Tag Archives: finance

some small concerns but still irritating

22 Aug

london 2.18pm 24C sunny thursday 2019

its a lovely day today, and most days i would have nothing to worry about. however, i have been having trouble with my internet bank, specifically, i have trouble getting into it , because the EU wants all internet banks to have 2 way verification. in the past i could just put in my password, and presto i am in. now they want me to not only put in the password, but also to get a security code. and i can get this code from a gadget they gave me, but because i have not been using it, it is now not working; or i can get an app, but for that i need to own a smartphone, and i dont have one. 

i thought i can get round this by calling them, and getting a human being to carry out the transactions, but i seem to be getting scots people, with very heavy scots accent, so that i cannot understand them at all. in the past they used indians from india, who at least i can understand, but these scots are just impossible to understand. 

i wonder if others are also getting this problem. anyway i have made an appointment with the hsbc bank near me, to open a currant account, and so i can physically go there and make transactions without needing to use the internet.

my appointment is next week, they said it will be 60mins, such a long time just to open a currant account.so we shall see if it is easy to open an account. nowadays they are so paranoid about money laundering, i think it might be more complicated to open an account now. i am wondering if i should just use another currant account that i have with another bank… it has a branch near me in victoria too. i wish it were the old days when u have a bank book, and you can see the money in it, and can access it easily by taking the bank book to the nearest branch of the bank. and there is a cheque book to pay for things. 

then, to add to my troubles, my electricity company out of the blue tells me in an email that they are going to increase my direct debit from about £16 to about £25 a month. such a big jump, i am in credit with them now of £26, and still they ask me to increase the direct debit… and i only use £19 worth every month. i wrote back asking them to not do it, and am awaiting their reply. i wonder if it is a way for them to get extra money to help with their cash flow.

of course all these are minor problems, and really not serious. i have to constantly pull myself up and remind myself of this, as sometimes it can get my mind all worked up about it… so much so that i need to firmly remind myself it is a small problem, and should be easily solved, or if not solved ,referring to the electricity direct debit,  the direct debit amounts are small. i am glad my electricity bill is so tiny. 

added 7.40pm 22C dry, i got a reply from my electricity company saying since i object , they will keep the old direct debit, rather than increase it. though they warn me that in future it will be increased as there will be a debt in the future. i know that but i calculate it will be another 9months before that happens. that will take us to april 2020. and it seems the review is every 6months, so the next time they reassess it will be feb 2020. 

i went earlier to the krispie kreme shop in victoria station to redeem the free doughnut they gave me. it is a nice thing they do, where periodically they write me an email saying they have not written to me a long time, and so miss me and am giving me a free doughnut … i know it is all a public relation stunt, but it is very pleasing for all that. haha.

what is interesting is that i got chatting to the server in the kiosk. i showed him my chromebook with the code in that email, for him to copy it to the till, so i can get the doughnut, and he said i am the only person who carries around a laptop to show him the code. and then he mentioned he recommend i use a apple phone, so of course i said but it is so expensive that phone, and he said he got 3 apple phones.  i looked at his kiosk and at him, and  said does it pay so well manning this stall that u can afford 3 apple phones?!! he said he knows how to save, but then he must have heard himself  saying he got 3 apple phones and even to him that does not sound right because he said his friends make fun of him for having so many phones.

he says each phone costs about £1800. not sure if i heard him right, surely they are not that expensive? i thought they are about £700 to about £1000. or have things gone up a lot since the last time i checked. who knows with 5G phones, the sky is the limit now. anyway we have a laugh over it, and i took my doughnut off to the seats nearby to eat it. it makes me think no wonder those motorcycle gangs go round stealing smartphones right out of  the hands of  pedestrians. even if it costs £800, i would be really sad if someone grab it out of my hands, and steal it from me. it is a lot of money to see whisk away like that.

