Category Archives: Saving

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

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,

 

Real Banking Is Like Watching Paint Dry

Banks Today Seem To Be Run By Liars and Crooks.

Another day another banking scandal.

rbsAnother day and another bank is hit by a huge set of fines for criminal wrongdoing that should have some senior executives facing a total loss of all they own and some serious jail time.  This time it’s RBS, (Royal Bank of Scotland), and this failed organisation has just set aside another £3.1 billion, $3.8 billion), to cover claims by the United States authorities that it mis-sold mortgage products.  (Mis-selling is a polite way of saying lying and cheating).  This makes a total of £6.7 billion this useless bank has had to set aside to cover fines for selling toxic mortgages.  RBS is 72% owned by British Taxpayers, so just who is paying these fines?  Me and you, that’s who.

I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.  ~  Thomas Jefferson

Name any bank or financial institution, or any of the world’s major financial centres. from ABN AMRO, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, (just fined £500 million), HBOS, to Wells Fargo, and if you turn over a rock you will find people who only care for themselves and nothing for their customers, staff, shareholders, or the wider world and greater good.

I can pull the name of any bank out of the Bankers Almanac, and without trying very hard find that it’s rotten to the core.

Another wrinkle recently to come to light is a product called Shared Appreciation Mortgages sold by Barclays and Bank of Scotland.  These complicated mortgages were deliberately targeted at older people, who were then rushed into taking unsuitable loans without having had proper financial advice.  Which just goes to prove that one should never buy a product or take out a loan you don’t fully understand, and you should never, ever believe anything a salesperson tells you.  (Never, ever date a salesman either.)  Even a salesperson working for your bank.

To give you some more examples of dodgy dealing by banks, that pillar of German financial prudence, Deutsche Bank, owes $7.2 Billion to the US department of Justice for fines and penalties imposed for Deutsche’s role in the toxic mortgage crisis.  Royal Bank of Scotland remains a basket case after Fred ‘The Shred’ Goodwin ruined the venerable institution through spending more time thinking about screwing his female junior assistant than he did about proper banking.  And the oldest bank in the world, Italian Monte dei Paschi de Siena, has just been bailed out to the tune of £17 Billion by the equally broke Italian Government because of chronic bad lending that threatens the savings of a third of  hard struck Italians.

How in the World did Banking become synonymous with dirty dealing, thievery, and dishonourable behaviour?

It isn’t because today’s bankers are struggling to turn loss-making institutions into banks that, at least, make a profit.  And, it isn’t because there isn’t honest money to be made in the world of banking and finance today.  Rather it’s because today’s generation of money-men want instant results, rather than slow and steady growth accompanied by slow and steady profits.

Wall StreetSlow and steady profits aren’t exciting enough for today’s young Masters of the Universe, who want instant and huge money-making schemes and products to justify their equally huge salaries and bonus packages.  It’s estimated that in the City of London this year’s round of bonus payments will top $15 billion.

It is our priority to seek the best outcome for our shareholders, customers, and employees.  ~  Ross McEwan, Chief Executive, Royal Bank of Scotland

I don’t believe a word of it.  If the banks cared anything about their employees and customers they wouldn’t keep closing branches.  Not to mention paying failed politicians like David Cameron and George Osborne a fortune to schmooze in Davos.

My advice is; stop trusting your bank, always carefully check your bank and credit card statements, never buy anything your bank tries to sell you, and never sign anything you don’t fully understand.  Personally, I wouldn’t buy shares in a bank either, their roller-coaster world is far too crooked and exciting for me.

Proper banking is as safe and boring as watching paint dry.

~

1x-1these thoughts are mine, and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

21 ways to save money

Easy Lifestyle Changes Could Save You A Small Fortune.

Red_RoseThere some very basic things you can do which, added together, will save you a great deal of money.  These changes to the way you live your life are not difficult, they’re not complicated, and they will not take up a lot of your time.  In fact, all of these things are what my granny used to call; ‘basic common sense’.  Get on with it, smell the roses, save yourself some money, and live a better life.

