Has World Cup fever hit you yet, or are you still in denial?
If you’ve watched (or been forced to watch) the football this week, there’ve been some surprising results!
Read on below for analysis and more predictions from John Buttress, plus Darren Hedgley takes a look at Sweden vs. Germany as retirement destinations…
If I were writing this last Friday my prediction would have been:
- Argentina 2. Croatia 3. Nigeria 4. Iceland
However, last night’s surprise result, Croatia 3 Argentina 0 sees "La Albicelestes" on the verge of exiting the competition. Surprising the pundits yet again is Iceland and their incredible Viking thunder-clapping fans - 57,000 of them, which is nearly 20% of the population, applied for World Cup tickets.
Croatia now looks certain to top Group D, but a win for Iceland or Nigeria in today's lunchtime game will mean Argentina no longer have their destiny in their own hands.
Another big surprise was Brazil’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland but expect the "Canarinhos" ("Little Canaries") to show their true samba style in the next two games. Serbia beat Costa Rica 1-0, but I think the crunch game will be Switzerland v Serbia in a shoot-out to decide who joins Brazil in the knockout stages.
My prediction: ()
- Costa Rica
More shocks (in more ways than one) as Mexico beat Germany 1-0, and Mexican celebrations caused "massive jumps" that were initially reported as earth tremors in Mexico City! However, like Brazil expect some German precision to takeover to get them out of this tough Group. Mexico looked a very skilful and pacy side, a team nobody will want to face in the next round. Sweden v Germany is the crunch game to see who follows “El Tri” (short for “El Tricolor” the Mexican flag) into the later stages and South Korea look likely to be the team to make the least impact.
- South Korea
(predictions by John Buttress)
Pension playoffs: Sweden v Germany
As John says above, it’s been a week of surprises so far in this World Cup: first Mexico’s win against Germany and then England actually winning their first game against Tunisia.
The latter was a refreshing surprise, not just for retailers across the country who’ve breathed a sigh of relief for the moment and pushed the branded merchandise further to the front of the shelves as England potter on through their group games with 3 points in hand, but also for me as it meant I could park my intended review of their upcoming group game against Panama and concentrate on Saturday’s clash of European financial giants Sweden and Germany.
It may be a cliché but both of these two immediately spring to mind when thinking of strong economies and well built products – let’s ignore those infuriating self-build bits of furniture just for a moment!
So what would retirement look like in either of them?
Both can be found in the top 10 Natixis Global Retirement Index survey so we really are talking about the crème de la crème when it comes to considering them as places to retire to. But would it work when arriving with a UK BSP and some private pension provision? Well, going back to clichés, it’s notable that Germany doesn’t score well in the happiness stakes and finds itself outside the top ten, perhaps proving that money isn’t everything in retirement.
According to data from the World Health Organisation, life expectancy in Germany is 3 years lower than in Sweden at 81 vs. 84 years, something retirees in Sweden need to bear in mind when planning their later-life savings. In both countries, the high cost of living means you’ll need additional pension provision to top up on what the state gives you, and make sure you have enough for that stein of bier or smorgasbord platter: the cost of living in Sweden is 5.6% higher than in Britain. Germany fares better here, with a cost of living that’s broadly similar to the UK (although given that the UK has one of the highest global costs of living anyway, it’s all relative (sob)).
Material things aside, what about quality of life? Both Germany and Sweden score highly here, although a recent USNews global quality of life poll has Sweden 7 places higher than Germany at 3rd vs. 10th respectively. Perhaps this is a question of how much you like other people, as a retirement to Sweden would definitely be quieter than one in Germany purely by virtue of population levels (10 million in Sweden, 83 million in Germany). Although on the plus side, this also means Germany has more choice when it comes to the size of their football squad!
One area which Sweden can be considered to lead the world in is their health expenditure per capita, so it’s a place where you are probably going to be well looked after should the need arise. Germany is not dissimilar in this regard, so it’s probably a draw on this count.
In fact I make this one a draw overall – rather than tossing a coin, your choice of retirement destination could come down to whether you prefer German cakes, or Swedish ski slopes! It’s a level playing field otherwise…