Category Archives: Housing

Your House Is Worth Nothing

Land is the far greatest of fraudulent perpetual monopolies.  ~  Winston Churchill

As it goes, and speaking as a guy with 30 odd years of banking under his belt, in the long term, financially, your beach home / house / apartment is worth less than nothing.

You may say that it’s been valued at $1,350,000 but what does that actually mean?

It means that if you sell the place, then that’s what you’ll get.  Less all the bloodsucking bankers, lawyers, and realtors fees.

Then what?

You’ll probably plough the $1,350,000 into a bigger place that’s notionally worth $1,450,000.  And, in human terms that new place is worth even less than nothing.  You will work much harder to keep it.

All you are doing is paying rent, and working harder to keep the place…..  And, then you’ll die.

The only way your $1,500,000 place is worth anything at all to you is if you sell up and live in a van.

Real Estate is all about cost.  Look at your monthly / annual bills and you will see that your house is costing you a fucking fortune.  Any bum can have 80% of what you have for nothing.  Trust me, I know, I’ve been there.

Any First Nations elder will tell you that property is expensive theft.

Banking and the real estate industry is built on the notion that your property is intrinsically worth something, and it isn’t.  You can’t take it with you, and when the next Big One comes it won’t even be there.

But, even though I know that the Wizard is a fraud, I will never persuade you.

For the truth means you have too much to lose.

~

jack collier

jackcollier@talktalk.net

I thought about a school bus once,

but then I’d want a woman to share it with me,

 

How to have more spending money

There is scarcely anything that will drag you down like debt.

Basically there are two ways we can have more cash to spend on the things we really like, want, and desire ~ one is to go out and get more money, earn it, marry it, inherit it, steal it….

The other way to have more cash to spend on the things we really like is to spend less on ‘essentials’ ~ the things we have to buy to survive.

For if we remember our Dickens and what Mr. Micawber said in David Copperfield, happiness lies in spending less than we earn, and unhappiness lies in spending more than we actually have.

There are some tried and tested ways to spend less on the boring essentials.  In my quest for minimalistic living, I have personal, (sometimes very bitter), experience of all of these following ideas:

  1. Live in a smaller place.  Smaller homes cost less to buy, attract lower property taxes, and use less utilities; water, gas, electricity.
  2. If you can, switch your utilities provider to a better and cheaper company.  All utilities companies are money-grabbing vultures, but try to choose the best of a bad lot.
  3. Drive a smaller car.  Smaller cars are less expensive to buy and insure, and in general use much less gas than a bigger car with more weight and a bigger engine.  If you buy a classic smaller car, as opposed to the latest model, then you won’t even suffer from depreciation.
  4. Switch your car insurance to a better and cheaper company.
  5. Learn some DIY skills.  You don’t have to use expensive and useless contractors, car mechanics, cleaners, or gardeners.  It’s cheaper and better if you do as much as you can for yourself.
  6. Cut out impulse purchases.  On impulse, too many of us buy too much stuff that we don’t actually need, want, or really like.  All that stuff clutters up our home and convinces us that we need to move to a bigger place.
  7. Don’t marry a sexy trophy wife, (or toy boy), who will also want you to move into a bigger place.  A trophy wife, (or toy boy), will end up costing you most of your treasure, and you’ll end up with a broken heart.
  8. Don’t try to buy love.  It doesn’t work, it will cost you a fortune, and you’ll end up with a broken heart.
  9. Control your addictions….. booze, drugs, gambling, pornography, casual sex, smoking….. All of these will all cost you just about everything you have, including your self-respect.
  10. Resist the urge to have the latest and most expensive technologies.  You don’t need a huge TV, costly cable, the newest computer, the best tablet, the most expensive iPhone with the most expensive contract.
  11. Buy whole foods rather than processed, heavily packaged, and generally bad for you costly crap.
  12. Buy generic brands.  Trust me, I’ve been into factories where the expensive labels and generic brands are actually made on the same production line with exactly the same content.  Only the packaging is different.
  13. If you can, then buy in bulk.
  14. Stop going out to lunch at work, instead take a packed lunch.  Those people you go to lunch with are probably boring and certainly aren’t your real friends anyway.  And, if you’re an average guy the women you take to lunch are never going to have sex with you, so you’re wasting your time and money.
  15. Don’t join a gym.  Most of the people who have gym membership never go there.  For great exercise take a long walk in the sunshine instead.
  16. Visit thrift stores, and if you find clothes you like, then save money and buy ‘pre-loved’ stuff.
  17. Don’t give to a big charity.  (Have you any idea how much the bosses of the big charities pay themselves?  The average pay across the top 100 charities is more than £250,000 a year, plus huge bonuses.)
  18. Don’t spend all your time drinking in pubs and bars ~ the booze is expensive there, and nobody in your favourite pub is your real friend anyway.