  1. Pay off all your credit and store card bills.  The average interest rate on credit card debt is around 16%, with some banks charging as much as 79.9% per annum, this is just extortion and usury.  Far better to borrow elsewhere, at a cheaper rate, and pay off your plastic.
  2. Use the internet and find cheaper providers for your gas, electricity, water, mobile phone, (cell phone), land line telephone, internet, cable television, and car insurance.  Switch to the cheapest provider because customer service will always suck, no matter who you are with.  And, by the way, do you really need all those rubbish TV channels?
  3. Lower the temperature of your heating, and raise the temperature of your air conditioning by a couple of degrees.  We all pay far too much for heating and cooling our homes.
  4. Lower the temperature at which you wash your clothes.  There is a 30C setting on my washing machine, (about 90F), and most of the time that’s what I use.  This gets rid of most dirt and stains, but it does not get rid of germs, and it’s not hot enough to get whites clean.  So, I still always wash my bed linen and whites at 90C, (about 200F).  Mind you, I always use biological washing powder which works well at lower temperatures.
  5. Always make a shopping list.  Far too many people go into a store and come out with a whole bunch of stuff they don’t really want or need, while forgetting the important thing they went in for.  Make a shopping list and never, ever make impulse purchases.
  6. Try own-brand goods.  Very often the own-brand products are just as good as the more expensive named-brands.  Quite often own-brand products are made in the same factories and on the same production lines as named brands.  Stores always try to make you buy the most expensive, premium goods.
  7. Never buy ‘designer labels’  ~  don’t be a logo whore, and who wants some other guy’s name on their clothes and shoes anyway?  It’s pathetic.
  8. Learn to do DIY.  I hate contractors, repair men, decorators, gardeners, with a passion.  If it needs doing then 90% of the time I do it myself.  Learn to decorate, put up a shelf, fix a leaky tap, (faucet), and save yourself an absolute fortune.
  9. Make your travel arrangements early and do it on the internet.  Always shop around for the cheapest deal.  Always pay by credit card.  Get a brochure from the travel agent for information and to give you a comparison.
  10. Learn to drive properly.  Almost everyone I know is a crap driver, especially women.  Almost everyone I know drives too fast, races between the lights, uses the accelerator hard and the brakes hard, and sits in the wrong gear.  Drive a little slower and learn what anticipation means and you will not only use less petrol, (gas), there will be much less wear and tear on your car.
  11. p1020966Don’t always buy the newest, top-of-the-range car.  A low mileage used car, or the basic model in the new car range can save you thousands.  Remember, the biggest cost of owning a car is depreciation.  Most cars will lose between 50% – 60% of their value in the first 3 years.  (Just don’t buy an Edsel ~ people will laugh.)
  12. Walk, don’t drive.  If you don’t have far to go and don’t have much to carry, don’t drive, walk instead.  That won’t only save you money, walking will do wonders  for your health and fitness.
  13. Give up smoking / vaping.  Both will seriously damage your health, both can kill you, and both will cost you a fortune.  A pack of 20 cigarettes will cost you about £7 in the UK and about $7 in California, (USA prices vary by state).  So, a 10 a day habit will cost you about £1,300 per annum in the UK and $1,300 a year in California ~ a lot of money for a disgusting habit that’s killing you.
  14. Cut down on your drinking.  Too much booze will make you fat, ill, and temporarily or permanently stupid ~ it will eventually kill you.  How much booze is too much?  If you drink  a bottle of wine a night, or 4 bottles of beer, or a quarter of a bottle of spirits, then you are drinking far too much.  Decent booze is hellishly expensive.
  15. Cincinnati KidSTOP GAMBLING.  Gambling is exactly the same as throwing your hard-earned money in the trash.  Gambling is an addiction, and all gamblers lose heavily over time, always, with no exceptions, (not even the Cincinnati Kid).
  16. Never, ever, join a gym, and if you have gym membership, then cancel it.  Most people with gym memberships don’t go often enough to get their money’s worth.  Gyms are poor value for money and bad places for most people to exercise ~ you’re breathing stale air, being made to listen to loud music, and you’re indoors under artificial lights.  Nasty.  Exercise for free instead.
  17. Plan ahead and buy stuff in the sales, at discount stores, and in thrift stores.
  18. Claim all your tax and other benefits.  Use the internet at learn what you can really claim.
  19. Never use pay per view TV or TV services such as Netflix ~ this is just stupid.  Do you really need to dumb down so much as to sit in front of the TV, and pay extra for the privilege, over and above whatever stupid cable subscription you are already paying for this crap?
  20. Never, ever buy extended warranties on things like a car, new washing machine, or television.  These warranties are scams, not worth the paper they’re printed on, and cost a fortune.
  21. Stop buying expensive pre-prepared, ready meals.  Learn to cook instead.  ‘Ready meals’ are full of unmentionable crap, and are terrible value for money.

