Category Archives: Banks

Stop Wasting Your Money

inflation is taxation by another name

your government is lying to you

Just in case you hadn’t noticed the price of everything is going up, starting with how much it costs to fill your car’s petrol tank.  Here in England petrol costs about £6.00 a gallon, while in the USA it’s around $4.00 for a smaller gallon.  Don’t expect the cost of petrol / gasoline to get cheaper, ever.

The inexorable increase in the price of everything is called inflation, and it’s currently standing at 3.3% per year in the UK and maybe 2.25% in the USA.  The snag is that wages and salaries are not increasing in line with inflation, so we all need to make the most of our money.

  • Don’t use your car for a short journey, walk instead.
  • Cancel your gym membership, you probably don’t use it, and you don’t need it, especially if you walk more.
  • Cancel your subscription TV channels, you don’t need them.
  • Stop buying things you don’t need, never go shopping without a proper list, and stop making impulse purchases.
  • Pay off your credit cards, even if it means using your savings and part of your pension fund.
  • If you can, pay off any other borrowing you have.
  • Stop borrowing money, no matter how easy it seems, paying it back, plus interest, is damned expensive.
  • Don’t cool your home so much, turn up the thermostat on your AC.
  • Don’t heat your home so much, turn down the thermostat on your heating.
  • Stop hanging about in bars drinking and looking for casual sex.
  • Eat out much less, stop buying takeouts, learn to cook instead.
  • Start growing your own produce, gardening is healthier exercise than going to the gym.
  • Sell things that you never wear, use, need, and probably don’t like any more.

Or do as I do and lead a minimalist life instead of a life of conspicuous consumption.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

some of us have to count every penny

A Graduate Workforce

travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead

Here in England a most senior police officer has slammed the policy of only recruiting graduates into the police force, saying that; ‘they lack life experience’, and ‘they won’t commit to working unsocial hours’.  He goes on to paint a picture of a graduate recruit as someone who believes they are invincible, know better than officers who have been on the force for years, and believes that policing is just an extension of university life.

I had to smile when I read this, as it agrees exactly with my experience of dealing with young graduate entrants into the far less stressful and much less dangerous business of banking.  For a young person, banking involves a hell of a lot of routine drudgery, doing things the way they’ve always been done, and not going home until all the books are balanced at the end of the day.  There’s also the whole drag of getting into the bank before 09:00, going to lunch when you are told you can, and not staying out at lunch for longer than an hour.

Some graduates of my experience also had problems with the dress code, which was a business suit for men, and smart sober attire for women.  FFS, some male graduates didn’t even know how to tie a necktie, and had to have it done for them by a kindly person when they got into the office.

In my experience, new graduates tend to be idealists.

The world is more malleable than you think, and it’s waiting for you to hammer it into shape.  ~  BONO

Actually, no it isn’t.  The snag is; when you are working for someone else, you have to be prepared to put the ideals of the business ahead of your own.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.

Many graduates also believe that they’re done with formal education when they leave university ~ and that’s another no.  There is the tiresome business of obtaining a qualification from the people who run the profession a graduate has chosen.  And I kid you not, the studies and exams set by people such as The Law Society are a bit more difficult than the average degree.  It would take most graduates 4 to 6 years to qualify as a ‘lawyer’, and cost at least £4,500.  (Other professional qualifications are similar.)  However really bright graduates may find that the firm / business helps out with costs and gives them a little time off work to study.

Being a graduate is not a passport to riches and fame, rather it’s just another step on the hard road of life.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Oxford University graduates

short-lived euphoria

Personal Finance 101

neither a borrower nor lender be

The phrase above comes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and actually refers to never lend nor borrow from a friend, but I would expand that to include never lending to nor borrowing from a family member, partner, lover, or anyone else for that matter.  Often you will never, ever see a single penny paid back to you.  I would also expend that to say never, ever, ever stand as guarantor for anyone either. Because as guarantor you are jointly end severally liable for the whole debt, plus interest, plus charges ~ up to and including losing your home and everything else you own.

