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Discretionary income and profits #finance

We all have overheads, those essential things we have to buy before we can even begin to think about buying the luxuries. That money left for buying the luxuries and paying for Christmas treats and holidays is referred to as discretionary income. If your boss gives you a Christmas bonus, your discretionary income can soar. Small businesses have overheads. They have to pay rent, business rates and other bills and a small increase in turnover can mean a big increase in their discretionary income. Their discretionary income is the profit they take home to spend on their families.

discretionary income

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The interest rate rise is no big deal #finance

So the Bank of England raises interest rates 1/4 of a percent. It might put an average of £12 a month on mortgages if it is passed on. Was your mortgage cut when they cut interest rates? No, probably not. Interest rates for savers were cut almost to zero and the government and Bank of England are really giving savers a bad deal. In fact, the government is hitting older people now because they seem to feel the triple lock on pensions is somehow too generous. The interest rate rise is no big deal because few people will be worse off or better off. We need interest rates to rise substantially but with the government virtually bankrupt by some measures of solvency that is unlikely to happen.

Interest rate rise - it is no big deal

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Value for money #thrifty #frugal

My Thrifty Thursday post is usually about saving money by shopping around but being frugal can save you even more. I watched a TV programme yesterday evening about a woman learning to cook to save money. She was spending a fortune on food and much of it was loaded with sugar and salt. The BBC has lots of fairly frugal recipes on their website and so check it out and learn to cook a few meals. You can get value for money and enjoy your food more.

value for money ideas

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Finance in focus #finance #investments

This week interest rates have been in focus with various pundits predicting an interest rate increase next week. There is no forward guidance and so it could go either way. As usual, the government and Bank of England add to uncertainty and the markets don’t like uncertainty but for many investors uncertainty brings opportunities. It is unfortunate that it is mostly parasitic day traders and shorters that get to benefit.

finance in focus

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Looking forward to the future #finance #investments

I had another good week of investing with my stock market assets gaining 2%. Immupharma saw further gains and today they will cost you £1 a share and a bargain at that. The company has huge potential and the fact that they are preparing to gain FDA approval for Lupuzor could mean they are considering manufacturing the drug themselves. The company also has the expertise gained from the development of Lupuzor to develop other drugs for other diseases associated with the immune system. The share price has doubled in the last few months. Looking forward,  if it doubles again before the new year, I wouldn’t be surprised.

looking forward

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Dodecagon pounds and polymer notes #thrifty #frugal

Dodecagon pounds

Yes, the old pound coins have been consigned to history and we have shiny new dodecagon shaped pound coins to go with our polymer fivers and tenners. The old fivers have been consigned to history as well but the paper tenners will be around until next spring.  There are still hundreds of millions of pound coins still out there. Imagine how many £20 notes will still be out there when they change those to polymer in 2020. The drug lords with their suitcases full of them will have to get a move on and change them. They could change them to Bitcoin, couldn’t they?

Dodecagon pounds

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The reassuring value of security #finance

In some countries, it doesn’t matter whether you rent or buy your home but in the UK buying your home is more popular because it gives you security. Savings in the bank give us security too, as do investments. This security reassures us that we have assets that we can call on if there is a major crisis and it also reassures those close to us and the bank that we might borrow money from.

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Hitting the jackpot #investments

Some companies on the AIM market lose money for years and while they develop a new product or explore for oil. When there is progress the share price can soar but the prudent investor should invest less in this high risk companies and so it doesn’t usually mean fortunes are made. It is still quite exciting when share prices soar on good news, though and it is a little like hitting the jackpot.  That was the case this week when Immupharma soared by 25p following the end of a pivotal trial of its lupus drug.  To add to shareholder confidence, a major investor has decided to continue supporting the company.

