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chburke

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About chburke

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  1. As this is something I have quite a long experience of I thought I'd add some real data to the discussion Been a lender on Zopa since 2007, ramping up and down the amount lent out depending on the amount of cash I felt comfortable committing to the service. Lifetime data: Capital disbursements £47k Capital Repayments £27k Bad Debt £121 Interest received £2,700 Various bonus schemes on top £200 (refer a friend etc.) Currently: Loaned out: £20k Late payments £77.03 After fees and bad debt I've received just over 6% as an average return across all money lent out and repaid across 6 years (though note it's been going down since 2007 and is currently around 4.9% pre-fees and you can no longer actively manage and fine tune your own borrower risk profiles as you used to and it's all in the blend. Whether that is good or bad change is a personal decision) In my own experience it's been a good service and I would recommend for say 5-10% of your investable allocation. Note I choose 'investable' deliberately as in my opinion Zopa is riskier than a bank, but less so than company bonds and has filled a risk niche in my asset portfolio that no other class than provide. Caveat Emptor, past performance is no guarantee of future performance etc. etc. .....
  2. Don't know what you're talking about re East Finchley, I lived in Highgate for 3 years and Finchley Central for 3 years (still do) and visit East Finchley regularly as it has a lot of very nice pubs & restaurants (including the excellent Cochin), a better selection than Highgate for certain. I often head there for lunch at the The Old White Lion just behind the station. As to cycling I've personally been cycling in London for 10 years now (averaging about 70 miles a week) and when I lived in Highgate it took me 31 mins on average to get to Southwark Street in SE1 and it currently takes me 43 mins on average from Finchley Central to Victoria so you could easily get to the City in 30-40 minutes form East Finchley depending on where exactly in the City your work is. A friend lives in Leytonstone and it's ok (though very green at all compared to Finchley areas) but not if you plan on kids. Bow is where I first lived in London and you could easily run to work in the City in 30 mins or less (I did) though it is a bit gritty. Bow Quarter is one of the nicer enclaves but again don't even think about it if you plan on kids.
  3. And I went to a Streamed Comprehensive, then Cambridge, then the City to keep in OT
  4. I like one pithy liners: "The Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stones" - Sheikh Zaki Yamani, former Saudi oil minister "The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money" - Margaret Thatcher "The problem with 21st Century Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's unborn children's money" - Me
  5. Could always apply for a job at the prison complex on Sheppey, my dad's currently serving time inside there and he says they're always short of staff. Decent wage, interesting conditions.....
  6. Lots of spittle flying in anger but nearly everyone is failing to identify a solution or proper route cause for low wages and hours in retail beyond the default rallying cry of the ignorant, "It's Globalisation innit"..... Let's take one simple issue rasied: has anyone asked themsleves why there are so many 20 hours a week contracts in UK retail? - I'll gve you a hint it's got nothing at all to do with Globalisation, the EU etc.......... it's really quite simple and dull, the weekly wage limit below which Employers pay no NI to HMRC is £136 a week, what's £136 /£6.08? Oh it's 22.3hours... round it down to 20 just in case they do the odd hour of overtime... So let's play the thought game I have 40 hours of work in a week that needs doing, I can either employ 2 people on minimum wage and pay no NI, or I can employ 1 on minimum wage and pay an extra £14.80 to HMRC [(6.08*40 - £136) * 13.8%] on top of the £243.20 in salary I have allocated to get that work done. Now my job as an employer with shareholders is to maximise profits for thoise shareholders.. what I am going to do? If the costs of having 2 staff are less than the £14.80 I'm saving every week then I'm going to have 2, There's also the bonus that if a staff member is absent, I've got the flexibility to get the work covered by someone else... It's yet another great example of how arbitary step changes in government allowances, limits and taxation bands have all sorts of unintended consequences in the wild, particularly when they interwine with other things like benefits rates, tax credits, cut-offs etc..... The last Labour government in particular seemed determined to create a State/Labour dependent underemployed underclass as a way to ensure themselves a permannet block vote in the future, all paid for at the taxpayers expense.....
  7. What people don't like to acknowledge either is the insidious dishonesty in retail that inevitably gets bred by being paid a pittance. The great elephant in the room for retailers is staff theft rather than customer theft. In my experience of working at a supermarket (admittedly some 15 odd years ago now) at least half that staff were on the nick and the other half applied lots of creative 'discounts' to goods they purchased themselves so that 'Sea Bass' got priced up as 'Mackerel' etc. etc. The most brazen theft when I was there was when the night shift BWS (Beers, Wine and Spirits) staff organised with some mates their own staged armed robbery of the delivery truck... Other wheezes were not signing the delivery note or getting a random dodgy mate to do it and then claiming the lorry never turned up... However it was actually the corrosive drip, drip of the petty theft that was most depressing for me to observe..... What is quite interesting is that Aldi pays it's shop floor staff about £12 an hour vs. the c.£6-£7 you get with the major supermarkets so I hope at least someone has cottoned on to fact that the hidden 'cost' of employee theft can be tackled by simply paying them properly in the first place.
