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crashtart

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About crashtart

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  1. I didn't understand the bit about people not coming to visit and not taking your calls. What's the connection between people taking your calls, and financial literacy?? I don't think any of us are quite as clever as we think.
  2. I'm a big fan of the BBC. I only really listen to the radio (R3, R4 and 5Live) as I work from home half the time and also spend a lot of time in hotel rooms. Unlike other people here, I find the quality of the radio journalism to be high. On top of this you get all those TV channels which I very rarely watch. (Only really watch Sky football.) All for the cost of a weekend newspaper or two. Brilliant value. No adverts either. The trouble is, most people on here don't actually want balanced journalism. They want journalism that sucks up to their point of view. When a BBC programme offers airtime to the other view in the interests of balance, you regard this as bias. One day the barbarians will tear down the Beeb, and as our lives become filled with TalkSport, ITV and SkyOne-style media we'll look at the rubble and think: "!Oh god, what have we done?" Forget blinkin' HPI for a moment, and think about the BBC's commitment to the arts and the cultural life of this country. Anyway, this is pointless. There's too much philistinism here to understand what I'm trying to say. I could understand it more if it was expensive, but at £11 or so a month, what a great bargain. My monthly satellite TV bill is 4 times more than that for a product that's 95% junk TV.
  3. Fair enough, these are individual decisions. There's a lot of SM volatility around but the plan for my equity ISAs is that they shouldn't be withdrawn for 15 years minimum (when I hope to retire), so I'm prepared to ride out a few dips. For instance, this year's ISA was spent on FTSE100 stocks which so far are about 15% down but I know they'll recover so I'm not worried. Of course, this isn't investment advice
  4. It can seem daunting, but it's easy these days to buy and sell shares on the internet. You could do worse than to pick up a book like The Dummies Guide to Investment (I'm pretty sure there is such a thing - check on Amazon). It will explain the basics. Take a look at the Motley Fool discussion boards, which are brilliantly informative, and generally populated by articulate posters who've been around the block a few times. It's rare to get the sort of vitriolic nutters you get on here. Also, the much maligned moneysavingexpert.com forums can be useful but there are a few screwballs there too -- on both sides of the bull/bear fence. I've used Hargreaves Lansdown to buy and sell shares over the past few years. Their website is informative too. Tons of other internet resources. ------ Ah, one thing I meant to say to the OP is to make sure you use up your annual ISA allowance. 7K for equities, 3-ish for cash. You won't pay any tax on your ISA gains. Just do a Google search and you'll learn all you need to know.
  5. Given your unease, your best bet might be to put it in a high interest cash account like the Sainsburys one which pays 6.3%. If you've no intention of using the money for 5 years or more then you could afford to take more risks, but I'm not going to advise you. I know what I would do, which is to buy some more equity funds which are diversified across sectors and geographies, but this isn't advice. Volatility looks set to continue for a while yet on the SM, hence my point about a longer term view. If you need to use the money within 5 years you probably don't want to risk the markets. The main problem people have with investment is they have a trading/gambling mentality. If their stocks dip by 20% in the first few months, a lot of people get nervous and sell up at a loss. In the great majority of cases, hanging onto shares for several years will give you opportunity to make much higher profits than savings accounts, but you do need patience and a strong stomach.
  6. Interesting points, but I think in this case Tebbit is just an old fashioned Tory right winger objecting to Cameron's lightweightness. You may remember the division in the Thatcher cabinet between the hardline Thatcherites and the "wets". Cameron is as wet as they come, and I can see him making Tebbit's hackles rise.
  7. If I sounded "smug", I apologise. That's not how I feel. I was stating a simple truth -- that personally I have more control over my life than I did before Labour got back into power. However, it's nothing to do with them that I have more freedom. I have more disposable income and this allows me to do more things than I used to be able to. None of us knows in detail how the economy will pan out. It's cyclical, so some kind of decline is inevitable. We don't know how that will impact us on a personal level, but I don't see that I'll feel less in control for the simple reason (stated 2 or 3 times now) that perceptions of freedom and control have more to do with your attitude, your demeanour, and what people used to call your 'character' than the state of the SM or the economy. If I lost my job I'd be fed up. I've been made redundant 3 times in my life, and it's not pleasant in the short term, but on each occasion I've been lucky enough to be able to use the opportunity to make my life better for the medium and long term. Again, just a statement of fact. Was it John F Kennedy who said: "You can curse the darkness, or light a candle"? Try lighting that candle sometime.
