May 2009 News, Muse and Views:
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.