And finally, don’t spend on borrowed money, especially credit cards which all charge usury rates of interest.  Credit cards are NOT money.  Really, really, really NEVER use a payday lender, which all charge eye-watering criminal rates of interest.

You can probably think of some other money-saving tips of your own.  For a month try making a note of what you actually spend your hard-earned on ~ I guarantee that you will be surprised and shocked.  Learn what you actually spend your money on, and then you can start to control your finances.

Some say that money can’t buy happiness.  And that a fool and his money are soon parted.  All I know is that having money makes misery more bearable.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

you can take the idea of living in a tiny home to the extreme…..

They Cut Down All The Trees

Life without trees is life without Love.

The street where I live is under serious redevelopment, which involves making a tremendous amount of mess.  It also means that the contractors have cut down all the mature trees which used to line both sides of the street, and surround the old church, (which is now actually an art gallery).

Perhaps the redevelopment is a good idea, and the place will look much better when it’s all finished, but cutting down all the trees is just urban vandalism.

Where I live now looks as though urban riots / a small war has just been through there.

And, the old church / art gallery now looks utterly bereft.  All such a shame.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

As you can tell,

it’s still raining cats and dogs here.

living with less

Having few desires means satisfaction with what you have.

Making radical plans always has more ramifications that one first thinks.  I have this germ of an idea to convert an old school bus into a camper / RV / motor home, and / or find a great plot and construct a home / holiday home out of shipping containers.  One of the ramifications is that the amount of interior space is likely to be limited in either of those projects.

But, there is an axiom; You don’t need more space, you need less stuff…

Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.  ~  Will Rogers

Ergo, the first rule of living with less is to stop buying things you don’t really need.  A lot of us like buying new stuff: kitchen gadgets, clothes, pictures, ornaments and geegaws, books, and other sundry unnecessary crap.  Then we find our spare room and garage filled with the old stuff we have replaced with new stuff, and eventually we have to take all that old crap to the thrift store.

All this costs us time, money, stress, and heartache.  Buy stuff we don’t really need and our lives are filled with clutter, and clutter is incredibly stressful.  The simple answer is; ‘if you don’t absolutely need it, then don’t buy it’.  If there is no clean and empty space on your tables, kitchen counters, bookshelves, dressing table, desk, and in your bathroom, then you have far too much stuff.

Clutter, junk, piles of unused stuff, overflowing cupboards, a garage you can barely get your car into, a spare room full of more unused stuff… all this is bad for your physical, mental, and spiritual health.  If you can’t lose weight, you’re always tired, you’re always late for work ~ then clean up your clutter.

Instead of complications and clutter, consider simplicity and minimalism instead.

If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come.  Simplicity is extremely important for happiness.  Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital: satisfaction with just enough… and shelter to protect yourself from the elements.  ~  The Dalai Lama

Simple living will benefit your physical, mental, and spiritual health in many ways.  Living simply declutters your life and your daily schedule ~ who knows if you live simply you may even make it into work on time.

Living simply with less stuff, living a clean and minimalistic lifestyle, well it isn’t something that you should attempt to achieve overnight, usually this kind of huge change takes time, effort, and determination.  Take little steps, at least to begin with.  Some good ideas are;