  8. Well put it like this: I have as much control over my life now as I ever did. Even more, in fact. I earn a lot more than I did 10 years ago, and I'm no longer renting, so I actually have a lot more control than I used to. You may want to argue from a purist point of view that a society with laws and administrative structures means we are not truly free. I'm not unsympathetic to that, and would happily debate it over a pint or two with a grin on my face. But to take such a view seriously, to the point of wailing on an internet forum that you have lost all hope and been forced to cede control to The Elite is frankly pitiful. Get a grip, lad.
  9. Wild accusations indeed. You use that expression just 2 sentences away from "...you are a Labour voting NR employee who's share options have just gone out the window". But even richer, your example of my 'wild accusation' isn't even accurate.
  10. Remember that expression: "Don't let the b@stards grind you down"? You've let them do it. You've been ground down, and have lost control of your life.
  11. If that's what you believe, fair enough. Each to their own. But without wanting to sound preachy, one's attitude to life tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you're as pessimistic and as submissive as you sound, your life will be grim. I understand many of the concerns on here about HPI. I share them, even though I'm lucky enough to be an owner-occupier myself. But being submissive gets you nowhere. You need to take control of your own life and take a more proactive approach. It doesn't mean you'll be able to buy a house tomorrow but at least it will stop people treading on you. It's quite untrue to say that "democracy is dead" though we certainly live in an imperfect one -- and always have done. The electoral system is largely to blame. If we switched to proportional representation then despite its faults, it would encourage participation, and be a fairer reflection of the political make-up of the country. As for Brown, I think he's a very clever man, and Tebbit recognises that. It makes me laugh when Tories complain because the reality is that New Labour are actually much closer to the traditional Tory party than they are to the traditional Labour party! This is why the Conservatives have struggled for 10 years. They've been muscled out of their own territory, and have nowhere to go. Someone on this thread astutely said that Cameron was elected to counter Blair (which he mostly did with some aplomb). Up against Brown, he looks more like the cheeky schoolboy than ever. I don't mind saying that I an happy with Brown as PM. I feel I can trust the bloke more than I ever felt with Blair. I think Tebbit is acknowledging the same thing.
  12. I can't recall the exit penalty to be honest. I have a feeling there isn't one. Or not too bad. If I remember rightly it lapses part way through but I can't remember how long. My wife works for an insurance company and they have a staff deal with one of the high street banks. You're quite right to say that it's a gamble. The thing is, doing the opposite, or doing anything else, is also a gamble. Our reasoning was this: what can we afford to pay per month without causing hardship? The figure we came up with was £1450. We then took this figure and got the shortest term at a fixed rate we could find. So all being well, the mortgage will be paid up by the end of the fix period. If events turn out in such a way that we could have got the same deal for say £1350 a month, then too bad. It was a calculated risk, but it's a level we felt we could afford. Also, we are paying less than we would be doing with a SVR mortgage, so we are sort of banking some money to offset against rates going the other way. I agree with you up to a point about peace of mind. Endowment policies are generally poor value, but those sales people are good. TVs etc I wouldn't dream of insuring separately. Those deals are notoriously bad value for consumers.
  13. To be frank, the reward you offer (withdrawing your abuse) isn't equal to the task (compiling a detailed research paper). If I'm allowed to say "I don't accept the deal" without that being interpreted as me somehow admitting my posts were wrong, then fine. If not, then so be it. Life will go on.
  14. I understand where you're coming from with that question, but the answer isn't that hard to see when it comes to fixed rates. None of us knows what's going to happen, and people who take out a longish term fix are people who are more comfortable with "the devil we know" rather than gamble on things getting better. There's no simple right or wrong answer. Your example about Japan is perfectly valid, but it wouldn't be hard to find counter examples. We took out a 7 year fix 2 years ago. So far we've done well (the rate is 4.59%) but there's every possibility that IRs will dip again, and we'll end up losing out. In the meantime, the monthly mortgage is affordable and no amount of IR volatility will have the slightest effect. It's peace of mind -- a bit like insurance. It's easy to think that insurance is a waste of money when you don't need to make a claim. But the premium isn't really wasted at all as it's buying that peace of mind. I would be nervous fixing for just 2 years, but it's all down to personality so nothing is universally right or wrong.
  15. If name calling and primary school-level abuse makes you feel better, then I'm glad to have been of service. I don't regard myself as especially naive or stupid but like all of us, I get much of my information from the newspapers and media in general. Yes, I take it all with a pinch of salt but there has been recent extensive reporting of the shorting raids on Northern Rock, and there is enough detail to make the story quite checkable if you think it's a media conspiracy. In case you've not seen the reports, here's just one. It was the first that Google threw up, but I think you'll find that all the broadsheets and the usually reliable news outlets have carried similar reports in recent days: http://business.guardian.co.uk/markets/sto...2174689,00.html
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