Remember, when you want to save money, when you want to stop wasting money, the internet is your friend.  You may think you don’t have the time to spend on internet research, trust me, you do have loads of spare time, it’s just that you waste that too.  Stop ruining your mind by watching hours of drivel on the TV, stop ruining your health by spending time in your usual sleazy pub / bar, and stop making excuses.

Never, ever, sign anything you don’t understand.  Never, ever, trust a salesperson.

Take back control of your own life, and take control of your finances, it’s a lot easier than you think.

~

Wall Streetjack collier

jack collier7@talktalk.net

Stock Market Investments

there are no workable get rich quick schemes

A naive lady named Deanne Forrest lost all her savings, and some money she borrowed, (a total of £12,500 in all), by dabbling in on-line stock market trading.  Specifically Deanne got involved with something called binary options trading, which is as risky as betting all your worldly goods on one spin of the roulette wheel in a Las Vegas casino.

Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow.  If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas.  ~  Paul Samuelson

Wall StreetLet me make one thing abundantly clear, this kind of on-line trading is not dealing on the stock market in any sensible way, this is gambling, pure and simple.  It’s even called spread betting, and spread betting is a very fast way for you to lose a hell heck of a lot of money.  It’s not investing, it’s just high-risk gambling, and has as much to do with real finance as on-line dating has to do with real relationships.

Investing in the stock market is something totally different from these fast, on-line, get rich quick scams.

The stock market is a place, (real or virtual), where the prices of stocks and shares of major companies are quoted, and those stocks and shares can be bought and sold at those quoted prices.  The major shares are also grouped to give an indication of the overall strength of the market; for example the FTSE 100, in London, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, on Wall Street.

In general, one buys and sells stocks and shares through a broker, either by telephone, or increasingly these days through an on-line service.  There are specialist stock brokers, but most people are most likely to use their bank to buy and sell shares.  If you want to invest in your national stock market, check with your bank first.  I can almost guarantee they will offer stock market services.

If it’s not a get rich quick scheme, why would you want to invest in the stock market?

In general, the stock market is an indicator of the overall health of a country’s economy.  If the overall economy of the USA is doing well, then Wall Street will generally do well.  If the overall economy of the United Kingdom is doing well, then the City of London will generally do well.  But, every now and again the markets will go crazy, for no readily apparent reason.

Every once in a while the market does something so stupid it takes your breath away.  ~  Jim Cramer

There are two basic ways of investing in the stock market;

  1. You can buy into a unit investment trust, (however it’s named or described).  This allows you to invest in a group of shares, thereby spreading your risk.  Unit trusts are the way most people get involved with the stock markets.  The main downside of a unit trust is that your profits can get eaten up by the trust manager’s fees and charges.
  2. You can buy the shares of specific companies in your own right.

You also make money through stock market investments in two ways.

  1. 737-300wAn increase in the market price of the shares you have bought.  For example, if you had bought shares in The Boeing Company on February 12th 2016, you would have paid $105.12 per share.  If you’d sold those same shares on December 16th 2016 you would have received $154.50 per share, a handy 50% profit.  But remember,the price of shares can go down as well as up.
  2. Receipt of regular dividends from the company.  These dividends represent your share of the company’s earnings.  For example, shares in Royal Dutch Shell, an oil and gas company, had a yield of 6.05% in the last year.  It’s easy to find out which companies have paid the most back to their shareholders.  The Boeing dividend yield is currently 2.82%.

If you buy into a unit trust, then the fund manager takes all the income from the markets they invest in, and then adds the profits to the value of your units.

Historically, investments in the stock markets have outperformed all other liquid investments, and all other personal investments with the exception of real estate, (property).  However, the value of all assets can fall as well as rise.  Many ‘expert pundits‘ (there’s an oxymoron for you), are predicting an imminent crash in the stock markets.  These things have a nasty habit of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies.

Should you want to invest in the stock market, then your first choice is whether to buy into a unit trust, or buy the shares of particular companies for yourself ~ cutting out the middle-man.  These choices are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

It’s very easy to find information on investment trusts ~ just type something like best performing unit trusts into your search engine.  Whatever you do, don’t believe most of what the sales teams at these companies tell you.

Choosing companies whose shares you’re going to buy for yourself is more difficult, but you could try typing something like best performing US stocks into your search engine.  If you are buying shares in particular companies in your own right, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  Spread your investment among different companies and different market sectors.

p1030876Stock market investments should easily out-perform most other ways of saving and investing, with the exception of buying property, (real estate).  The caveats are; choose wisely, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, never borrow money to invest, pay off all your debts before investing in the stock market, and stock market investments are for the long term.  Expect to hold your shares for years rather than weeks or months.