  1. Get rid of all your duplicates.  If you have 2 of something, like 2 copies of the same CD, then you have 1 too many.  Take the duplicate to the thrift store.
  2. Clean out your garage and spare room, (and other places you store unused stuff).  If it’s been in your garage for years, and you’ve never used it, then either take it to the thrift store, give it away, or put it in the dumpster.
  3. Start a clutter-free area.  Have a minimalistic and clutter-free zone or room perhaps your bathroom, or kitchen, and then expand that through the rest of your home.
  4. Travel lightly.  Take half the stuff you think you will need, and twice as much money.  If your garage or spare room is full of luggage, suitcases, bags… then get rid of some of them. Most airlines will only allow one bag anyway.
  5. Dress with less.  If you haven’t worn it in months, and you don’t really like it, and maybe it’s a little worn, and it doesn’t fit you any more ~ then take it to the thrift store.  Have a colour and style theme that really suits you, and try your best to always stick with that.
  6. Simplify and purify your diet.  Go through your fridge, freezer, and larder ~ junk anything past its ‘use by date’ or is of dubious quality, or you shouldn’t be eating or drinking anyway.
  7. Have a £1,000 pound emergency fund, ($1,000).  Money for emergencies reduces stress and makes it amazingly easier to junk stuff you don’t really need.

I live in a 500 square foot loft apartment I call the garret.  The only thing I have too much of is books.  My bookshelves are full, my bookcases, (2 of them), are full, and there are books stacked on the floor…  I’m working on that, all of my books are for sale on Amazon.  In recent weeks I’ve got rid of half my clothes, (see point #5), and replaced some with far better quality stuff.  My kitchen counters and bathroom are totally clutter free, and my refrigerator is only half-full.  I’m not doing too badly on being minimalistic and clutter-free.

Trust me~ discarding unwanted stuff, being clutter-free, creates a raft of good feelings.

Simplicity is the most difficult thing to secure in this world; it is the last limit experience and the last effort of genius.  ~  George Sand

Good design and good quality is timeless.  Always buy the best you can afford, and never buy more than you need.  Remember K.I.S.S. ~ Keep It Simple Stupid…  Simplicity is Good, and Clutter is Bad.  Focus on what really matters to you, and don’t get suckered in to buying cheap bargains you don’t need.

Less is more.  ~  Mies Van Der Rohe

Be clean, simple, uncluttered, and minimalistc, (especially in the bedroom), and I promise you your life will be better.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

click on the book to find out more

 

 

 

Sponsored by:  http://www.amazon.com/shops/salinevalleyenterprises

10% discount on everything on saline valley if you quote code C7SYDV6B

Off-Grid Electricity

Living off the grid brings a dangerous reality.

Whether I finally end up converting a school bus into a camper / RV, or building a shipping container home in the deep countryside, the chances are that I will need to generate my own electricity.  Luckily, these days this isn’t as difficult as you might think.  However, modern living uses a hell of a lot of electricity, especially in America.  We may be looking at an electricity usage of 30 kWh, (kilowatt-hours), every day.  However, with a little bit of arithmetic, (math), you can calculate your own likely electricity consumption, and your generating systems should be installed with that usage in mind.

There are three main ways to generate your very own off-the-grid power:

  1. A generator powered by an internal combustion engine.  Generators come in a huge variety of sizes, capacities, and prices, but a 6 kW (kilowatt), generator might set you back £1,500, ($1,800).  Other than capacity, the choice boils down to petrol, (gasoline), or diesel power. Generally speaking diesel is better, (but may be noisier).  With a little work you can also run generators on gas, (propane, methane, natural gas), wood alcohol, (methanol), and paraffin, (kerosene).  With some work, diesel generators will run on cooking oil.
  2. Solar Power.  Stick some solar panels on the roof, or in the yard, and you have electricity while the sun is shining.  Typically, solar power systems for a camper / RV, (and perhaps a shipping container home), produce 12 volt electricity, which is then used to charge a big battery, from which power is taken when anything electrical is switched on.  To step up 12 volt direct current to 110, or 230 volt alternating current you need an inverter.  These come in a huge variety of capacities and prices.  You can buy them at Home Depot.  Larger scale solar power systems, such as may be required by a decent sized shipping container home, usually need specialist installation.  You will probably need to find an appropriate contractor.
  3. Wind Power.  Wind power for a school bus camper / RV /motorhome would be very small scale and probably part of a 12 volt system.  A wind turbine for a container home would be bigger, but in the scheme of things, still very small scale.  A free standing wind turbine on a mast may need various regulatory permissions before you erect the thing.  Most likely you will also be digging holes and trenches, so I hope you can use a mini-digger, (tiny backhoe).

