Tag Archives: Money Advice

5 Ways To Lose Money Fast

a fool and his money are soon parted

sexy-woman-and-car

If you want to lose money really fast, or just guarantee that you will go broke eventually, then here are some brilliant ideas for you;

  1. Online Gambling.  Gambling in any form ~ from playing the slots in Las Vegas, to betting on horse racing at a high-street bookmaker in England ~ is guaranteed to lose you as much money as you like.  All those attractive online gambling sites just allow you to lose your money with 24/7 dedication from the comfort of your own home / office / car…  Online Forex Trading is just another form of gambling ~ you will lose loads of money.
  2. Wall StreetForex Trading.  The foreign exchange market exists for some very sensible reasons ~ it allows me to pay for a hotel stay in Wyoming, (priced in $), on my English credit card, (denominated in £).  Unecessary trading on the the Forex Market also allows idiots to risk vast amounts of money, and then inevitably lose it.  I’m an expert in all this stuff, and it would take me a week to teach you the basics, so just trust me, you will lose if you go online trading.  Even companies like Rolls Royce get burned, (lately to the tune of £4 billion), due to unecessarily hedging the Forex Market.
  3. Expensive New Cars.  A hot set of wheels might boost your ego,  get you a hot date, and it will also lose you a fortune.  Almost all cars depreciate over time, and some high-status cars depreciate at an horrific rate.  Add in the high cost on insuring your new car, and the good chance that you’ll crash the thing if you ever drive it hard, and an expensive new car can be a real money pit.  Best of all, get drunk, drive really fast, and then roll your car down a freeway embankment.  By the way, never believe a car salesperson, all sales people are professional liars, and I should know because I used to be one.
  4. Online Dating.  If your expensive new car hasn’t got you a real date, you could be a totally insane pathetic loser and try online dating as well.  Online dating isn’t cheap, both in terms of money and time.  And, it’s one of most dangerous things you can do, for example both human and robot scammers target the sad people who use online dating sites.  Or, you could get used, abused, robbed, raped, or dead.  If you just want to ruin your life, the get yourself addicted to paid online porn.
  5. Dangerous Drugs.  I include here; street drugs including marijuana, prescription drugs, party drugs, legal highs, tobacco, and booze.  To really waste a great deal of money while ruining your health and your life along the way, then get into everything at once.  Best of all get buzzed and go on the internet with your credit cards to hand.  Do not go near 12 step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.

There are some other brilliant ways to go broke fast; trophy wife, mistress, toyboy, high-class hookers, marrying a foreigner, getting sick abroad without proper insurance, buying a home without having a full survey, signing things you don’t understand, and perhaps best of all guaranteed get rich quick schemes.

smoking-slutIf you really throw yourself into the above activities, not only could you lose all the money you have, you could also get yourself heavily into debt with some nasty people.  Along the way you are very likely to lose your self-respect, job, real friends, home, family, health, and maybe your life.  If you want to go downhill really, really fast, then I recommend you start at #5 and work your way upwards.

Most of you will never get as far as #1 because you’ll be on the streets, in jail, or dead long before that.  If you work diligently at #5 you could be dead broke and dead in a couple of years.

Good luck with totally ruining your life by getting heavily into any of the above financially stupid moves.

~

smoking-whorethese thoughts are mine, and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

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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

The Diesel Myth

Should You Make Your Next Car A Diesel?

draxThe first thing I need to tell you is that, contrary to everything Governments, Left Leaning Liberal Media, The Green Lobby, and exponents of Man-Made Global Warming have been saying for years, diesel cars are no cleaner and no better for the environment than petrol, (gasoline), engined vehicles.  Like so-called renewable energy, all these green lunatics are costing us the Earth banging on about various means of powering a vehicle.  Electric cars are not green, the electricity has to come from somewhere.

diesel-exhaustThere is a huge difference between the manufacturer’s official pollution figures, and the amount of nasty stuff diesel cars chuff out in the real world.  Volkswagen, (VW), have just reached an agreement to pay $4.3 billion in fines after fiddling the fuel consumption and pollution figures of its vehicles ~ and that’s after agreeing a $14.7 billion settlement to recompense aggrieved VW diesel owners in the USA.  In the United Kingdom VW diesel owners are looking for a settlement of £3,000 each for the German car maker’s lies.  Respectable scientists even say that diesel cars produce ten times more pollutants than buses and trucks.  I don’t believe that either.

