22 05 2009
No.7 – The Jam Maker – Sweet Success for the Young
Financial markets upside down….. businesses challenged…….. you know the story….
Recalling a similar time, youthful anger and frustration was perfectly displayed in a “Billy Elliot” dance sequence, to a soundtrack from The Jam. Energy and drive oozed out.
Actor Jamie Bell played Billy when he was about 14 years old. At the same age Fraser Doherty was having jamming sessions…. with his Gran. Jamie went on to be a successful actor, The Jam a legendary group and Fraser an Entrepreneur with an Enterprise.
Self-Employment can be daunting ; especially for young people who are likely to have limited experience in all things financial. Energy and ideas they have in bucketfuls but without people such as Fraser, as an inspiration, their motivation could disappear. With depressing statistics coming out every day young people need confidence in their abilities; just as Fraser did…… he was SuperJam packed with ideas.
(Image credit: SuperJam.co.uk Article credit: Copyright SUF)
19 05 2009
Along with another one of our favourites, Ernest Borgnine, in an episode of the Simpsons entitled “Boy-Scoutz n the Hood”, we are treated to a very laid-back Homer giving us a classic line which seems to have been adopted by many in the current headlines;
“Marge, don’t discourage the boy! Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals! Except the weasel.”
Young people with a thirst for adventure seem to have ignored such advice and are inspired by an adventurer who lives boldly, therefore proving, once again, that ambition has favour with the young……. D-oh!
(Image credit: reconstructionist Article credit: Copyright SUF)
01 05 2009
Welcome, and a big Hello to all our new recipients, and thanks to all of you who have been in contacts with us – Always good to hear from you.
Wrecking was the regular practice of taking valuables from a shipwreck which had foundered near to a shore, and there are legends of false lights being put out to deliberately lure passing ships into danger. The allegory of our finances and economy being on stormy seas doesn’t need impressing, nor that during these times how we’re all looking on the horizon for the glimmer of the lighthouse beam and safe harbour. But are the glimmers we see real or false lights? At Step-Up Finance we look beyond the numbers which offer some light. For example; there was a small rise in mortgage lending during March but the figures given didn’t show the low level they had risen from. Little glimmers of spending being up are shown, but don’t forget that interest rates are at a record low to encourage us to spend. House prices are still high compared to earnings although one sure set of numbers is the Banks’ Balance Sheet; resulting in low Bank lending. The current beacon of light is dim but the batteries haven’t yet run out. Long term sustainability has always been the light that Step-Up Finance has looked for and we continue to do so. When short term products are sold and there is a bust, we all, including our clients, inevitably get the fallout through taxes rising…. and the Bankers disappear…..(probably laughing all the way to their Bank). The warnings are always there to stop the wrecking.
Fumbling in the Dark? Thrift is the New Black.
It’s very easy during a time when there is no let-up to think that things will never get better. However if history can show us anything, things do eventually improve. Although, comparing the past economic clunks, this recession is getting rather long in the tooth. The average recession since World War II has lasted 11 months, 1981-82 was 16 months long, but our current downturn is, depending from where you count, about 18 months old. Whether you are just starting your financial planning or you are seasoned and experienced with your funds, Step-Up Finance has always advocated some strategies that definitely should and should not be done to protect and build upon your assets.
We advocate that you Should
1. Reduce Your Expensive Debt
2. Get On a Budget
3. Guard Against the Long Term Effects of Inflation
4. Hope for the Best, but Prepare for the Worst
5. Learn a new language – Finance
We advocate that you Should Not
1. Confuse What You Want With What You Need
2. Have a Short Term Strategy
3. Ignore Common Sense
4. Forget Your Retirement
5. Treat Your Home as a Get Rich Quick Scheme
The Law Society of Scotland has protested to Abbey Bank and described a move by them as ‘grave’. 7, 000 local Solicitors will no longer handle the Bank’s conveyancing process. It would appear those affected will be smaller firms with three partners or less. Step-Up Finance has always suggested, wherever possible, when buying property and choosing your law firm, look for the word ‘Partner’ amongst at least three names from Members’ information, or check that your sole practioner has an working agreement with a larger firm.
31 03 2009
Something just set you “near the edge”…..you can’t throw the mug ( gift ) …. you can’t throw the cat ( not acceptable ) ….you can’t kick the door ( too expensive )….
Run off your anger…. down the street to your nearest Passive-Aggressive-Anger-Release-Machine. “All you have to do is insert a coin, and a piece of China will slowly move forwards and fall into the bottom of the machine, breaking, and leaving you happy and relieved of anger.”
Some things are so…. obvious. Why didn’t we think of that?
(Image credit: Yarisal and Kublitz Article credit: Copyright SUF)
30 03 2009
Old MacDonald…….E, I, E, I, Owe You
A big welcome to all of you who are new recipients of our newsletter and thank you to all of those who have given feedback – we always appreciate honesty.
Old MacDonald had a farm… and on that farm he had a variety of hens. Some laid golden eggs, some chocolate, some Faberge, some fake.