Typically, the ‘belt and braces’ type of guy, (that’s me), would install both wind and solar power systems for his Camper / RV / Motorhome, or shipping container tiny home, perhaps with a diesel generator as back-up for both.

If you haven’t realised from the above, then off-the-grid electricity comes in two flavours;

  • 12 volt DC, (direct current).  This is the same as you get from an ordinary car battery.  12 volt DC systems can be installed by anyone competent in DIY.
  • 120 volt (USA), 230 volt (Europe), and 240 volt (UK), alternating current.  This is what you get from the sockets in your home, and is often known as mains electricity.  Working with AC systems is normally not a DIY job, and at some point you will most likely need to employ a fully qualified electrical contractor.

So, you are generating your own electricity.  That’s only half the story.  Your camper / RV / motor home, and / or your container home will have to be wired to make use of all that lovely power.  Basic wiring is well within the scope of a person very competent in DIY, and 12 volt DC lighting is dead easy.  Mains electricity 110 volt and 230 volt AC is more complicated and you would do well to have your circuitry checked over by a properly qualified contractor before you use it.

Of course, these days you can actually buy a fully kitted out container home, complete with connections for all services, so all the wiring would be done for you.  That sort of misses the point, doesn’t it?  Amazon will sell you everything else you need to generate your own electricity.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

click to buy the turbine

 

 

Sponsored by:  http://www.amazon.com/shops/salinevalleyenterprises

Shipping Container Homes

You don’t need more space, you need less stuff.

Back when I owned a trailer park, shipping containers often made instant buildings which could serve a myriad of purposes for me, from simple storage units, through a workshop, to a pretty nice office.

(not my office, a home made from shipping containers)

What I have never yet attempted is to use a shipping container to make a tiny home, or more likely, use several shipping containers linked together to make a decent-sized home.  The place to start is to learn something about shipping containers, and then buy the right units.

Shipping containers are usually strong steel boxes with doors at one end, but they actually come in lots of versions.  The standard width is 8′ (eight feet), the standard height is 8’6″ (eight foot six inches), and the two standard lengths are 20′ (twenty foot), and 40′ (forty foot).  There are a whole raft of non-standard lengths starting at 5′, but a 10′ container is the more common of the non-standard lengths.  The internal floor areas work out at 150 sq ft for a 20′ container and 305 sq ft for a 40′ container.

Given that most people regard 1000 sq ft as a decent size for a home, (plus a garage), then we are talking of at least a couple of containers to make anything that approximates a ‘normal-sized’ house.  Container architecture is a discipline all of its own.

You obviously need a plot, the appropriate permissions from whatever building authority is responsible for all the regulatory stuff, and you may / or may not need to lay a concrete slab on which to stand the container(s) you’re going to turn into a home.  (Whether or not you need to lay a concrete pad depends on the ground, and how long you expect the container home to stand there.)

It’s no good just buying a plot, plonking a used shipping container there and expecting to live in it.  Shipping containers are steel boxes, and that means they are damn hot inside in summer, and bloody freezing inside in winter.   To make a home you will have to line out the inside, and perhaps even clad the outside.  Even if you just buy one 40′ container and are going to be happy living in 305 sq ft, you will still need to do a hell of a lot of work to make your steel box habitable.

One of the first things you need to learn is how to cut steel plate.  Your box needs more than a big door at one end, you need windows, (at least), and maybe another door, and perhaps holes so you can link one container to another to make a bigger home.  Luckily, shipping containers are mostly made of steel that’s only between 1.5mm and 2mm thick, so it’s easy to cut.  Realistically there are 3 ways to cut steel on site, (using an ordinary hacksaw will take you aeons and you’ll hurt your wrist and hands).

  1. Oxy-acetylene cutting torch.  These things are dangerous, and unless you’ve done this kind of cutting before, you would be best getting instruction before attempting to use an oxygen / acetylene torch.  However, a cutting torch is fast and it’s easy to cut complex shapes.  If you want circular cut-outs for round windows / portholes in your tiny container home, then oxy-acetylene could be for you.
  2. Electric jigsaw.  The sides of steel shipping containers are pretty easy to cut, so an ordinary electric jigsaw will chop out your doors and windows.  And, you can cut curves in steel with an electric jigsaw.  This is possibly the best choice for the averagely skilled person.
  3. Stihl cut-off saw.  STIHL is a trademark, but what we are talking about here is a big power saw of some description.  Cutting lots of big holes in your containers, on site, you may well want something like a petrol powered Stihl saw, (and make certain you have the right disk for steel).