Jumping on the anti-diesel bandwagon the mayors of four major cities; Athens, Madrid, Mexico City, and Paris have announced that diesel cars will be banned from entering their towns from 2025.  Who gives a damn?  These cities are so bad to drive in that you’d have to be mad to take your car into the centre, and come 2025 it can only be worse than today.  Banning diesels won’t make these urban areas any better, the exhaust from petrol engines is just as ruinous to your health.

rta1One should never believe anything car manufacturers are car salesmen tell you, because they always lie about everything.  For example, in the real world most cars use twice as much fuel as the car makers’ own fuel consumption figures, and some bad and aggressive drivers get terrible fuel consumption.  It’s obvious that the more fuel you use, the more pollution you create.  And bad, aggressive drivers often end up in accidents, which also create a lot of pollution, and death.  Death in car accidents is bad.

However, diesel / compression ignition cars have two major advantages over an exactly comparable car powered by an exactly comparable petrol, (gasoline), engine.  Firstly, you get about 50% more miles to the gallon from a diesel engine.  Secondly, properly looked after a diesel engine should last for twice as long as the equivalent petrol engine.  Longevity is good for the environment as the real pollution of any car should be measured over its dust to dust lifespan.

Right now diesel fuel costs just a few pence / cents more than the same amount of petrol / gasoline.  However, you get far more miles from a gallon of diesel than you do from a gallon of petrol / gasoline.  Take a new Kia Sportage as an example.

  • Petrol / Gasoline 37 miles per gallon (Imperial)
  • Diesel 61 miles per gallon (Imperial)

The diesel engined car is perhaps 5% more expensive to buy than the petrol car, and perhaps it’s 5% slower, but one gets about 165% of the mileage from each tank of fuel.  Diesels are a lot more fuel efficient than petrol cars. (Don’t actually believe the total fuel consumption figures, most drivers won’t get that in the real world.)  So, if you are a higher mileage driver, (more than 6,000 miles a year), or you want to keep your car a long, long time, (100,000 miles plus), then a diesel makes a lot of sense.  And, there is always the likelihood that a diesel car will depreciate slightly slower than its petrol engined equivalent, (although with all the controversy over diesel cars this may be a good time to pick up a used bargain).

Except in terms of extreme speed and acceleration there is nothing wrong with the performance of modern diesel-engined cars ~ in fact Audi, (another German manufacturer), has won at Le Mans and other endurance races with a diesel racing car.  Bentley’s new diesel SUV, the Bentayga will go from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds and on to 187 mph, mind you, you will pay in excess of £160,000 for the privilege.

So, the bottom line is, would I buy a diesel car?  And the answer is maybe.  If I expected to do a hell of a lot of miles, take transcontinental road trips, and keep the car a long time, then a diesel wins hands down.  But then I don’t live in California smog all the time, and I don’t care one jot about man-made global warming, or inner city pollution.

I would buy a classic SAAB diesel convertible in a New York Second.

~

9-3convertible003these opinions are mine,

and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@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

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

Money ~ Currency Exchange Rates

flagThere has been much talk about the fall in the value of the Pound Sterling against the United States Dollar and the bastard Euro since Britain voted to leave the European Union.  Without getting into the politics of it, what’s all this about, and what does it all mean?

To start with; the exchange rate, or foreign currency exchange rate, or Forex rate, measures the value of a base currency, (your own currency usually), against a foreign currency.  Thus the $ / £ rate is currently about 1.22, which means one pound sterling gets you one dollar and twenty-two cents.  The exchange rate is the price of one currency against another.  Some people also use movements in exchange rates to measure the strength of a currency’s underlying economy.  This is like measuring global warming by looking out of window at today’s weather.  It’s a piss very poor gauge.