The stock market is not a get rich quick scheme, never was, and never will be, no matter what some silver-tongued salesperson might have you believe.  A good rule is, don’t believe sales people, some of them tell lies are economical with the truth.

~

christmas-cardsthese 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

Money ~ Politics

Most of the news media has confidently predicted that Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States.

Most of the news media confidently predicted that the United Kingdom would vote to remain in the European Union in our referendum of 23rd of June 2016.

flagIn the event England decisively voted to leave the European Union, and a new word entered the language; Brexit.

Leave aside the political rights and wrongs, and instead look at the effect that politics has on the Pound or Dollar in your pocket.

The immediate impact of Brexit has been twofold.

  1. The value of the pound fell dramatically on the foreign exchange markets, (FOREX).  There was no good reason for this other than the Political Establishment creating alarm and despondency in Project Fear, in an effort to persuade voters to opt to remain in the hated European Union.
  2. The price to the consumer of all kinds of goods and services has been increased by mostly unscrupulous suppliers and retailers off the back of Brexit and the fall in the value of the pound.  Some of these price increases are fairly justifiable, for example the UK price of petrol, (gasoline), has soared.  But then oil is priced and traded in US Dollars.  Some price increases blamed on Brexit are just fatuous, for example Walkers Crisps, (chips), have increased their prices by 10% and blamed it on Brexit.  Walkers crisps are made in Britain from British potatoes.

There is one lesson to be learned from this.  Markets, manufacturers, retailers, service companies, and politicians will use any change in the world order to justify price rises / tax increases /  rapid falls in the financial markets.  What they are saying to the man in the street is; ‘don’t blame us, it’s all your own fault for voting for the wrong result’.

What you didn’t know is that the major players in any market; banks, brokers, governments, insurance companies, speculators and the like, can all make money in a falling market, (aka a bear market).  Principally they do this by ‘selling short‘, that is they sell stocks, commodities, foreign exchange that they don’t actually own for delivery at a future date.  Then, when the market concerned falls, they buy the stocks, shares, commodities, foreign exchange they need to complete the contract ~ but here’s the thing, they buy at a lower price because the market has fallen.

Now, you or I can potentially make money in a falling market by selling short through our broker, but this is a very bad idea, because what you are doing is creating a risk where none exists, and that’s just gambling.  Entering into this kind of deal is a very fast way to go broke.

However, it benefits the major players in any market to create uncertainty, because where there is uncertainty and chaos there is profit for them.  And, where does this profit come from?  Actually it comes from you and I, the average man in the street.  Because of political uncertainties the cost of just about everything I buy, including my overseas road trips, has gone up.  The value of almost everything I own has fallen, including stocks, bonds, and hard cash.

Should Donald Trump be elected President it is likely that chaos will hit the US financial markets.  You can even take a bet on what will happen to Wall Street after the election.  I can firmly predict that if Clinton loses the value of the US Dollar will fall, as will the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  And why is that?  Because it suits the speculators to make it so.

As it happens, nobody yet knows what will happen to the UK economy now that we are committed to leaving the European Union.  Nobody yet knows what kind of President Mr Trump will make, nor what kind of handle on the US Economy Mrs Clinton has either.  Most of the short-term economic impact of politics is down to speculation and not fact.

Personally, I disagree with just about everyone in that I believe Trump will make a better president than Clinton, (as far as the US Economy is concerned), and that Brexit is better for the UK Economy than staying in the European Union and Single Market could ever have been.

But then, I’ve never been one to have fashionable views.

~

Wall Streetthese opinions are mine, and mine alone

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Ford Edsel

No woman is going to want to admit that she’s had casual sex in an Edsel.  The Ford Edsel is not a cool car, it’s not even so ugly-pretty that it’s cool.  The Edsel is just one of the worst cars ever made.

p1020966

So what makes an Edsel such a terrible car?  Start with how it looks, and it looks as though it was designed by a committee of the most boring preppy men Ford could come up with after searching through the worst colleges in America.  I mean, who would design a grille that looks like a surprised toilet seat?

dscf0015For a brand-new design the Edsel was about as innovative as a horse and cart.  It was big and heavy ~ over 18 feet long and weighing in at two tons.  It had a newly designed ohv V8 Ford MEL engine, (Mercury, Edsel, Lincoln), which was big at 410 cu in, (6.7 litres), powerful with 345 bhp and 475 ft lbs of torque, and very heavy. The Edsel had a slush-pump auto-box, and Hotchkiss live axle rear suspension that dated back to the 1930s.  It also had some weird features, such as push-button gear selectors on the steering wheel.

