Election campaigns are won and lost across divides. Class divides, north-south divides, and of course the Brexit divide this time around.
The Tories are moving towards a No Deal exit; Labour want a confirmatory referendum and say they would remain neutral in it; and the Liberal Democrats want to revoke Article 50 completely.
Brexit has dominated the headlines for months and has overshadowed much of the party policy of the current campaign.
However, there’s another divide that plays an important part when considering who to vote for – the age gap.
Different demographics historically favour different political parties. So what are the policies that affect you, depending on when you were born?
Here’s what the main parties have to offer depending on which decade you were born in.
1990s (Age 20-29)
Choosing who to vote for is a big decision at any age, but with the exception of 18 to 19-year-olds, voters in their 20s have the longest to live with the consequences.
At the same time, you’re likely to have less disposable income and less accumulated personal wealth such as your own home and other substantial assets.
For this age group, especially if you’re planning further study, tuition fees might still be on the agenda.
Rules on rental properties, tenancy deposit schemes and the rights and responsibilities of landlords may also matter more to you than to your older counterparts.
Finally, you might want to make your decision based on what the parties are offering to the lower income tax bands, such as an increase in the personal tax-free allowance.
While there’s unlikely to be any major change regardless of who wins, the Conservatives have outlined an increase in the National Insurance threshold to £9,500, as part of a long-term aim to raise the allowance to £12,500 before NI must be paid.
Meanwhile Labour are targeting the highest earners – those on £80,000 and above would pay 45% tax and those over £125,000 would pay 50%.
Most voters in their 20s at the moment would be unlikely to be affected by this rise, but could feel the benefits from tax receipts raised by the Exchequer.
In addition to all of the above, young parents could be swayed by party pledges on childcare.
The Conservatives have outlined £1 billion of spending on after-school clubs and childcare during the holidays.
Meanwhile both the Liberal Democrats and Labour say they would remove the two-child cap on child benefits – worth around £2,800 per child per year if you’re planning a larger family in the long term.
1980s (Age 30-39)
If you’re in your 30s, you’re most likely to be looking to move from rented property into your first own home.
First-time buyers can expect a different amount of help depending on who’s in power after the election.
A Conservative government – according to promises made by Boris Johnson – would prioritise FTBs who could not otherwise afford to buy, with a discount of up to 30% if you buy within your local area.
Meanwhile, Labour under Jeremy Corbyn have promised a 50% discount on new-build properties, targeted specifically at key workers.
Both have put estimates on the number of homes they would expect to sell in this way – the Conservatives predict just under 30,000, whereas Labour are aiming for at least 50,000 over the coming five years.
If you’re building your investment portfolio in your 30s but you’re still a basic-rate taxpayer, Labour’s proposals could be worth investigating in more detail.
The party have pledged to align tax payable on investments and dividends with the individual’s rate of income tax.
So if you’re a basic rate taxpayer, you’d pay 20% on any dividends you receive. This is an increase on the current 7.5% basic rate taxpayers pay on dividends over the £2,000 tax-free allowance, but it all depends on how it factors into your personal calculations overall.
1970s (Age 40-49)
In a typical general election, over-40s are more likely to vote Conservative than Labour, according to past polls by YouGov.
But there is no one 40something voter. Everyone is different, but it’s a demographic in which a few things are more likely:
- You’re more likely to be in a stable career and own your own home.
- You’re more likely to have accumulated wealth and spending power.
- You’re more likely to have started a family and have school-age kids.
Childcare is a big expense for many households, especially in your forties when your children are usually attending school.
If you have more than two children, be aware that both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have said that they would remove the two-child benefits limit previously put in place by the Conservatives.
The cap, which by definition affects larger families the most, is worth around £2,800 per child per year.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives have pledged around £1 billion for after-school and holiday childcare.
Remember that if you are a high-earner, you may be required to repay some or all of the child benefits you receive due to the high-income child benefit charge for households earning more than £50,000.
1960s (Age 50-59)
Your 50s are a pivotal period in adult life. You’re more likely to have a settled home life. Your children may have left home, or be close to doing so. You’re likely to be looking ahead towards retirement.
At the same time, you’re not yet of state pension age, which for many of us seems to be getting ever further out of reach.
Whereas those 20-year-olds mentioned above are likely to be renters, you’re more likely to be on the landlord side of that arrangement, so anything that makes it more difficult to invest in property could be unwelcome.
Both the Conservatives and Labour are planning an end to no-fault evictions, which could make it more difficult for you to regain control of a rental property from a tenant who has met all of the terms of their tenancy agreement.
And if you don’t rent out property, but instead refurbish it to sell to first-time buyers, those pledges of 30-50% discounts for FTBs could hit your own profits hard by flooding the market with more affordable homes.
One pledge worth noting is Labour’s plan to freeze the state pension age at 66, whereas if you were born after March 6th 1961, your pension age would be 67 under a Conservative or Liberal Democrat government.
For those who were born in 1961, that might still seem a long way off; for those born in 1969 it’s much closer.
1950s (Age 60-69)
Finally we reach the demographic in which people are at state pension age. If you are in this age range and female, you could be one of the so-called WASPI women who were adversely affected by the increase in the state pension age in 2011.
Nearly a decade later, Labour proposals under Jeremy Corbyn plan to compensate you for the pension income you lost due to this – tens of billions of pounds across the UK population.
It’s one of Labour’s biggest spending commitments and a direct benefit to women of the right age, as well as potentially a huge injection of cash into the economy that could have trickle-down effects from a demographic with relatively strong spending power.
The Liberal Democrats say they would also compensate WASPI women for their loss of pension income, with this compensation only available to those born before 1960.
Other than that, the major parties have outlined broadly similar pledges to pensioners, including on issues like winter fuel allowance, free bus passes and free TV licences for the over-75s.
All have also said they will retain the so-called ‘triple lock’ on the state pension, which ensures it tracks the cost of living upwards by whichever is the largest of inflation, average wage growth, or a fixed 2.5%.
Election 2019: How to decide?
Your vote is your own, whether you base your decision on party politics, Brexit, tactical voting or otherwise.
It’s difficult to be aware of the implications of every spending commitment listed in every party manifesto, especially those that could have knock-on effects throughout the economy or ‘trickle down’ into your demographic from above.
But as investors, you’re experienced at identifying the risks and rewards and weighing up the potential benefits.
Treat your vote like an investment, do your due diligence, and you can make sure the decision you make at the ballot box is the best one for you, your family, your finances and the country as a whole.Treat your vote like an investment, do your due diligence, and you can make sure the decision you make at the ballot box is the best one for you, your family, your finances and the country as a whole.
Remember it’s entirely your decision which way you vote. The snapshots above focus on just a few of the headline policies from the main parties that could affect people born in each decade.
The full manifestos go into much more detail and include many more issues than we have been able to cover in this article.
You can find them at:
- Conservatives: https://vote.conservatives.com/our-plan
- Labour: https://labour.org.uk/manifesto/
- Liberal Democrats: https://www.libdems.org.uk/plan
- Green Party: https://campaigns.greenparty.org.uk/manifesto/
- SNP: https://www.snp.org/snp-manifesto-2019-scotlands-future-in-scotlands-hands/
- Brexit Party: https://www.thebrexitparty.org/contract/
Disclaimer: The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.