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Risk and reward #financeFriday

My credit card bill is due today and I know it will be quite a hefty bill. There is no point in trying to ignore debts, we have to face them eventually so it is better to face them head-on. I am a bit obsessive about minimizing risks and making sure I have enough money for every eventuality. I’m a bit obsessive about saving money too. I thought about buying some insurance this week and decided I didn’t really need it just yet so I delayed the purchase. I assess the risk and reward. I even assessed the risk versus benefit of some medication I have been taking this week and I decided the benefits weren’t worth the risks. I prefer to suffer a little pain than give myself an ulcer or kidney damage.

risk and reward

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It can’t get any worse #finance

I have seen some upward movement this week on the stock market at the less popular end. Have investors just accepted that Brexit just can’t get any worse? It has wiped billions off the value of companies listed on the stock market. While some gained when the value of the pound was slashed, the smaller companies lost value and have struggled to raise capital. I don’t think it can get any worse, confidence is at an all-time low. Even a no-deal Brexit would at least provide a little certainty.

get any worse

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Being a rebel can be a good thing! #money

Yes, being a rebel can be a good thing. Going against the norms can make you stand out and attract attention. You might want to attract the attention of the crowd but you don’t want them to throw stones! Don’t be an obnoxious git or they just might throw stones. You need to have a purpose. If you’re running a market stall, you will sell more products if you attract attention but you have to treat the public with respect. Miserable people who hate everyone makes terrible business people.

being a rebel

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Looking for alternative investments

I’m looking for alternative investments while the Brexit chaos continues. The obvious alternative to the banks is peer-to-peer lending. I prefer Zopa which is giving me returns of over 5% but is slightly riskier than the banks. Other alternative investments could be to try to buy in bulk to save money rather than actually making money. I even buy in bulk to save on trips to the supermarket, saving me money on petrol.

alternative investments
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Is Lloyds Banking group a good investment? #finance

It has been a bad year for investments with banks being hit the worse with the continued Brexit controversy. However, this could offer an investment opportunity in Lloyds Banking group. They have been adversely affected but the PPI problem has also persisted and that is a problem that will soon be over. Lloyd’s could now be a good investment opportunity. Similarly, Barclay’s seems undervalued but they haven’t been quite as aggressive when it comes to reorganisation. Lloyd’s has invested in online banking and closed down under-used branches. Lloyd’s recovered well following the 2008 credit crunch and so I think we could see a decent rise in its share price this year.

 Lloyds Banking Group

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Keeping up appearances #finance

I was once told that owning an iPhone was a good status symbol. It turned out that it didn’t work out in practice. Some status symbols can work, though. Shakespeare wrote “the apparel doth oft proclaim the man”, (Hamlet) and wearing certain clothes can help us interact with others. Clothing that gives us a professional appearance will command more respect and often wearing professional clothing does help people feel more professional. The surgeon in his or her surgical clothes will command the utmost respect. Other status symbols like fast cars, block-paved driveways and designer jeans have little effect but people still spend huge amounts of money keeping up appearances.

 keeping up appearances

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Plan B #Wednesburyonline

The Dickens story, Christmas Carol, teaches Scrooge a lesson based on the spirits of the past, present and future. We should live in the present and take each day as it comes but we should also learn from the past and plan for the future. I did quite well after the 2008 credit crunch because the central banks just turned on the electronic money machine and printed loads of cash which in turn inflated asset prices like shares and property. Now the bubble is showing signs of bursting and we have the stupidity of Brexit to worry about. Even considering leaving the EU when we were still recovering from an economic crash was stupidity of the first order. The government never has a plan B and so it is all going horribly wrong. I always have a plan B so even though this year has been bad for me financially I’ll survive with little impact on my standard of living.

MONEY

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A Christmas of mounting debts? #finance

We all feel some obligation at Christmas to buy gifts for friends and family. That obligation is taken advantage of by advertisers and marketing people to make us feel guilty if we don’t provide all that is expected of us. This can lead to mounting debts over Christmas and sleepless nights in January.

mounting debts

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Back to being a millionaire? #finance

I’ve seen a few adverts on social media about minor celebrities who have lost their riches only to find a new way to make money and return to being millionaires. The new way, it seems, is to invest in Bitcoin or some other crypto. It is an easy way to make money but only for those actually doing the ICO, the initial coin offering. I find it hard to believe this scam has gone on for so long but our politicians are involved in investment scams and off-shore tax evasion so how can we expect them to regulate the finance industry? Back to being a millionaire? I doubt it!

back to being a millionaire

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The rich get richer #finance #economy

There was a big sell-off on stock markets around the world yesterday. Investors are very nervous. Here in the UK, we have continued uncertainty because of Brexit which was madness when we were only just beginning to recover from the 2008 crash. The top FTSE 100 companies appear to be riding high with share prices soaring since the Brexit referendum but the reality is they have only become more profitable in terms of our own currency. The value of the pound crashed against the US dollar which we should remember is the reserve currency. While British importers are paying more in dollars for imports, exporters appear to be making bigger profits, at least on paper.

