I love New Year not because it’s an excuse to go out until the early hours but because it’s an opportunity to start afresh and make changes in my life. It’s psychological – I would never dream of writing down my ambitions for the other 364 days in the year, but on 31 December you can normally find me scribbling down various lofty goals on a scrap of paper that is invariably lost before the clock hits midnight.
Most years, at least one of my resolutions is financial – for example, last year I wanted to buy my own house (which, I’m glad to report, I did) and take out a pension (ditto).
But in 2008 my financial resolutions are going to be set a little lower, although I know they will make a massive different in the long term.
Today I start to lok for a european fund to invest in so that I can retire at 55.
In case you’ve missed all the other signs, a quick glance at the headlines of most national newspapers should make the penny hit home. Yes, it’s Christmas, a time for over-indulging and celebrating with your family. It is also a pretty slow time for news and therefore papers fill up white space with seasonal stories about albino robins and turkey shortages.
To describe it as a backlash would be exaggerating, admittedly. Yet an editorial I wrote in Moneywise, back in what we laughably called ‘summer’, perplexed one or two readers. My mistake was to confess to not being desperate to get on the housing ladder.
Estate agents, don’t we just love ’em. They are such an open and transparent bunch, and they always have the interests of buyers and sellers close to their hearts. Yeah right, close to their wallets more like. In truth they are the most hated profession in Britain and now I know why, as if I didn't already.
I was interested to read the Bank of England's quarterly bulletin today, which says higher mortgage payments are starting to put the squeeze on consumer spending.
Simply because although it is to be expected, I saw absolutely no sign of tightened purse strings on Oxford Street on Saturday, where people where handing over plastic and spending money like there was no tomorrow. Admittedly I was among the shoppers, but just to return my broken Christmas party shoes, I promise.
When I asked my husband what he wanted for Christmas a few months back, I wasn’t quite aware what I was letting myself in for. “A Wii would be great,” he said, before starting to wax lyrical about the benefits of the new Nintendo Console. “You might even like it,” he suggested.
Buying a games console – easy I thought to myself. So instead of rushing out to buy one I focused my energies finding presents for those friends and relatives that are a bit harder to please.
Last week I had ‘the conversation’ my 11-year-old son.
No, no that one, the one about money.
Well this is novel, isn't it? A blog about finances and the like. More pertinently, perhaps, my blog about finances and the like. I certainly can't claim to be an expert just yet on matters of money (my bank balance, alas, can confirm that) but I'm obviously working in the right place here at Moneywise to rectify that.
Living with the parents. Most of us have been there and most of us start to get itchy feet at some point or another and begin to think about branching out on our own. (With the exception of the odd Norman Bates-type 'character'.)
"Great," we think, "No more rules, no more washing up and loads of parties." Whilst this may be true (particularly the washing up part, if some of my friends' places are any kind of barometer), there are often further - hidden - costs that go unnoticed when preparing to move out.