And then the Edsel had the second worst marketing and sales campaign in the history of road transport, only eclipsed by that even bigger disaster, the Sinclair C5.  From a teaser campaign that heralded the Edsel as the car for the future, to setting up a separate Edsel division within the Ford Motor Company and a separate dealership network, everything about the Edsel’s sales and marketing is a textbook example of how not to sell anything.  Small wonder this dog of a car sold only 110,847 heavily discounted units ~ peanuts by Ford standards.

The Edsel was also relatively expensive, costing about the same as a Mercury, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and Dodge, which were much better products, with much better and more well-known names and images.

Because the Edsel was built on the same production line as standard Fords, the assemblers had to interrupt their routines when an Edsel came along, and many workers just didn’t bother to put the right parts in the right places.  Therefore the Edsel was very badly built and suffered from consequent reliability problems.  Issues ranged from a leaking trunk, (boot), in wet weather, to bad welding, and catastrophically dangerous power steering failures.

edselAllegedly, the Edsel drives like a canal barge.  That huge V8 delivers pedestrian performance with a top speed just short of 120 mph, a 0-60 time of about 11 seconds, and terrible fuel consumption figures.  The suspension is nothing to write home about, and so pressing-on is supposed to be accompanied by a lot of tyre squeal, initial understeer and then mad oversteer.  Have I ever driven an Edsel?  You have got to be joking.

Luckily there are only about 6,000 examples of this terrible car still in existence.  There has to be more than that, everywhere I go on my various road trips I seem to come across an Edsel, or maybe they’re just so bad that they’re memorable.  You can expect to pay about $10,000 for an immaculate example, if you were ever insane enough to want an Edsel.

Don’t buy an Edsel.  They are not cool, an Edsel won’t make a satisfying hobby, they will make a terrible investment, and no cool girl will ever want to have sex with you in that car.

~

p1040642jackcollier7@talktalk.net

liebster-12

Money ~ Trust Nobody

shylock

Even Banks and Credit Card Companies are Dishonest

There is a truism ~ everybody lies.  These days, even the people you should be able to trust to help you look after your money will lie to you.  Just three recent examples in the news;

  1. Thousands of staff at Wells Fargo Bank routinely created false customer accounts based on real customers’ email addresses.  All told about 2 million fake accounts were created.  These fake accounts were allegedly used by staff to meet their sales targets ~ and some 5,300 Well Fargo staff have been fired.  Would that it were all ~ trust me, there is more nasty news to come on this one concerning customer charges and wrong-doings higher up in the bank.
  2. The great credit card scandal continues.  Credit cards are a rip-off for everyone except the banks.  Despite official interest rates being at an historic low, the interest charged on credit card balances continues to rise to usury levels.  And, in Britain Mastercard is accused of setting punitive charges on retailers, resulting in an estimated overcharging of £14 billion between 1992 and 2008.  Guess who ends up paying for all this ~ you do.  Mastercard are being taken to court in a class action.
  3. Four ex-employees of Barclays Bank are facing long jail terms for manipulating LIBOR.  You may think LIBOR, (London Inter Bank Offered Rate), has got nothing to do with you.  As a matter of fact the interest costs of everything you have ever borrowed is based on Libor.  If you can’t trust the financial markets, then who can you trust?

Not one of the companies and people you trust to manage your money are completely honest with you.  When it comes to your money, trust nobody.

Complete honesty is much more than not cheating, stealing, and lying ~ although banks, insurance companies, pension providers, credit card companies, financial advisers, et al, do more than enough outright cheating, stealing, and lying.  Complete honesty means not lying by omission, being straightforward, being open, telling you what you need to know, avoiding obfuscation…  None of the financial companies and people you deal with abide by that definition of honesty.

If they wanted to be really honest, then they wouldn’t have you sign  a legal agreement which included pages and pages of small print.

What should you do;

  1. Check your bank and credit card statements for unexpected items, especially unexpected charges.
  2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  3. If it looks to good to be true it is.
  4. If you don’t understand something, have it clearly explained until you do understand.
  5. Never pay for financial advice, never pay an up-front or annual fee for a credit card or bank account.

In high finance there is a concept called ‘counter-party risk’ ~ one of the assumptions in that concept is ‘buyer beware’, never assume that the person or company you are dealing with is telling you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

George Bailey would be horrified.

~

liarjackcollier7@talktalk.net

liebster-12

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