  1. Work out your monthly budget, with hard numbers.  How much do you have coming in, and how much goes out, and on what?  If you have more going out than you have coming in, then stop fucking wasting money on cigarettes, booze, gambling, drugs, vacations, sex, new clothes and shoes you don’t need….  Or get a higher paid honest job.
  2. Only ever borrow for two reason; #1 a mortgage to buy your home  #2 to buy your car, if you must have a car.  (actually student loans to pay for your education sometimes make a third reason)  The only borrowing I have ever had, in my whole life, was a mortgage on my home.
  3. Pay off your debts just as soon as you possibly can, and only take out a loan if that is allowed in the documentation with no penalties.  Don’t ever borrow from anyone other than highly respected, and properly regulated institutions.  If you have never heard of them, don’t touch them with a barge pole.
  4. Never, ever, ever borrow on a credit card, for any reason whatsoever.  Only buy something on your plastic if you can afford to pay for it in hard cash right there and then, and always pay off all your card debt in full every single month.  The interest rates on credit cards are stupidly high.  Anyone who says using a credit card / line of credit to consolidate your borrowing is a crook.
  5. On the other hand, I buy everything on plastic.  I do that for 3 reasons #1 I get good points which I can use to get other things #2 because I pay off my card bills in full every month, I get 1 month’s free credit  #3 if I have a dispute with the seller, then in the UK the card company will, at the end of the day, refund me in full in the seller will not, or cannot.
  6. Save for your retirement, however that works in your country and in your company.  Save as much as you can afford for your retirement.
  7. Never ever trust anyone who tries to sell you any kind of financial product whatsoever.  If it sounds too good to be true, then it is.  If you don’t understand it, then it’s a scam.  Never, ever believe anything you see on the internet ~ especially on YouTube.  Everybody lies sometimes, sales people lie all the time.  Often they believe their own lies, or they’re to badly educated to understand their own products.  (That applies to all sales people.)

We had a mantra when I worked in Banking and Finance in The City of London;  ‘My Word Is My Bond’.  Sadly that no longer applies anywhere.  The world of Savings, Loans, Credit Cards, Banking, Finance, The Stock Markets, Real Estate….. are today full of the ignorant, dishonest, liars, charlatans, confidence tricksters, and crooks.

We had another saying in the City of London caveat emptor; which is Latin for Let the Buyer Beware.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Stress #4 ~ Money Trouble

being in control of your finances is a great stress reliever

Next to being in a dysfunctional relationship, money troubles are the commonest cause of severe stress.  Sadly, dysfunctional relationships and money troubles often go together.

There are four sets of reasons that may have caused your money troubles;

  • Misfortune.  This is not your fault,  You may have lost your job, have uninsured medical expenses, your ex may have never paid child maintenance, your water heater may have exploded in a cloud of steam…..
  • Laziness and Stupidity.  You never open your mail, you don’t check your balance when you withdraw cash from the ATM, you can’t be bothered to balance your cheque book, you don’t bother to look for the thriftier items when you go to the supermarket…..
  • Compulsive Spending.  You max out your credit cards and then get another, your favorite pastime is shopping, when you’re stressed you go shopping, you buy shoes you will never wear, you’ve bought a car you can’t afford, you buy stuff you don’t really want, need, or already have…..
  • Addictions.  Maybe this is where things get really, really bad.  You’re a drunk and you spend a fortune on booze in bars and supermarkets.  You’re a drug addict, you’re always jonesing for your drug of choice, and you would do anything to get your next fix, including spending the rent on coke.  You’re a gambler and when you’re in a casino you lose track of time and money.  You’re a sex addict and pay for a fuck or a suck, and you’re addicted to on-line porn and sex-chat…..

So you’re flat broke, have bills to pay, and you are very, very stressed, suicidally so.  So WTF can you do?