However, long-term trends do tell you something ~ like the recent fall in the value of the pound could have been predicted years ago because of the amount of UK debt sloshing around.  The fall in the value of the pound has very little to do with Brexit, and a lot to do with the UK government printing too much money for years, and years, and years…

A weak economy is the sign of a weak economy, and a weak economy is the sign of a weak nation.  ~  Ross Perot

Ross Perot doesn’t know much about Forex either.

What does this mean to you and me?  Well, for a start, the exchange rate tells you very little about how much your savings / salary / holiday money is worth in your preferred destination.  For that you need to know about purchasing power parity.  What this theory says is that my money still goes a hell of a long way in Orange County, California, USA.  As an example, car rental and the price of petrol / gasoline, is still cheaper for me in the USA than it is in England.  So is the cost  hotels, eating out, and etc.  I have suffered a potential windfall loss in the change in the price of the USD against GBP, but on the scale of things does that worry me? Nope.

Worrying about movements in currency exchange rates is a lot like worrying about what the weather is going to be like next week.  It’s interesting, but pointless.

Forex rates do have an effect on people, but not in the way you’d think.  Forex rates, interest rates, purchasing power, inflation, government fiscal policy, all these factors kind of mush together to create an amorphous mess that hardly anybody understands.  So let me break it down for you.

  1. The man in the street and small businesses.  Forex rates hardly affect you at all, in relative terms.  When it comes to the cost of your vacation abroad the movement in exchange rates is a tiny proportion of your overall spend.  Here in England stuff you buy at home may get slightly more expensive, but that’s really down to lying politicians and the bosses of big businesses using exchange rate movements as an excuse for price hikes.  If exchange rates had gone the other way do you think things at home would get cheaper?  Of course not.
  2. Businesses buying and selling overseas.  Here the sterling / dollar / euro / yuan exchange rates actually mean something.  It means stuff you sell in pounds sterling has become better value abroad, while product you buy abroad in foreign currency has become more expensive.  So what?  That’s what management is all about, and if you don’t understand Forex, why are you dealing in foreign currencies anyway?
  3. Multi-national companies.  Forex rates affect the big multinationals not at all, it’s merely another variable in their international treasury management operations.  When a multinational like Unilever says they have to increase their prices to UK supermarkets because of the fall in the value of the pound, they’re lying.

What really impacts on everyone is this purchasing power parity thing, and that’s a lot more complicated than just exchange rates.  For example, the national minimum wage and cost of health care has a lot to do with purchasing power parity.

As far as governments, central banks, and politicians are concerned, they could care less about Forex rates.  They may talk a good talk, and wring their hands from time to time, but they really, really don’t care.

What should you do about movements in foreign currency exchange rates?

  • Don’t worry about it, because it’s as pointless as worrying about the weather.
  • Don’t create translation exposure.  Pay for stuff in your own currency, and if you’re selling abroad, then sell in your own currency ~ (if you can, if not consider forward currency cover).  Don’t ever borrow money in a currency you don’t earn.   Also, don’t save in a currency you don’t want to spend.
  • Don’t buy complicated Forex products, (if you don’t understand it, don’t buy it), or pay for advice on exchange rates.  In fact never, ever, pay for financial advice of any kind.
  • Shop around.  Buying or selling foreign currency is the same as buying and selling anything else.  Spend a little while looking for the best deal.  But beware, there are more crooks in this market than there are in the used car business.
  • Forget exchange rates and look instead at purchasing power. If I can buy the exact same thing on Amazon.com in $ as I can on Amazon.co.uk in £ which is going to be the better deal?  You know what?  99% of the time it depends on where I want it shipped to.

