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12 days of Christmas costs more than average pay

12 days of Christmas costs more than average pay

James Horniman, Partner, Portfolio Manager

Buying all of the items listed in the 12 days of Christmas would burn through the entire annual take-home pay of an average UK worker and represents a dire investment.

It would cost £21,167.56 to secure the necessary drummers, pipers, lords, dancers, maids, swans, geese, gold rings, French hens, calling birds, turtle doves, the partridge and the pear tree, according to investment managers James Hambro & Partners.

This means an average UK worker with a net salary of £21,024 (£26,260 before tax) would be £143.56 shy of the total needed for such a seasonal series of overblown romantic gestures.

James Horniman, portfolio manager at the firm, said: “This is the worst investment of over £21,000 I’ve ever seen. Your true love is likely to be selling most of this stuff on eBay before January the 5th and will almost certainly get back much less than you paid.

“Even the gold rings may generate little more than the value of the gold itself. A bigger worry is that if you’re already married to your true love you’ll end up with an additional expense – paying £400 an hour for a divorce lawyer on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour.

“Go for a £1,000 diamond ring and put the rest into a balanced investment portfolio of shares, bonds, property and alternatives – think how you’ll enjoy spending the returns over a long and happy life together!”

A similar exercise undertaken in 1995 costed the 12 days of Christmas gifts at £14,837. Had that original sum been invested and achieved an annual return of 5% above inflation, through the magic of compounding, it would have grown to £41,335.

The romantic gesture, on the other hand, could actually cost money. Though the French hens would produce eggs – as would the geese – the swans would be purely decorative and any livestock would need feeding, housing, insuring and vaccinating regularly, adding to expenses.

Turtle doves are endangered and so are not available for sale in the UK. The researchers suggest ornithologist love birds pay £40 to Sussex Wildlife Trust to adopt a pair. The money is used to help protect their habitat.

Even if the price of gold were to spike, gold rings are not sold by weight and much of the cost relates to the purity of the metal and the craftsmanship. They are not guaranteed to hold their value. Horniman said: “This is one area where we could perhaps have saved money. Feeling romantic, we opted for 22ct gold bands costing £625 each.” (Argos sells gold rings for as little as £29.99.)

The most expensive items on the list are the eight maids a-milking. Paying “dairy workers”, hiring costumes, buying traditional wooden buckets and one milking cow between two maids would cost an estimated £5,287.60 and would have limited romantic currency.

Members of the House of Lords can claim £300 for each sitting day and have been costed on the basis that they will charge as much to leap as to sit. Another £100 per lord was allowed for travel expenses, bringing the cost of lords a-leaping to £4,000.



Notes to editors:

Average UK salary calculated by taking the most recent (Sept 2016) average UK salary figure of £505 a week data from the Office of National Statistics and multiplying it by 52.


For more information on how we arrived at our numbers, click here

Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Investments in livestock and ancillary facilities are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and you may not get all your money back.

This is not investment advice and JH&P can accept no liability for damage caused by wildlife or for compensation claims made by lords injured in the process of leaping.

We are happy to be approached for investment and financial advice. JH&P is not authorised by the FCA to advise on inappropriate romantic gestures.