The benefits of using steel shipping containers to make a tiny home, (or something bigger), is that it’s pretty fast and inexpensive to get a weatherproof structure on site, they’re strong and durable, and you can put them down just about anywhere.  A shipping container is probably the start of the ultimate off-the-grid home.

I can and have lived off-the-grid in a log cabin I built myself, (from a kit), but I would strongly caution anyone thinking of doing this concerning water.  You will need a constant supply of potable water, either from the mains or from your own well / borehole.  The average American uses between 80 to 100 gallons of water every day of the year.  It’s possible to finesse around all the other services; sewage, electricity, gas, heating, telephone and internet, but shipping water in a small bowser on a regular basis is an absolute non-starter.

Once you have a weatherproof structure with the doors and windows installed, and you’ve made a start on connecting your services, then you can start on the really fun stuff, which is fitting out the interior to suit your tastes.  The only limit to your imagination is the dimensions of whatever containers you have bought.

Making a home out of steel shipping containers is within the scope of anyone who is fairly competent at all kinds of advanced DIY, and who can also manage a project.

And all this gives me a problem; is my next project a school bus camper, or a container-based tiny home?

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

click on the book for more

 

 

 

 

Sponsored by:  http://www.amazon.com/shops/salinevalleyenterprises

10% discount on everything on this site if you quote code C7SYDV6B

Air Pollution and Insomnia

The health effects of air pollution imperil human lives.

So, you have trouble sleeping?  Air pollution in your bedroom could be the reason you suffer from insomnia.  If the air in your bedroom isn’t as sparkling clean and clear as the freshest mountain breeze, it’s quite likely that you will suffer from insomnia.

The clever people in white coats tell us that people living in areas with raised nitrogen dioxide levels, (for example if you live near a busy road), were up to 60% more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation than were people living in places that had clean air.

These new findings indicate the possibility that commonly experienced levels of air pollution not only affect heart and lung disease, but also sleep quality.  ~  Dr. Martha E. Billings

Air pollution increases the risk of you having breathing problems during sleep ~ which will naturally wake you up, or at least give you poor quality sleep.  Breathing problems during sleep have also been linked to night terrors and nightmares.

So what can you do to improve the quality of the air you breathe in your home, and especially in your bedroom at night?

  • Use non toxic paints when you decorate.
  • Sanitize your telephone frequently, and never use the phone late at night, or when you’ve been drinking.  And, never, ever smoke in your bedroom.
  • Choose hard floors over carpets ~ carpets are just a jungle of muck, dirt, pet dander and dust.  If you can’t easily change your flooring vacuum at least twice a week.
  • Choose solid wood furniture over composites which will give off formaldehyde over time.
  • Turn your mattress frequently, use a washable mattress topper and wash it weekly
  • Use allergen proof pillows, and change your pillowcases every couple of days.  Change all your bed linen weekly.
  • Don’t put clothes you have worn outside on the bed.
  • Open the windows on breezy days to air your home.
  • Buy an air purifier for the bedroom.  The EPA has a guide to air cleaners in the home.
  • Have air filtering plants in your home, especially in your bedroom.  Choose low-maintenance varieties such as; Mother-in-Law’s Tongue / Snake Plant, Spider Plant, Garden Mum, (the garden mum removes formaldehyde, benzine, and trichloroethylene from the air), Boston Fern, and the Peace Lily.  Think about a nice, green, air filtering plant on your desk at work.

Our homes are not the safe haven we think they are.  Most people are adversely affecting their health just by breathing the air in their homes and offices.  You too can be affected in lots of ways when you are continually exposed to the polluted air in your own bedroom, and particularly around your own bed.  You may suffer problems such as; skin complaints, breathing difficulties, and insomnia.

Sleep disturbance is especially common in women, starting at their midlife.  As good sleep is essential for good health, it’s important that we do something to improve the quality of our rest at night.  And it behoves us to improve the quality of our sleep, starting right now.

