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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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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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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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Inflation and investments #finance

Inflation is on the rise once again and stands at around 2.5% which means my return on my investment in Zopa has been cut substantially by the effect of inflation. The return has increased, it dropped to under 4% and is about 4.5% now. Even so, the return in real terms is now only about 2% but still better than a bank account! My point is that we should consider investments in the light of rising inflation and look at what returns are in real terms.

inflation eating away at savings and investments?

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Loss leaders and introductory offers #thrifty

We have to be quite shrewd these days if we are going to save money. Supermarkets and other retailers have all sorts of tricks to relieve us of our money. The loss leader is a product that they will advertise at a much lower price then their competitors and then make their profit on the lines that aren’t advertised. These offers have to appeal to a large number of people so they can’t be on lines that we only buy infrequently. They have to be on products that most people buy regularly. So sugar is a good product for a loss leader and staples like potatoes and bread can also be put on offer. Some offers will be on products that they have a good profit margin on that they can afford to cut and still make a profit, as well. Loss leaders can be a good bargain but there is always a catch.

loss leaders

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Thinking about the weather #ramble

On a Sunday, I ramble on about whatever is on my mind. Today, it’s the weather amongst other things. We might have a little snow later this week. It’s cold this morning so I might have to sort out my Arctic gear! (more…)


Surviving the market turmoil #investments

The all share index on the London stock market is down nearly 4% this week, which is a lot for small private investors. There are some bargains to be had but falling markets have had a devastating effect on the value of portfolios in recent months. We have to think long term and consider buying. (more…)


Fun and finance #life

TIPTON CARNIVAL - fun and finance

Mike Maynard

I went to Tipton Carnival yesterday and took lots of photos, but others were there to have fun and enjoy themselves. Unfortunately, with all the temptation of a carnival to spend money,  fun and finance are inextricably linked.

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Pundits, power and panic #finance

Pundits, power and panic

It seems that traders on the stock market rely on the guidance of brokers and the pundits in newspapers, rather than doing their own due diligence before trading.  We all rely on others to analyse complex annual reports, we can’t read them all; but many pundits seem to amplify minor problems. (more…)


Finance Friday: What recovery?

Money - picture of pounds sterling

We are told the UK economy is recovering and doing well. All I see is increasing poverty. People are having their benefits stopped, losing their homes and queuing at food banks. More people are using the discount supermarkets and Poundland. Is this just a recovery for the rich? The champagne and strawberries crowd at Wimbledon? The Royal Ascot lot in their finery? (more…)


Finance Friday: Making money

My short post on Wednesday was about winning the lottery. I did buy a ticket in the end. I had just £2.00 left in my account and so I thought it was worth a try. Was it worth it though or just another £2.00 down the drain? It wasn’t worth it because I didn’t win, but we have to take risks in life and I took a risk. (more…)


How to sell – just about anything

Large companies know how to sell, they have whole marketing departments dedicated to selling their products and services. They have all kinds of devices and tricks to make us part with our money. We can use some of those tricks to sell stuff too! It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling crafts or your used car.

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Finance Friday | Loose money

It’s difficult these days to even define what money is. It can be coins in our pockets, notes in purses and wallets or numbers on bank account statements. Money can be just bits in a computer or  tokens of any kind.

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Spring flowers in May

Flowers in May

The river in the picture is the River Tame. This photo was taken last May, but I drove past there yesterday and the flowers are just starting to bloom again. They seem to grow all along the Tame, I’ve seen them at Walsall and Dudley.

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Finance Friday | Priorities

Can you imagine living in a country where you don’t have any opportunities and struggle to get clean water and enough to eat? Here in the UK, most people are lucky, but there is a lot of inequality. Young people on benefits go into MacDonald’s to eat, just because it’s there. 

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Reflections on life

Cart

Sometimes, I think as a society we take one step forward and two steps backwards. There are lots of experiments that seem to fail. The big pink box on West Bromwich High Street is still referred to as ‘iconic’, but in reality it’s a failed experiment. They intend to use it as a sixth form college now. (more…)


Normal April showers?

Woden Road South (2)

I took this photo a year ago. I look at the sky a lot now in an attempt to predict the weather. The sky looked a paler blue last year, today it’s been a deep blue with white clouds and April showers. We had a very wet summer last year, are we back to normal now?

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Ding dong it’s Saturday

SATURDAY 021

I get more local readers at weekends because my blog posts are featured on ‘the yamyam’.  There appears to be more and more local bloggers now and they are writing good posts. Anyway, in case any local reader is wondering, today’s picture is of King’s Hill Park, just outside Darlaston.

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Finance Friday | Needs and Wants

We all need water and food and we need to keep warm in winter. The divide between what we actually need and what we want is getting a little blurred. Do we really need mobile phones, cars and internet? I think we want these things and a lot more, but we don’t need them. We don’t even need television…

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Saturday Review | The week in focus

NIGHT SHOT Flare

I’m not too sure about this photograph. It’s different from the usual photograph that I use. It was taken a few evenings ago and has been edited to make it a little more ‘artistic’. It shows what you can do with a digital camera and a little experimenting. I did a few blogs this week too…

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Supply and demand in the market

Money - Seeing the future

English village

Imagine living in an English country village, surrounded by farms where all the fresh food comes from. You can go to the local farm market in the village and buy fresh food from lots of different farmers. You would probably shop around to get the cheapest meat and vegetables. You might eat whatever is in season and take advantage of availability and low prices. When there was a glut of apples, because of a good harvest. You would be able to buy lots to make chutney and apple pies.

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