plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

January 31, 2009

vote for me!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — plonkee @ 9:38 am

Vote for me @ Free Money Finance March Madness competition.

I’m in Game 11 – although I was doing ok at the start, I’ve taken a hammering, so if you want to head over and fix that I’d be grateful.

We’re all playing for charity – mine is Oxfam.

January 29, 2009

ending relationships and personal finance

Filed under: relationship — Tags: , , , — plonkee @ 8:39 pm

So far 2009 doesn’t look like it’s going to be a great year for relationships. One of my friends has split up with her partner, and another has indicated that he and his partner will probably go their separate ways sooner rather than later. Coincidentally, both are almost exactly the same age (to within a fortnight) and are in their early thirties, the time when most people seem to be either in the process of settling down or have already done so – usually, but not always, prompted by the idea of children.

As far as I’m concerned, couples splitting up is just one of those things that happen. People do not get along forever, nor does every couple make it until one of them dies. No blame or judgement should be attached, and friends are supposed to rally round and pick up the pieces rather than recriminate. Since I consider myself to be on the young side, previously this rallying round has solely consisted of providing relevant emotional support where possible, and generally helping them find their feet in single life.

splitting up in your thirties

The latest lot are a little different. Neither couple was married / civil partnered, but they lived together. In one case my friend moved rented out her house and moved to a village 30 miles away to live with her partner just under a year ago. Now that they have split up, she has moved temporarily in with her parents while she looks for a flat to rent (it would take at least 3 months to get her great tenants out of her house). This is costing her time, and effort, and she’s slightly annoyed by the truth that she has had to do a lot of upheaval, including packing up and moving 3 times, whilst her former partner has experienced relatively little hassle.

My other friend and his partner have been together for around 10 years, and lived together for most of that time. They own two houses, and have joint everything. They haven’t decided to separate, but if they do it will require some effort to untangle their finances, potentially involving selling one or two houses, legal costs to split the tenancies on the houses if necessary, new bank accounts, etc, etc.

divorce is probably harder

Naturally, if either couple were married / civil partnered the practical difficulties of separating would be compounded by the need to legally dissolve the partnership / marriage. Similarly, it is fairly lucky that in both couples each party earned very roughly similar amounts, and that there are no children involved. Still, much of the practical detail in splitting up, especially the initial bit, is probably the same, and dealing with hassle whilst you are miserable is not exactly going to improve your mood.

what do you think?

Since I’m single and I’ve never had the fortune / misfortune to live with someone as anything other than roommates, I’m not sure what’s involved. Does anyone have any tips, ideas or suggestions for amicably extricating your finances from a now defunct relationship?

January 28, 2009

the first piece of financial advice I received

Filed under: credit and debt — Tags: , — plonkee @ 7:54 pm

Although my parents both used to work in finance, they actually weren’t that big on financial advice. We had savings accounts as kids, but were not particularly encouraged to save money, and most of the time we didn’t have regular pocket money. Our grandparents lived a few hundred miles away so we didn’t see them regularly, but they used to save pennies for us – I’m never quite sure what used to happen to the money, but I do remember the excitement of counting it all out and splitting it equally amongst us. Amid all this vagueness, one occasion in particular is clear. I remember my mother telling me in the supermarket, that:

“credit cards are fine, as long as you always pay them off in full”

At the time, I didn’t recognise it as financial advice. But, you know, I have always paid my credit card in full (apart from those times that I’ve made a late payment – I’m not very organised), and it’s been a good habit and trait. And I don’t pay off my credit card in full because it’s sensible to do so (even though it is). I pay it off in full without thinking because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

I should probably re-examine some of the other messages that I follow unthinkingly though. Who knows what kind of stupid things I’m doing, just because someone told me as a kid.

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