Cover of MoneyWeek issue no 462

Look East

20 November 2009 / Issue 462

The best ways to profit from Asia... PLUS:

  • Cash in on the video games boom
  • Jim Rogers: The real secret to making money
  • The penniless refugee inspired by TV's Dynasty


Education fails the poor

Here’s an amazing thing. Christmas savings clubs still exist. Three years after Farepak collapsed, leaving well over 100,000 mostly low-income savers in the lurch, thousands of people are still handing monthly cash sums over to the likes of Park (“the UK’s No. 1 for Christmas savings”) and getting ripped off at every turn as they do so.

They get to pay in advance for vouchers they won’t receive until November or December – effectively handing any interest they might have got on their savings over to their provider.

That’s a big deal at the best of times, but an even bigger deal now inflation is rising again. They then get to use those vouchers to pay for goods they could get elsewhere for a fraction of the price were they able to shop around.

The government should be working to reduce the supply of financially vulnerable people available to be exploited (via the education system). This is something successive governments have clearly failed to do.

• Read the full editor’s letter here: Education fails the poor