I do not normally do New Year’s resolutions but I also find that this is the time of year to reflect on what has happened in the past and where I am now and what might happen in the future.
I am now 46 I have no children or partner I am in full time work, which is relatively stable and if I am lucky I might be able to retire in say 20 years or so. The combination of these facts got me thinking that I should try and do a little financial planning in order to make sure I have a roof over my head and a meal in my belly and can buy what I need not just today but for in the future too.
First things first and I have to admit I find having any money or planning what to do with it not normal part of my life, up until the last few years I have never really had a disposable income to have as savings for years and decades I lived within my means not earning a lot and not spending a lot.
When people were settling into university life and planning how there careers would develop, I went off the rails taking illegal drugs which although my brain loved the experience and times that I had, it did me no good academically and certainly did damage my mental health and long term financial stability. But even without the drug taking I don’t think my brain is made for academic achievement. I have tried a few times trying to study and I get lost in words and tremendously forgetful during exams regarding facts and figures. I’m dyslexic which I only discovered and had diagnosed at my first stint in university and when I undertook IQ tests they would show I have a high capacity for reasoning and problem solving but a low score on such things as memory tests. I find it much easier to remember things that I have an emotional connection to rather than dry facts or quotes of ideas and opinions from others.
Though this is no poor me story as I think I would not be the person that I am pleased to be today had it not been for the long and winding road I have travelled and continue to travel upon. Although there are times in my life I regret doing what I did and I hope I learned from those situations and decisions and there are also times when I think what I have done is something good not just for myself but for others to.
Well with this years planning for the future I am actually trying to find ways to save, invest and provide for myself in the future mainly trying to make sure I have some kind of income when I retire. During the first lock down I was still in work and with not going out and working at home a lot more I had a little disposable income that I wanted to experiment with and so I started putting savings into an ISA a (savings account in the UK that does not get taxed and you try and pay a monthly amount in to accumulate savings in). I also started to look at ways of buying stocks or shares. Now I love a little gamble but the idea of gambling on life savings where you do long term investments into things that go up and down feels a little bit of an oxymoron in other words contradictory.
Small time investors like me have no easy way of saving money and making a reasonably good return on funds that goes on to beat inflation and there for increase the amount of money you have (and after loads of research trials and tribulations I am afraid this is still very much the case.
I have tried slowly saving up a few hundred pounds here or there in a stocks and shares account purchasing a few stocks (the easiest way I can describe a stock is a fund where people invest your money on your behalf in the items they believe will make the most money for you and also ideally risk losing the least amount of money for you also). I also bought a couple of shares in a gaming company in the UK called Games Workshop ( a share is like owning a small amount of a company directly). I have played their games since I was a kid and still play some of their computer games and so thought it would be a good place to buy some shares in a company that had the potential to grow.
I am no venture capitalist but do with what little means I have still invested in my future. I am not used to having savings or thinking about pensions and so trying to make my savings and pensions work harder for me is still a new concept and this is very much an ongoing new thing for me.
I would not invest in crypto currencies and strongly don’t believe that they have any economic grounding or long term future at all. A digital currency not supported by a country, it’s just there for the sake of making someone more money, just makes no real economic sense to me it feels more like a modern day pyramid scheme where those that create the currencies will become exceptionally rich but those that try to follow on afterwards will at some time sooner or later get burned and lose whatever savings they have in said crypto currencies. I do realise that all financial markets and products are in many ways a gamble but I also want to have at least some sort of a chance that my little gamble might at least keep up with inflation and at best make some profit I am not looking to shoot to the stars of crypto currency highs only to fall back down to earth with a bang when the latest crypto currency goes bust.