trying to negotiate lower rents with their landlords
|>>|| No. 7300
I think we'd have more chance with a .gs lottery pool lad, sorry.
|>>|| No. 7301
Forget him, I've got a better plan, but it needs numbers to take on the big guys. Refer two friends and I'll double your money.
|>>|| No. 7302
That was one of my other ideas. I'm a bleeding edge thinker.
Next up, Avon and team Spot the Ball.
|>>|| No. 7303
>Spot the Ball
I don't know why I think this, but thats the sort of thing you think we would be brilliant at.
Do people still do the football pools? As a kid I remember the man knocking the door every Friday evening. Years later my grandfather sold his house to a man who had "won the pools".
|>>|| No. 7304
For a brief millisecond, I once considered paying for the site through affiliate tags on links posted, which is much the same model as Avon, but thought it underhand.
This is why I will never, ever be a millionaire.
|>>|| No. 7305
I remember my grandad used to do the pools, and the big, important one was Littlewoods Pools so god knows what happened to that.
I saw my dad had entered a spot the ball on twitter about a week ago, to win a new phone or something. Wasn't expecting that, he normally just tweets about the IRA.
I remember being very impressed back in the early days when you made it clear you never wanted to run ads here. It's probably the main reason I settled in here as I did.
Saying that I think that's the one way you could have done it without annoying anybody. It's essentially unintrusive, and only really underhand if you're not upfront about it.
I have a schoolfriend who made a fuck tonne on SEO and affiliate farming back in the mid 2000's when the algorithms were much easier to game. I never knew how much he truly made because he was also selling a PDF about how to make megabux fast, so I have to assume he was inflating his earnings a fair amount for that. Nonetheless he bought his own house at 20 so he didn't do terribly.
I was very jealous at the time but now I'm older and grumpier, I can't imagine a more soul sucking way to make a living, even if he was able to 'work from home or anywhere in the world!' as his blog would say.
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