O sleep, O gentle sleep.  Nature’s soft nurse, how I have frightened thee.  That though no more will weigh my eyelids down, And steep my senses in forgetfulness.  ~  Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Your dirty phone may be affecting your health.

Air Purifier at Amazon

Save Money ~ Have a Budget

Most People Don’t Really Manage Their Money.

shylockAfter more years in Banking and Finance than I care to admit, I can remember very few people who took responsibility for, and properly managed, their personal finances.  In my bitter experience, most people lived from one month to another without knowing where their money was going, or what they could really afford, or what was totally outside their budget.

If it comes to that, very few people have a proper, written, up to date, personal and household budget.  If you can put your hand up and say that you do, and that it is actually written down, (or on a spreadsheet, or otherwise on your computer), then you can skip the rest of this post and award yourself a gold star.

The point of having a budget is that it stops you being caught out by unpleasant financial surprises.  A budget also lets you plan ahead, for the rest of this year, next year, for the next two or three years, for a wedding, your kid’s college, for your retirement…

These are the steps you need to follow if you are going to create or revise your budget.

  1. Make a list of all the money you owe.  Before you save anything, before you make any investments, you should work towards paying off any and all loans and credit cards balances you have.  And, you can’t plan to pay off your loans early if you don’t have a proper budget.
  2. Make a list of all the regular payments you have to make.  These will range from your mortgage, property taxes, utilities bills, right through to charitable donations, cable TV, and gym membership…
  3. Make a list of your usual necessary expenses that you pay as you go along.  How much petrol do you put in your car each month?  How much do you spend on groceries, clothes, shoes…
  4. Make a list of how much your usual discretionary purchases are costing you.  These are things you don’t actually need.  How much do you spend at your local bar or any bars.  How much does eating out cost you each month?  What do you pay for cigarettes / vaping supplies each month.  How much do you waste on gambling and booze.
  5. Write down anything else that you buy on a regular basis, and how much it costs you.  Add in an amount for contingencies; all that stuff you can’t remember buying, and those weird impulse purchases.
  6. Put all these lists of the money you spend into order of importance.
  7. Turn all these lists into a monthly budget, which might look something like this;

budget

Obviously your numbers will be totally different, and you may have some different categories, for example; health insurance, pet care insurance, cigarettes, booze, sports club membership….  (And as it goes, the example I’ve shown is poorly ordered, for example Transportation should be above toiletries and grooming.)

This kind of budget lets you begin to do some real financial planning.

Maslow_Triangle_1Look at your budget, the most vital things should be at the top, and the things you could really get by without should be at the bottom.  It should fit with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  (albeit turned on its head)

If your monthly total is less than you earn, all well and good.  Don’t save or invest your spare cash, use it to pay off some of the money you owe, like your mortgage.  Saving or investing while you owe money elsewhere is stupid money management.

If your monthly total is more than you earn, you’re in trouble.  You need to cut your spending, and you start by cutting at the bottom of your budget, not at the top.  Spend less money in bars, buying cigarettes, eating out, gambling, buying booze, being the member of a gym…

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds, nineteen shillings and sixpence, result happiness.  Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds and six pence, result misery.  ~  Mr Mcawber, by Charles Dickens

Don’t even think about saving, investing, buying a new car, or building your pension fund, if you don’t have a proper realistic and honest written budget, one that you can stick to.  You know it’s good advice, the kind of advice George Bailey would give you.

~

1x-1these opinions are mine and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

 

Money Advice ~ Insurance

shylockBefore we go any further to talk about the most common types on insurance ~ and do you need them or not? ~ there is something you should know about insurance agreements.  Any contract of insurance is a contract uberrimae fidei ~ a contract of utmost good faith.  This means that you must tell your insurance company everything and anything which may have a bearing on the risk they are taking on.  If you keep any significant information back, the chances are you are not insured at all.

For example, if you have put bigger wheels and tyres than standard on your car,  you should tell your car insurance company.  If you’re an alcoholic / drug addict / smoker / overweight / pyromaniac, you should tell your Life Assurance company.  If you have ever been refused insurance, you should tell your insurance company.  And when you advise your insurance company of something pertinent, do it in writing.

