Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Centrica Article on Fool


New Centrica Fool article published!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Goal Update


So we're about halfway through the year... time for a goal update.

Depends how you define it... in some ways I've already smashed my financial goal, in others I'm ahead of target. This is DESPITE lots of bad things happening to me, and not being paid yet for some work I've done so far. I've put a lot more of my wealth into shares and am confident in the long term they will earn a good return. I feel more comfortable putting much more of my money into shares now... you get a better yield than money in the bank and I've got a good record. I've opened a new share account with lower dealing costs so have been buying more. Just have to be careful not to 'overwatch' shares. My timing could have been a bit better with some of my purchases, will study the charts and businesses more before buying in future :) I wouldn't mind being a full time share investor, as that's what I've been mainly doing for nearly a year now.

Also, I finally got compensation for the injuries that almost killed me about a year and a half ago. Huge task to get this, but I am much more familiar with the law after going through the process. Learnt a lot and will be more effective in future in these dealings.

The law firm I used wanted me to do a free review of how they did... they provided me a free post envelope to do this! They liked doing things by post a lot, I guess it added to their fees... (I did no win no fee, obviously). I reckon they got at least as much in fees as I did in compensation. Anyway, I offered to do an objective but fair review of their services (along with a link to their site) here for a small fee... but apparently they're not allowed to pay people for that! Lol. All I'll say is they were quite good overall, but I will shop around next time too...

Anyway... fairly happy with money overall but still need to push it more. I may well be doing articles for www.fool.co.uk on shares. I will have to research and deliver high quality content, but I REALLY want to do this. Been using the site for over nine years and being published there will be one of my best writing moments. Time to deliver on that.

I'm doing alright on meeting great people too... in fact my score for this out of ten will probably be the highest it's ever been because I've pushed my comfort zone in new ways. However... time to KEEP pushing! Cut out people who offer no value and develop deep connections with those who do.

I've cut all the chocolate and crisps out of my diet and am exercising more now. Doing fairly well on this yet still more room for improvement! With diet and exercise it's a case of doing similar things every day. There's nothing too 'intellectual' about it but you have to keep disciplined. Improves your life overall.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Shark Rotator Vacuum For Sale


Shark rotator vacuum. Never used, high quality. http://www.sharkclean.com/rotator/professional-lift-away-nv500/ £70 ono. Pick up in Lascelles Hall.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

You Have to Do What You've Never Done to Achieve New Experiences


Right... post time. TBH at this very moment I'm not super motivated to write. Which is probably why I'm going to.

I'm guilty of playing it safe too often. Now there are plus points to this, which people who take lots of risks don't realise. A lot of compulsive risk takers are partly 'fooled by randomness'... just because nothing bad has happened by them doing stupid uncalculated risks they imagine they can't. But they can... and when you're dead you're dead. Word up.

But being honest, I'm too cautious overall. There are some pretty basic things that I should do more that I don't because I'm not used to doing them. I'm taking steps to change that, but need to push more. A lot of so called 'risks' are just in your mind. I've done some things recently that I haven't done for years- nothing bad happened even though they could. Guess you just have to look at your results too- if you're getting great results you don't have to 'take extra risks' or even push yourself too hard if you don't want to. But if you're not getting the results you feel your deserve... you probably have to push your comfort zone more.

Here are two fairly unrisky things I'm going to do more of- risk probably isn't even the right word, but it's pushing myself to make more effort. I guess I'm risking my time. I'm going to start writing some share analysis on a new blog. I've been share investing seriously for over nine years now... but I'm not yet truly able to delve into all the financials of a company and analyse them. So I'm going to learn that... combine it with an INTERESTING writing style. I'll be doing this so I can fully understand my investments more, and hopefully eventually I'll be paid for some articles. If after a while I'm not paid I'll probably stop- which is a good incentive for me to write something worthwhile. I'm also going to be more mathematical about how much of my total wealth I have in each share I invest in, and what percentage of my wealth I have in certain sectors.

And I'm going to invest more time meeting high quality people 'in real life'. Know a lot of great people 'online' but will spend a certain amount of money meeting them face to face too.

So yeah... feel a bit better now. When you realise you have to do something and start acting you often get momentum.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Why I’m Pretty ‘Tight’ With Money... is this Good or Bad?


