Business

Will 2016 be a year to save or invest?

For quite a while people have been holding back on their investments. Whether for a car, house, flat or just daily purchases.

A friend of mine has seen people reducing their day-to-day spending and for instance having a coffee with no pastry because budget was tight.

January and February 2016 are no exception.

Are people actually saving for 11 months in order to be able to buy want they want for the festive season (presents, drinks, food, holidays…etc). But, is Christmas not a bit too excessive making the following months a real struggle?!

Modern lifestyle is almost perceived as wanting to own everything. Is this to be seen as cool or wealthy?

A few years back (early 2000) not that many people had a mobile: it was rare. Nowadays, it is consider as strange, if you don’t have an email, computer and smartphone. You have to be “connected” with the latest technology and ideally got one of these wearables. How did we do previously?

Is social media draining our spare time or is it actually bringing something positive to our already busy schedules?

Families are rushing to work and school then it is a kind of a race to reach their beach holiday destination. And it is the same when it is time to go back to the daily routine. An endless and stressful pace for parents and children.

So, how can individuals find enough time to make an appointment for home/flat viewing when there isn’t already enough hours in the day to complete basic tasks?!

Investing in a property is also something which takes time. There are various stages and a couple of acquaintances managed to get their properties after 6 to 8 months following several appointments with solicitors and banks.

A neighbour who works part time hours has decided with his wife (and new born) to buy a house and a second hand car at the same time! In this particular case, investing to get on the property ladder seems to be as natural as buying a pint of milk. His wife is a trainee doctor… this is probably the reason why this young couple has been able to move forward after renting and sharing various accommodations.

The mortgage will be in the long term cheaper than the monthly rent. The most important is to be able to put the hefty deposit on the table and the rest is history!

Are we going to see more people buying a roof over their heads in 2016 or will it be a slow walk to the top of the mountain – as it has been for the past years?

your money in 2016

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Business, Culture

Unlimited urban shopping

Bank Holidays seem to be something special for a lot of families and 9 to 5 office workers.

That Monday off becomes an extension of a Sunday.

In general, shops are open according to Sunday trading hours.

People seem to like those lazy Mondays. There aren’t a lot of things to do except… going to town.

Bank Holiday Shopping

Bank Holiday Shopping

I found myself in a High Street – stepped into Boots just after Midday. It was heaving – tills really struggled with people queueing. It was like a rush of buyers. After observing closer what they actually purchased, it was nothing more than shampoo, soap or other products widely available on a daily basis.

There were people everywhere. Coffee shops and restaurants terraces were almost full.

But why going to all these places on a Bank Holiday Monday; it is very busy with the staff members literally running in order to maintain everyone happy. Yes… people are grumpy and very impatient if they don’t get what they are after rapidly. The World seems to have changed!

Food shopping on Bank Holiday

Food shopping on Bank Holiday

Technology is driving people into the nearest Apple store to see if there is something new they want but don’t actually need. It is all about having the latest accessory to complete the full look. Currently thinking of the connected watch (whatever the make and manufacturer).

Life can be good and peaceful without all these Apps, firmware updates and other social media status where users share their views, photographs and thoughts/opinions about what celebrities are doing/saying/wearing. It is a constant stream of information and it is “so important” to be aware of what is a hit or a miss.

A handful of “bank holidayers” can decide to escape all this urban chaos for a few hours to discover and enjoy the beautiful British countryside and green landscapes.

In the Southwest of England Exmoor and Dartmoor offer so much and… it is free. It happens that Londoners visiting the County have their eyes on some estates as property investment in that particular area can be a great asset too. Prices can be way lower than properties in the capital and the potential can be immense.

However, when parents are mentioning a day of hiking, too little families do see such day out as “fun”. Nature is important but is nearly rejected because green spaces and fields are associated with farming – which is not “cool”. But why ignore that farms are in fact producing most goods which end up in our fridges/on our dining tables?

Maybe shopping is more important than the well being of our planet?

What is driving people to city centres instead of going for walks and fresh air just at the outskirts of their cities/towns/villages?

Cycling has made people jump on their bicycles mainly after Wiggins and Froome wins at the Tour de France. But, this is only applicable to certain groups who enjoy regular outdoors exercises whatever the weather.

During the Summer (whenever it exists), the usual Bank Holiday combination is beer and barbecue! And this is still taking place at someone’s home/back garden. These party goers will once again rarely decide to leave their comfort zone. It is as if life must be about excess of food and alcohol and this costs money.

Their surroundings are still free of charge. A bit of effort would make them discover something which is at their doorsteps and the memories wouldn’t be blur when they wake up the following day.

Luckily for the global economy, people love to spend money – even if they don’t have enough to purchase whatever they are dreaming of. Owning things is becoming a kind of past times. Accumulation of items might be a twenty first century disorder, because people are stressed, depressed and unhappy about many points in their own lives.

Buying can be a therapy to balance the yin and the yang. And then there can be a feeling of regret… It is a bit like a roller-coaster.

What about going away when next Bank Holiday is around the corner? It is truly possible to have a great time without spending money (or just a little) and not being sucked into the modern whirlpool of city chains just to believe to be part of the fashionable movement or even that what you just bought will make your life better. It is all artificial – a bit like a subliminal message through clever marketing campaigns.

For a short time, just forget your smartphone, Kindle and all modern addictions which make our daily lives so busy.

By looking back at the early part of this century, it was rare to have a digital device and no one thought that Twitter, Facebook or Instagram would influence our personal and professional decisions.

It also happens too frequently, that when texting a friend/colleague the expected answer takes hours and something along these lines appears on your screen “thank you for your text, will reply later as I am very busy”! Surely the time it took to type these few words could have been the actual reply?!

What does “being busy” mean? Again, everyone seems to be busy between emails, texts, hashtags and other downloads. Can we not prioritise human to human relations rather than human to technology/device?

Touchscreen technology

Touchscreen technology

By just sitting on a bench or by a bus shelter, have a look around you. People are like zombies. Eyes glued to their touchscreens and there is no conversations. The only noises are ringtones and laughs when sharing/seeing a “funny” face or viral video.

Is our Society regressing and/or becoming superficial?

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