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What every woman should know about pensions

What every woman should know about pensionsI used to be scared of pensions. They seemed complicated, boring and too far in the distant future for me to worry about. But getting older has made me reconsider pensions. And you know what, there’s nothing complicated about them at all. Yet many women have rubbish pensions. Frankly, it’s time to f...

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How you can help teenagers remember their bank passwords

How you can help teenagers remember their bank passwordsAnother half-term, another banking crisis. This time Darling Son has managed to screw up his login details for his mobile Lloyds app. Don’t ask me how, something to do with the fingerprint opening of the smart phone.  The solution apparently is to delete the app and start again. But guess what,...

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Cheapest and quickest way to renew your passport

Cheapest and quickest way to renew your passportIf your passport needs renewing this year, it might be best to sort it sooner rather than later because of – you guessed it – Brexit. If we leave without a deal, the UK could end up as a so-called third country within the EU’s free-roaming Schengen zone. This could mean you’ll need six months left t...

Where can you get a 40% return on your money, guaranteed?

Where can you get a 40% return on your money, guaranteed?It’s investment time! Traditionally the period before the end of the tax year at the beginning of April is the season for everyone to top up their annual tax-free allowances. But with the stock market in the doldrums (guess why, begins with B) the prospect of shares isn’t very enticing. Wouldn’t it ...

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Ten things you never knew about alternative investments

stock photo piggy bank climbing gold on white background 271505042

  1. If it is not cash, shares, property or bonds then it’s an alternative investment. This covers everything from gold or stamps to peer to peer lending.
  2. Serious investors buy alternative investments to spread their nest-egg around some more baskets. But they’ve got plenty of money and possibly won’t be hit too hard if they lose it.
  3. Warning klaxon: many alternative investments aren’t regulated and are associated with more than their fair share of scams. Don’t consider this investment class at all until you’re debt-free and have a sizeable cash cushion. And don’t think you’ll make your fortune either.
  4. Gold is a popular alternative investment because it’s tangible (ie you can see and touch it) and, unlike almost everything else, it will always have a value because there’s a finite supply of it.
  5. You can buy physical gold in bars and coins etc. But don’t. You’ll have to pay to store it and you don’t get an income from it. And even though gold is a popular investment, it’s a volatile one. Look at the charts at www.gold.org to see how its value has moved up and down
  6. Investing in wine or whisky does have the benefit that if your bottles fall in value, you can at least drink them. Ironically, this is also an illiquid investment – in that if you need to sell quickly you may not be able to. And wine prices also fluctuate wildly – see www.liv-ex.com
  7. You’re also going to have to pay to store fine wine (not in your fridge). Also be aware of scams – use a reputable wine merchant.
  8. Valuable stamps grab the headlines when they reach auction. Sadly those in your granddad’s album probably are worth little. A better route might be to buy into a fund investing in stamps (see www.stanleygibbons.com).
  9. You’re unlikely to make money from art unless you’re lucky enough to find a forgotten Renoir in a junk shop or discover the next Damien Hirst at a graduate show. But at least you’ll have something nice to hang on your wall.
  10. A more accessible (if less aesthetically pleasing) alternative investment is peer-to-peer lending where you lend money to individuals through websites such as Zopa or Funding Circle. You’ll get a better return than on savings accounts at the bank but that is because it’s not guaranteed you’ll get your money back.

Read more:

● A comprehensive guide to whisky investment is at https://next.ft.com/content/a066332c-5acb-11e5-9846-de406ccb37f2
● Visit www.spectator.co.uk/2015/05/first-class-stamps-for-investorsfor all you’ve ever wanted to know about stamps.
● Find out more about peer-to-peer lending at www.uswitch.com/loans/guides/peer-to-peer-lending-uk

 

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