Practically everyone who knows me knows I’m tight with money. I’m always looking to get the best value things, and advising people about what I think they should do with THEIR money. Sometimes it’s useful for them, other times I think they’re pretty annoyed that I keep saying... “You shouldn’t smoke... you shouldn’t get drunk.” (I say it slightly more persuasively than that... but that’s the message.)

I’d like to share with you where this ‘tightness’ stems from. Some people assume that I made quite a bit of money writing a novel... I didn’t. I spent eighteen months writing. I got about 5p per hour. 5p per hour... I had to be in 24 hour computer labs at 3am to earn that shit. 5p per hour... in Huddersfield University I had to go to the underground floor of the library, right in the corner at 8am to pound that out.

Also, from the age of four until twenty five I was a chess player. In some ways you could say I was good, one of the best in Yorkshire for my age and I beat players who’d played for England for their age. In another way I wasn’t good- never good enough to make hardly any money from it. Most proper chess players wouldn’t say I was a good chess player overall.

I think there has been a bit of resentment in me about how tough it was to earn money doing these things.

So when I earn money from investing and doing sales jobs, I always value it. I’ve saved and invested practically all the money. I’m in the surreal position now where on a good share day I will be worth £1000 more at the end of the day than at the start. From doing ‘nothing’ really. Of course there are days when I ‘lose’ money too (by this I mean the value of my shares have gone down, I am a long term buy and hold investor and haven’t sold any shares for over seven years). But I win much more than I lose. The last three years have been very good, and I’m confident I have the ability to make more and more money with shares.

So anyway... I’ve done a few things over the past month I never thought I would do that have cost quite a bit of money. I could have got more value in getting these things, but it was still a very interesting experience. I mentioned it to a close friend and he told me to focus on the experience and not the money and he approved.

When I die, I don’t want to leave any money to the government really, not the UK government. What are they going to spend it on, putting up more CCTV cameras? More speed cameras? The UK already has millions of them, no need for more. George Orwell was pretty prophetic.

So I think with my money now... it’s a case of getting a balance between investing it wisely in myself, meeting interesting people and having great experiences, and still getting good value for what I spend and not being a consumerist sheep. I never want to have the feeling of ‘I must buy this because it has this brand’. I don’t want to spend money getting drunk. I still need to work on spending money in the right way to invest in myself though... I’ll let you know how this goes.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Death of Kings by Bernard Cornwell


I’ve read more Bernard Cornwell books than any other author. There’s something compelling about reading him... first time reading this novel I just did it for over a day and didn’t think of anything else.

The focus of this novel seems to be the death of King Alfred, and what happens after. On reflection, there seems to be less battles and fighting than other Cornwell books I’ve read... but that makes it interesting. The language seems quite simple sometimes, less complex than John Updike for instance. But when you read it again and think about it it’s potent.

Let’s look at an example:

“Alfred looked at the great leather panel that showed the crucifixion. ‘Do you notice anything strange about that painting?’ he asked me. I stared at it. Jesus hung from the cross, blood streaked, the sinews in his arms stretching against the dark sky behind. ‘No, lord,’ I said.

‘He’s dying,’ Alfred said. That seemed obvious and I said nothing. ‘In every other depiction I have seen of our Lord’s death,’ the king went on, ‘he is smiling on the cross, but not in this one. In this picture his head is hanging, he is in pain.’ ‘Yes, lord.’

‘Archbishop Plegmund reproved the painter,’ Alfred said, ‘because he believes our Lord conquered pain and so would have smiled to the end, but I like the painting. It reminds me that my pain is nothing compared to his.’

‘I would you had no pain lord’ I said awkwardly. He ignored that. He still gazed at the agonized Christ, then grimaced. ‘He wore a crown of thorns,’ he said in a tone of wonderment. ‘Men want to be king,’ he went on, ‘but every crown has thorns.’

I actually think this is the most moving piece of the novel. There's one element that I hadn't noticed before until now- mentioning Alfred looking at 'the great leather panel' is acknowledging in a way that he was great. The passage is almost comparing Jesus' death with Alfred's death. Alfred lived with pain for most of his life, yet he still achieved much, and set about making what would become England. Christianity was the driving force behind his ambition, and the Christain religion dominated English life for centuries to come.