  8. Guy I used to work with lived on a houseboat in central Cambridge for his final year as a student as his college didn't do final year accomodation in college at that time (2001) His parents had a houseboat so he borrowed it, his view was that houseboats are great as he'd spent some lovely summers on the family boat and wouldn't it all be jolly good fun; Wind in the Williows style. He mainly moored on Jesus Green and dodged about between moorings to be non-resi - slight hassle but not too bad. Now bear in mind that he had no rent to pay as such, only food, beer money & warmth to pay for. He told me that he ended up spending his entire termly income on coal in the 1st 3 weeks of term as he had to run the heating 24x7 to keep the inside vaguely bearable. After he had no heating anymore (around November onwards) The temperature inside the boat would often be below freezing and his washing once didn't thaw out for 2 weeks. As my family still live there I remembered that was major flooding in winter 2001 Photos below gives you some idea: http://www.cix.co.uk/~rosenstiel/floods/welcome.htm I asked him how that was on a houseboat. He said there was nothing more invigorating than having to swim the Cam twice a day in February to get to and from your unheated Houseboat. He said the absolutley best part was trying to defrost and then empty the chemical toilet. Unless you have a very, very modern houseboat that's been specced by an Arab Sheikh with Raynaud's Syndrome, they're basically cold, damp and smelly for about 9 months of the year. Pretty much like UK Victorian era housing stock, but that's another story......
  9. I've lived in Highgate for the past 4 years and have just bought in Finchely Central yesterday after hunting for something for about a year What I can tell you is the house I've bought in FC was £500k (4 bed freehold semi) but a very similar but smaller house in the road next to me in Highgate just sold for £1.2m, East Finchley tends to be somewhere between the two. Coincidentally the flat we were renting is on for £475k! totally insane for a 2 bed / 2 bath flat! The basic problem with Highgate / East Finchley is it's mostly very old money (the houses anyway), there are almost no forced sales so people just don't sell if they can't get what they want. I'd recommend moving out to Finchley Central or West Finchley if you can bear it for two reasons a) You'll actually get a seat on the tube most mornings as quite a few tubes start at FC You can just about get a 3 bed house for £450k with a garage, it'll need some work though... Try Martyn Gerrard estate agents - they're ok ish and have some reasonable stuff.
  10. You may not like Eminem's music but having watched quite a few documentaries on Detroit you can see why he's so angry.....
  11. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/busi...icle5844672.ece So the impression I've had for the past 6 months that the prices on things most people buy most often, on most days is still rip roaring is quite correct. Idiots at the wheel......
  12. I actually feel very sorry for current students, they've been saddled with huge debts by a 'socialist' government and there will be no jobs for them when they do leave. The moral arguments start to go a bit out of thw window when the decks lare oaded so far in the houses favour, why not 'mark the cards' to even the odds? As others are discovering in the banking field people find out what the rules of the game are and then get increasingly better are either playing by the rules, or breaking them if the payoffs are big enough. A bit like the whole rubbish about performance enhancing drugs and sport, athletes will always be doing it and ahead of the enforecement curve, you're mostly only catching those who are careless. If you want to stamp it out properly you simply introduce a lifetime ban for any drug taking or missed tests / no ifs, no buts. As no-one wants to go to those extremes of penalty why bother testing to start with? Idiots.....
  13. I just love listening to luddites like my father harping on about how they get from Manchester to xxxx with nothing but a 20 year old A-Z and a star map. Yes you can but as I want to just go from A to B as quickly and painlessly as possible and as I'm usually on my own in a car I bought a satnav. It tells me if there's traffic issues on the route ahead, automatically re-routes and it helps keeps my licence clean as it knows where most of the speed cameras are.... Oh and I've also got satnav (Edge 705) for my pedal bike as it's really quite hard to read an A-Z whilst cycling around London avoiding spastic car drivers, homicidal lorry drivers and bus drivers whose last driving experience was in an APC in Somalia..... Now breathe......
  14. http://gandh.webdadi.biz/details.dtx?prope...69-17CDF759C987 Bargin? I've been running past this most weeks (marathon training) for about 6 months now and they've swapped estate agent 3 times. First on at £1.3m and it's not even in Highgate proper! Nice house and does have a proper cellar (not shown on this listing) but I reckon is actually worth about £500k max (£150k down + 3.5 times salary of £100k) Nice to see everyone still in cloud cuckoo land.....
  15. So I've decide to test a few theories that I've seen people stating on here. I've opened a demo account at PaddyPowerTrader.com and gone long Gold, short oil, long GBP/EUR fx and short BT Group (ex-employer, just curious....) No stop losses, all open ended contracts except oil which shuts out 17th March. Anyone want a side bet with me on whether I'll be in virtual profit or loss at mid-March?
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