He collected his eggs in a basket ( he only had one basket for many reasons, of which one is, this is a tenuous link to understanding how our finances can feel – thus he put all his eggs into one basket). Unfortunately at the top of the hill the basket tipped over and the eggs rolled away from him. Which eggs should he chase after first? Which should he let go?
By reacting and trying to get just one of the eggs back, he took control… and saved some of his eggs (this was the last lay of the season).
The business world has changed and the economic culture, in which we now exist amongst, is having variable effects upon us all. It is very easy for a general depression to seemingly hang in the air and, with the constant doom and gloom news coming at us from every angle, we can soon be discouraged. It takes effort and energy to be active.
Albeit not addicts, here at Step-Up-Finance, we have always respectfully admired the approach of E F Schumacher and the idiom of his most famous work‘s subtitle, Small Is Beautiful : Economics as if People Mattered. An encouraged strategy for our clients has always been the setting of financial objectives (as opposed to lifestyle goals) to achieve growth.
The direct opposite of an entrepreneurial attitude is to lament things that were and who’s fault it was / is. We may need a far better, and tighter regulation of the financial system, but, we also need better financial education of ourselves. People borrow, and spend thousands of pounds every year, without knowing the basics of real interest rates, compound interest rates, the impact of credit ratings and how their money can work for them.
The Quarterly Survey of Small Business in Britain, found small firms are the hardest hit, bearing the brunt of the economic downturn. Most businesses, in the survey, cited the current economic climate as their biggest concern, followed by cash flow, payments or debtors and government legislation. Being in in the privileged position of being able to speak with all types of business owners, SUF have listened to many stories. By taking a step back from a situation, business’ and individuals are able to see which of their eggs are rolling where . A fresh perspective enables the plotting of long-term direction whilst being reminded that honesty costs nothing …. but is priceless.
The Post Office’s Consumer Credit Report further illustrates the need to have financial goals as it cites that millions of consumers are still reliant on credit for day-to-day living costs. “In the current climate, many people have little choice but to rely on their credit cards to fund more expensive purchases…..people continue to rely on their cards for basic day-to-day purchases”.
Fiscal matters are almost as elemental as air and just as if we had difficulties in breathing we’d go and see a Doctor, finding a strategy to reach a financial objective requires an Independent Broker. Deciding what we want, the order of importance within a time frame and incorporating realistic limits to get the most effective results applies to us all, and part of that is choosing what to do, or choosing, as a strategy, to do nothing.
Despite the overall gloom in the economy it is worth reiterating that lenders do have money and many are willing to lend, even when there is an existing relationship with a Bank. For example, recently a client was turned down by their Bank for short term finance to fund an important export order. However the order was able to complete and the contract was successful because there were other funding sources accessible. In the smoke-and-mirrors economic climate it is all too easy to loose sight of the facts. Personal mortgages, including 100% loans, and fast-track business finance solutions are attainable.
Fiscal Tax Year is here again. Personal Allowance is being raised to £6475 for 2009-2010, that means each of us can earn an additional £440 pa before tax kicks-in. The HMRC website can be confusing, this other resource is an alternative explanation.
Starting or expanding a business is rarely easy, therefore Business Startup at ExCel London, 28/29 May, might just tick all the right boxes if you are looking to do either. Tickets are available by `phone or online… and they’re Free.
17 03 2009
How dangerous is cliche? For example, the stereotypical teenager is moody and unapproachable, think of Bill Gates when he was in his teens locked away with his computer. Young people have energy, drive and talent – but usually not money. They are a mirror of culture and demonstrate that in the most refreshing and creative ways, including business. A young entrepreneurial mind can be valuable in any career.
StepUpFinance was therefore very interested to be made aware of Shell Live Wire which helps 16 – 30 year olds to start and develop their own business by providing information, advice and practical support. Every month, a no-strings-attached financial boost of £1,000 is given to help get new business ideas off the ground in their Grand Ideas Awards.
The emergence of innovation from the confrontation of old ideas inevitably happens. Flexability is the Key and young people have a much quicker approach to adapting and changing; just think about fashion.
We at StepUpFinance look forward to saying that, whoever the new Bill Gates is, they worked with us.
(Image credit: petter palander Article credit: Copyright SUF)
25 02 2009
“The mechanism for improving the System works too slowly. Every time attempts are made to finally patch-up one problem, cracks appear elsewhere”
“Moral Hazard” is the name given to a decision that can influence future behaviour, often for the worse, and usually the person who caused the problem doesn`t suffer the full (or any) consequences. They may actually benefit. It could be argued that the treatment of the DotCom bubble was a moral hazard. As share prices plummeted, the US Government reacted by slashing interest rates to 1% and sowed the seed for the next boom and bust in housing.
To avoid the bust, the boom needs to be avoided too…..
And so here we are with Mervyn King writing to Alistair Darling to ask for approval to introduce measures aimed at raising the supply of money in the economy. The UK`s new Banking Act is coming into force and European leaders in Berlin have agreed on the need to regulate all financial markets, including Hedge Funds….
(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF )