Getting a return on your investments is tricky these days. Yields are low. Bank rates are insulting. So what can you do? That's what we look at in this week's edition of MoneyWeek magazine, as we pick the best blue-chip stocks to buy if you're looking for income.
If you want to find out what those stocks are, take out a subscription to the magazine.You might be glad you did.
Osborne backtracks on pension reform. But don't relax just yet
Merryn opens the magazine by talking about pensions. It had been widely feared that George Osborne would take a hatchet to tax relief on pension contributions. But as it turned out, he backtracked. Savers have been given a temporary reprieve. But don't relax just yet, she says. "The UK government is still broke and the tax relief on pensions is still very expensive."
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Natalie Stanton picks up the theme later in the magazine. There's still plenty of room for the chancellor to fiddle with your pension, she says. She looks at what he could still do, and what you can do to head off any changes.
Where to find income
Everybody likes dividends. Without them, returns on investments would be paltry. As an example, £100 invested in stocks 1900 would have returned just £240 if you relied on capital gains alone. Reinvest the dividends, however, and you'd be sitting on over £44,000.
So dividends are important. But where do you find stocks that pay a nice, reliable dividend?
It's easy enough to look at a stock's dividend yield and buy the company yielding the most. But you have to make sure it's sustainable it could be high for all the wrong reasons.
That's what we look at in this week's cover story. We pick a selection of blue-chip stocks from four different sectors, and point out which ones are worth buying, and which ones you should avoid, and why.
The one alternative asset worth buying
In the quest for income, investors have been turning to all sorts of weird and wonderful alternative assets. Art. Stamps. Fine wines. Those are all very well. But they're not for us, says Sarah Moore. "Trading costs are high, they aren't easy to sell at short notice, and are almost impossible to value with any degree of accuracy", she says.
But there is one alternative asset class that we do like. Timber. It returned 18.4% in 2014 and 21% a year since 2010. Compare that to the FTSE 100's annual return of 7.7% and you can see why we like it. You don't need to own thousands of acres of land, and you don't need to be a dab hand with a chainsaw, either. Sarah picks the best ways to invest whatever your means. Sign up now, and you can find out how.
The crazy world of London property and should you remortgage?
Natalie Stanton returns to the ever-popular subject of London property. "The city has become a magnet for high end property developers", she says, "eager to snap up its office blocks" to convert into luxury apartments "everywhere from Battersea to Brent Cross".
But that's all changing. Developers are now having trouble shifting their units, and prices are starting to fall. Conditions are "challenging" says one developer.
For those of us already saddled with a mortgage, rock-bottom interest rates mean they're much less of a burden than they might otherwise be. And with no sign of them rising any time soon, you might be thinking of remortgaging to see if you can get an even better rate. Sarah Moore looks at the options available to you.
All this and much, much more
There's far too much in the magazine this week to cram into one short email. But here's a quick taster of what else is on offer.
David C Stevenson picks two investment trusts to buy for long-term growth one in private equity, and one in emerging markets.
Alex Williams looks at the brouhaha surrounding Burberry at the moment, and picks one stock to take a punt on. Plus, we have a roundup of the most interesting share tips from the rest of the financial press.
We continue our series of EU referendum briefings, this time we look at what "Brexit" would mean for Britain's immigration figures. Guest columnist Edward Chancellor looks at the mess the US Federal Reserve has got us all in, while regular commentator Matthew Lynn weighs in with his request for a "pro-business London mayor".
In travel, Chris Carter looks at five of the best places to visit this spring, from Cornwall to Tokyo.
And for beginners this week, Merryn explains "who's who in investing" if you don't know the difference between a stockbroker, a fund manager and a market maker, sign up now to find out.
Ben studied modern languages at London University's Queen Mary College. After dabbling unhappily in local government finance for a while, he went to work for The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh. The launch of the paper's website, scotsman.com, in the early years of the dotcom craze, saw Ben move online to manage the Business and Motors channels before becoming deputy editor with responsibility for all aspects of online production for The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News websites, along with the papers' Edinburgh Festivals website.
Ben joined MoneyWeek as website editor in 2008, just as the Great Financial Crisis was brewing. He has written extensively for the website and magazine, with a particular emphasis on alternative finance and fintech, including blockchain and bitcoin. As an early adopter of bitcoin, Ben bought when the price was under $200, but went on to spend it all on foolish fripperies.
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