Hitting the jackpot

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Coupons and cash-back #thrifty #frugal

I read a couple of blogs recently where they claimed they could save me money with coupons and cash-back. The lady ‘saving’ money with coupons was spending large amounts of money on branded products each week and spent hours of her time finding and using the coupons. I used a coupon in Matalan last week but it was a 20% off one on the Matalan app on my phone. I bought a couple of sweaters for £26 and with the 20% off and so paid £20.80. That is a real saving and very little messing about to get it. I didn’t have to buy an expensive designer label to save money.

coupons can save you money

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Signs of panic #finance #investments

I am always looking for signs of panic as I watch the tos and fros of the stock market. Panic selling crashes the share price and allows us to pick up a bargain. The opposite of panic is over-excitement which can lead to an inflated share price and an opportunity to sell.

signs of panic

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Opportunities and risk #finance #investments

Personal finance and investing are about opportunities and risk. I look for investment opportunities and try to assess the risk. Life is about looking for opportunities. Different people look for different things but we all look for opportunities. My investments are up about 2% this month and so I’m quite happy with that but the AIM shares can soar upwards at any time.

opportunities

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Cash flow and other metrics #finance

If you have been following my finance posts you’ll know that my investments haven’t been doing so well over the past few months. Last week was much better and this week I’ve made a little progress. My finances as a whole are a fairly stable but I’m still delaying any major purchases until things are looking better. Changing my car this year did put a big hole in my bank balance but I don’t need to change it again for a few years as long as I look after it so I have time to save some money! I just have to keep proper accounts and watch my cash flow.

watching cash flow

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Confidence and the market #finance #investments

It can be difficult having confidence that your investment choices are the right ones when things aren’t going well. These last few months I’ve seen my investments plummet. Carillion suffered a lack of confidence that saw their share price plummet and their shares shorted so much they had to scrap their dividend. The money saved from scrapping their dividend will hopefully be enough to ensure their survival. It will be difficult for them to raise more investment from the market or from the banks. No one wants to lend you money when you’re nearly broke!

 confidence is important

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The long game #investments #finance

When we are investing or planning our financial future we have to look at the long game. We might make short-term losses on investments but if we did our research properly in the long-term we should get a good return. We are fallible and so we make mistakes and we can compensate for our mistakes by diversifying. One mistake I am regretting today is Monitise which went from being a fast growing company to a failing company almost overnight. A takeover bid usually means great returns for investors but in the case of Monitise it means I don’t lose all my investment and I have to accept losses.

The long game

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Uncertainty, anxiety and investment #finance

Investment not only comes from the rich it comes from pension funds who invest on behalf of the middle classes of the wealthier countries of the world. Our national lottery is run by a private company Camelot, which in turn is owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. That pension fund invests in lotteries which are basically a licence to print money and property which is always in short supply. MPs also invest in property especially in London so there is little chance of property going down in value. Keeping a large section of society poor also promotes desperation and it is the desperate and greedy who play the lottery which raises 30 million a week for good causes like the Olympics. We rarely see lottery money going to food banks or to help the sick and disabled (except Paralympics) whose anxiety seems to be of no concern.

financial anxiety

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Supply and demand #finance

It is important to understand supply and demand; it is a key economic indicator. If demand for something goes up then that is an upward pressure on the price of that commodity. I have known bread shortages and prices increase. Is it profiteering? In a way, yes, but it also has a tendency to ration the available supply. Demand can be boosted by factors that aren’t immediately obvious. If Mr Kipling cakes are promoted on social media then people are likely to buy more. Social media can influence demand. Rumour can also influence supply and demand. Just a rumour of a shortage of bread can have people queuing at the shops and bakeries might increase supply to cope with the increased demand.

supply and demand
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Time for a financial review #finance

Last week I described my investment portfolio as a ‘train wreck’ and it hasn’t improved since then. Things haven’t got much worse though. I have decided it is time for a personal financial review. I have looked back over the past year at the larger bills that I have had to pay and that has given me some idea of the bills I’ll have to pay in the next year. Of course, prices go up and I have noted that insurance premiums have gone up on average of 10%. My car insurance premium is due next month and has increased 25% and so it is time to change my provider.