i asked ian, who got a apple phone, and was telling him about the motorcycle gangs of thieves; whether he uses a wire lead that attaches to the phone and which he can tie to latches on a desk, meant to keep the phone safe from thieves when he charges it in a public place, and he said he used to have that and tie it to his trousers, but he said it was so much bother, and no one does it, that he gave up on the idea. i thought he should tie it to his hands, wrap it around his hand, as a trouser loop on the waist is easy to break. i have never seen anyone tie their phone to their hand in all the people i see using smartphones whilst they walk the street.

added. sat 15.2.20.

glad to say that problem with accessing my online bank account is solved, sometime in jan2020. it was solved by them giving me another key, and password to activate my account. which i was able to do. am glad that i dont have to go through their helpline, because the people they employ there have very difficult accents, difficult in the sense that i cannot understand them. 


free currant accounts

22 Oct

london 8.41am 13.5C cloudy thursday 2015

i like that my bank account is free, in that they dont charge me to keep one. so i dont quite understand why they say it is a bad thing.

of course others pay if they go in the red, or use their services, but isn’t that how the system works, throughout the capitalist way… you pay for extras, and so you should. if u get overdrawn, you should damn well get penalised for it… and pay for unauthorised loan of the money.

 it is never mentioned that we (private personal ) currant account holders get free check books, free credit cards, free debit cards… free direct debits too…free to put in money or withdraw money (just dont do it on a Automatic machine (ATM) that wants u to pay. (dont laugh, businesses have to pay for their check books, and i bet they pay to withdraw money from it.) so it is all a good thing isn’t it?

in other countries they have to pay for each cheque and stamp duty on the cheque. and have to pay a annual fee for having a credit card. so i cant understand why they want to abolish this free currant account and force banks to change. thankfully this report do not ask for that. instead they ask people to change their bank accounts, like they change their gas and electricity or phone supplier. i say it is not the same. you dont really save very much if u switch banks. £70 a year,the report says but how? unless you go for an account that pays you interest on your currant account, but with the small % interest they give nowadays it is hardly worth the bother. to me what is more important is how easy it is to communicate with them and how easy it is to give them instructions or check on my account balance and transactions… and internet banking does all that… that would be the sole criteria for me in choosing a bank. the interest is so low in all of them it is not a factor in chasing that by constantly switching… though u dont have to switch banks to invest in any of their high interest accounts. like mortgages , u dont have to be a customer of that bank with an account with them to get a mortgage from that bank. so why bother to switch banks? sometimes i think this obsession with competition is a bit bogus.

some things in life just do not require competition.

 i am really surprised to see in the chart that bank of scotland have 27% of the currant accounts. that bank nearly went bankrupt and yet it has so many people banking with it… no wonder the bank of england bailed it out, when it did. at the time i was a bit puzzled why they did, spending so much money to bail it out. now i know. haha. it was too big to fail. that is why.

the conversation in the guardian about all this free currant account.

stock market crash, met office loses weather forecast for bbc.

24 Aug

london 7.24pm 15.6C rainy 2015 monday

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historically , if u look at the chart, today’s drop is not the worst. in fact it is the least of the long losses suffered in history. so maybe the panic is a bit overdone. i thought everyone was saying the chinese stock market was over heated, so this correction should be  welcomed, but then we all know the stock market is a silly old thing, or acts like a silly horse, scared of its own shadow.

today also news comes of the met office being sacked as provider of weather forecasts for the bbc, effective 2016. its forecast has been so inaccurate that i myself dont use them. i use this instead. i think the met office costs too much. £30million a year, and the bbc just wants a cheaper forecaster esp as its license monopoly is in doubt.

 the gamble by the met office to skew forecast towards a bias for climate warming may have cost it dear. or rather they were too ready to believe in the pro warming camp. as forecasters they should have been able to predict the lack of warming. but maybe such things are just not predictable. short term forecast of a day is accurate… and that seems to be the only thing accurate about any weather forecaster for the uk area. there are too many unpredictable winds here. just look at the recent weather. just a few days ago we had a high of 30C in london, hot and sunny, and within a day, that changed to cold and rainy, not only just rain but all the month’s rainfall in a day.rather fun for us who like variety and unpredictability… but must be murder for those who have to make a living predicting it.

