Green Money: Greencoat UK Wind: Share offer – May 2019

When you think about where to invest your money, you should consider carefully where you money is going and what it is doing. One company that I invest in is Greencoat UK Wind (UKW) the £1.6+ billion investment trust which holds a range of wind assets in the UK and abroad. If you share my concerns about the climate emergency then you should consider Greencoat as an investment. Continue reading “Green Money: Greencoat UK Wind: Share offer – May 2019”

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50 ways to leave your employer

The problem is all inside your head, HR said to me,
The answer is easy with a performance review annually,
“I’d just like some help in my struggle to be free,
There must be fifty ways to leave your employer”. Continue reading “50 ways to leave your employer”

Jet-setting childhood expectations: are parents setting their kids up for disappointment?

I was at the airport a few weeks ago and got to see hoards of school kids jetting off for their Easter holidays. Some were with full school club regalia. What happened to uncomfortable coach trips to local educational history parks? Nowadays school trips tend to be to anywhere. I saw one school group with matching hoodies going on a water polo trip to Norway, a Danish school trip to play hockey in Scotland and of course, lots of ski trips from the UK to the Alps.

Come on kids – it’s not like there’s skiing in Scotland?

You might think that this is all sour grapes and you’d be right!

GFF never got on a plane as part of a school trip and the furthest I went was Birmingham and that was a bloody nightmare with Coolio’s “C U When U Get There” played ad nauseum on the long drive back to the ferry. I thought we’d never get there!

Growing up we did go on a few foreign holidays – the best being by long car journey to not even the South of France. But it was not until I was older that I got a travel myself and I really appreciated having waited. I love to travel as seems to be a feature of the FI community. It’s in general very expensive (except for some) and it falls between the discretionary and essential spending categories in our family budget.

But for school groups to just jet-off to fancy places; I think that if you expose your kids to extravagant travel that you spoil them for later on in life. The main reasons for it not being great are (in no particular order):

  1. The children haven’t earned that trip, it’s their parents paying for it.
  2. They must cost a fortune for the poor parents
  3. The actually poor kids with poorer parents/schools can’t afford it and it sets about a sense of exclusivity
  4. When these kids leave the education system they’ll be up to their eyeballs in debt. Then they’ll have a taste for travel but not the budget.
  5. Whilst being fun for the kids, you don’t really need to go to a South of Spain tennis camp when all of the tennis courts I ever see are empty 80% of the time.
  6. The trip is not as educational or as culturally enriching as they let on – I sometimes see school groups on holiday in Edinburgh and London and they stick to their own in massive congestive groups
  7. If the holiday is during school time, their education is impaired
  8. It sets an ever ratcheting up bar of what’s considered a good school trip and sets unrealistic expectations (possibly for life)
  9. The CO2 impact of the air travel is high

Sadly, my concerns are not likely to be shared by many and the trend will get worse. I’ve heard young university graduates saying that a gap year with time spent building houses or digging wells in Africa or orphanages in Thailand or somewhere else where you can be a white saviour is de rigueur to achieving the full well-rounded, culturally sensitive experience that is needed to secure top graduate positions. You could just stay in the UK, donate your flight ticket and travel costs to charity and wipe bums in an old-folks home – but let’s face it, that sounds a lot less fun.

Call me cynical, but I do have a point.

From the point of view of a parent with two kids who may be pestering me in the future to go on the school ski trip to Austria – I don’t know what I’ll do in the same position. On the one hand, if you have kids you want to do whatever it takes to make them happy. That’s an instinct. But as a tight-wad I don’t want to spend too much money doing it. The only solution that I can think of is that they go on the ski trip or week in Paris or Rome and I’m one of the freeloading parents that come along too – so long as it’s for free (including ski pass).

Hey – if the kids are having fun, I might as well get in on the action.

Happy Financial Independence Awareness Day – 25th April

Ok, ok I’m a day late but I thought I would quickly share some thoughts on Financial Independence Awareness Day. The 25th of April  (or April the 25th – 425) represents the 4% SWR and 25 times annual income needed to become FI. Introduced by GetRichQuickish it’s an awareness day and here’s what FI means to me Continue reading “Happy Financial Independence Awareness Day – 25th April”

I’m a Millionaire (but don’t look it) part 1

I’ve just had a very rough quote for a transfer out of my defined benefit final salary pension and if I were to accept it, we’d be pushed into the ranks of millionaires!

The thing is that I just don’t look like a millionaire, spend like a millionaire and I definitely don’t look like a millionaire. So what’s that all about then?

Read part 2 here Continue reading “I’m a Millionaire (but don’t look it) part 1”