financial review

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Waiting for the bounce #finance #investments

When share prices fall, there is often a bottom and then a bounce back. The same is often true of the value of the pound or the oil price. The growth of the whole economy can fall and then some action leads to a bounce back upwards. The same can be said of the reverse of these trends, share prices that suddenly soar to new heights will bounce back and go lower the next day as people sell on the high. We can take advantage of the low and if there is sufficient bounce, we can sell for a quick profit. Small traders find this difficult because of dealing fees but fund traders do this all the time.

stock market bounce

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Dopamine and finance #finance #rewards

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres. So what does this have to do with finance? The fact that people crave pleasure and rewards has everything to do with finance. Take a look at the photos of those celebrities leaving Buckingham Palace right after being rewarded with a medal for services rendered. They are positively beaming. Rewards can come in many ways, a person simply being nice to you can zap those reward centres of your brain with dopamine. That can be the check out girl at Aldi (yes, they are trained to do it) or the assistant in Harrods who treats you like royalty. Besides buying products, you also get an experience.

The dopamine effect

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Ideas for new investors #finance #investments

If you’re new to investing and haven’t yet bought your first shares it might be a good idea to see if your analysis of the stock market is good. Several brokers offer ‘fantasy’ accounts and I have a couple with London South East. One is a copy of my ‘real’ portfolio and one is just to track a few companies. It is a good idea for new investors to open an account and then use their ‘portfolio’ like an investment game.

ideas for new investors

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Waiting for the share price to hit bottom #finance

My portfolio of investments looks like a disaster zone at the moment. Many of the share prices have crashed in recent weeks and this week the share price of Carillion crashed from around 190p to just 55p although it is beginning to rally a little today. The share has been shorted a lot in recent weeks but this crash doesn’t really make sense. Carillion has huge debts but it recently paid a very good dividend. Why if its cash flow was in question did it pay such a large dividend? The CEO has now resigned and they have hired HSBC as a second corporate adviser. It seems likely that their debt will need to be restructured and Jeffries are saying they will need a 500 million rights issue. The rights issue should have come a couple of months ago, along with a suspension of dividends. What was the board thinking? Hopefully, the share price has now hit bottom and the only way is up!

has your share price hit bottom?

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Escaping from slavery #finance #health

I usually write my finance and investment post on a Friday but I had a few other things to do so I’m a day late. Escaping from slavery sounds like a title about the deep south or a post about a third world country but many of us in developing countries are enslaved by addiction or debt. We become slaves to tobacco, alcohol or interest payments. Gambling and even shopping can be addictive and can also enslave us. So we need to throw off our shackles and live free. The prize in many cases is peace of mind, debt can drive people to suicide. In the great depression of the 1930’s financiers were throwing themselves off the skyscrapers of New York, such is the power of money in our lives.

escaping from slavery

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Living in Neverneverland #finance

Yes, Britain is now living on the never-never. Credit and debt appear to be official policy. The government is trapped in debt and so are most its citizens. The government can just print money and cause inflation which will effectively inflate away debts in sterling terms but not in the terms of the reserve currency, the almighty dollar. The thing now is, the almighty dollar is being devalued too, as are most currencies. A global economy based on ever-expanding currencies which of course lead to property bubbles in our capital cities. We are in Neverneverland but we’re not the only ones!

Living in Neverneverland

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Watching for patterns and trends

It can be lucrative if you can spot  patterns or trends. If you can be one of the first to sell the fidget spinner before they get discounted or recognise the latest fashion that is about to take off  you can make a fortune. The same is true of any market and the stock market is no exception. Patterns and trends are computer analysed and traders talk about the ‘candles’ on their charts. I don’t often use charts but they can be useful sometimes. Alliance Pharma seems to be fairly static for long periods and then it’s share price will suddenly jump either downwards or upwards for example. That is a useful trend to know about.

patterns and trends

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