Category : General

Go for Gold!

What a difference a Christmas and New Year makes! We ended 2011 with all good news discounted and all bad news amplified. We go away, have some turkey, mince pies and New Year cheer and return with the circumstances reversed.

The general air feels more optimistic, even the Greeks burning down their one tax collection office has not put a damper on things. All I can say is long may it continue and if nothing else a year of relative stability and a lack of extreme volatility would be welcomed with open arms.

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The Economic War of Empires

The quiet unspoken war between the power houses of Europe and the USA continues and we all sit quietly, in our offices and homes and really notice very little other than the radio-active levels of fall out.

Japan appears spent, at least for another five years, China continues to be the main focus of the future hopes of the EU and the USA. Just what would happen to either of these big dogs if China sided with one over the other, answer economic disaster for the losing “empire”!

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Deceptively Clever

As gold hit new highs I was reminded of a lunch back in the mid 90’s, with a stock broker friend. How things have changed, we walked to the restaurant from the JSE, in central Johannesburg and it was a big day as from recollection gold had just gone through the $350 dollars an ounce mark, the sun shone and all seemed right with the world!

At $1900 an ounce gold still does not really thrill me, but then as a dull Lancastrian pommy I have never been part of the love affair that many South African’s share with that beautiful unique metal. At $2500 an ounce I do know a number of guys who will cash in their wedding rings and at $3000 an ounce carjacking in parts of Cape Town will change. Yes, the criminals will be carrying pliers not guns, there is at least an ounce in a gold front tooth!

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Life is never dull

We are not just living in interesting times we are actually part of a world that is changing by the day. This leads to that old proverb and problem that we often cannot see the wood for the trees.

In the financial markets the scale of the changes that have occurred over the last six months is truly daunting. The refinancing of the corporate world, that was all the rave over the last 24 months, leading to such old dependables as GM declaring bankruptcy, has switched to concerns about the viability of nations themselves.

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Handymen – Get them while you can!

As we approach the end of the year, in any year, there does seem to be an odd quickening of everything around us.

Time seems to accelerate and a huge magnet, with a fat Father Christmas so on top of it, seems to drag us faster and faster towards that fateful day of turkey and crackers! From the first moment that a tin foil covered Santa chocolate appears in the shop we are doomed. The gun goes off and we hurtle head long towards that date, with our credit card maxed and our nerves a little jangled, actually jingle jangled.

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Have a Financial Giggle

If you think that you are more miserable than ever and you are in your late thirties then you are probably right!

A recent piece of scientific research has shown some remarkable results into how many times a day we humans laugh, giggle or are genuinely amused and happy. The happiest group were, not surprisingly, kids under ten but what was amazing to me was that these lucky tots laugh and giggle up to 300 times a day.

This happiness barometer then tails off over the years and hits rock bottom in our mid to late thirties.

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Penny Wise Pound Foolish

Have you ever considered how the terms, “Penny wise pound foolish” and “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves” fly in the face of each other?

Two established and oft used phrases that we all seem to accept, but which fundamentally give us completely different advice!

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Bulls and Bears

Back to basics, an over used term and an under accomplished goal.  The simplest principles that relate to investment, money and its maximisation are misunderstood by many people and yet every week newspapers, magazines and TV programmes preach to us, mostly above our heads and often they may as well be lecturing in ancient Hebrew!

The reality is a lot simpler, there is no such thing as a money tree and other than ex wives and children no one has ever found one. Financial Institutions do not have a secret room where client monies are kept and watered allowing them to grow, although many have left their clients in the hands of some pretty shoddy gardeners who have turned their cash to mulch.

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Good Years

Once in every life time you get the opportunity to amass experience in bucket fulls and within a very short period of time, this is one of those times!

There are 30 year olds in the financial services industry today who having left university have spent their entire working life in the investment world and have never seen anything other than a protracted bull run.

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Perfection with the odd Blemish

There are none so blind as those that cannot see!  Goodness that could have been my own epitaph ten years ago, in fact it nearly was. But life has a strange habit of giving us the chance to have another go, it says simply if you try hard enough, if you put in all you can give, and if you never give up, then you can become who you always meant to be and you will become who you deserve to be.

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