Benjamin Franklin always accepted the US constitution might be changed; “the only things we can be certain of are death and taxes,” he wrote to French scientist Jean-Baptiste Leroy (if Leroy had known about the planned new top rate of 75 per cent in France he’d surely have agreed).
Death is not really relevant to investors; you can’t take it with you, after all. But taxes are vital – and often ignored by those looking back at past returns.
This makes some charts from Stanhope Capital, which runs money for wealthy families and charities, particularly handy. Jonathan Bell at Stanhope looked back at past tax rates in the UK and calculated the returns needed merely to beat inflation, for a top-rate tax payer.