  • Stay calm, make yourself a cup of tea, sit down, get a pen and paper and make some notes.
  • Work out exactly how much you owe in outstanding debt, including all your credit cards, parking fines ~ basically write down and add up every single penny you owe.  Depressing isn’t it?
  • Work out exactly how much is the bare minimum amount a month you need to live on, including food, rent, utilities, car repayments, insurance, parking, and petrol, (gas).  Compare that with how much you’ve got coming in, and  if you’ve got less coming in than you will have going out, find something on your list you don’t need to buy.
  • Find the nearest discount grocery store, and resolve to shop nowhere but there in future, and to buy only their cheapest stuff, providing it’s nutritious.
  • Contact your bank, finance, and credit card companies and see if they can help you by deferring or reducing repayments.
  • STOP FUCKING BUYING NON ESSENTIAL STUFF.  If you have to, then cut up all your credit cards.
  • Find a way to recover from your addiction.  If you have to go to a couple of AA, or NA, or GA meetings a day then get your butt down there.  Take part.  STOP doing whatever it is that you’re addicted to; if it’s booze or drugs you may need medical help.

Some say that something good will turn up soon.  And that the Micawber Principle is a load of bullshit anyway.  All I know is that one shouldn’t throw good money down the drain.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

it isn’t this pensioner’s fault that she’s broke

you should have her worries

Police Witness

some say that crime does not pay

After I was burgled just a while ago, I’ve had to spend three hours at the police station ~ witness statement, victim statement, and going through about 20 pages of supporting documentation.

The police are optimistic of finding the criminals from CCTV footage when they used my credit cards ~ and then I’ll have to testify in court.

I’m a bit stressed, tired and depressed this afternoon.

~

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.nt

No Time to Write

Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage.

I need a new plan.  The one I’ve been using this past week doesn’t work.

On the other hand, I’ve been driven by events, rather than choosing my own path.

Having your home broken into kind of does that to you.  In some ways it’s not the invasion, nor the fact that my stuff was taken, it’s all the fucking damned paperwork and admin that follows a burglary that has really been depressing me.  And, I’ll give you one very important piece of advice, never throw away any bill, or receipt, or piece of correspondence.  Keep every fucking piece of paper in organised files for at least 6 years.  If you don’t then you’ll spend forever sorting out the paperwork when some unforeseen event or disaster happens.

I just have, and mine was only a little robbery, not some huge fucking disaster.

Hopefully, things will be better for me in the next few days.

Keep safe.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Burgled

Lying, cheating, and stealing are next door neighbours.

Sometime earlier this week someone got into the garret and stole some of my stuff.

There was no damage to my door, so at first I thought I’d just lost my wallet and cash.  That prompted me to spend a whole day searching for wallet / cash…..

But, I’d been robbed of my wallet with a couple of credit cards, my drivers licence, some other identity cards, and about £100 in cash.  I also lost my cell phone, a couple of hundred US Dollars, about 5,000 Turkish Lire, a watch, and some other bits and pieces

I’ve spent all morning on the ‘phone sorting out my banks and reporting the theft to the police.

Even then I’m not finished restoring my life ~ for example I need a new cell phone.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

I feel sorry for Marmaduke, who was alone in the garret at the time of the robbery

Mood Swings

When you are drinking, the mood swings can be horrific.

~

I started drinking when I started working in the City of London in 1982.  Back then, high-powered banking was a vicious trade, swimming in booze.  And my drinking got worse when I began my role in International Finance in about 1990.  What do you do at an airport during a four-hour layover?  This has left me with a chronic alcohol problem ~ which might not be so bad if my body could still handle booze.

One strong beer will get me incredibly buzzed, and needing another drink or a dozen.  It doesn’t happen often, but even once more will be one more time too many.

Even that might not be so bad if I was a happy drunk, but I’m not.  If I drink I suffer from terrible mood swings ~ and horrible paranoia, depression, and aggression.  I take what I hear in my own mind far too seriously and personally.  Being who I am, my bad mood comes out only in words, not anything physical.  I suppose that’s one saving grace.

Perhaps the mood swings come even before I take a drink.

I know that I can’t ever touch booze again, and I need to work on that.

With the help of my higher power I may just be successful.

~

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Even one IPA is far too strong for me now.

The High Cost of Money

Before borrowing money from a friend, decide which you need more.

In The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare explores the dangers of borrowing money, and in Hamlet, Shakespeare says; ‘neither a borrower nor a lender be…..’  And, especially think twice, and twice again before borrowing money from a friend.  Think about what you need the most ~ the friendship or the money, for money is often the cause of acrimony and breakups of even the closest of relationships.  Your friend may not charge you financial interest on the sums you borrow, but there are likely to be charges and obligations other than strictly monetary.

