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All that glitters #finance #investments

All that glitters is not gold, used to be a popular saying. It seems many people are attracted by anything that glitters these days and people are turning into magpies buying anything that glitters and frittering their money away.

all that glitters


It’s not just jewellery that glitters these days, glitter is added to everything. Everything has to be shiny, new and modern and that has been the downfall of a few companies. They make it look good but when we strip away the glitz we find a company of no substance and one that can’t compete. Marks and Spencer have seemed too concerned with an image in recent years and not concerned enough with competing against its peers. They have opened a store near my house on a road that is also host to other brand names that glitter, like Ikea. I often see a 1/2 mile queue of cars trying to get onto that road on weekends. The glitter and the glitz does attract shoppers. It is all to do with status or the perception of status. Wearing expensive jewellery and that glitters doesn’t really give you status in a smart world and neither does holding the latest smartphone. Good taste, good manners and a good education will give you status because you then have substance.


Art is about having good taste and I have been doing the #64millionartists challenge this month. I have also been monitoring my stock market portfolio. I’m not attracted by the Ikea glitz but did decide to buy a couple of USB flash drives to curate the photos and video I’ll be taking this year. I intend to invest in a full frame camera, eventually. Investing your money in your future is much better than borrowing to buy today’s glitzy new toy and having a future saddled with debt. The discretionary income that we have left when we have paid for all the essentials is the money we have to enjoy life. Why pay a huge chunk of that money to the banks in interest? Many people could double their standard of living by simply avoiding debt and double it again by investing for the future.


I have been fairly successful investing in the stock market and I get a steady return from Zopa. Much of the success I can attribute to buying low following the 2008 crash. The stock market hit a new high yesterday but there are still companies struggling and so still opportunities to buy low. 90% of my current losses I can attribute to Carillion and so I am considering whether to increase my holding in Carillion. The share price could recover if they manage to reschedule their debts. At less than 20p a share they seem a bargain considering they were over £2 last summer. Debenhams could be a bargain too at under 30p. Of course, buying either or both are high risk and that is why it is essential to diversify. We get winners and losers and hopefully more winners than losers. Immupharma is a spectacular winner for me at the moment and has made me more money than I have lost on Carillion and Debenhams. I was doing well with Tesco until yesterday when it fell on results that showed Christmas didn’t live up to expectations. Tesco is recovering a little today and its merger with Booker has yet to go through so I am optimistic that I can sell Tesco and get a decent return fairly soon. Lloyd’s Banking Group is another one I am optimistic about in the short-term and the rest of my portfolio I see as long-term investments. The AIM shares are volatile though, so expect the unexpected. Verona Pharma could take off at any time and Solo Oil is making money again from the gas at Kiliwani North-1. The well needs more work but it produced 95 million cubic feet of gas in December. I think oil glistens in the sunlight more than glitters but it can be more valuable than gold.

That’s it for this week. Beware, all that glitters really isn’t gold. Look for substance, not sparkle. If you would like to follow my blog just enter your email address at the top of the sidebar or follow me on Twitter for updates. There are also links on my Facebook page. There is also a link to Zopa in the sidebar that pays a little under 4% in interest at the moment.

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