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.@JudithCollinsMP showed that @JacindaArdern does not know when to stop digging

Judith Collins today in Question Time showed that Jacinda Ardern does not know when to stop digging. Ardern quoted a snippet of the question put to the police minister at the recent police conference.

That selectivity allowed Collins to right to quote the conference question in full and her full answer, which was not just about money poverty but also about

“… a poverty of ideas, a poverty of parental responsibility, a poverty of love, a poverty of caring …”.

Later Collins said she does not agree with Labour saying today that poverty causes crime.

The Labour Party showed that it is no longer rooted in working class values when it argues that poverty is not linked to a poverty of responsibility and of parental love.

There are plenty of poor people who do not resort to crime and who despise those that do, in part because they often make them the victims of their crimes including burglary.

Viagers as a way of funding retirements

A Viager is a French way of buying and selling property. We just watched the Kelvin Klein – Maggie Smith movie about it.

Not only does the seller remain as a life tenant of the property they sold, the buyer pays them an annuity as well as a down payment. The buyer gambles as all annuity providers do on the life expectancy of the vendor. One such vendor lived to 123 in France.

Back in 1965, when Mrs Calment was aged 90, she sold her apartment in Arles to a 44-years old man, on contract-conditions that seemed reasonable given the value of the apartment and the life-expectancy statistics that prevailed at the time.

The man turned out to be unlucky since Jeanne Calment lived a very long life. He died in 1995, two years before Mrs Calment, after having paid about FFr900,000 (twice the market value) for an apartment he never lived in.

The viager system is similar to the equity release and reverse mortgage systems more familiar in Anglo-Saxon countries. The viager shares the risk of running out of equity with the buyer. The contract is between two private parties and does not involve banks or insurance companies.

Sellers are typically widows, or widowers, who want to cash out the value of their property with a lump sum – the bouquet – and a monthly payment from the buyer for the rest of their lives. The seller remains as a life tenant. The bouquet is normally 15-30% of the value of the property.

French viager investors tend to be in their late 40s and early 50s wanting to set themselves up with a retirement home and hopefully get a good deal. If the buyer dies before the seller his children will be obliged to carry on paying the viager if they want to maintain the deal. In that sense, the vendor is gambling on the buyer’s life expectancy is well.

I have no information on who is responsible for payment of rates and the maintenance of the property. The maintenance of the property would be a bigger moral hazard problem than with tenants because of the difficulties with eviction and repair. The market for Viagers is fairly small.

Should the buyer default on the monthly instalments, he is warned to pay up. After a second warning, normally within weeks, he will get a further warning and one month to get up to date with payments. If this does not happen the seller keeps keeps the bouquet, all money received so far and gets back absolute ownership of the property they sold.

This home annuity option for selling the house could be away of getting around the rather small to non-existent annuity market in New Zealand for retirees. They have the advantage of sharing the risk of exhausting the equity of the property at the price of the buyer sometimes gets a really good deal. Sellers have on average shorter survival times than the general French population.

Poverty in America after 20 years of welfare reform

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Source: Did Welfare Reform Increase Extreme Poverty in the United States?

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Source: Did Welfare Reform Increase Extreme Poverty in the United States?