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Is the Bitcoin cryptocurrency the road to riches? #financefriday

I’ve been asked about investing in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin several times. I see lots of advertising for it and they claim that personalities such as Jim Davidson endorse it. One advert even had Matt Hancock, the Health Minister promoting it. Bitcoin has gone to new highs recently as investors look for alternative investments and a safe asset for their cash. Bitcoin, however, is still a Ponzi scheme and not at all safe. The Cryptocurrency is interesting and even the Bank of England is looking at using blockchain. So I did a little research and even bought crypto!

cryptocurrency

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Virtual stock market trading #finance

If you don’t have the experience to trade on the stock market you can get some practice by reading virtually. I trade virtually on London South East and find it’s a great website that gives me lots of information on the stocks including RNS statements and charts. I’ve recently started using eToro but that seems more difficult to me. You can trade virtually or for real. I’m not trading for real until I have a lot more experience. You can lose far more than you expect on eToro because trades can employ leverage. Although trades are commission-free. They make money from you in other ways. The spreads are larger and you trade in US dollars so they make money on the conversion to dollars. They also charge a few when you withdraw money.

virtual stock market trading

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Diversify to spread the risk. #finance

I’m not wealthy, in fact, my income is low. So my discretionary income, that money that I have leftover when I’ve paid for all the essentials, is low too. So, I try to boost my discretionary income with money from investments. I also try to diversify to spread the risk.

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Trying to understand the economics of the pandemic.

This week saw the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduce a raft of measures to help the UK recover from the effects of the lockdown and return to a more normal economy. In China, the central bank is still providing stimulus and that is driving the stock market higher. Stimulus here gave the stock market a boost so the question is will there be more stimulus? I bought a few shares in Barclay’s on the back of the last lot of stimulus and they’re giving me a paper profit of around 20% so I’ll be watching for signs that the Bank of England might take more action.  The economics of this pandemic is complicated by the failure of the Americans to get a grip on slowing the spread of infection. That is causing fears of a prolonged global recession.

economics of the pandemic

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Getting back to business as usual. #finance

Many pubs and other entertainment businesses are due to open this weekend. Will it be business as usual? Hardly! They will need one way systems, screens and will have to introduce table service. This is the new normal and likely to continue for some time. It could even be the new normal over Christmas.

business as usual

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Will we be back to normal by Christmas? #finance

It might be a little bit early to be thinking about Christmas but it is an important time for many businesses. Will we back to normal by Christmas? I think it is very unlikely and if we try to get back to normal it could trigger a second (or third) wave of the coronavirus. We may have to resign ourselves to the fact that Christmas will be cancelled in its usual form.

Will we be back to normal by Christmas?

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Will the British economy bounce back? #finance

Judging by the amount of money finding its way into the stock market this week. I think the economy could bounce back fairly quickly as Britain gets back to business as usual. The sectors that will be really hit hard are obviously tourism and aviation. Perhaps both of those sectors can adjust to the new reality? Certainty tourism can adjust to providing more holidays at home and we might see a resurgence of British seaside holidays.  Will the British economy bounce back? It seems like the banking sector and building sectors will lead the way but will the government mess it all up by reintroducing austerity?

Will the British ecnomy bounce back?

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Lockdown finances #financefriday

I admit that I am saving a little money during my lockdown. I’m also investing again in a very modest and careful way. Last month, I bought shares in Barclays and they’re up about 15% since then and this month I doubled my investment in Lloyds Banking Group. My portfolio isn’t as diverse as it should be. Half of it is invested in Premier Foods which is doing well in this lockdown period. I’m making a profit on Premier Foods now. So overall, my lockdown finances aren’t doing too badly. I am recording my lockdown in pictures but watching the stock market is a good diversion for me too and keeps me occupied.

lockdown finances

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Trade deals and inflated egos. #finance

Looking at the state of the British economy, I’m not filled with optimism. If we broaden our outlook we see the US economy isn’t doing too badly but their economy favours the rich and to a lesser extent the middle classes. The president has started a trade war that doesn’t bode well for the future  but the tough talk might just get them a better deal with China. The UK has to try to make a trade deal with both the US and the EU and will be negotiating from a weak position. The inflated egos of both Donald Trump and Boris Johnson drive over-optimistic rhetoric  and us ordinary people will pay the price. The reality could be a recession that affects both countries.

inflated egos

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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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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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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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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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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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The Carillion effect #investments #finance

Since Carillion went into liquidation, people have been asking questions.Why did it pay a high dividend last year when it was in such a perilous state? This week, The AA announced a new strategy of investment and a cut its dividend to 2p a share. This is a good thing for the company, employees and shareholders but the share price still tanked. The Carillion effect, in this case, was to make them think long-term but we can conclude from the reaction of the market that, the market, in fact, considers only the short-term.

The Carillion effect

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City spivs and bubbles #finance

At one time spivs in their sharp suits tried to sell you a watch or a pair of nylon stockings. Now they wear Rolex watches, flash iPhones and try to sell you Bitcoin or Ethereum. These alien currencies are mined, using lots of energy and extremely expensive computers, they are nothing but a con which will be exposed and crash, somewhat like the collapse of Lehman Brothers. At least Carillion was building roads and hospitals despite the fact they were paying themselves with cash that was borrowed. Carillion didn’t just borrow to build, they tried like many other companies to roll over their debt and borrow more to pay the existing debt. Many companies with high debt have been praying for inflation which would inflate away their debt but high inflation never seems to come. Inflation isn’t just rising prices, it is rising prices chasing rising wages. While fat-cat salaries have been rising, the wages of the ordinary worker, the hospital porter and the nurse, have been falling in real terms.

spivs and fat cats

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How to make easy money? #finance #investments

The Bank of England left interest rates at 0.5% yesterday which was good news for people with mortgages but bad news for savers. This week, stock markets fell all around the world and President Trump’s bragging about how well the US stock market was doing came to an abrupt halt. So how do you make easy money in such a volatile environment? When the panic sets in, so does what might be termed ‘computer panic’. Traders become concerned and start selling and then a few stop losses, those automatic trades that are meant to stop losses when the price falls a little, all kick in and that causes the share price to fall even further. The market makers know this and they increase the spread just a little to make their cut even bigger. You can make easy money when this happens by buying on the artificially low and then selling when the high comes. This is difficult for small investors because we tend to get hit with extortionate dealing fees.

easy money

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Money that you never spend #finance

I have written about discretionary income before, which is the money left over after you have paid for all the essentials like a place to live, food to eat and taxes! That is the money that you spend on all the luxuries that make life worth living. If you can double your discretionary income with income from investments or increase it by being a bit thrifty when buying the essentials, you can effectively double your standard of living. What is this money that you never spend?

money that you never spend

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