All insurance companies love to collect premiums.  All insurance companies hate to pay out for any claims, and will do anything and everything to avoid paying a claim.  For example, you not telling your car insurance company that you have recently been found guilty of driving while intoxicated will most likely void your insurance entirely, and they will not pay out under any circumstances.  So if in doubt, tell all, in writing ~ else you’re probably not insured at all.  And, always pay your insurance premiums by automated bank transfer / direct debit / ACH transfer.

Your best friends when it comes to making a claim are photographs.  Always take plenty of pictures of everything, including your home / car / self as it is right now, before anything bad happens.  Store these pictures in a cloud, on your blog, in social media…  so you can always get at them if the worst happens.

The five most common and necessary types of insurance are;

  1. rta1Motor / car / vehicle / driver’s cover.  In civilised countries it is a legal requirement for you to be insured for the exact car you are driving.  The penalties for driving while uninsured are severe.  In the small print of your insurance policy it probably says that you should not drive while you are incapable, and that includes driving after drinking.  Have an accident drink driving and the chances are you are uninsured.
  2. Home and contents insurance.  Because of the inflexible nature of the laws of probability, you should have your home and its contents fully insured, or face a life on the streets.   Maybe add a margin of 10% in excess of the estimated values, to account for unexpected expenses while you put your life back together after your home has burned down, blown up due to a gas leak, been destroyed in an earthquake, flooded…
  3. Travel insurance.  When travelling abroad you may, or probably may not, be entitled to medical services in the country you are visiting.  You may have an accident, lose your luggage, get hijacked, robbed… any number of disasters may happen.  Travel is by its very nature hazardous and stressful.  Things which would be a minor inconvenience at home may become a catastrophe if they happen in a foreign country, or even a different state.  If you are travelling abroad, or a very long way, you need comprehensive travel insurance.  Only idiots don’t buy travel insurance.
  4. dentist-toothMedical / health insurance.  I’m English and I don’t have any medical insurance, and that doesn’t bother me in the slightest, (for reasons that are too complicated to go into here I do have dental).  In the United Kingdom we have a National Health Service, (NHS), which provides free treatment at the point of care.  The NHS is paid for out of taxation.  Canada has a similar system. If you live anywhere else you really, really need comprehensive medical cover.  But remember, you must tell your insurer everything there is to know about your degenerate lifestyle.
  5. Life Assurance.  (not life insurance, you are going to die, you can’t insure against it).  A whole life policy pays out a sum of money when you die.  You don’t need this.  However, if you have a dependant family, then you may want to look after them when you’re dead, therefore most heads of households buy one or more life policies.  You don’t actually need to do this.  It’s actually much more cost-effective to just save the money you would have paid in premiums.  But nobody has that much self-discipline.  I have no dependants, therefore my life assurance policies are utterly pointless, except to pay for my funeral.

Getting life insurance is like making a bet you can’t win.  If you live,  you don’t get the money.  If you die, you don’t get to enjoy the money.  ~  Oliver Gaspirtz

There are many, many other common forms of insurance, and some really esoteric insurance policies.  Lloyds of London will insure against just about anything.  You could probably have got insured at Lloyds against Donald Trump being the 45th President of the United States.  After all, insurance is really just a bet.

Even Life Assurance is just a bet.  The bet isn’t about if you’re going to die or not ~ no matter how much you pray you are going to die.  With life assurance the bet is about when you are going to die, not if.  And, if you think about it, that’s just creepy.

~

It-s-A-Wonderful-Life-its-a-wonderful-lifethese opinions are mine and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Aging Disgracefully Well

Nobody gets out of this life alive.  Aging is inevitable.  Senior citizenship isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.  But it doesn’t have to be quite like that.

Old age may have its limitations and its challenges, but our later years can be the most rewarding and fulfilling of our lives.  ~  Paul Silway

It isn’t all bad news.  Life is full of compromises, and as we get older we really have to change the way we do things.  After we have reached the milestone of 40 or 50 or 60, what we really need to do is follow that old adage; Don’t Work Harder, Work Smarter‘.  And remember this, you know a hell of a lot about life.