The true currency of life is time, not money, and we’ve all got a limited stock of that.  ~  Robert Harris

Mostly, movements in foreign currency exchange rates are simple ~ they will affect you in ways you cannot understand, cannot predict, and can do nothing about, so forget it.  For some people, foreign currency exchange rates are frighteningly complicated and dangerous animals, but given that these people usually work deep in the research engine rooms of the world’s biggest banks, it’s safe to let them get on with whatever it is they do, which is not a lot.

~

London 048jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

liebster-12

Money ~ Responsibility and Self-Reliance

A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted

?????????????????????In 2001, an ordinary man called Paul Walton had a small pension fund.  Paul listened to a financial adviser salesman from one of Britain’s top wealth management companies, St. James’s Place, and entrusted them with his money.  Lo and behold, 15 years later, when Paul checked on his pension it hadn’t grown into a nice nest egg ~ it had all vanished.  St James’s Place had taken so much in fees and charges that there was nothing at all left of Paul’s pension, in fact Paul owed £37.32 ($60) in unpaid fees.  George Bailey would be horrified.

People often ask me how to make the most of their money, thinking I’ll give them advice on savings accounts, or the stock market, or property investments…  Usually there isn’t much point in that.  What most people really need is sage advice on how to stop throwing their money down the drain.  Most people don’t need more money, what most people need to do is stop wasting the money they’ve got, each and every single day of the year.

No one’s ever achieved financial fitness with a January resolution that’s abandoned by February.  ~  Suze Orman

Paul threw his money away because he didn’t take responsibility for his own financial well-being.  Practically nobody I know is willing to really take full responsibility for their finances, or anything else in their lives if it comes right down to it.  And, it isn’t rocket science, your grandmother knew all the right stuff.

The more you are willing to depend on your own ability to think and act, the less you will rely on experts, consultants, doctors, contractors, and advisers salesmen.  These days everyone has a vast library of knowledge at their fingertips, it’s called the internet.

For example;

  • Formulate your own ideas for a sound retirement plan before speaking to a financial consultant, and do not take their word as Holy Writ ~ they may will have more of an eye on their own commission, fees, and bonuses than they do on your financial future.
  • If you have a really bad headache, make a list of the possible and probable causes of your headaches, and then visit your doctor.
  • Workp1020966 out exactly how much the used car you’re thinking of buying is actually worth, what’s likely to be wrong with it, how much that will cost to repair, and how much it’s going to cost to run ~ and only then visit the lot and speak to a used car salesman.  Some all car salesmen will not tell you anything like the whole truth, and they will rip you off, especially if you are a woman.
  • If you’re thinking of moving home, fully research the market, property values, taxes, location, crime rates, amenities, how long it will take you to get to work, & etc., before ever speaking to an estate agent / realtor.  Realtors are mostly interested in selling property, not whether the home they’re talking up is a good place for you to live.
  • If you have to employ a contractor, never leave them alone in your home, or you may come back and find it’s flooded.  Never employ a contractor without getting, at least, a couple of quotes and personal references.
  • When you need a loan, thoroughly prepare before you talk with your bank.  Work out exactly how much you really need, what a reasonable rate of interest would be, how much you can afford to repay each month, (and if you can save that amount for a few months before you ask for the loan, so much the better).

Practically everyone, (including me in the past), throws thousands of $ £ € away every year just because they are irresponsible, lazy, intimidated by ‘professionals’, trusting, naive, weak, and overly dependent on others.  Too many people take the first offer instead of looking the gift horse in the mouth.  Too many people think the answer is in programmes, courses, workshops, seminars, and motivational speakers/ authors.  It isn’t.

Workshops and seminars are basically financial speed dating for clueless people.  ~  Douglas Coupland

If you want to have more money for the good things in life, do yourself a favour, and do the hard work up front, during, and after you make a deal.  Whatever happens, it’s always your responsibility.

Financial freedom is available to those who learn about it and then work for it.  ~  Robert Kiyosaki

Don’t trust anyone because everybody lies, and never, ever, pay anyone for advice, financial or otherwise.  If you want to have more ready cash, take responsibility and stop throwing good money after bad.

~

Wall Streetthese views are mine and mine alone.

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

liebster-12

 

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