Monday, 26 October 2009

Your financial fitness regime from Simonne

I’ve just started getting into a habit of jogging most days (well – it’s only a tad faster than walking, but it’s a start!).

I’m noticing how it’s getting easier by the day and that, just by maintaining it, I’m able to stick to a level of fitness which is pretty much what I hoped I’d achieve.

It got me thinking about the similarities with getting into good money habits.

It’s just as hard getting started (all too easy to find excuses), and then keeping things up can be challenging.

But once you’ve found the right financial fitness regime I’m sure you’ll share the experience of finding it easier to maintain by the day and never having to experience the pain of getting started.

And it doesn’t have to be perfect to make it worthwhile.

So if money management is something you’re putting off, what can you do today to get started?

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Stop feeding the bin!

Here’s a quick question. How much food do you think we Brits chuck away every day?

a) Half a million tonnes

b) 1.6 million tonnes

c) 6.7 million tonnes

The shocking answer is c! And it costs the average family £420 a year. It’s like scraping eight slimy, putrifying, past-their-sell-by-date pounds into the bin every week. I blame supermarkets, who encourage people to overbuy with their constant BuyOneGetOneFree (BOGOF) offers.

And, up until now, delivered groceries have been a problem because you couldn’t be sure the produce was fresh enough to last.

But I love the fact that Ocado are tackling this. They show the use-by date on all the fresh stuff on their website. It’s also printed on your receipt so you stick it on your fridge as a guilty reminder of what to use up. Brilliant.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

It pays to start early

A big bash was held in London this week to celebrate top female fund managers. Its star was 58-year old American, Mina Gerowin, who (managing a £2 billion fund) posted positive results last year whilst many of her male counterparts racked up losses.

As delighted as I was to hear about these alpha females giving the men a run for their hedge-fund money, I was mindful of a report earlier this year showing that most women in the city still receive significantly lower salaries and smaller bonuses than men.

So how did Gerowin rise above this?

Apparently her interest in investing came when she joined her New York school’s investment club as a nine year old.

I think UK schools missed a trick there; 50 years ago the only after-school activity our schools offered was detention.

There's more on offer nowadays but I suspect not many nine-year olds are investing. Given the demise of the state pension it wouldn't be a bad idea though.

I can see Mums sending kids off to school with their dinner money in one pocket and their pension money in another before too long...

Monday, 5 October 2009

Reminder from Simonne....

Did you know that the rules for ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts) are changing tomorrow for anyone over the age of 50 (and from April 2010 for all other adults)? That means you can now pay up to £10,200 each tax year (6th April one year to 5 April the next), £5,100 of which can be in the form of cash (bank/building society accounts earning tax-free interest). If you want to compare different cash ISAs, try