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The value of potential #finance

Some companies pay their shareholder’s high dividends as a way of keeping investors but when profits don’t warrant it, they should cut dividends. The potential to pay dividends is enough to satisfy shareholders. After all, the profits instead of going to dividends go to reinvestment which in turn increased the company’s value and profits. This leads to the potential to pay higher dividends. We often miss the value of potential.

the value of potential

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Flying solo #money

It has been a while since I wrote about finance and investments but money is never far from my thoughts. It hasn’t been a good year for investments with the collapse of Carillion doing the most damage. My car needed some money spent on it recently when the coil pack started to disintegrate. That was followed by my washing machine developing a fault so I had to buy a new washer! So I might have to wait a bit to upgrade my camera; there are worse things in life.

solo

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Life and money #finance #life

I have decided not to do any stock market dealing for a while and think more about making life better without spending lots of money. I still keep accounts though and a check on how much money is coming in and how much is going out! I’m pleased to say more comes in than goes out so I can consider other things in life. Life and money, which is more important? Of course, having a good life is more important.

life and money

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Outside the box #finance

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know my finances have been going through a rough time this year. My investments aren’t making me money. One of the disasters that stuck was the collapse of Carillion and things have been going downhill ever since. I do try to invest in a diverse way so I still have enough money for everything I need. I can’t yet afford the new camera that I want but my photos still look good. We sometimes have to think outside the box when we are thinking about finance and identify our goals.

thinking outside the box
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Taking stock #finance #investments

If you’re following my blog you’ll know my investments haven’t done well this year. While money is very helpful it is not the most important thing in life so now I can pause and think about my priorities. I’m taking stock and while I do so, I’ll still monitor the stock market and my investments. Zopa is a fairly safe investment and that is still bringing me in over 3% so things aren’t so bad!

taking stock
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A competitive world #finance

We live in a competitive world where companies compete with one another and we as individuals have to compete to make money. That competition at a personal level may just mean competing with others to get a decent job or if you run a small business competing with other businesses. Whatever we do, we can’t ignore the fact that it is a competitive world and we have to compete on many different levels.

a competitive world

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Paper losses #finance #investments

We don’t actually make a profit or a loss on shares until we sell. When a share price rises or falls we make so-called paper losses or paper gains. In my case, the gains and losses are recorded on a spreadsheet.  The loss I made on Carillion recently was a real loss because the company went into liquidation but most losses are paper losses and the share often recovers. Immupharma plunged over 70% this week and that wiped over 20% off my portfolio and far more from my expected return. It was a major blow, so what can I do now? I just have to see it in context and do more research. The results of their pivotal phase three trial weren’t as good as expected and the price plunged by over £1.00 a share. I have read the results of the trial and I think, as someone who suffers from lupus, that the drug still has a lot of potentials and so does the company. The share price has recovered a little since Tuesday.

responding to paper losses

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Bitcoin and bubbles #finance #investments

I have seen two adverts on Facebook this morning for money-making schemes that turned out to be Bitcoin schemes. One was using Piers Morgan’s image and name to promote a scheme and the other surprisingly was using the name and image of Martin Lewis, the so-called ‘money saving expert’.

Beware bitcoin

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Pharmaceuticals and fantasy #finance

I had a good week again this week, thanks to Immupharma which climbed to 174 on Tuesday only to fall back to 155 on Wednesday. Yesterday it was up again and although volatile it is staying around 173 today. Verona Pharma climbed to 180 last week and fell back to 170 this week but that still gives me a good return. So it was largely the pharmaceuticals that have given my portfolio a lift last week and this week. That was a 9% rise over the two weeks and a great improvement.

invest in pharmaceuticals?

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Good Friday and the market is closed #finance

Yes, it is Good Friday and the market is closed. I forgot and was quite looking forward to a day of market-watching. I think there is an element of gambling to investing in the stock market and it can be addictive.

Good Friday

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A nervous market #finance #investments

The markets have been nervous lately with too much uncertainty. The Trump effect in the US and the Brexit effect on this side of the Atlantic disguises some systemic problems in the global economic system. I think this nervousness is contagious and is spreading beyond the markets and into the homes of consumers who are spending less. They have been shopping around more for some time and we see that in the rise of discount supermarkets and the phenomenon of comparing prices and shopping around online. The culture of spend, spend, spend and maxing out the credit card is coming to an end.

a nervous market

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Analysing the market #finance #investments

Analysing the market isn’t easy and it takes a lot of research but if you’re going to invest on the stock market you have to do your research. I have tried to buy shares in companies that are struggling or have a problem that they can fix while their share price is low. Tesco had it’s scandal and other problems and I bought in low and I was hoping to sell at a 20% or better return. They have dropped over 2% this morning but I hope they recover that next week, so I can sell.

analysing

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Understanding supply and demand #finance

One concept I have tried to explain in these finance posts is that of discretionary income. Discretionary income is the money we have left over when we have paid for all the essentials like housing, taxation, food and so on. Discretionary income is the money we have left to enjoy life and take holidays. So if we can double that discretionary income either by saving on buying the essentials or finding an additional income from investments then we can double our effective standard of living. The other concept that people find hard to understand is supply and demand and how this affects prices.

supply and demand

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Keeping your nerve #finance #investments

Sometimes investing is about keeping your nerve as markets go down or become more volatile. We saw the first signs of protectionism by the US after President Trump announced import tariffs on steel and aluminium. I think he set the tariffs too high but considering that the Chinese manipulate their currency to boost exports I can see why he did it. He isn’t smart, though. The smart thing to do would have been to raise the standards on steel and aluminium to restrict the importation of cheap substandard steel. He could apply that principle across a range of imported goods and so limit imports and give people better quality products. Politicians are never very smart.

keeping your nerve

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