Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Female quotas on boards

I blogged last year about female quotas on boards and why women are a wise investment, following a talk I gave to the Financial Services Research Forum and the report I wrote for them. I won't present the business case again for female representation on boards but will repeat one key stat from a large study by Pepperdine University:

When a company had three women on the board of directors it outperformed the competition on all measures by at least 40%. 

A recent report on the same topic by Lord Davies, following extensive government consultation, starts off by saying:

"At the current rate of change it will take over 70 years to achieve gender-balanced boardrooms in the UK." 

Yet concludes that:
“We have chosen not to recommend quotas because we believe that board appointments should be made on the basis of business needs, skills and ability. But a more focused business-led approach can increase the number of women on company boards at a much faster rate than we have seen recently.” 

With these new 'recommendations' it might take no more than 69 years.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Why you shouldn't shop on an empty stomach... or an empty bladder.

You probably know it's not wise to go shopping on an empty stomach. 
That's because your brain will be awash with hunger signals that will steer you towards the nearest cake counter. 
But now psychologists have discovered you shouldn't go shopping an an empty bladder either.

The reason for this comes from the finding that, when the bladder is full, people in experiments made spending decisions that were less rash. 

“You seem to make better decisions when you have a full bladder,” said Dr Mirjam Tuk of the University of Twente in the Netherlands, who came up with the idea for the study after sitting through a long lecture (presumably cross-legged). The same parts of the brain that control the bladder are also responsible for the control of desire and reward. So when you can control the urge to wee you will also activate the neurological links that control the urge to - er - splash out in the shops. Financially speaking that is.

Dr. Tuk suggests drinking a bottle of water before making a decision about your stock portfolio. And she says shops that want to encourage impulse buys should have customer loos, because shoppers might opt for more expensive products when they have an empty bladder.

In Sheconomics we say that delaying tactics are a good way to avoid making an impulsive purchase. One of these is to leave a purchase at the till and go back for it later. Maybe go for a walk and see if it's still such a desirable purchase by the time you get back. According to this research, a detour to the loo might also be advisable!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

How I could've been a millionaire...if I’d started at 19.

This is a photo of me at 19. Go on, laugh. I did. At the time I thought I looked like a young Simone de Beauvoir. 
Looking back I realise I looked like an extra from Corrie. 

         But this blog isn’t just about self-humiliation. No, that’s just a by-product. The real point lies in my right hand. The one in the photo....and yes, it’s a cigarette. Probably a posh one knowing my teenage pretentions. I thought smoking was such a cool look then. So do many teens now, yes - even today with all we know about the links with lung cancer, breast cancer and cervical cancer. Such a shame that Kate Moss was seen smoking on the cat-walk. She's a role model for young girls who are at greater risk of long-term addiction the earlier they start.
          Fortunately I came to my senses in my twenties and stubbed out my last ciggie. But just think - if, from then on I had saved all the money I didn’t spend on cigarettes (now £6 a pack and a pack of day amounting to £168 a month) I’d be sitting on a really tidy pot right now. With the right investments it could have amounted to a cool million!

          If you want to ditch a daily (or dirty) habit, and save the money you used to spend on it, why not calculate just how much those savings will amount to taking account of compound interest using an on-line tool?
Love Not Smoking out this week.

        This week we had national No Smoking Day on Wednesday 9th March. On that day Ben and I also released our latest book, Love Not Smoking: Do Something Different (Hay House). If you smoke, or have a loved-one who smokes, do take a look at it. 
        We’re getting amazing results using the Do Something Different method to help people quit. If you buy from Amazon you can get a copy for less than the price of a packet of cigarettes. The app, available from the App Store or the Android Market, is just £2.99. Or you can download a free extract here.
        Smoking isn’t cool, as I’ve since found out. Saving money, being healthy and leading a full and positive life is. That’s what Love Not Smoking is all about.