Middle Class Problems: A buy-to-let seems like the ideal way to invest the pension pot ... but how will daughter Arabella get on to the property ladder?


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The Independent Online

What a boon! After years of rock-bottom returns on pension plans, that nice Mr Osborne is letting those approaching retirement manage their own money, freeing them from lacklustre annuities.

The Chancellor trusts grown-ups not to blow their pension pots on a Testarossa, and why would they, when there is a booming property market? Where better to invest a figure ending with lots of zeros than in a nice little flat to let?

With a healthy rental income (there is a shortage of good accommodation, for some reason) and capital appreciation, it's a win, win. In fact, a win, win, win, because there is tax relief on some overheads.

There is only one problem for Geoffrey and Anthea as they size up possible purchases in an up-and-coming south London postcode: their daughter Arabella is desperate to buy a first home of her own – her parents will help her with the deposit, and she has a mortgage in principle, but every time she spies a promising address, she is pipped to the post by an older cash buyer.

Geoffrey and Anthea wonder whether they should withdraw from this housing steeplechase, but what's the point? There are thousands more couples like them, and their investment will be better for Arabella in the long run, when they are dead, in 30 years' time or so. She can inherit their house and the flat (if the money hasn't all gone on nursing-home fees, of course).

True, she will have to keep sharing for now, but that's hardly her parents' fault, is it?