Get Away From It All For The New Year

get away from it all

So as an antidote to all the other websites promoting the hottest stocks for 2014, and how to get over all your Christmas overspending - hows about this " get away from it all " idea as an option for 2014. Screw the rat race, buy a one way plane ticket to Tahiti, then take a boat to the Palmerston Atolls which being part of the Cook Islands Archipelago is about as far from modern civilization as you can get. Being a keen fisherman, the idea of living off my catch, and collecting coconuts from the trees brings alive the little Huckleberry Finn that lives inside me. I might be nearing 50 but I still have the heart of a 10 year old. No more responding to emails, no more reading … [Read more...]

Spend Now Pay Later

Christmas Card

One local council in London has had enough of people falling into the " spend now pay later " trap over the Christmas holiday period. They estimate that 46% of their tenants are in rent arrears, and that the problem is expected to grow larger as people splurge on Christmas but then "forget" to pay their rent. So - to combat this problem - they have sent out this Christmas card to all their social housing tenants...... Council tenants are kicking up a stink, calling this card inappropriate and insensitive. However I think its a great idea to remind people about their financial priorities. I wonder how many people will be spend now pay later this christmas - only to regret it over … [Read more...]

An Overview Of UK Pensions

Overview Of UK Pensions

An Overview Of UK Pensions The recent change in state retirement dates, pushing retirement back to age 70s for people in their 20s, has led me to write a concise overview of the UK pension system which I hope will clarify how things work in the UK without using too much technical jargon. The UK State Pension:   Here in the UK – in addition to income tax, we also pay national insurance contributions which amount to approximately 12% of our salaries (our employers also pay approximately 13.8% into this scheme) In order to qualify for a full state pension of £144/week you need to have 30 years national insurance contributions. So for most people once they reach the state … [Read more...]

Why Work Till You Drop

Work Till You Drop

How long do you want to continue working for ? Do you want to start kicking back a little once you get past the age of 55, or are you preparing to work till you drop ? Here in the UK we have the safety net of a state pension scheme but the date at which you can claim your pension is constantly being put back as our government becomes poorer, and we live longer. Compare these statistics - Do you get a state pension ? How does yours compare? In the UK we get £144/week ($230 in your funny money) Retirement Age By Country   When we pay our UK taxes, the government is meant to put some this money to one side to provide us with a pension when we reach retirement … [Read more...]

Investment Data

Investment Data

I'm often sent free magazines relating to financial matters, and this morning as  I flicked through a pension magazine I came across some interesting investment data. A table of Investment data from the UK Investment Managers Association giving the average growth rates for different sectors of managed investment funds. The 5 year average growth rates are really interesting - especially seeing as though we have been in a stock market recovery phase since the 2008 market falls. The starting date for the commencement of these growth rates falls AFTER the markets started to recover - so they only show good news. Remember that these are UK based investment manager / sector … [Read more...]

December Spending Plan

Nov 2013

A little good news amongst all the personal gloom. I’ve managed to shave off £1,200 ($1950) off my credit card debts over the last 3 months and have shifted over £6,000 ($9,200) from high interest paying deals to 0% deals. Shifting these balances onto 0% rates means that more of the repayments I’m making are going towards debt reduction rather than interest payments. Whoop Whoop. The other good news is that I’ve managed to stick to my personal spending budgets during the month of November – (a measly £280) and it hasn’t felt too bad. Here is a breakdown of my monthly budget and debt details   The bad news is that personal organisation is still a massive issue. … [Read more...]

Payday Mugging

Payday Mugging

Payday Mugging No one wants to be the victim of a mugging. We’re all shocked when something like this happens in our neighbourhood. There is outrage on the news, and column inches written in the press. My last post about how taking out a short term payday loan can have a long term negative impact on your credit rating made me realise that payday loans are nothing but a legalised financial payday mugging. So rather than being a payday mug – I think it’s right that this post should be about the alternatives to taking out a payday loan. Reading about students using payday loans to buy concert tickets, without realising the damage they are doing to their long term financial prospects, … [Read more...]

Payday Pain

pay day loan

Fancy some payday pain?   It seems as though taking out a payday loan can have long term repercussions on your personal finances. As well as having to pay eye wateringly high short term interest rates ( the highest I've seen is over 1750%pa) it seems as though there is now a long term sting in the tail for those desperate enough to fall for the marketing charms of the payday loan companies. Recently released mortgage application data in the UK shows that highly paid professionals such as lawyers, company bosses and other young professionals are having mortgage applications turned down because they have in the past taken out payday loans. Wow! It appears as though … [Read more...]