In order of the least to most desirable lenders from whom you could think of approaching are;

  • Friends and lovers.  Borrow from a friend and be prepared to soon lose a friend.
  • Parents and family.
  • Payday Lenders, who will charge you usuary rates of interest ~ 250% to over 1,000% per annum.
  • Guarantor Lenders.  If you have a poor credit rating you could get a friend or family member to guarantee your loan.  These are doubly bad, with all the disadvantages of actually borrowing from friends, lovers, parents and family ~ plus very high rates of interest 50% per annum being about the norm.
  • Credit card debt.  These insidious borrowings can cost you 25% or more over a year ~ if you go on using that card you may never be debt free.
  • Bank loans.  If your bank will lend you money you may expect to pay a low rate of interest, maybe between 3% and 10% per annum.
  • Mortgages and other secured loans from your bank or a  mortgage company / broker.  Personally, I could get a mortgage at 2% per annum.
  • Car loans.  If you should want to buy a new car, many dealers will offer you a car loan at 0%.

And, why do you want a loan anyhow?  The very worst reason for borrowing is to feed your addiction; gambling, drugs, booze, sex…. and the second worst reason for borrowing money is to pay off another debt.  Both of those are likely to get you into deeper and even worse trouble.  Maybe the only good reasons for  borrowing are to buy a home, or car,  (or in some places to pay medical fees).  Vacations, wide-screen TVs, plush furniture,  jewellery, fancy clothes, expensive shoes, are all not worth getting yourself into debt for.

So, just beware of borrowing anything from anyone.

Some say a fool and his money are soon parted.  And that a man in love never counts the cost of anything.  All I know is that Shakespeare was a pretty smart guy.

~

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@ talktalk.net

Maybe a convertible Mustang isn’t the most prudent purchase.

The Cashless Conspiracy

Life is like a cash register, in that every account, every thought, every deed, like every sale, is registered and recorded.  ~ Fulton J. Sheen

There is a conspiracy at the highest levels of government and the banking industry that wants to do away with cash ~ that is the notes and coins in your wallet, purse, and pocket.  Here in England our Treasury Department, The Bank of England, (which is really another branch of government), the large high-street banks, and the major retail store chains are doing all they can to bring about the complete end of physical cash.

In the UK the number of free-to-use cash machines, (ATMs), is dwindling at the rate of about 250 every month, and that leaves shoppers and small businesses struggling to get hold of any cash, (source ~ consumer group Which).  Add to that the number of bank branch closures which adds up to about 1,000 a year over the past 3 years, and one can see that the finance industry is just not interested in anything but card payments and electronic banking.

The thing is, cash is utterly reliable, whereas electronic payments systems can and do crash from time to time.  Also some small businesses cannot afford the trouble and expense of installing a card reader and becoming a card merchant, so they are reliant on cash payments.  In addition, for very small payments, a card is just a stupid way to pay.  (And what stripper or hooker will accept anything but cash?)

However, the Government, the Bank of England, and the rest of the finance industry are doing everything possible to either promote cashless payments, or force cashless payments upon us.  Electronic swipe cards are now the norm, which means no signature or PIN is required to make a purchase, just wave your card at the reader.  Trust me, as a guy with 30 years experience in Banking and Finance, electronic swipe cards are not and never will be secure.  And just you try getting your money back from your bank if you have been a victim of card fraud.

One high street bank in the UK is trialing a system which will allow customers to authorise card payments for any amount just using their fingerprint ~ and that is also totally open to a number of easy frauds.

The thing is Governments, Central Banks, the Tax people, High Street Banks, Major Retail Chains hate cash because; it’s expensive for them to handle, they cannot monitor your every payment and spending pattern if you use cash, and they have absolutely no control over your earnings and spending if it’s in cash.

If we are not all very careful, then very soon Big Brother will be watching your money.

These comments apply to the banking and finance industry in England, which I know a bit about, but they also apply in equal measure to the USA.

Some say that Cash is King.  And others, that Cash is Dead, card and electronic payments are the real future.  All I know is I can get cash-back from my favourite store if I just make one tiny card purchase.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

The Bank of England is just another arm of Big Government

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