view from the top

…to puzzling over where some of it is coming from.

Surreal, I know, but rather nice. What a money week it’s been!

On Monday some money from a side hustle hit the account. ‘Not too shabby’ – I thought – ‘some more to invest towards our financial independence’. Still, I left it in our ‘play’ account – the one where we keep liquid cash for a bit of a reserve and for opportunities.

Then on Thursday I decided to check our account; you know, this is a habit one develops when getting out of a financial hole. There was me, coffee cup in hand, keying in the password. The screen blinked and…I started blinking, coffee cup suspended.

There, in our current account (checking account to my US readers) was close to £15,000 ($24,000); and neither I nor John had any idea where did it come from, or what it was for. It didn’t match anything that we were expecting.

We assumed that it was a mistake; there was no question about it being money laundering, or a payment for any shady services.

John asked me whether I’ve been gambling again. Worse, he asked me twice. I hadn’t! I haven’t gambled for close to fifteen years now.

On Friday the whole mystery of large sums of money appearing in our account was resolved. This was the transfer of a small private pension fund we’ve been trying to get out and finally met the conditions for that; they have just made a mistake and didn’t tax it at 20% is all!

In the middle of all this I needed new running shoes. Yep, at my current mileage of about 100 miles per month they go fast. My award winning Asics, my purple beauties, had three holes in them.

So, to my favourite running shop we went. My eye first fell on a pair of white Asics; perfection – light with firm support, just waiting to be taken for a run. Only thing is they don’t come cheap; and being white is not perfect in the Autumn mud.

Have I mentioned that only runners work in this shop? And as my triathlon loving trainer says ‘runner are really hard core’. Andy – the guy in the shop – looked at me and said:

‘We actually have two pairs of Asics on sale; do you mind running in male trainers?’

Do I, heck! I can’t even see what the difference is; I buy running shoes for comfort not for gender or look.

He came back with two pairs of great shoes; okay, they have goldy bits on them but will have to do. You know the best part? These two pairs of running shoes, my new hat (naff as the old one but keeps my ears warm) and a new pair of running gloves cost me as much as the one pair of white Asics. Not bad!

Now, while we are talking about money let me ask you something: have you entered our giveaway? I am sure you all can think of something to do with $60 before Christmas. And as a bonus you’ll learn about my early dating days in the UK! Go, read, enter – the deadline is approaching rapidly.

Let’s move to the posts that caught my attention lately.

Lately I have been concerned with my wardrobe (closet) a bit. I am over fifty, you see, I probably need to ‘scrub up’ a bit. Once we had paid off the debt, I started with the bags: threw away all old, tatty purses and bought three expensive ones. Then dresses: only decent, classic stuff. Can you see the pattern? Yep, I finally chose to have fewer but higher quality items: I reckon it is ultimately cheaper. This is why, the first post I’ll mention in the ‘exciting and helpful’ group is the one by Mochimac that sets out the ‘minimalist closet essentials’. Great! Now I have a check-list.

It is to be expected; Pat Flynn puts up a podcast on SmartPassiveIncome where someone mentions the difference between features and benefits and a smart personal finance blogger will pick it up. This time it is Matt from Mom and Dad Money. While I do know about this one from academic literature (and teach it to my students who want to ‘grow up and sell loads of cr*p to people’) I like Matt’s interpretation of it. He believes that thinking about benefits instead of features will have the effect of ‘mastering our wants’.

There is something that has been bothering me about personal finance for some time now. Most PF writers seem to be buying into the neo-liberal believe that being poor is one’s own fault. There are few dissenting voices and recently L Bee joined them. Go see the infographic she’s published about the way in which social factors affect achievement and opportunities.

Last night we played CashFlow again. I lost; our twelve years old son got three children (the maximum allowed by the game) and his cash flow dropped under $400. Next thing I knew, he was going on about ‘the bloody children’ and how expensive they are. Well, at least he was on the loader side: this has been the message given by media and PF bloggers alike. But Johnny Moneyseed took all this rubbish to task. His message: raising children doesn’t have to be that expensive. So, don’t pay attention to this bullsh*t.

Finally, I’d like my readers to see a post by Bridget on MoneyAfterGraduation on how to increase your net worth by $25,000 per year. Five simple, tried and tested steps. And all very realistic!

How has the Money Principle been doing?

During the last couple of weeks we’ve been included in the following carnivals:

Yakezie Carnival at Money Wise Pastor
Carn Financial Independence at Carnival of Financial Independence
Carn of MoneyPros at Money Pros
Lifestyle Carniva l at Your PF Pro
Fin. Carn. for Young Adults at On Better Terms
Carn. of Fin. Camaraderie at Evolving Personal Finance

Yakezie Carnival at Budget for Health
Carnival of Retirement at Mom and Dad Money
Carn. of Financial Planning at Family Money Values
Carn of MoneyPros at Money Soldiers
Carn Financial Independence at Carnival of Financial Independence
Aspiring Blogger Fin. Carnival at Aspiring Blogger

To the people who included us we are grateful. We also wish to say thanks to all who mentioned us in their round-ups.

Finally, Towers Watson have published the list of risks for institutional investors. For 2013 resource scarcity is top; interestingly ‘extreme longevity’ in place 12. Yep, longevity can kill you.