Shared Listening

The boss announced the other day that he’d just started converting his garage into a ‘cinema room’, splashing out on a high-end projector, getting the whole garage sound-proofed. Once done, I’m sure he’ll be buying an expensive sofa in there so he can watch movies comfortably.
This is despite the fact that he has no less than three television sets in his house (including a 55′ and a 3D set).  A few other colleagues joined in on the conversation and I realised that I was the only person there who has just the one television set in their house – in my living room. I don’t need one anywhere else!
However, what I do have is a radio in my kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. I often listen to the radio on my pc while I’m surfing the net/blogging. Oh, and of course, there’s the radio in my car.
Radio Gaga
It’s funny how in this age of technology that the humble radio is still so popular after its invention over a 100 years ago.
Of course, it’s radio’s versatility that has maintained its popularity – you can listen via digital (DAB) technology, online (streaming or podcasts) as well as via good old normal radio waves (FM/AM). Plus of course, listening to the radio costs you nothing (although it may cost if you listen on your mobile).
My radio listening consists of a mixture of music, sport and news.  However, this past year, I’ve been listening more and more to Share Radio, which is a UK radio station dedicated to financial related stuff.

 

The station covers a lot of topical and financial related current affairs (politics), plus also (from its website):

• Banking
• Budgeting
• Markets
• Property
• Investments
• Insurance
• Small businesses
• Ethics
• Children’s finances

The station broadcasts on Greater London DAB and broadband internet (which is how I listen to it). On my tablet, I listen to it via the TuneIn radio app (the basic free one works well for me).

There’s pretty much something for everyone, including shows aimed at young people/students and others targeted at women.  Plenty more for investors (both experienced and non-experienced) or people just interested in finance or interested in learning more about finance.
Sometimes, I just listen to whatever is being broadcast live but mostly, I dip in and out of the podcasts, of which there are many.
Recently, I’ve caught some of the ‘Managing My Money’ series, which is in conjunction with the Open University  – an audio course of sorts where you can answer a quiz after listening and get an OU course completion certificate.
The series I think is aimed at 20-30 somethings, it’s presented in a non-serious way (with music and comedy sketches) – quite a different and amusing way of ‘teaching’ about finance stuff.
Recent podcasts I’ve listened to have been about the trend of robo-advice and the impact of robots/automation on jobs.  Other podcasts I’ve listened to have been about crowdfunding, investment trusts and some case studies for small businesses.
Anyway, I think it’s worth checking out Share Radio as there could be something there you find interesting. There are the occasional adverts but they’re not half as annoying as the ones that you usually get on commercial radio.
Not yet, anyway!
[Note, I am not affiliated to Share Radio, just thought that people might be interested in something different to listen to that they could find educational!]

Doomsday in 9 months?

Arturo Bris is a Professor of Finance who teaches Advanced Strategic Management and Strategic Finance at IMD, a top ranked Swiss business school. Previously, he taught at Yale.
So you could say that he might know what he’s talking about when he predicts that the next global financial crisis will hit in April 2015 – only a mere 9 months away – and that the crisis will last for a whole year! 
Professor Bris believes there are 8 possible scenarios as to why there will be another meltdown:

A stock market bubble: “In the past year, stock markets have performed unrealistically well and at some point the situation will explode.”
Banking in China: “A severe crisis could be driven by growing Chinese shadow banking.”
Energy crisis: “If the US (the world’s largest producer of gas) begins exporting to the rest of the world, Russia might feel threatened, causing a geopolitical storm.”
Another real estate bubble: “There is a risk of a property bubble forming in countries like Brazil, China, Canada or Germany.”
Ratings and bankruptcy crisis: “Companies currently have too much debt and the new norm is to have a BBB rating.”
War and conflict: “There is increasing geopolitical tension. Events like the current crisis in Crimea could trigger a market crash, even if there is no war.”
Increasing poverty: “Overall world poverty has increased and whenever the poor become poorer, we can expect a social conflict.”
Cash and hyperinflation: “The surplus of cash that central banks and corporations are holding could end up damaging the economy.”

(More info here)

So what’s an Investor to do?

As someone who wasn’t an investor back in 2008, I have no idea how I will react to prices tumbling and all hell breaking loose. I would hope that I stay calm, develop nerves of steel and be able to sit tight…though I’ll probably sweat a little lot!

So, my strategy (if you can call it that) is to continue doing what I’m doing now, ie monthly investing into a mixture of equity funds, bond funds and putting aside some cash.  

Hopefully I shall see any crash as ‘opportunity’, though this will probably be easier said than done!

So…9 months to go…. I’m betting there’ll be no baby shower for this ‘Apocalypse Baby‘!
I’ll start a countdown til the waters break like a tsunami…

Getting Rid of Stuff

Some of the blogs I’ve come across not only have great advice about things of a financial nature but also extol the virtues of decluttering both your life and your home. Even making some money from selling off unwanted items.

I have to admit, I’m a terrible hoarder.  I used to be worse, when I used to buy a lot more ‘stuff’ but there’s still huge room for improvement.

So, I’ve started getting rid of some stuff:  unsellable items are in the charity bag (managed to just fill one up this weekend) and will sell smaller items such as books, CDs, DVDs etc.

Whilst I could probably get a decent price from selling them all individually on Ebay (though not the books as post & packaging works out as too expensive), listing and packing so many small items is very time-consuming. Plus I have the added inconvenience of not living near or working near a post office so everything would have to be posted on a Saturday.

I came across WeBuyBooks.co.uk via the Money Saving Expert forum, which had decent reviews so I thought I’d give them a go.

The prices they offered for my stuff I would say is pretty much car boot sale prices, ie extremely low. I got between £0.30 and £1.99 for DVDs and between £0.17 and £1.03 for paperbacks.  As none of the items had any sort of sentimental value, I accepted the price offered. Some books and DVDs they didn’t accept (you key in the book ISBN number or DVD barcode) – those, I will take to the charity shop.

Going to this site, I got a voucher code which added an extra 10% to the offer price.

So my first batch of items, I got just £8.82 – could have probably at least doubled that on Ebay I guess but this took no time at all. Whilst I don’t have a post office near me, I do have a newsagent which acts as a Collection Point so my books were posted off free with a preprinted label. Payment for my stuff was made to my PayPal account within 5-6 days of receipt of my items.

This site probably isn’t for people who actually want to make decent or fair money by selling books that they paid a lot of money for – it’s just a cheap, quick and easy service, with no hassles.

I have got some more expensive/electronic items that I will have to sell on Ebay so I will sort those out at some point.

Anyway, hoping to fill another charity bag this weekend!