Monday, October 20, 2008

A new flavour of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream... the Credit Crunch

Whatever you like to call the current situation - the economic depression, the global downturn, the dreaded 'R' word - it is here to stay for us for a while and it will affect us all. For the first time in my life I have to be interested in economics and finance.

I hate having to focus on anything remotely linked to money. When I first heard bankers, estate agents and insurance agents losing their jobs due to the poor financial climate, the first thought which crossed my mind is: "Good". I don't really have much sympathy for people who chase money and have no morals to living their lives. I say this even though my brother works for a large bank. They have enough money in their own accounts to get by without having to claim unemployment benefits. What peeves me off is how the governments of the world are reacting. They are bailing out these banks and businesses by giving them money. This money is probably gained through the taxes of hard-working people. I know I'm a socialist but I hate this idea. You don't have to nationalize financial institutions - just let them die. People have to accept once in a while there will be a downturn in the economic climate. Shares will have to go down as well as up.

I don't think many people grasp these concepts about shares, bonds and funds. They think these magical objects will earn them loads of money if they chuck enough money at it. Many people don't just take a serious interest to go and research what they are investing in. This was the situation when the Lehman Brothers bank collapsed, with many Hong Kong people wanting to claim back compensation regarding the stock they bought in the bank. I'm pretty sure the banks who sold them these stock properly informed them about the nature of shares but common sense tells you the price of shares will go down as well as up.

There was once upon a time when all you had to do with your money is put it in the bank. Nowadays you have to invest in shares, bonds and funds. Yet you do need a little knowledge before you decide which companies to invest in. There are people who use too much time in doing this, becoming too obsessed with the stock market, and there are people who use too little time, leading to bad investments.

Also you have to consider not just saving more but spending less - don't go out dining so much, use your car less and so on. Why don't people do that instead?

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