i dont like changes in my life, but somehow when it comes to the weather i welcome it, because whatever it becomes it never gets so bad in london as to disrupt my life or create danger. there is never a fear of flooding or landslides or whatsis in london. 

i have been idly looking at the MAS website for booking to kuala lumpur. and it is cheap, a return from 7 nov 2015 to 15jan2016 is £480 all in. it is a promotion fare, latest date u can fly from london is 7nov. they dont seem to mind how long u stay… unlike the BA promotion. pity i dont really want to go visit malaysia. otherwise these fares are tempting. on the other hand, maybe just as well i dont fancy travelling, i can think of it as saving me £500 haha.

when my parents were alive, i used to take these fares, at around the same time in nov or early december to fly back to malaysia. fares are always cheaper just before december, and i would stay over till after the new year. about 2months. that is long enough to make me feel really satiated. then for a period, fares went up , but it seems the fares has come down again at least for MAS. for a non stop flight, they are a good value. esp now when the ringgit is about 6.50 to £. it has not been this high for a long time. the converse is true, it is more expensive for malaysians to come here to london. and the stock market crash will bound to make those who can afford it, feel poorer. haha. 

zero based budgetting

26 Mar


I saw this today in a blog post about finance

Quoting from the post… ‘Most people do not suffer financially because they are stupid or unlucky or poorly informed. Most suffer financially because they are careless.

In the 70′s there was a process called zero-based budgeting. It required each line item to be justified as if it had never been seen before. The purpose was to root out the things that consumed money but no longer contributed equal or greater value.

Essentially, zero-based budgeting asked, “If I was not already doing this, would I start?” end quote.

I have been doing it without realising what it is called. Some will call it simplifying their life. it is a good thing to incorporate it in your financial planning  and do a cull of your financial commitments.

Looking back on your life, i am sure we can remember the time when we did an about turn and got rid of some debt that we had been carrying without thinking all these years.

For me, it was the car, i got rid of it. It took some time though. it was only when i moved to live in central london that i realised it was an unnecessary expense.

Another example is this…  getting a mortgage and then getting rid of it by paying it off. i am glad i got a mortgage in the first place, for that means i bought my flat at a time when it was going cheap; so this shows that getting into debt can be a good thing if it is for an investment.  and i am glad i got rid of it about 10yrs later. now i realise i should have got rid of the mortgage much sooner than i did… as i got the money to pay it off, but i was brainwashed to think that i have to pay it for 25yrs.

And i think someone told me not to pay it off as u can build up a credit history. Also, the tax structure is such that can get mortgage tax relief of your interest. not sure if that applies anymore, it was reduced to the first £30,000 of your mortgage , that sum might be abolished now and u dont get tax relief anymore, but u can see why it pays to keep the mortgage when you can get tax relief on it. as usual the consensus was you got to have some debts so that u build up a credit history.

sometimes the way the tax is structured, if u are working, it might pay you to use hire purchase as that is tax deductable. that is why i see so many adverts (when a new tax year begins) about getting a new car, by paying £200 a month. you can even get a mercedes by just paying £300 a month. that would be totally tax deductible. whilst if u buy a car, not much u can deduct. if u pay cash u cannot deduct any interest if u had borrowed the money instead. u can only deduct depreciation. But once u get a car, you will be spending more money as u will be using it more and petrol costs will rise. but essentially if u buy something that requires running costs … you are committed to spending.

it is like deciding to  send the kids to private school. you have committed yourself to spending like crazy for 15 years. if that does not frighten anyone , nothing will. are those parents so confident that they will be able to do it for 15yrs? knowing that it has to be maintained because taking a kid out of private school and into state run schools will cause a lot of psychological damage to the child’s education. 



tobin tax

14 Feb


i think it is about time this tax came about. the whole world should have implemented this long ago, when it was first suggested. but there were strong lobbies from those financial people. As it is, europe have implemented it today. 

uk and usa have not joined in but i can foresee that in future when they see how much money it generates, and how they will still have to pay it , and notice that it wont affect business. (it is only 0.1% or 0.01% after all. )these two countries will join too. if nothing else they will need the money it generates.