The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.  ~  Robert Frost

There is some very solid advice for the more experienced among us.

dentist-toothTake Full Control of Your Life.  Don’t let others ever again tell you what to do.  Don’t blindly follow the advice of others.  This includes family, friends, lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants, financial advisers, insurance agents, government officials, contractors, salespeople of any kind, store clerks…  Always question their knowledge, experience, motives…, because usually they aren’t doing things for your benefit, but theirs.  Don’t ever do things you don’t want to do.  In the end, do whatever you want to do, it’s your life.  If you want to take up skydiving at 70, why not?  Realistically, what have you got to lose?  (The statistics are interesting.  If a 25 years old guy kills himself skydiving he’s lost maybe 60 years.  If you kill yourself at 70, doing something stupidly dangerous, what have you lost, maybe 15 years?  No worries.)

Stay Fit.  Exercise needs for the older person are different from the twenty-something keen sportsman.  It seems that strength and mobility training is more important than athletic training.  Sex is one of the best exercises you can get.

Believe me, an old broom knows the dirty corners best.  ~  Hannah Kent

Eat Right.  Dietary needs change as we age.  Despite anything anyone tells you, really cut down on carbohydrates and give up wheat completely.  Don’t eat so much red meat.  Think about a Paleo Diet.  Try to really cut down on refined sugar and salt.  Find a healthy drink to replace coffee.  Don’t get fat, it will kill you.

Stay Active and Interested in Life.  Don’t just sit around in your chair with a blanket around your knees.  As soon as you do that you’ve put one foot in the grave.  Live every single day to the full ~ being well-educated you know what carpe diem means.  Do it.

There is no old age.  There is, as there always was, only you.  ~  Carol Grace.

Don’t just ‘retire’.   Retiring early can kill you.  You need to find something to keep you in the ‘working’ frame of mind.  Start a business, volunteer for charitable work, get politically active…  Whatever you do, don’t stay in bed until noon and then stay up half the night drinking beer and watching sports TV.

Be Optimistic and Happy.  Pessimism and Depression will make you physically ill and kill you fast.  Negative thoughts and feelings, being grumpy and miserable lead to increased blood sugar and higher blood pressure ~ and all those lead to strokes, heart attacks, dementia, and cancers.  Don’t worry, be happy.  As we get older it’s time to learn some spirituality and true happiness.

Realise Your Assets and Spend the Money.  What’s the point of being the richest corpse in the cemetery?  Having spare spending cash helps you to do all the good things in life, and it’s your life.  You want to go on a round the world cruise with your new romantic interest?  Why the hell not?  There may be those among us who worry about a ‘legacy’ for their kids / relatives / the cats’ home…  Stop worrying about that because worrying, scrimping and saving, and not having fun will kill you.  Downsize your home, or rent, and enjoy the money, spend the savings you’re not actually going to need to live on, don’t buy excessive life assurance cover….

Wall StreetNever Pay For Advice.  You know more about money, risks, and life than any young ‘professional’ you are ever going to meet.  What’s more you have the time and experience to do the proper research.  So, when you’re working out your pension plan, don’t let some financial adviser tell you what to do ~ all they are interested in is their own fees and commissions.  So very many older people discover that their nice little nest eggs have just vanished due to avaricious fund managers and insurance companies.  Keep your own cash and manage it yourself.  You can always borrow money if you really need it.

Never Let Anyone Treat You Like A Senior Citizen.  You’re wiser, better educated, and more experienced than some young doctor, nurse, government official, member of your family…  They will all expect you to be diffident and compliant, maybe take the ‘happy pills’ ~ just tell them to fuck off.  Don’t ever do things just because someone else thinks it’s best for an old person like you.  The only time to admit your age is if it leads to getting a discount somewhere.

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love.  When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.  ~  Sophia Loren.

Sadly there are some things you should give up or cut down on.  You must stop smoking, you should at least severely restrict the booze, salt, and sugar.  And, don’t take too many drugs, prescription or stuff you buy on the street.  Follow some of this advice and you will want as much time as you can get.

The wisest are the most annoyed at the loss of time.  ~  Dante Alighieri

Don’t spend your life looking over our shoulder, maybe regretting what you did or what could have been different.  Enjoy each new sunrise and make the most of your life.

~

sophia-lorenthese thoughts are very well researched,

but in the end, they are mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

%d bloggers like this: